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And uncompounded is their 'essence pure;
Not ti'd or manacld with joint or limb,
Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,
Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they choose
Dilated or condens't, bright or obscure,
Can execute their airy purposes,
And works of love or enmity fulfil.
For those the race of Israel oft forsook
Their living Strength, and unfrequented left
His righteous altar, bowing lowly down
To bestial gods; for which their heads as low
Bow'd down in battle, sunk before the spear
Of despicable foes. With these in troop
Came Astoreth, whom the Phænicians callid
Astarte, queen of Heav'n, with crescent horns;
To whose bright image nightly by the moon
Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs,
In Sion also not unsung, where stood
Her temple on th’ offensive mountain, built
By that uxorious king, whose heart though large,
Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fell
To idols foul. Thammuz came next behind,
Whose annual wound in Lebanon allur'd
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate
In amorous ditties all a summer's day;
While smooth Adonis from his native rock
Ran purple to the sea, suppos'd with blood
Of Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-tale
Infected Sion's daughters with like heat;
Whose wanton passions in the sacred porch
Ezekiel saw, when by the vision led
His eye survey'd the dark idolatries
Of alienated Judah. Next came one
Who mourn'd in earnest, when the captive ark
Maim'd his brute image, head and hands lopt off
In his own temple, on the grunsel-edge,
Where he fell flat, and sham'd his worshippers :
Dagon his name, sea-monster, upward man

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And downward fish: yet had his temple high
Rear'd in Azotus, dreaded through the coast
Of Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon
And Accaron and Gaza's frontier bounds.
Him follow'd Rimmon, whose delightful seat
Was fair Damascus, on the fertile banks
Of Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.
He also against the house of God was bold:
A leper once he lost and gain'd a king,
Ahaz his sottish conqueror, whom he drew
God's altar to disparage, and displace
For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn
His odious offrings, and adore the gods
Whom he had vanquish't. After these appear'd
A crew, who under names of old renown,
Osiris, Isis, Orus and their train,
With monstrous shapes and sorceries abus'd
Fanatic Egypt and her priests, to seek
Their wandring gods disguis'd in brutish forms
Rather than human. Nor did Israel scape
Th’ infection when their borrow'd gold compos'd
The calf in Oreb: ,and the rebel king
Doubl'd that sin in Bethel and in Dan;
Lik’ning his Maker to the grazed ox,
Jehovah, who in one night when he pass'd
From Egypt marching, equalld with one stroke
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods.
Belial came last, than whom a spirit more lewd
Fell not from Heaven, or more gross to love
Vice for itself; to him no temple stood,
Or altar smok'd; yet who more oft than he
In temples and at altars, when the priest
Turns atheist ? as did Eli's sons, who fill'd
With lust and violence the house of God.
In courts and palaces he also reigns,
And in luxurious cities, where the noise
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towrs,
And injury and outrage: and when night

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Darkens the streets, then wander forth the sons
Of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.
Witness the streets of Sodom, and that night
In Gibeah, when the hospitable door
Expos'd a matron to avoid worse rape.

505
These were the prime in order and in might;
The rest were long to tell, though far renown'd:
Th’ Ionian Gods, of Javan's issue held
Gods, yet confest later than Heav'n and Earth
Their boasted parents; Titan Heav'ns first-born 510
With his enormous brood, and birthright seiz'd
By younger Saturn; he from mightier Jove
(His own and Rhea's son) like measure found;
So Jove usurping reign'd: these first in Crete
And Ida known, thence on the snowy top

515 Of cold Olympus ruld the middle air Their highest Heav'n; or on the Delphian cliff, Or in Dodona, and through all the bounds Of Doric land; or who with Saturn old Fled over Adria to th' Hesperian fields, And o'er the Celtic roam’d the utmost isles.

All these and more came flocking; but with looks Downcast and damp, yet such wherein appear'd Obscure some glimpse of joy, to have found their chief Not in despair, to have found themselves not lost 525 In loss itself; which on his count'nance cast Like doubtful hue: but he his wonted pride Soon recollecting, with high words that bore Semblance of worth, not substance, gently rais'd Their fainting courage, and dispell’d their fears.

530 Then straight commands that at the warlike sound Of trumpets loud and clarions be uprear'd His mighty standard ; that proud honour claim'd Azazel as his right, a Cherub tall; Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurld

535 Th' imperial ensign, which full high advanc't, Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind, With gems and golden lustre rich imblaz’d,

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Seraphic arms and trophies : all the while
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
At which the universal host upsent
A shout that tore Hell's concave, and beyond
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
All in a moment through the gloom were seen
Ten thousand banners rise into the air,
With orient colours waving: with them rose
A forest huge of spears; and thronging helms
Appear'd, and serried shields in thick array
Of depth immeasurable: anon they move
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood
Of Autes and soft recorders; such as rais'd
To highth of noblest temper hero's old
Arming to battle, and instead of rage
Deliberate valour breath'd, firm and unmov'd
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage
With solemn touches, troubl'd thoughts, and chase
Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they
Breathing united force with fixed thought,
Mov'd on in silence to soft pipes that charm'd
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil: and now
Advanc't in view, they stand, a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old with order'd spear and shield;
Awaiting what command their mighty chief
Had to impose: he through the armed files
Darts his experienc't eye; and soon traverse
The whole battalion views, their order due,
Their visages and stature as of gods,
Their number last he sums. And now his heart
Distends with pride, and hardning in his strength
Glories: for never since created man,
Met such imbodied force, as nam’d with these
Could merit more than that small infantry
Warr'd on by cranes; though all the giant brood

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Of Phlegra with th’ heroic race were join'd
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side
Mixt with auxiliar Gods; and what resounds
In fable or romance of Uther's son,
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptiz'd or infidel
Jousted in Aspramont or Montalban,
Damasco, or Morocco, or Trebisond;
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observ'd
Their dread commander: he above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent
Stood like a towr; his form had yet not lost
All her original brightness, nor appear'd
Less than archangel ruin'd, and th' excess
Of glory obscur'd: as when the sun new ris'n
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon
In dim eclipse disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Dark’n’d so, yet shon
Above them all th' Archangel : but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrencht, and care
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
Waiting revenge: cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion to behold
The fellows of his crime, the followers rather,
(Far other once beheld in bliss) condemn'd
For ever now to have their lot in pain :
Millions of spirits for his fault amerc't
Of Heav'n, and from eternal splendors flung
For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory wither'd. As when Heav'ns fire
Hath scath'd the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top their stately growth though bare

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