Before the Gates there sat On either side a formidable shape; The one seem'd Woman to the waste, and fair, But ended foul in many a scaly fould Voluminous and vast, a Serpent arm'd With mortal sting: about her middle round A cry of Hell Hounds never ceasing bark'd With wide CERBEREAN
mouths full loud, and rung A hideous Peal: yet, when they list, would creep, If aught disturb'd thir noyse, into her woomb, And kennel there, yet there still bark'd and howl'd Within unseen.
Coleridge's "Night-mare Life-in-Death" (193), with her "free" looks, gaudy "red" lips, flaxen locks, and leprous, perhaps even syphilitic, skin (190-92), evokes Milton's portrayal of promiscuous Sin who, with her "fair" feminine countenance that fronts a "foul," "Cerberean
" womb, offers her sexual wares to her enamored sire Satan, his damned angelic crew, and her offspring Death (PL 2.650-66, 746-67).
Secrecy, sleight-of-hand, and obfuscation - the three-headed Cerberean
dog of the nuclear power industry - have guarded the portals to its inner workings since the beginning.