Poem 234 – To Proclaim His Victory

So having said, a while he stood, expecting
Their universal shout and high applause
To fill his ear, when contrary he hears
On all sides, from innumerable tongues
A dismal universal hiss…

Milton, Paradise Lost, Book X, 504-8

To proclaim his victory he raised his arm,
And expected a great cheer as a reply,
But instead was met by hissing pain
From his demonic horde, whose shape had changed
And now was twisted to the form of serpents
Deceitful beasts, and Satan, when he sought to ask them why,
Could only crawl and hiss for a reply.

***

Dear readers,

In one of the more surreal moments, Milton writes of how, on returning to Hell, the entire demon horde was changed into serpents. Amazingly, God didn’t do this after they were expelled from Heaven, and Milton writes of their confusion very well.

The Hapless Neo-Romantic

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