Wrapped round that iron gate is Typhon fals,
Whose coils do shackle living mortal wight
So that he draggèd is from God’s fair light
And scripts himself instead to Satan’s walls.
He slumbers now, it seems, or else he stalls
To challenge entrance to this realm of plight.
Or mayhap needeth Hades no fierce knight
To restrict souls from entering his halls.
Guided by my light into this darknesse,
Hope I that sleeping serpent will not wake
When flee I hence from his lord’s cruel largesse
With her in hand, that never he could take.
My sweet love grants Mercury’s feet to me
Should Typhos chase, for chaste I ready be.
Orphos’s virtue within this poem, that aids him on his way, is chastity (see line 14).
1. Typhon: In Greek mythology, Typhon was the son of Gaia and Tartarus, and plagued the Gods with his frightening appearance and power before Zeus trapped him under Mount Aetna; he looked something like a creature made of a hundred snakes and lions, the former of which I capitalized on for this sonnet. Typhon here is also meant to physically resemble Errour from The Faerie Queene Book I and to ‘foreshadow’ Milton’s Sin at the gates of Hell from Paradise Lost.
1. fals: false, evil, cruel, etc.
13. Mercury’s feet: Mercury, messenger of the Roman gods (called Hermes by the Greeks), had winged sandals that allowed him to move super-fast and fly. He once loaned the sandals to Perseus for the hero’s quest to defeat Medusa.
14. Typhos: Typhos/Typhus is another name for Typhon.
14. chaste: chaste as in possessing chastity, but also a pun on “chased.”