Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

0. heaven's azure!) and the torrid clime
Sinote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire :
Nathless be so endured, till on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and callid
His legions, angel-forins, who lay intranced,
Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades,
High over-arch’d, imbower; or scatter'd sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd
Hath vex'd the Red Sea coast, wbose waves p'erthrew
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursued
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shure their Hoating carcasses
And broken chariot-wheels: so thick bestrewn,
Abject and lost lay these, covering the food,
Under amazement of their hideous cbange.
He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of hell resounded.

Princes, potentates,
Warriors, the flower of heaven! once yours, now lost,
If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal spirits; or have ye chosen this place
After the toil of battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To slumber here, as in the vales of heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the Conqueror? who now beholds
Cherub and seraph rolling in the flood
With scatter'd arms and ensigns; till anon
His swift pursuers from heaven-gates discern
The advantage, and descending, tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf.
Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n!”

They heard, and were abash’d, and up they sprung Upon the wing: as when men wont to watch On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread, Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake. Nor did they not perceive the evil pilght In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel; Yet to their general's voice they soon obey'd,

Innumerable. As when the potent rod
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day,
War'd round the coast, up callid a pitchy cloud:
Or locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like night, and darken'd all the land of Nile ::
So numberless were those bad angels seen,
Hovering on wing under the cope of bell,
*Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires
Till, as a signal given, the uplifted spear
Of their great sultan waving to direct
Their course, in cven balance down they light
On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain..
A multitude! like whieh the populous north
Pour'd never from her frozen loins, to pass
Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons,
Came like a deluge on the south, and spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Eibyan sands..
Forthwith from every squadron and eacli band
The heads and leaders thither haste where stood
Their great commander; godlike shapes and forms
Excelling human, princely dignities,
And powers that erst in heaven sat on thrones,
Though of their names in heavenly records now
Be no memorial; blotted out and razed
By their rebellion from the books of life.
Nor had they yet' among the sons of Eve
Got them new names;- till, wandering o'er the earth:
Through God's high sufferance for the trial of man,,
By falsities and lies the greatest part
Of mankind they corrupted, to forsake
God their Creator, and the invisible
Glory of him that made them to transform
Oft to the image of a brute, adorn'd
With gay religions, full of pomp and gold,
And devils to adore for deities :
Then were they known to men by various names,
And various idols through the heathen world.
Say, muse, their names, then known, who first;

who last,
Roused from the slumber on that fiery couchy,

At their great emperor's call, as next in worth
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand,
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof.
The chief were those, who, from the pit of hell
Roaming to seek their prey on earth, durst fix
Their seats long after next the seat of God,
Their altars by his altar, gods adored
Among the nations round, and durst abide
Jehovah thundering out of Sion, throned
· Between the cherubim ; yea, often placed
Within bis sanctuary itself their shrines,
Abominations; and with cursed things
His holy rites and solemn feasts profaned,
And with their darkness durst affront his light.
First, Moloch, horrid king, besmeard with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears;
Though for the noise of drums and timbrels loud
Their childrens'eries unheard, that pass'd through fire
To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite
Worshipp'd in Rabba and her watery plain,
In Argob, and in Basan, to the stream
Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such
Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
Of Solomon he led by fraud to build
His temple right against the temple of God
On the opprobrious lill; and made his grove
The pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thence
And black Gehenna call'd, the type of hell.
Next, Chemos, the obscene dread of Moab's sons,
From Aroer to Nebo, and the wild
Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon
And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond
The flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines;
And Eleale to the aspualtic pool :
Peor bis other name, when lie enticed
Israel in Siitim, on their march from Nile,
To do bim wanton rites, which cost them woe.
Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarged
Even to that bill of scandal, by the grove
Of Moloch homicide; lust hard by hate;
Till good Josiah drove them thence to bello

With these came they, who, from the bordering flood
Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts
Egypt from Syrian ground, had general names
Of Baalim and Ashtaroth; those male,
These feminine: (for spirits when they please,
Can either sex assume, or both; so soft
And uncoinpounded 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 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 called
Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns :
To whose bright image nightly by the moon
Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs ;
In Sion not unsung, where stood
Her temple on the offensive mountain, built
By that uxurious 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 dirties 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 davghters 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
Maind bis brute image, head and lands lepr'd 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 bad 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 Pharpbar, lucid streams.
He also against the house of God was bold :
A leper once he lost, and gain'd a king,
Abaz, his sottish conqueror, 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 appeard
A crew who, under names of old renown,
Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train,
With monstrous shapes and sorceries abused
Fanatic Egypt and her priests, to seek
Their wandering gods disguised in brutish forms,
Ratber than burgan. Nor did Israel 'scape
The infection, when their borrow'd gold composed
The calf in Oreb; and the rebel king
Doubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox,
Jehovab! who in one night, when he passid
From Egypt marching, equall’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 athiest, as did Eli's sons, who fill'd
With Just and violence the house of God??
In courts and palaces be also reigns,
And in luxurious cities, where the noise
Of riot ascends above their loftiest towers,
And injury and outrage: and wben night

« ZurückWeiter »