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'If usual wit and strength will do no good,

Virtues of stones, nor herbs: use stronger charms, Anger, and love, best hooks of human blood:

If all fail, we 'll put on our proudest arms,

And pouring on Heaven's face the Sea's huge flood, Quench His curled fires; we 'll wake with our alarms Ruin, where'er she sleeps at Nature's feet;

And crush the World till His wide corners meet.'


Replied the proud king, 'O my crown's defence !
Stay of my strong hopes, you, of whose brave worth,
The frighted stars took faint experience,

When 'gainst the Thunder's mouth we marched forth: Still you are prodigal of your Love's expense

In our great projects, both 'gainst Heaven and Earth:
I thank you all, but one must single out:
Cruelty, she alone shall cure my doubt.'


Fourth of the cursed knot of hags is she,
Or rather all the other three in one;
Hell's shop of slaughter she does oversee,
And still assist the execution :

But chiefly there does she delight to be,

Where Hell's capacious cauldron is set on :

And while the black souls boil in their own gore,

To hold them down, and look that none seethe o'er.


Thrice howled the caves of Night, and thrice the sound,
Thundering upon the banks of those black lakes,
Rung through the hollow vaults of Hell profound:
At last her listening ears the noise o'ertakes,
She lifts her sooty lamps, and looking round,

A general hiss from the whole tire of snakes
Rebounding, through Hell's inmost caverns came,
In answer to her formidable name.


'Mongst all the palaces in Hell's command,
No one so merciless as this of hers.
The adamantine doors for ever stand

Impenetrable, both to prayers and tears;

The walls' inexorable steel no hand

Of Time, or teeth of hungry Ruin fears.

Their ugly ornaments are the bloody stains

Of ragged limbs, torn skulls, and dashed-out brains.


There has the purple Vengeance a proud seat,

Whose ever-brandish'd sword is sheathed in blood: About her Hate, Wrath, War, and Slaughter sweat, Bathing their hot limbs in life's precious flood. There rude impetuous Rage does storn and fret: And there, as master of this murdering brood, Swinging a huge scythe, stands impartial Death, With endless business almost out of breath.

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For hangings and for curtains, all along
The walls (abominable ornaments!)

Are tools of wrath, anvils of torments hung;
Fell executioners of foul intents,

Nails, hammers, hatchets sharp, and halters strong,
Swords, spears, with all the fatal instruments

Of Sin, and Death, twice dipped in the dire stains
Of brothers' mutual blood, and fathers' brains.


The tables furnished with a cursed feast,
Which Harpies with lean Famine feed upon,
Unfilled for ever. Here among the rest,

Inhuman Erisichthon, too, makes one;
Tantalus, Atreus, Progne, here are guests:
Wolfish Lycaon here a place hath won.

The cup they drink in is Medusa's skull,

Which, mixed with gall and blood, they quaff brimfull.


The foul queen's most abhorrèd maids of honour,

Medæa, Jezabel, many a meagre witch,

With Circe, Scylla, stand to wait upon her;

But her best housewives are the Parcæ, which
Still work for her, and have their wages from her;
They prick a bleeding heart at every stitch.

Her cruel clothes of costly threads they weave,
Which short-cut lives of murdered infants leave.


The house is hearsed about with a black wood,
Which nods with many a heavy-headed tree:
Each flower's a pregnant poison, tried and good :
Each herb a plague: the wind's sighs timèd be
By a black fount, which weeps into a flood.
Through the thick shades obscurely might you see
Minotaurs, Cyclopses, with a dark drove

Of Dragons, Hydras, Sphinxes, fill the grove.


Here Diomed's horses, Phereus' dogs appear,

With the fierce lions of Therodamas ;

Busiris has his bloody altar here,

Here Sylla his severest prison has ;

The Lestrigonians here their table rear ;

Here strong Procrustes plants his bed of brass;

Here cruel Scyron boasts his bloody rocks,

And hateful Schinis his so feared oaks.


Whatever schemes of blood, fantastic Frames

Of death Mezentius, or Geryon drew; Phalaris, Ochus, Ezelinus, names

Mighty in mischief, with dread Nero too,
Here are they all, here all the swords or flames
Assyrian tyrants or Egyptian knew.

Such was the house, so furnished was the hall,
Whence the fourth Fury answered Pluto's call.


Scarce to this monster could the shady king
The horrid sum of his intentions tell ;
But she (swift as the momentary wing

Of lightning, or the words he spoke) left Hell:
She rose, and with her to our World did bring
Pale proof of her fell presence; th' air too well
With a changed countenance witnessed the sight,
And poor fowls intercepted in their flight.


Heaven saw her rise, and saw Hell in her sight.
The fields' fair eyes saw her, and saw no more,
But shut their flowery lids for ever; Night

And Winter strow her way; yea, such a sore
Is she to Nature, that a general fright,

An universal palsy spreading o'er

The face of things, from her dire eyes had run,
Had not her thick snakes hid them from the sun.


Now had the Night's companion from her den,
Where all the busy day she close doth lie,
With her soft wing wiped from the brows of men
Day's sweat, and by a gentle tyranny,
And sweet oppression, kindly cheating them
Of all their cares, tamed the rebellious eye
Of Sorrow, with a soft and downy hand,
Sealing all breasts in a Lethean band.

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