Edmund Burke (17291797). On the Sublime and Beautiful. The Harvard Classics. 190914.
ALL general privations are great, because they are all terrible; Vacuity, Darkness, Solitude, and Silence. With what a fire of imagination, yet with what severity of judgment, has Virgil amassed all these circumstances, where he knows that all the images of a tremendous dignity ought to be united, at the mouth of hell! where, before he unlocks the secrets of the great deep, he seems to be seized with a religious horror, and to retire astonished at the boldness of his own designs:
Dii, quibus imperium est animarum, umbræquesilentes!
Et Chaos, et Phlegethon, loca nocte silentia late,
Sit mihi fas audita loqui; sit, numine vestro,
Pandere res alta terra et caligine mersas.
Ibant obscuri, sola sub nocte, per umbram,
Perque domos Ditis vacuas, et inania regna.
Ye subterraneous gods, whose awful sway
The gliding ghosts and silent shades obey;
O Chaos hoar! and Phlegethon profound!
Whose solemn empire stretches wide around;
Give me, ye great, tremendous powers, to tell
Of scenes and wonders in the depth of hell:
Give me your mighty secrets to display
From those black realms of darkness to the day.PITT.