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Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;
Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep;
Cocytus, nam'd of lamentation loud
Heard on the rueful stream ; fierce Phlegethon, 580
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
Far off from these a flow and silent stream,
Lethe the river of oblivion rolls
Her watry labyrinth, whereof who drinks,



577. Al borred Styx, &c.] The Laxvw fignifying to weep and la. Greeks reckon up five rivers in ment: as Phlegethon is from another Hell, and call them after the names Greek word Oremus fignifying to of the noxious springs and rivers burn; and therefore rightly dein their own country. Our poet Scribed here fierce Phlegerhon, whose follows their example both as to waves of torrent fire inflame with the number and the names of these rage, as it is by Virgil, En. VI. infernal rivers, and excellently de- 550. scribes their nature and properties, with the explanation of their names,

- sapidus flammis -- torrentibus Styx, so named of a Greek word

amnis OTUYEw that significs to bate and ab

Tartareus Phlegethon. bor, and therefore called here Aba We know not what to say as to barred oryx, the fiood of deadly hate, the fituation of these rivers. Hoand by Virgil palusinamabilis, Æn. VI. 438. Acheron has its name fents Cocytus as branching out of

mer, the most ancient poet, reprefrom @xos dolor and pew fluo, forw. Styx, and both Cocytus and Phleing with grief; and is represented according y Sad Acheron, the river gethon (or Pyriphlegethon) as flowsf, Jorrow as Styx was of hate, ing into Acheron, Odyff

. X. 513. black and deep, agrecable to Vir Ενθα μεν εις Αχεροντα Πυριφλεγεθων gil's character of it

Κωκυτο 9' ος δη Στυγος υδατος εσιν tenebrosa palus Acheronte

απιρρωξ. refuso. Æn. VI. 107.

and perhaps he describes their fiCocytus, nam'd of lamentation, be tuation as it really was in Greece: caule derived from a Greek word but Virgil and the other poets fre



Forthwith his former state and be'ing forgets; 5853
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.
Beyond this flood a frozen continent
Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms
Of whirlwind and dire hail, 'which on firm land
Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems 590
Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice,
A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog


II. 1.

quently confound them, and men Quam juxta Lethes tacitus prælation their names and places with

bicur amnis.' out sufficient difference or distinction. Our poet therefore was at The river of oblivion is rightly liberty to draw (as I may fay) a plac'd far off from the rivers of new map of thele rivers; and he hatred, forrow, lamentation, and Supposes a burning lake agreeably to rage ; and divides the frozen conScripture that often mentions the tinent from the region of fire, and lake of fire ; and he makes these thereby completes the niap of Hell four rivers to Aow from four dif- · with its general divisions. ferent quarters and empty them. selves into this burning lake, which

589.-dire bail,) Hor. Od. I. gives us a much greater idea than any of the Heathen poets have Jam fatis terris civis atque dire done. Besides these there is a fifth

Grandinis &c. river called Lethe, 'which name in Greek fignifies forgetfulness, and its

592.- that Sorbonian bog] Serwaters are said to have occasion'd bonis was a lake 200 furlongs in that quality, En. VI. 714. length and 1000 in compass be

tween the ancient mountain Casius Lethæi ad Auminis undam and Damiata a city of Egypt on Securos latices, et longa oblivia one of the more eailern mouths of potant :

the Nile. It was surrounded on

all sides by hills of loose fand, and Milton attributes the same ef- which carried into the water by fect to it, and describes it as a for high winds so thicken'd the lake, and silent stream, as Lucan had done as not to be distinguishi’d from part before him, IX. 355.

of the continent, where whole arK 4


Betwixt Damiata and mount Cafius old,
Where armies whole have funk: the parching air
Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of fire. 595
Thither by harpy-footed furies hald
At certain revolutions all the damn'd
Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change
Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce,
From beds of raging fire to starve in ice 600
Their soft ethercal warmth, and there to pine


mies have been swallowed up. riv'd from the Belgic halen or the Read Herodotus, L. 3. and Luc. French haler, and therefore should Phar. VIII. 539. &c.

be spelt as it is here, and not haild Perfida qua tellus Cafiis excurrit as in Milton's own editions. Spen

fer uses the word, Faery Queen, arenis, Et vada teftantur jun&as Ægyptia

B. 5. Cant. 2. St. 26.
Syrtes, &c.

Who rudely hal'd her forth with 595: Burns frore,] Frore an old out remorse : word for frosty. The parching air burns with frost. So we have in and we meet with it several times Virg. Georg. I. 93.

in Shakespear. - Borex penetrabile frigus adurat:

603-bence hurried back to fire.) and in Ecclus. XLIII. 20, 21. When This circumstance of the damned's the cold north-wind bloweth ---it de- suffering the extremes of heat and poureth the mountains, and burneth cold by turns is finely invented to she wilderness, and confumeth the aggravate the horror of the degrajs as fire. And is not the ex- fcription, and seems to be founded predion used by the Pfalmift of the upon Job XXIV. 19. but not as it Jame nature? I be fun shall not burn is in the English translation, but thee by day, nor the moon by night, in the vulgar Latin version, which Pfal. CXXI. 6. in the old tranlla. Milton frequently used. Ad nimium tion and the Septuagint?

calorem tranfeat ab aquis nivium ;

Let him pals to exceljive heat from 596--by larps fected furies bald waters of now. And fo Jerom and The word bald in this line is de other commentators understand it.



Immoveable, infix’d, and frozen round,
Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire,
They ferry over this Lethean found
Both to and fro, their forrow to augment,
And with and struggle, as they pass, to reach
The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,
All in one moment, and so near the brink;
But fate withstands, and to oppose th' attempt 610


There is a fine passage likewise in vation of their misery, that tho' Shakespear, where the punishment they were so near the brink, fo near after death is supposed to confift in the brim and surface of the water, extreme heat or extreme cold ; but yet they could not taste one drop these extremes are not made alter- of it. But the reasons follow, fate nate, and to be suffer'd both in withstands, fata obstant, as it is in their turns, as Milton has describ’d Virgil Æn. IV. 440. and Medusa them and thereby has greatly re with Gorgonian terror guards the find and improv'd the thought. ford. Medusa was one of the GorMeasure for Measure, Act III. gon monsters, whose locks were

Terpents so terrible that they turn. Ay, but to die, and go we know ed the beholders into stone. Ulysses not where :

in Homer was desirous of seeing To lie in cold obstruction, and to more of the departed heroes, bue rot;

I was afraid, says he, Odyffy XI. This sensible warm motion to be. 633.

come A kneaded clod; and the delight- Mn por ropysumy krozam duivono of ed spirit

λωρα Το bache in hery foods, or to εξ Αϊδος σιμψειεν αγαύη Περσεφο

reside In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice, c.

Left Gorgon rising from th' infer

nal lakes, 609. —and fo near the brink ; ] With horrors arm'd, and curls of This is added as a farther aggra- :

bifing snakes,



Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards
The ford, and of itself the water flies
All taste of living wight, as once it fled
The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on
In confus'd march forlorn, th' adventrous bands 615
With shudd'ring horror pale, and eyes aghast,
View'd first their lamentable lot, and found
No rest: through many a dark and dreary vale in
They pass’d, and many à region dolorous, ,
O’er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,

Rocks,caves,lakes,fens, bogs,dens,and shades of death,
A universe of death, which God by curse
Created ev'il, for evil only good,


Should fix ine, stiffen'd at the fage; and particularly in this rough inonstrous light

verie, which neceitarily takes up so A ftony image, in eternal night! much time and labor in pronoun

cing !


628. Gorgon's, and Hydra's, and So frightful a creature is very pro

Chimera's dire. Our author perly teign'd by our poet to guard fixes all these montters in Hell in tnis water. And bifides of itself initation of Virgil Æn. VI. 287. ike water flies their taste, and serves

bellua Lernæ only to tantalize them. This is a Horrendum ftridens, flammisque fine allegory to show that there is no forgetfulness in Hell. Memory

armata Chimæra,

Gorgones c. makes a part of the punishment of

Quinquaginta atris immanis hiatithe damn'd, and reflection but in

bus Hydra. Creales their misery.

ver. 576.

Taffo has likewise given them a 21. Rocks, caves, &c.] How ex- place in his description of Hell, or actly is the tedioulness and difficulty rather he copies Virgil's descripo their journey painted in this pai- tion, Cant. 4. St. 5.

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