Another part in Squadrons and gross Bands, On bold adventure to discover wide That dismal world, if any Clime perhaps Might yeild them easier habitation, bend Four ways thir flying March, along the Banks Of four infernal Rivers that disgorge Into the burning Lake thir baleful streams; Abhorred STYX the flood of deadly hate, Sad ACHERON of sorrow, black and deep; COCYTUS
, nam'd of lamentation loud Heard on the ruful stream; fierce PHLEGETON Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
You will find it near the place where the rivers Pyriphlegethon and Cocytus
(which is a branch of the river Styx) flow into Acheron, and you will see a rock near it, just where the two roaring rivers run into one another.
The pilgrim and his guide, Virgil, have descended through one circle of Hell after another, always going down, and are traversing the final stretch, "the frozen Lake of Cocytus
, which fills the bottom of the Pit, and holds the souls of the Traitors" (Comedy 271) when they come upon a fearful giant with monstrous bat-like wings, whose head and shoulders are sticking out of the ice-Lucifer, the Devil:
Tarabotti writes "per descriverli quai sono, bramerei esser proveduta di stil fuor d'ogni eloquenza," recalling Dante's invocation to the Muses who built the walls of Thebes at the opening of the Cantos describing Cocytus
, in which Count Ugolino is first seen with the treacherous to kindred and country:
At this moment the maiden of Cocytus
released a sudden madness on his dogs and touched their noses with a familiar scent so that they pursued the stag with a burning craving.
The Main Attraction, the Center of Circle Nine, the "melancholy hole" formed on the banks of this American Cocytus
, is a small depression in the sand, marked by a stone obelisk.
His words recall the spiritual topography of Hades, the region defined by the rivers of dread--Styx, Acheron, Cocytus
, and Phlegethon.