Imágenes de páginas
PDF

From Aroer to Nebo, and the wild
Of southmost Abarim: in Hesebon
And Horonáim, Seon's realm, beyond
The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines,
And Eleale, to the Asphaltic pool;
Peor his other name, when he enticed
Israel in Sittim, on their march from Nile,
To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe.
Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged
Ev'n to that hill of scandal, by the grove
Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate;
Till good Josiah drove them thence to hell.
With these came they, wbo, from the bordering food
Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts
Ægypt from Syrian ground, had general names
Of Baälim and Ashtaroth, those male,
These feminine: for spirits, when they please,
Can either sex assume, or both; so soft
And uncompounded is their essence pure;
Not tied or manacled with joint or limb,
Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,
Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they choose,
Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,
Can execute their aery 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 battel, sunk before the spear
Of despicable fues. With these in troop
Came Astoreth, whom the Phænicians call'd
Astarte, queen of heaven, 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

1. froin them by of the Monte verifica " The poet's" mo

Aroer is a town on the north side of the Baal-peor; see Numb. xxv.3. The hill of river Arnon: Abarim a ridge of moun-scandal, the same as that opprobrious hill. tajns east of the northern part of the 417. Lust hard by hate. * What a fine Dead Sea and the lower Jordan, from one moral sentiment has Milton here intro of the highest peaks of which, Mount duced, and couched in half a verse."Nebo, Moses surveyed the promised land. TUYER. “The poet's moral is exactly I-srbon or Heshbim is a city of the Moate verified in the incestuous and cruel conites taken from them by Sihon king of | duct of Amnon towards Tamar; 2 Sam. the Amnonites; Numb.xxi. 26. Iluronaim, xiii. 15. The hemistich is a fine commenanother city of the Moabites, mentioned tary on the passage."--TODD. in Isaiah xv. 5. and Jer. xlviii. 3,5. Sib 422. Baülim und Ashtaroth were the mui, near Heshbon. (Isaiah xvi. 8) was general names of the gods and goldesreg famous for its vineyards. Eleülé a little of Syria and Palestine: they are supposed town north of Heshbon, The Asphaltic to mean the sun and the host of heaven. pool is the Dead Sea, so called from the 438. Astoreth was the goddess of the Asphallus or bitumen abounding in it. Phorpicians, and under whose name the Sillim (mentioned in Numbers xxv. 1) is moon was adored. Solomon built her a where the Israelites formed their last temple on the mount of Olives, hence encampment before crossing the Jordan. called the offensire mountain. 2 Kings For the other name of Chemos ; namely, ' xxiii. 13.

Her temple on the 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 allured
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, supposed 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 shamed his worshippers :
Dagon his name; sea monster, upward man
And downward fish: yet had his temple high
Reared 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 conquerour, whom he drew
God's altar to disparage, and displace,
For one of Syrian mode, whereon to burn
His odious offerings, and adore the gods
Whom he had vanquish'd. After these appear'd
A crew, who under names of old renown,
Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train,
With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused
Fanatic Ægypt and her priests, to seek
Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms
Rather than human. Nor did Israel 'scape
The infection, when their borrow'd gold composed
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king

444.“ And God gave Solomon largeness | mentations for him."--NEWTON. See Ezek. of heart."-1 Kings iv, 29.

viii, 12-18. 446. “ Thammus was the god of the | 457. Nert came one. For this god of the Syrians, the same with Adonis, who was | Philistines, see Judges xvi. 23; 1 Sam. said to die every year, and revive again. v. 4. Grunsel, or groundsel edge-the He was slain by a wild boar in Lebanon, edge of the foot-post of his temple rate. whence the river Adonis descends: and 1 467. Rimmon was a god of the Syrians; when, at a certain season of the year, see 2 Kings y, 18, Observe the accent this river began to be of a reddish hue, of Abbana is on the first syllable, and the feasts of Adonis were celebrated by not on the second, as it is often misprothe women,-the women made loud la-nounced. For the account of Naaman,

I see 2 Kings v.

[ocr errors]

Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox;
Jehovah, who in one night, when he pass'd
From Ægypt marching, equal'd 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 smoked; 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 towers,
And injury, and outrage : and when night
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
Exposed a matron to avoid worse rape.

These were the prime in order and in might;
The rest were long to tell, though far renown'd,
The Ionian gods, of Javan's issue, held
Gods, yet confess'd later than heaven and earth,
Their boasted parents. Titan, heaven's first-born,
With his enormous brood, and birthright seized
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
Of cold Olympus ruled the middle air,
Their highest heaven; 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 the 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
In loss itself; which on his countenance cast
Like doubtful hue: but he, his wonted pride
Soon recollecting, with high words, that bore
Semblance of worth, not substance, gently raised

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

485. Doubled. See 1 Kinga xii. 28, 29. 519. Doric land. That is, Greece. For an account of the Passover, see Exo- | Adria: the Adriatic. Hesperian fields: Jus xii. 11 and following.

Italy. Cellic: France, peopled in part by 502. Flown, in the sense of flushed. the Celts. Utmost isles : Britain, Ireland,

508. Javan, the fourth son of Japhet, and the adjacent islands. probably settled in the western coast of 5:28. Recollecting, that is, te-collectAsia Minor; hence, with some corrup- ing. tion, the namo Ionia.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Their fainted courage, and dispell’d their fears :
Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound
Of trumpets loud and clarions, be upreard
His mighty standard: that proud honour claim'd
Azazel as his right, a cherub tall;
Who forth with from the glittering staff unfurl'd
The imperial ensign, which, full high advanced,
Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind,
With gems and golden lustre rich imblazed,
Seraphic arms and trophies : all the while
Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds :
At which the universal host up sent
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 futes and soft recorders ; such as raised
To highth of noblest temper heroes old
Arming to battel; and, instead of rage,
Deliberate valor breathed, firm, and unmoved
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and 'suage
With solemn touches troubled 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,
Moved on in silence to soft pipes, that charm'd
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil: and now
Advanced in view they stand, a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriours old with order'd spear and shield,
Awaiting what command their mighty chief
Had to impose: he through the armed files
Darts his experienced 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, hardening in his strength,
Glories; for never, since created man,
Met such imbodied force, as named with these

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

534. Azazel. “Derived from two Hebrew | most magnificent and inimitable pasFords Ås and Azel, signifying brare in i sage."--BRYDGES. retreating: a proper appellation for the 548-551. Serried shields : locked one standard-bearer to the fallen angels."- within another. Durian mood: exciting NEWTOX.

to cool and deliberate courage. Recorder 541. Al which the unirersal host. «Al a kind of flageolet.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Could merit more than that small infantry
Warr'd on by cranes ; though all the giant brood
Of Phlegra with the heroic race were join'd
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side
Mix'd with auxiliar gods; and what resounds
In fable or romance of Uther's son,
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptized 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 Fontarabia. Thus far these bevond
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed
Their dread commander: he, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,
Stood like a tower: his form had yet not lost
All her original brightness, nor appear'd
Less than archangel ruin'd, and the excess
Of glory obscured: as when the sun new-risen
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: darken’d so, yet shone
Above them all the Archangel: but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrench'd, 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 amerced
Of heaven, and from eternal splendours flung
For his revolt; yet faithful how they stood,
Their glory wither'd. As when heaven's fire
Hath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

575. That is, all the heroes and armies town in Biscay, at the entrance into that ever assembled, were no more than Spain, and esteemed the key of the pygmies compared to these.

kingilom. 577. P'Wegra. The peninsula of Pal. 589. Il. alme the rest. This is one of lene in Macedonia, is said to have an- the most sublime descriptions of this ciently borne this name, and to have most sublime of poets. witnessed the contlict between the gods 594. As when the sun. "Few poetical and the earth-born Titans.--See Cramer's images can be finer than this, or more Greece, i. p. 24.

beautifully expressed. The precision with 580. Uther's son. King Arthur, son of which the language is delineated, is inUther Pendragon, who was often in alli- comparable."-BRYDGES. ance with the king of Armorica, since' 597. Disastrous twilight. Alluding to called Bretagne. Aspramont or Montal- the popular superstition, that an eclipse ban: romantic names of places mentioned is the precursor of war or some other in Orlando Furioso. Biscrta: the ancient national calamity. name of Utica. Fontarabia: a strong

« AnteriorContinuar »