Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD

Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
 
Paradise Lost, ii. 582

John Milton (1608–1674)
 
.. FARR 1 off from these a slow and silent stream,
Lethe the River of Oblivion roules
Her watrie Labyrinth, whereof who drinks,
Forthwith his former state and being forgets,
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.        5
Beyond this flood a frozen Continent
Lies dark and wilde, beat with perpetual storms
Of Whirlwind and dire Hail, which on firm land
Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems
Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice,        10
A gulf profound as that Serbonian Bog
Betwixt Damiata and mount Casius old,
Where Armies whole have sunk: the parching Air
Burns frore, and cold performs th’ effect of Fire.
Thither by harpy-footed Furies hail’d,        15
At certain revolutions all the damn’d
Are brought: and feel by turns the bitter change
Of fierce extreams, extreams by change more fierce,
From Beds of raging Fire to starve in Ice
Thir soft Ethereal warmth, and there to pine        20
Immovable, infixt, and frozen round,
Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire.
They ferry over this Lethean Sound
Both to and fro, thir sorrow to augment,
And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach        25
The tempting stream, with one small drop to loose
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,
All in one moment, and so neer the brink;
But fate withstands, and to oppose th’ attempt
Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards        30
The Ford, and of it self 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
With shuddring horror pale, and eyes agast        35
View’d first thir lamentable lot, and found
No rest: through many a dark and drearie Vaile
They pass’d, and many a Region dolorous,
O’re many a Frozen, many a Fierie Alpe,
Rocks, Caves, Lakes, Fens, Bogs, Dens, and shades of death,        40
A Universe of death, which God by curse
Created evil, for evil only good,
Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds,
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,
Abominable, inutterable, and worse        45
Then Fables yet have feign’d, or fear conceiv’d,
Gorgons and Hydra’s, and Chimera’s dire.
 
Note 1. Milton, Paradise Lost, ii. 582. In line 2 from end of quotation—I think that Milton would have approved Bentley’s emendation here. B. says that as Fear is personified so Fable should be, and would read Than Fable yet hath feigned. If the passage is a reminiscence of Bruno, then the plural fables would be accounted for, since Bruno has
Quos esse magis non posse putamus
Quam vatum figmenta, Orcum, Rhadamantia regna,
Gorgona, Centaurum, Scyllam, Geriona[sic], Chimaeram.
  De innumerabilibus immenso etc. vii. 8.
 [back]
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors