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who sways

When to the point we came,
Whereat my guide was pleased that I should see
The creature eminent in beauty once,
He from before me stepp'd and made me pause.

"Lo!” he exclaim'd, “lo Dis ; and lo the place, Where thou hast need to arm thy heart with strength."

How frozen and how faint I then became,
Ask me not, reader ! for I write it not ;
Since words would fail to tell thee of my state.
I was not dead nor living. Think thyself,
If quick conception work in thee at all,
How I did feel. That emperor,
The realm of sorrow, at mid breast from the ice
Stood forth ; and I in stature am more like
A giant, than the giants are his arms.

Mark now how great that whole must be, which suits
With such a part. If he were beautiful
As he is hideous now, and yet did dare
To scowl upon his Maker, well from him
May all our misery flow. Oh what a sight!
How passing strange it seem'd, when I did spy
Upon his head three faces : one in front
Of hue vermilion, the other two with this
Midway each shoulder join'd and at the crest;
The right 'twixt wan and yellow seem'd; the left
To look on, such as come from whence old Nile
Stoops to the lowlands. Under each shot forth
Two mighty wings, enormous as became
A bird so vast. Sails never such I saw
Outstretch'd on the wide sea. No plumes had they,
But were in texture like a bat; and these
He flapp'd i' th' air, that from him issued still
Three winds, wherewith Cocytus to its depth

Was frozen. At six eyes he wept; the tears
Adown three chins distill'd with bloody foam.
At every mouth his teeth a sinner champ'd,
Bruised as with ponderous engine ; so that three
Were in this guise tormented. But far more
Than from that gnawing, was the foremost pang’d
By the fierce rending, whence oft-times the back
Was stript of all its skin. “That upper spirit,
Who hath worst punishment," so spake my guide,
“ Is Judas, he that hath his head within
And plies the feet without. Of th' other two,
Whose heads are under, from the murky jaw
Who hangs, is Brutus : lo ! how he doth writhe
And speaks not. The other, Cassius, that appears
So large of limb. But night now re-ascends."

Seeing the portal of a

hidden way

My guide and I did enter, to return
To the fair world : and heedless of repose
We climb'd, he first, I following his steps,
Till on our view the beautiful lights of heaven
Dawn'd through a circular opening in the cave;
Thence issuing we again beheld the stars.

The Satan of Milton is not only the fallen Archangel, he is the Prince of devils, presiding at the Council of his infernal peers, defying the Almighty, and devising schemes of warfare and “adequate revenge" against his Sovereign's supreme authority The Lucifer of Dante, colossal as the foundation

stone of Inferno, is powerless, speechless, hopeless; doomed to be so for all eternity, as the archetype of the deadly, unpardonable crime of high treason against his Maker, from whom he thought to wrench the sceptre of the Universe. Bereft of his pride, his ambition, and his former power, fettered and harmless, he stands the symbol of degradation and impotent hate.

Moreover, in Dante's description of Lucifer, he tell us :

Oh, what a sight!
How passing strange it seemed, when I did spy
Upon his head three faces : one in front
Of hue vermilion, the other two with this
Midway each shoulder joined and at the crest;
The right 'twixt wan and yellow seemed; the left
To look on, such as come from whence old Nile
Stoops to the lowlands.

What a contrast ! the anger, the envy, and the despair, emblematical of the threefold personality of Lucifer; and the love of the Father, the self-sacrifice of the Son, and the grace of the Holy Ghost, One God, whom the Arch-Traitor, in his haughty insolence, had defied !


Three Poetic Hells.



HE modern traditional Hell of Milton has very

little in common with the mediæval, philosophical Inferno of Dante.

As we pointed out in the last chapter, Dante collects and classifies all manner of wrong.doing, and all manner of states of the human soul before and after a guilty deed, and then paints a grand panorama of the punishments which follow those who are guilty of these evil deeds. But the poet, being Italian, adopts as the basis of his classification, the fundamental principle of Roman jurisprudence, namely, that the punishment inflicted for wrongdoing should be proportioned, not to its effects on the individual who commits it, or to the crime per se, but to its effects on Society at large. Hence,

, in the Inferno, treason against God or Universal order, meets with the direst punishment which the poet's imagination can depict. Treachery, Fraud,

and Violence are punished more severely than Anger and Sullen Rage; and these, again, are more severely punished than Avarice, Prodigality, Gluttony, and Lust.

But Dante himself explains most fully this principle of punishment which characterises the Inferno. Before passing to the seventh Circle, the two poets rest behind a huge tomb,—the tomb of one of the Popes,-in order to become accustomed to the fetid exhalations rising from the abyss below. While here, Virgil explains the principle or law of punishment which

Dante adopts in his poem.

Upon the utmost verge of a high bank,
By craggy rocks environ'd round, we came,
Where woes beneath, more cruel yet, were stow'd.
And here, to shun the horrible excess
Of fetid exhalation upward cast
From the profound abyss, behind the lid
Of a great monument we stood retired.

“My son! within these rocks,” he thus began,

Are three close circles in gradation placed,
As these which now thou leavest. Each one is full
Of spirits accurst; but that the sight alone
Hereafter may suffice thee, listen how
And for what cause in durance they abide.

Of all malicious act abhorr'd in heaven,
The end is injury; and all such end
Either by force or fraud works other's woe.

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