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But they with gait direct to Lacon ran.
And first of all each serpent doth enwrap
The bodies small of his two tender sons;
Whose wretched limbs they bit, and fed
Then raught they him, who had his weapon caught
To rescue them; twice winding him about,
With folded knots and circled tails, his waist:
Their scaled backs did compass twice his neck,
With reared heads aloft and stretched throats.
He with his hands strave to unloose the knots, 26
(Whose sacred fillets all-besprinkled were
With filth of gory blood, and venom rank)
And to the stars such dreadful shout he sent,
Like to the sound the roaring bull forth lows, 30
Which from the altar wounded doth astart,
101 Thou canst not dure with sorrow thus attaint." And with that word of sorrow all forfaint, She looked up, and, prostrate as she lay, With piteous sound, lo, thus she gan to say, 105
"Alas, I wretch whom thus thou seest distrained
With wasting woes, that never shall aslake,
Sorrow I am, in endless torments pained
Among the Furies in the infernal lake;
Where Pluto, god of hell, so grisly black
Doth hold his throne and Letheus deadly taste
Doth reave remembrance of each thing forepast.
"Whence come I am, the dreary destiny And luckless lot for to bemoan of those, Whom Fortune in this maze of misery,
"O Sorrow, alas, sith sorrow is thy name,
And that to thee this drere1s doth well pertain,
In vain it were to seek to cease the same:
But as a man himself with sorrow slain,
So I, alas, do comfort thee in pain,
That here in sorrow art forsunk so deep,
That at thy sight I can but sigh and weep." 140
I had no sooner spoken of a stike, 19
But that the storm so rumbled in her breast,
As Eolus could never roar the like,
And showers down rained from her eyen so fast,
That all bedreynt 20 the place, till at the last 145
Well eased they the dolour of her mind,
As rage of rain doth swage the stormy wind.
But lo, while thus amid the desert dark,
We passed on with steps and pace unmeet:
A rumbling roar, confused with howl and bark
Of dogs, shook all the ground under our feet,
And struck the din within our ears so deep
As, half distraught, unto the ground I fell, 195
Besought return, and not to visit hell.
But she, forthwith, uplifting me apace,
Removed my dread, and with a steadfast mind
Bade me come on, for here was now the place,
The place where we our travail's end should
Wherewith I arose, and to the place assigned
Astoynde27 I stalk, when straight we ap-
The dreadful place, that you will dread to hear.
An hideous hole all vast, withouten shape, Of endless depth, o'erwhelmed with ragged stone,
With ugly mouth, and grisly jaws doth gape,
And to our sight confounds itself in one.
Here entered we, and yeding2 forth, anone
An horrible loathly lake we might discern
As black as pitch, that cleped" is Averne. 210
A deadly gulf where nought but rubbish grows, With foul black swelth in thickened lumpės lies,
Which up in the air such stinking vapours throws,
That over there may fly no fowl but dies, Choked with the pestilent savours that arise. 215 Hither we came, whence forth we still did pace, In dreadful fear amid the dreadful place.