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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 !
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:
Fourth of the cursed knot of hags is she,
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,
A general hiss from the whole tire of snakes
'Mongst all the palaces in Hell's command,
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.
For hangings and for curtains, all along
Are tools of wrath, anvils of torments hung;
Nails, hammers, hatchets sharp, and halters strong,
Of Sin, and Death, twice dipped in the dire stains
The tables furnished with a cursed feast,
Inhuman Erisichthon, too, makes one;
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
Her cruel clothes of costly threads they weave,
The house is hearsed about with a black wood,
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,
Such was the house, so furnished was the hall,
Scarce to this monster could the shady king
Of lightning, or the words he spoke) left Hell:
Heaven saw her rise, and saw Hell in her sight.
And Winter strow her way; yea, such a sore
An universal palsy spreading o'er
The face of things, from her dire eyes had run,
Now had the Night's companion from her den,