30 November 2009

Beings animalculous

I have been searching for some time for this picture:

Monster Soup by William Heath (1795 - 1840)
Heath, satirizing the appalling production of London water companies in the 1820s or 30s (?), uses a line from Milton in jest:
Gorgons and Hydra’s, and Chimera’s dire.
It's from Book 2 of Paradise Lost. The original context is splendid:
...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,
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
Then Fables yet have feign’d, or fear conceiv’d,
Gorgons and Hydra’s, and Chimera’s dire.

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