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image. Milton does not use a poetie license in making this Pharaoh, Busiris, as he has the authority of some previous writers for it. “ Chivalry” means all those who fought on horseback, and from chariots. So 765 ; so Par. Reg. i. 343.Pharaoh's pursuit is called "perfidious," because he previously agreed to allow the Israelites to departunmolested.—(P. H.)
314. See Note 540.
317. “It” depends on “ lost," in the preceding line.
318 & 322. “ Or.... or." This passage, obscure to many readers, has not been explained by the commentators. This structure of sentences is strictly on ancient classical principles: the first conjunction “or” does not join the clause which it commences with the preceding, but is an inceptive, and referring to the latter “or,” (322.) It begins the first clause of a logical disjunctive proposition, and means either" or " whether.' So in Latin, “Ne...an,” “Seu... seu," “ An... an," &c. are used as reciprocally referential. Satan ironically asks his followers whether, in consequence of the ease they experienced on the burning lake, they chose it as a restingplace, as comfortable as they found heaven to be; or, not so choosing it, but finding it full of horrors, they basely swore to adore the conqueror by remaining in that abject posture in which he placed them.
Virtue,” in the original sense of virtus, or upeta, personal prowess and courage. In the progress of civilisation, when the regulation of human conduct became of more value than bodily courage or power, the word was taken in a moral sense.
the amplification of the similitude presents a new landscape. It has been urged by some critics that, as in Vallombrosa, (quasi vallis umbrosa, or shady vale,) in Tuscany, the trees are mostly evergreen, and therefore do not shed their leaves all at once in the autumn, Milton is botanically wrong; still it is asserted that the leaves drop off by degrees (as the same leaves do not always continue), and accumulate continually; and this circunstance is a sufficient justification of Milton, (see Todd.) I may observe, that Milton must have seen this famous valley; and, as being a botanist, must have been aware of the nature of evergreens, and of the autumnal state of the foliage there, and therefore made the comparison knowingly. Besides, "autumnal," (the word on which the objection has been mainly hung,) independently of its poetical fitness, is materially right, as the accumulation of leaves in autumn, after the dry seasons, must be greater than that in spring, after the wet and rotting seasons. In addition, I may state that, besides evergreens, there are many other kinds of trees there whose leaves drop off autumnally.
304. Orion is a constellation represented in the figure of an armed man, and supposed to be attended with stormy weather. Æn. i. 539: “Assurgens fluctu nimbosus Orion."
306. Some learned travellers object to the accuracy of this simile, on the ground of their having seen no sedge flung by storms on the shores of the Red Sea. But Milton's full justification, I think, is, that, from the real or supposed quantity of sedge thrown on the shore, that sea was, in Hebrew, called “ the sedgy sea,” and he had, therefore, not merely historical but sacred authority for the assertion. Besides, it may be urged, that this want of knowledge on the part of sojourners, during a certain time, cannot be considered as a disproof of a circumstance that the name sedgy sea" did establish, at one period, as a credited fact. Vexed here is used in the sense of vexare.
309-311. Goshen was the district allotted to the Israelites in the kingdom of Egypt. The commentators remark, that Milton (in imitation of Homer and Virgil) goes off here from the main purpose of the similitude, and, by the introduction of the floating carcases, introduces an additional beauty and a new
328, 329. Virgil, Æn. i. 44, gives somewhat a similar representation of Ajax Oïleus : “ Illum expirantem transfixo pectore flammas Turbine corripuit, scopuloque infixit acuta."
(H.) 335. “Nor knew they not." This use of the double negative to express a full affirmative is a pure and a beautiful Græcism. Iliad, xiii. 28 :
ηγνοιησαν ανακτα, . The best Latin poets adopted it. See Virgil, Georg. ii. 449.
337. The use of the word “to," as the sign of the dative case, depending on the verb “ obeyed," is quite a Latinism. There are, however, other instances of it
in English poets. Fairy Queen, III. order, they are compared to the multixi. 35:
tudes of locusts on their flight to Egypt; " Lo! now the heavens obey to me alone." in the third, when lighting on the firm “ Yet." I have often known readers brimstone, and ranging themselves under feel a difficulty here. If the angels so their several chiefs for the purpose of well knew the evil plight and the fierce projecting new hostilities, they are compains in which they were, and which were pared to the most numerous bodies of attributable to their former submission troops which all history records as ento Satan's orders and counsels, why gaged in military expedition. This sucshould they now start up so promptly at cession of similes will recall to the his call? The explanation is to be found classical reader's memory the succession in the word “ dread," in the preceding of similes in the second and third books simile, which, though one of the most of the Iliad. homely, is one of the most beautifully 363. Several critics of high authority expressive in the whole poem. So strong would read here “ book" in place of was their esteem and awe, and so rooted “ books," as more conformable to the their feeling of obedience to their chief, style of the epic and of Scripture. Rev. that, though still stupified with the effects iii. 5: “I will not blot his name out of of their defeat, and racked with pain, the book of life.” they rose up at his command, as it were 367. I. e. by false idols belying, under involuntarily and by impulse.
a corporal representation, the true God. 338-341. This refers to one of the So Rom. i. 22, 23: “ They changed the plagues brought on Egypt by Moses, truth of God into a lie.” Amos ii. 4: (Exod. x. 13,) when he stretched forth his “ Their lies caused them to err."-( Up.) rod in consequence of Pharaoh's refusal to 372. “ Religions” here is used, like allow the Israelites to depart.-" Warp- religiones sometimes in Livy and Cicero, ing," a nautical term, i. e. working labo- to signify, religious rites. riously forward in a sort of sidelong 376. Milton, in imitation of Homer motion. The rod of Moses was the staff (II. ii.) in his catalogue of the ships, generally used by him for driving his and of Virgil (Æn. viii.) in his catalogue flocks. This God commanded him to of warriors, invokes his muse anew in his take with him for working miracles be- catalogue of the principal fallen angels. fore Pharaoh. Exod. iv.
This catalogue has been much praised, as 348. "Sultan" was the title of chief ruler
a most learned epitome of the whole among the Turks and Arabians, and is
system of the Syrian and Arabian idolaselected here as the designation of Satan, tries; and is considered peculiarly apbecause the Mahometan despots were the propriate here, as deducing the origin greatest enemies of Christianity.-(N.) of superstition, without an explanation
351, &c. He refers to the irruption of of which this religious poem would be the Goths, Huns, Vandals, &c. from the imperfect. - “ Whom first, whom last.” north of Europe, which, from the im- So Homer, Il. v. 703 :mense numbers it sent on the south,
Τι να πρωτον, τινα δ' υστερον. barbarously destroying every vestige of
Virg. Æn. xi. 664:art and learning, was called "the northern
"Quem telo primum, quem postremum." hive." He uses “ Rhene" of the Latin, and “ Danaw" of the German, in place
380. Ovid, Met. xiii. 1:of the common names, Rhine and Da
vulgi stante corona." nube, as being more ancient and classical. 384, &c. Consult 1 Kings vi. 23 ; 2 “ Beneath Gibraltar" means more south- Kings xix. 15; xxi. 4, 5; Exod. xxv. 22; ward (as they landed in Africa), the north Ezek. vii. 20; viii. 5, 6; xliii. 8; Jer. being uppermost on the globe. — (N.) vii. 30.-(N.) These three similes rise beautifully above 387. The ark, or chest, which coneach other, and do not merely give an tained the tables on which were written illustration of the numbers of the fallen the Commandments, and was deposited angels, but, as Dunster has well observed, in the Sanctuary or Holy of Holies, the of the different states in which they are inner part of the temple, to which none represented. In the first, while lying but the high priest had access, and this supinely on the lake, they are compared only once a year, was encircled by two to heaps of dead leaves strewing the golden figures of winged cherubim. It was brooks of Vallombrosa; in the second, here God is said to have been enthroned. when on the wing to obey their leader's The ark was two cubits and a half long,
a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and as of brass, sitting on a throne, and wear. a half high. It was made of shittim ing a crown; having the head of a cali, wood, (which was whitish, hard, close, with open blood-stained mouth, and his and incorruptible,) and covered with arms extended to receive the miserable plates of gold. (See Exod. xxv. 10—22.) victims. In Sonnerat's Travels, there The blossoming rod of Aaron was also is a curious account of the custom of deposited there (Numb. xvii. 10), and the passing through the fire, even now existomer (a six-pint measure) of manna ing in a part of India, at the annual feast gathered in the wilderness (Exod. xvi. of Dermah Rajah:-—" For eighteen days 33). It is generally believed to have the votaries sleep on the ground, fast, been taken off to Babylon at the time of and observe the strictest chastity; at the the captivity, and never restored. It was expiration of that time, an intense fire, not in the second temple. It is remark- forty feet long, is kindled, round which able that the Egyptians, Greeks, and the images of Dermah and his wife are Romans, imitating, but corrupting, this carried with great pomp, amidst the sound part of the Jewish religion, had their of musical instruments and the prayers cistæ, containing their most sacred things, of the multitude. Then the votaries, and deposited in the recesses of their tem- their heads covered with garlands of ples. See Spencer de Legib. Hebræor. ; flowers, and their bodies anointed with Apuleius de Asino Aureo, ix. xi; Plu- saffron oil, and their foreheads rubbed tarch on Isis and Osiris; Euseb. Præpar. with the ashes of the holy fire, proceed Evangel. ii. 5; and Calmet.
naked through the blazing element, while 392—405. Consult 1 Kings xi. 7; 2 the musical instruments continue play. Kings xxiii. 10; Deut. xviii. 10; Levit. ing. Some carry children in their arms; xviii. 21; xx. 2; Jer. xxxii. 35; Amos some spears, targets, &c.; and some, XXV.; 2 Sam. xii. 27.-"Moloch" means other objects of their affection. It often king; and “horrid” refers to the sacri- happens that several perish in the flame; fices offered to him. He was the chief those who survive the operation are much divinity of the Ammonites, whose capital caressed, and relics of what they bore city was Rabba, and the southern with them are coveted and preserved boundary of whose country was the river by the spectators.” The drums and Arnon. The rites observed in his musical instruments were, it is said, worship varied according to place and used in the rites of Moloch to drown the circumstances; sometimes children and cries of the sufferers. I do not see why grown-up persons were obliged to pass they should not have been considered as only through the fire kindled in his having been also used in honour of the honour by way of purification, or charm divinity and of the rite. Many comagainst disease or evil; this was also the mentators of high authority say, that mode, it is said, of consecrating persons Saturn of the Carthaginians, the descendto the ministry of his priesthood. It is ants of the Phænicians, to whom, it is not certain whether the votaries actually notorious, human sacrifices were offered, passed over the fire, and through the was the eastern Moloch; some think blaze; or only between two large fires him to be the Mars of European and kindled close to one another: the former more modern Paganism. is more probable. Human victims were 406. “ Chemos" is derived by the best also sacrificed to him; sometimes by antiquaries from an Arabic root which being burned on a pile before his image; signifies to hasten, and is supposed by sometimes they were shut up within the them to be the same as the sun, the speed idol, which was made of brass, and heated of whose course and light may well proto such a pitch that the wretched victim cure it the name of swift. Strabo, b. xv. was consumed. It is said to have con- and Ammianus Marcellinus, xxiii. when tained seven apartments for the differ- they mention Apollo Chomeus, are supent sorts of victims, human and brute posed to allude to the same deity as Cheanimals. Sometimes the image was mos of the Moabites. Others say that wicker, or wooden, and set on fire, toge- Chemos was the same as Ammon. Now ther with the victims enclosed in it, until Macrobius shows that Ammon was the both were destroyed. Julius Cæsar, in sun, and that the horns with which he is his account of the Druidism of Gaul, represented denote his rays. Lucan, says, that numbers of human victims Pharsal. ix. says that Ammon was the were periodically sacrificed in this way. divinity worshipped by the Æthiopians, The Rabbins describe the idol of Moloch Arabians, and Indians:
“ Quamvis Æthiopum populis, Arabumque Apollo, Clarius ; Mercury, Cyllenius, &c.
beatis Gentibus, atque Indis, unus sit Jupiter Am
from the places where they were wormon.'
shipped. When the Israelites were en
camped in the vicinity of Moab, Balak, As Milton, no doubt following the autho
the king, fearing such an immense mulrity of Jerom and others, takes Chemos titude would attack, perhaps overrun, his for Baal Peor, (though the best supported
country, consulted Balaam, a native of opinions identify Baal Peor with Thamuz
Pethor, on the Euphrates, famous in all or Adonis,) I will in this place mention
those regions as a diviner and a prophet. the principal circumstances connected Balaam advised that the Moabite women with the worship of Baal Peor in particu- should form sexual connexion with the lar, and of Baal in general; for there
Israelites, and thus lure them by the atmany deities under the general
tractions of their religious ceremonies, to name of Baal, according to the place and idolatry, which would deprive them of the circumstances of the peculiar worship, protection of God, gradually destroy their and the attributes of the particular divi- peculiarity as a separate people, incorponity. Baal is Lord or Master; and Peor, rate them with the Moabites, and evenaperture : Baal Peor is the Lord of open
tually enfeeble, if not destroy them. This ing, and the title is generally believed
counsel was acted on, and the Israelites to refer to him as the deity who presided were seduced to carnal intercourse and over the formation and production of idolatry. This so exasperated Moses that animal matter; and was, according to he ordered one thousand of the principal Origen and St. Jerom, the same as Pria- delinquents to be slain ; twenty-three pus of the Romans, and Bacchus of the
thousand more perished by plague, as a Greeks, the worship of whom was attended visitation from God. Solomon erected a with some grossly obscene circumstances.
sacred grove and statue for this divinity He was the chief divinity of the Moabites, on the Mount of Olives, as he did for who generally appointed women to offici
Moloch, (hence the words opprobrious ate at the religious rites. These rites were hill,” and “hill of scandal,”') when he of the most licentious kind; though the lapsed in his old age into idolatry, at the people did not think them revolting to instigation of his heathen concubines. decency, but expressive of meritorious
But king Josiah, who lived in the time of homage to the great generative and pro- the prophets Jeremiah, Baruch, Joel, and ducing power. The image of the god was Zephaniah, cut down the heathen groves, naked, somewhat resembling the Phallic and broke the images to pieces, there and image of the Grecian Bacchus. Hero
all over Judea ; the images he ordered dotus says that the Greeks themselves
to be reduced to powder, and scattered could give no explanation of the cause of over the graves (which among the Jews the Phallic worship of Bacchus, or of the were always considered polluted places not time and circumstances of its introduc
to be touched) to prevent any the smalltion, though it was to him clear that it came est part of them from being preserved as from the East. I think there can be little relics : and to prevent the places of the doubt that it followed in the train of Cad
groves and images from being ever after mus, the Phænician, who introduced so
used as places of worship, he ordered the many important changes in the language, bones of the most eminent persons who institutions, and customs of Greece. The
were engaged in the idolatry, to be dug votaries, while paying Peor worship, were out of their graves and scattered over naked. The Egyptians, in the worship of them, so as to render them as polluted Orus and Osiris, observed rites and adored and odious as possible. (See Calmet, and a power similar to those of Peor. The Selden de Diis Syriis.) festival of Saktipujah, observed by the “ Aroer was a city on the Arnon, the Hindoos to this day, resembles that of northern boundary of Moab; Nebo was a Chemos. See Fr. Paolino, Voyage to city towards the east; and Abarim was a East Indies.—“Orgies," from opyn, furor, ridge of mountains, the boundary to the were properly the wild, licentious rites of south. Seon or Sihon king of the AmBacchus, and correctly referred here to monites, took Hesebon or Heshbon, and the rites of Chemos.
Horonaim from the Moabites. Eleäle Some authors imagine that Baal Peor was another city near Heshbon; the means the “Lord of Mount Peor," where Asphaltic Pool was their boundary to this deity was worshipped with peculiar the west." As the Moabites and Am
as Jupiter was called Olympius ; monites were neighbours, Chemos and
Moloch are properly mentioned in suc- in the generic sense of the word, was the cession.—(N.)
principal divinity of the Phænicians, “ The Asphaltic Pool,” sometimes Syrians, Persians, and Chaldeans, and called the Lake of Sodom," as standing on perhaps the most ancient of the East. the site of the ancient Sodom, derives its From his primitive worship, various name from the quantity of asphaltus, a species of idolatry spread over the East, species of bitumen, which floats in masses whence they were imported into Europe, on its surface. This asphaltus is thought under different guises and denominations, to be superior in quality to any other, and according to the several epithets and atis much used by the Arabians for medi- tributes given him in the East, or to the cinal purposes. It is shining, dark, fancies and desires of his new rotaries. heavy, and of a strong smell when burnt. There were many Baals in the East, such
The lake, which is about seventy miles as Baal-Peor, Baal-Zebub, Baal-Gad, long by about twenty broad, though re- Baal-Zephon, Baal- Berith, &c. It is ceiving the large river Jordan, and seve- generally allowed that he was the deified ral others, yet has no visible outlet, and sun, which was not only the most amazing does not overflow, which is supposed to of the heavenly bodies, but that which arise from the evaporation of the inflow- contributed most in giving light, life, heat, ing fresh water. It is called “the Dead and all animal and vegetable existence. Sea," because it was believed that fish The moon, too, (Astarte,) contributing her could not live in it, or even birds fly over fair share in the diffusion of these blessit with safety. It may be well called the ings, was honoured under various names, Avernus of the Eastern world. But ad- and in various modes of worship, after mitting that it is not so utterly destruc- mankind fell from a true knowledge of tive of animal life, (and indeed Chateau- the "great Author.” I shall here confine briand, Maundrel, and other travellers myself to Baal, the sun, or fire. His doubt the fact,) the gloom and stagnation temples were generally on eminences, of the water, the sterility of its high and (or, if not so, were raised high,) and eirrocky shores, the paucity of animals seen cular, wherein a perpetual fire was kept. about it, and the horrid desolation that The Greeks therefore called thein “ Pyreigns upon it and all around, would well reia,” and “ Pyratheia." Sometimes he entitle it to that name. From the con- was worshipped at stated times on high current representations of all authors, places, where there were no temples, but the place appears as if the malediction of always with the accompaniment of fire. Heaven had lighted upon it. It is also This kind of worship extended over all called the “Salt Sea" by the Hebrews, Asia and Europe, as the existing names who call nitre and bitumen“ salt.” But of places and relics of it attest. M. Sonthe celebrated Galen says that it is really nerat (Voyag. vol. i. p. 140,) says that in impregnated with salt, and to such an November the Hindoos light up vast fires, excess that if salt be thrown into it, it and illuminate their houses at night, in will scarcely be dissolved. Madden, a compliance with the institutions of Bali. late traveller, and a physician, says that, In the British Isles strong remnants of so thick and strong was the water, he this worship, which was introduced by the found it difficult to sink in it when he Druids, still exist. The first of May is went to bathe there; and so virulent its called “BaalThinnih," or "Thinnih dagh," quality, that having cut his feet on the i. e. “the Day of the God of Fire ;" the sharp flint stones before getting in, he entire month is called, in Ireland, " Baal was, on his return to Jerusalem, confined Thinnih." Human victims were unfor a fortnight with gangrened sores. doubtedly offered to Baal. In the Statis.
419, 420. The Euphrates was the ut- tical Accounts of Scotland, vol. ii. p. 621, most border eastward of the promised it is stated that on the 1st of May all the land, (Gen. xv. 18.) Newton thinks it boys of a township or hamlet meet, and is called "old," because mentioned enclosing with a trench a round space, by the oldest historian, Moses; but I in which they assemble, kindle a fire think rather because it is the oldest river there, at which they dress an egg custard mentioned in history; for Pison and and an oaten cake. After eating the Gihon are names now extinct, and merged custard, they divide the cake into as many in the Euphrates, of which they were but pieces as there are individuals, and hav. branches. (See Gen. ii.)
ing blackened one with charcoal or soot, 422. 1. e. Baals, or Ashtoreths or As- fling them all into a bonnet or other retartes, pl. “Baal,” or “Bel," i. e. "Lord,” ceptacle; then each person, blindfolded,