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He scarce had ceas'd when the superior Fiend Was moving tow'rd the shore; his pond'rous shield,

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Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round, 285
Behind him cast; the broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening from the top of Fesole,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers, or mountains, on her spotty globe.
His spear, to equal which the tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of some great ammiral, were but a wand
He walk'd with, to support uneasy steps.
Over the burning marle, not like those steps
On Heaven's azure, and the torrid clime
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire:
Nathless he so endur'd, till on the beach
Of that inflamed sea he stood, and call'd
His legions, Angel forms, who lay entranc'd
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades
High over-arch'd imbow'r; or scatter'd sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd 305
Hath vex'd the Red Sea coast, whose waves
o'erthrew

Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,

While with perfidious hatred they pursu'd

The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld

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From the safe shore their floating carcases 310

And broken chariot-wheels: so thick bestrown,
Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded. Princes, Potentates,
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Warriors, the flow'r of Heav'n, once yours,
now lost,

If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal Sp'rits; or have ye chos'n this place
After the toil of battle to repose

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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
T'adore the conqueror? who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scatter'd arms and ensigns, till anon 325
His swift pursuers from Heav'n gates discern
Th' 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.

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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 plight 335 In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel; Yet to their gen'ral's voice they soon obey'd Innumerable. As when the potent rod

Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day,
Wav'd round the coast, up call'd a pitchy cloud
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
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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
Hov'ring on wing under the
cope of Hell
'Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires;
Till, as a signal giv'n, th' uplifted spear
Of their great Sultan waving to direct

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Their course, in even balance down they light
On the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain; 350
A multitude, like which the pop❜lous north
Pour'd never from her frozen loins, to pass
Rhene or the Denaw, when her barb'rous sons
Came like a deluge on the south, and spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Lybian sands.
Forth with from ev'ry squadron and each band
The heads and leaders thither haste where stood
Their great commander; Godlike shapes and forms
Excelling human, princely dignities,

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And Pow'rs that erst in Heav'n sat on thrones; Though if their names in heav'nly records now Be no memorial, blotted out and ras'd

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By their rebellion from the books of life.
Nor had they yet among the sons of Eve

Got them new names, till wand'ring o'er the earth, Thro' God's high suff"rance for the trial of man,

By falsities and lies the greatest part
Of mankind they corrupted, to forsake

God their Creator, and th' invisible

Glory of him that made them to transform 370
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.375
Say, Muse, their names then known, who first,
who last,

Rous'd from the slumber, on that fiery couch,
At their great emp'ror's call, as next in worth
Came singly where he stood on the bare strand,
While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof.380
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 ador'd
Among the nations round, and durst abide 385
Jehovah thund'ring out of Sion, thron'd
Between the Cherubim; yea, often plac'd
Within his sanctuary itself their shrines,
Abominations; and with cursed things
His holy rites and solemn feasts profan'd,
And with their darkness durst affront his light.
First Moloch, horrid king, besmear'd with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears,
Though for the noise of drums and timbrels loud
Their childrens cries unheard, that pass'd thro' fire
To his grim idol. Him the Ammonite
Worshipp'd in Rabba and her wat'ry plain,
In Argob and in Basan, to the stream

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Of utmost Arnon. Nor content with such

Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart 400
Of Solomon he led by fraud to build

His temple right 'gainst the temple of God
On that opprobrious hill, and made his

grove The pleasant vale of Hinnom, Tophet thence And black Gehenna call'd, the type of Hell. 405 Next Chemos, th' obscene dread of Moab's sons, From Aroar to Nebo, and the wild

Of southmost Abarim; in Hesebon
And Horonaim, Seon's realm, beyond

The flow'ry dale of Sibma clad with vines, 410
And Eleale to th' Asphaltic pool.

Peor his other name, when he entic'd

Israel in Sittim on their march from Nile

To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe. Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlarg'd

E'en to that hill of scandal, by the

grove

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Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate;
Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell.
With these came they, who from the bord'ring flood
Of old Euphrates to the brook that parts
Egypt from Syrian ground, had gen'ral names
Of Baalim 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 ty'd or manacl'd with joint or limb,
Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,
Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they choose

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