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2Is, against nature, by a
3Whose eggs a toad doth to perfection bring,
4Whence comes the
basilisk4, the serpent’s king.
5If this fierce animal doth first see you,
6Prepare, my friend, to bid this world
7But if you see him first, you are secure,
8If with this
9The visual beams which issue from his eyes
Reverberates8his poison, so he dies.
11So Perseus with his sister’s shining shield
Made proud Medusa and the Gorgons yield9.
13Sin is this curséd, killing cockatrice;
14If you discover its deceits, it dies,
15But if you don’t, nought but the splendent shield
Of faith10will make this hellish monster yield.
17Then with the Christian armor arm you,
18And all the powers of Hell shall never harm you.
19But, O, let me dispose my thoughts so well
20That I may crush this
embryon11in the shell;
21Yet if I do to sinful motions yield,
22Be Thou to me, dear God,
a sun and shield12,
23Then as enslaved to sin and death I lie,
24I’ll on the
brazen13serpent cast mine eye:
Who14conquered Death and Hell on