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draws out a piece by lot. Whoever draws the black bit is the devoted person to be sacrificed to Baal, whose favour they mean to implore in making the year productive of the sustenance of man and beast. Now the devoted person, in place of being sacrificed, is obliged to leap three times through the flames. Mr. Pennant, in his Tour through Scotland, gives some additional particulars :-On the 1st of May, after kindling a fire in an open space, they dress a caudle of eggs, milk, butter, and meal, to which each must contribute something; they begin with spilling a portion of the caudle on the ground by way of libation; then each person takes a cake marked into a number of divisions, each dedicated to some particular animal or being, either as the supposed preserver or destroyer of their flocks and herds; and breaking them off in succession, with his face towards the fire, flings them over his shoulder, saying at each fling, "This I give to theepreserve my sheep;"-" This I give to thee-preserve my horses." So in the same way to the noxious animals-"This I give to thee, fox-spare my lambs," &c. In Ireland, at least in the southwestern part, the "Baat Thinnih," called in English" Bonefire," by the peasantry, is celebrated on St. John's eve. It is a day and night of great merrymaking. I have myself joined, when a boy, in the amusement and the ceremony. Close by each farm house a fire is kindled in the evening, and the cattle are brought to it if they cannot be driven through it, each interested person takes a burning brand, a branch of a bush or tree, and strives to strike the animals, who are frequently hemmed in by a circle of men and women, to prevent their escape in their consternation. The affrighted beasts running to and fro, and their firearmed pursuers, present together a curious and exciting scene, which spreads over the whole country. Some of the men and women leap through the fire. The cattle are supposed to be rendered fruitful, and preserved from evil during the ensuing seasons, by this contact with the holy fire. This ceremony ended, all the people of a district, young and old, assemble at the general "bonefire," for which great preparations have been made. It is generally an immense pile of turf, of a pyramidal shape, with the decayed trunk of a tree in the middle, and outtopping the lofty pile, decked round with dry bones and green boughs, and sur

mounted with the skull of a horse or cow, when it can be procured. Without these the fire is incomplete. There is always music and dancing until a late hour,sometimes till the dawn. In some places a long file of men bearing flambeaux proceed from the fire a considerable distance, until they meet parties belonging to another fire, marching in similar procession; and then both parties, waving their torches in mutual salutation, return. These long rows of moving light seen on the slopes of the hills, and the columns of flame from the blazing piles, exhibit a very imposing spectacle. In North Wales this fire is kindled on the 1st of November, when each person who runs through the fire casts a stone into it, and then runs off to escape from the black short-tailed cow if any person's stone is missing in the morning, it is a diastrous sign. The custom of snapapple, and burning nuts on that night is generally allowed to be a remnant of this superstition, which still in various shapes exists in Norway, Denmark, and the north of Germany. The Druids kindled two great fires in the year, both in the beginning of summer and of winter. Hence the difference of the time of observance in different places.

438. Astoreth, or Astarte, was the goddess of the Phoenicians, the same as the moon. Her image was represented with horns-"Siderum regina bicornis." (Hor. Carmin. sec. xxxv.) Groves were generally her temples, where such obscenities were committed as rendered her worship infa


She was the same as the Syrian Venus, the Carthaginian Juno, and the Egyptian Isis. Sometimes her worship is described by that of" the host of heaven;" hence she is rightly said here to "come in troop," as she was one of them. Her worship was frequently joined to that of the sun; but while human victims and other bloody sacrifices were offered to Baal, cakes, precious liquors, and perfumes were offered to her: tables were prepared for her offerings on the first of every month, on the flat roofs of houses, near gates, and on the cross ways. This the Greeks called "Hecate's Supper." Solomon erected a grove and temple for her on the Mount of Olives. See 1 Kings xi. 5; 2 Kings xxiii. 13.-(N. C. Spencer, De Orig. Idolat.)

444. "Heart" is used here for understanding, as it is sometimes; so is cor in Latin, and Keap in Greek.

446. "Thammuz," was the god of the

Syrians, the same as the river god Adonis, who was said to have been slain by a wild boar in the mountains of Libanus, from which the river Adonis flows. At certain seasons this river became of a ruddy hue, which the inhabitants supposed to proceed from the blood of Adonis rising and mixing with it. This was the signal for celebrating the feasts of Adonis, when the women made loud lamentations, inflicted stripes on themselves, and performed all the ceremonies of frantic grief, as if for a dead relation or protector. Then they performed funeral obsequies in honour of him. On the next day it was reported that he revived and ascended to heaven. The discolouration of the water Maundrel, who saw it in that state, says is produced by a sort of red earth, washed by the rain from the adjacent heights into the river. Tamuz means secret; hence Adonis was so called from the mystery observed in some of his rites, which were of a gross and impious kind. These were transferred to Jerusalem-even to the very temple on Mount Sion, to which Milton refers here. Ezekiel (viii. 13, &c.) says that he witnessed these abominations in the temple, where he "saw between the porch and the altar twenty-five men with their faces towards the east, worshipping the sun." He also


saw at the door of the gate towards the north, women weeping for Thamuz."

458. "Who mourned in earnest." The following explanation of Newton has been adopted by the modern commentators: "The lamentations for Adonis were without reason; but there was real occasion for Dagon's mourning, when the ark of the Lord was taken by the Philistines, and being placed in the temple of Dagon, the next morning the statue of Dagon was found stretched on the ground near the threshold, or grunsel, with its head and hands lopped off." See 1 Sam. v. But it is clear to me that as Dagon is said to weep in earnest, it must be in opposition to some act of Adonis himself, and not of his votaries.

The ex

planation, I think, is to be found in a part of the ceremonial worship of Adonis at the annual feast. The priests contrived to heat his brazen image, which had eyes of brightened lead: the lead accordingly ran down, and conveyed to the spectators the belief of his shedding tears. (See Calmet.)

462. "Dagon." This was the great divinity of the Philistines, whose temple at Gaza, the southern boundary of the promised land towards Egypt, Samson

pulled down, burying himself and all the assembled princes of the land in its ruins. See Milton's Samson Agonistes, and the Book of Judges, xvi. and xxiii. &c. He is identified by different authors with different divinities, such as Neptune, Jupiter, Venus, Ceres. From the various, the almost contradictory accounts that have been given by a host of learned men of his attributes and powers, the simple inference to be drawn is, that as they were a maritime people, they naturally represented their tutelar god as half marine, half terrestrial, exhibiting the benefits to be derived from the cultivation of the ground (meant by Ceres), and the navigation of the sea (meant by Neptune); Jupiter, or the ruling power of the sky and seasons, exercising an influence over both; and Venus promoting propagation; so that he was in reality the type of the great ruling power of the world. Some say he was emblematic of the tradition of Noah and his wife issuing from the sea, and then peopling and cultivating the earth.

471. Naaman, general of the armies of Benhadad, king of Syria, being afflicted with the leprosy, was cured by the prophet Elisha, who recommended him to bathe seven times in the Jordan. Naaman offered him presents, which Elisha refused. Then he requested of him to allow him to take home two mule loads of the earth of the country, promising ever after to renounce the worship of Rimmon. Elisha consented. Ahaz, king of Judah, introduced the worship of Rimmon into Jerusalem after he bribed the king of Assyria with all the gold and silver found in the treasuries of the temple and the palace, to invade Syria and take Damascus. It is thus he is called "conqueror," for he was himself before this defeated by the king of Syria. (2 Kings v. and xvi.)

478. "Apis." This was the name of a consecrated bull maintained with great reverence and pomp at Memphis, supposed to be the earthly personification of Osiris. It was all black, except a crescent-like white spot on its forehead, and had the figure of a beetle under its tongue. During its life it was worshipped as the representative of the divinity, and at its death was buried with great solemnity and mourning. Then there was the most diligent search made, which sometimes occupied a long time, to find a successor with similar holy signs; and when he was found the people indulged in every ex

cess of pleasure,-feasting, dancing, and singing out, "We have found him; let us rejoice." He was then led to the temple of Osiris, and installed in all the dignity of his predecessors. At Heliopolis there was a bullock consecrated to the sun, and called "Mnevis." The worship of Apis is still observed in India. Fr. Paolino (Voyage to East India, c. ii. p. 21, English Edition,) says, that at Pondicherry he "saw the god Apis led out in procession on one of the solemn occasions. He was a beautiful red-coloured ox, of a middle size, preceded by a band of musicians, the brahmins and the people following. Every door was open as he passed, and rice, cakes, fruit, &c. spread before him to tempt his appetite; and wherever he tasted a morsel, a blessing was supposed to alight." In Egypt and India a good or bad omen was drawn from his tasting or rejecting food when offered to him. It appears that the Indian Apis, which is red, remains only three years in his holy office; whereas the Egyptian, which was black, remained twenty-five, according to Plutarch, after which it was drowned, embalmed, and buried in a subterranean vault, at Busiris, now Abusir, near Memphis. If the Indian Apis die during the three years of his representation of the divinity, he is buried with great funeral pomp. The utility of the ox in husbandry is supposed to be the cause of his deification. idolatry the Jews fell into when they made the golden calf, at the time they were encamped near Mount Oreb (Exod. xii. 35; xxxii. 4); and Jeroboam, whom the Israelites, when they rebelled against Rehoboam the son and successor of Solomon, elected king, made two golden calves. (1 Kings xii.)


Isis was the wife of Osiris, and supposed to represent the moon; and Orus, their


The Egyptians worshipped several animals as types of the divinity. Æn. viii. 698: "Omnigenumque Deum monstra et latrator Anubis." (See Juv. Sat. 15.)

489. "Bleating" may be used in general to express the cry of any animal, as "bleating herds," ii. 494; or it may be used as an epithet of contempt, a sheep being a stupid animal; or it may refer to the worship of Jupiter Ammon, under the figure of a ram.

490. "Belial." I find but little about this divinity in mythology. From numerous passages of Scripture, where he is called the Devil, it appears he was the


idol of unmitigated and unrestrained licentiousness-the god of reckless dissipation-the concentration of Bacchus and Venus. Belial means, without yoke or restraint. (See 1 Sam. ii. 3, 4.) 502. "Flown," inflated. Virg. Ecl. vi. 15:-"Inflatum hesterno venas ut semper Iaccho."

503. See Gen. xix. Judges xix.

504. "Gibeah," a city of the tribe of Benjamin, on the highest hump of a ridge of hills, was about two leagues north of Jerusalem, and was the birth-place of Saul, the first king of Judea. Milton here refers to the outrage on the Levite's wife (Judges xix.) The story is this:A Levite of Mount Ephraim, in the land of Benjamin, in this chapter called Jemini, while bringing home his wife from her father's house at Bethlehem in Judah, was benighted at Gibeah, or Gabaa, and obtained a lodging at the house of a countryman of his. The townsmen (who are called sons of Belial) knocked at the door during the night, and obstreperously demanded that the stranger be sent out, "that they may abuse him." The old man implored of them "not to commit this crime against nature on the man:" they would not be satisfied with his words, which the man (the Levite) seeing, brought out his concubine (as he called his wife) to them and abandoned her to their wickedness; and when they had abused her all night, they let her go in the morning. But the woman at the dawning of the day returned to the house where her lord lodged, and there "fell down" dead. The Levite took her to his own home, and then "took a sword and divided the body of his wife, with her bones, into twelve parts, and sent the pieces into all the borders of Israel. And when every one had seen this, they all cried out, "There was never such a thing done in Israel from the day that our fathers came up out of Egypt until this day; give sentence and decree in common what ought to be done." Then all the tribes of Israel leagued together, and demanded the surrender of the Gabaaites for punishment: but the Benjamites refused, and made common cause with the offenders. The result was a desolating war, at the close of which only six hundred Benjamites, who fled to the rocky wilderness of Remon, survived, all the towns having been burned to the ground. Then, to save the tribe from utter extinction, the Israelites provided these six hundred with wives from Jabesh of Gilead, beyond the

Jordan, which had not furnished troops. to the confederate army.

508. Javan, fourth son of Japhet son of Noah, was the progenitor of the Ionians and Greeks. Ionia was the ancient name of Attica.

516. Il. i. 420: Ολυμπον αγαννιφον. χν. 192: Ζευς δ' ελαχ ̓ ουρανον ευρυν εν αιθερι και νεφελησι.

517, 518. He alludes to the oracles of Apollo at Delphi, and of Jupiter at Dodona, a city and wood in Epirus.

520, 521. I. e. over the Adriatic sea to Hesperia or Italy, thence to Gaul and the places possessed by the Celtic tribes, and thence to the remote British Islands.

523. "Damp" means here dispirited. He also uses the word elsewhere, to express a similar idea. So xi. 544; v. 65; ix. 45.

526, 527. "Which" refers, in my opinion, not, as some commentators think, to "looks downcast and damp" alone, but to the words "wherein appeared some glimpse of joy" as well; as both together produced among the angels a look of doubt, and cast a similar hue of doubt on his countenance; but as it may mar his hope to exhibit this, he quickly assumed a courageous air and vaunting tone.

529. Fairy Queen, II. ix. 2 :-" Full lively is the semblaunt though the substance dead."-(Th.)

532. A "clarion" is a small shrill treble trumpet. Hume. Spenser uses them together: With shawms (hautboys) and trumpets, and with clarions sweet."

533. "Azazel," from the Hebrew Az and Axel, signifies, brave in retreating; a proper appellation for the standardbearer of the fallen angels.

537. The following passage of Gray has been quoted as an imitation of this: "Loose his beard, and hoary hair,

Streamed like a meteor to the troubled air." I think the following passage in Campbell's "Pleasures of Hope" is much more appropriate :

"Where Andes, giant of the western star,

With meteor standard to the wind unfurled, Looks from his throne of clouds o'er half the world."

540. "Reign," from regnum, here means kingdom. So Spenser, Fairy Queen, II. vii. 21, has "Plutoe's griesly rayne;" and Pope, Il. i. has "Pluto's gloomy reign."(N.; T.)

540-543. It is evident to me that Milton, in these noble descriptions, must have recollected the following passages. Virgil, Æn. ix. 504 :—

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(See after, of this book, 563-565.) The phalanx was a compact square body of infantry, used in the armies of Macedon, so close as to present one solid mass, and very formidable on even ground, but inferior to the Roman legion on uneven ground, where it was comparatively incapable of quick evolutions or steady action. The soldiers used immensely long spears, whence the name, some think (as Homer calls long poles or pikes phalanges), and held their shields closely locked and clasped serried," from the French together, or serrer, to lock: some again derive phalanx from πελάζειν αγχι, to approach closely. -The Doric measure of music was of a grave, majestic character. The judgment of Milton, says Greenwood, is very great here. When Satan's associates were bordering on despair, he commanded his standard to be at once upreared, and the clarions and trumpets to sound, in order to raise their courage; at which they sent up a tremendous shout of joy. But when it was necessary to mitigate this ardour, and they were to march steadily on, the musical instruments are changed for flutes and soft recorders to the Dorian mood, which

composed them to a more cool and deliberate valour, so that they marched on in silence and firm union. Thucyd. v. 70, and Aul. Gel. i. 11, represent the Lacedæmonians, a Doric people, using these instruments as calculated to inspire them with a greater coolness of courage and steadiness of action. The Lydian measure was of a softening and melancholy character. So Dryden, Alexander's Feast:

"Softly sweet in Lydian measure

Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasure."

The character of the Phrygian was that of sprightliness.

560, 1. This is quite Homeric. Il. iii. 8:

Οἱ δ' άρ ισαν σιγῃ μένεα πνείοντες Αχαιοι. 563. "Horrid," the same as "horrent," ii. 513, bristled. Æn. iii. 23, densis hastilibus horrida myrtus.

565. "Ordered," i. e. borne regularly, according to military regulation, as on parade.-(R.)

568. "Traverse," i. e. transversely,


571, 2. Dan. v. 20: "His heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride." -(Gill.)

575. All the heroes and armies that ever assembled would, if mentioned in comparison with these angels, be no more than pygmies. Pliny (Nat. Hist. vii. 2,) places these pygmies beyond the Indian mountains, and about the source of the Ganges.-(N.) He says they were only three spans high, each span three quarters of a foot, measuring from the top of the thumb to that of the little finger. See Iliad iii. 6, for the simile of their disastrous battle with the cranes.

577. "Phlegra" was a city in Macedon, where the giants were defeated through the aid of Hercules, when they attacked the gods. Other accounts represent this defeat as having taken place at Cumæ, in Italy." Thebes;" this refers to the famous war of the seven chiefs against Thebes, the capital of Boeotia, in the contest between Eteocles and Polynices, sons of Edipus, for the throne, in which, as in the Trojan war, the warriors on each side were aided by their own tutelar deities.-(N.)

580. King Arthur, the Briton, the son of Uther Pendragon, who flourished in the beginning of the fifth century, was celebrated for his exploits by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and other writers of

romance. He was often in alliance with the king of Armorica, since called Bretagne, or Brittany, in France.-(N.)

583. The names of these places are written as they were in the stories of romance. Aspramont is said to be a town of the Netherlands, in the duchy of Limburg, south of Liege; Montalban, on the borders of Languedoc; Trebisond was a city of Cappadocia, in the lesser Asia: all these places are famous in romance for joustings, or single combats, between the Christians and Sara


585, &c. He alludes to the Saracens, who crossed over from Biserta, the ancient Utica, in Africa, to Spain. The Spanish historians, whom Milton here follows as more romantic, say that Charlemagne, king of France, and emperor of Germany, undertook, about the year 800, a war against the Saracens of Spain, but was routed and slain at Fontarabbia, a strong town in the province of Biscay. But the French writers say that he was victorious, and died at home in peace.-(N.) It has been urged against Milton as a fault, that he was too fond of allusions to the stories of romance. But it has been answered, I think successfully, that his imagination was enlarged by this kind of reading, and his style and imagery rendered more striking by its application. The same objection may apply to his use of mythological tales. Besides, he had the authority of Spenser, and the old Italian poets. He drew, for illustration, from every source, sacred, profane, and romantic.—(P.)

587, 8. Though so immeasurably superior to all earthly heroes, yet they obeyed their venerated commander. This gives a lofty idea of Satan. Addison says there is not a passage in the whole poem worked up to a greater pitch of sublimity, than the following description and comparisons. Homer compares Ajax to a tower; but that comparison wants the imposing touches of this.

596, &c. He compares him to the morning sun seen through a haze, or when eclipsed in an eclipse of the sun, the moon is between it and the earth. It is said that the book was near being suppressed in consequence of this passage, which was interpreted as intimating new political convulsions, and the insecurity of royal power. But in truth, Virgil said nearly the same in the court of Augustus, whose government succeeded a commonwealth, as did that of

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