- Aug 2018
bhorred 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 [ 580 ] Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. Farr off from these a slow and silent stream, Lethe the River of Oblivion roules Her watrie Labyrinth, whereof who drinks, Forthwith his former state and being forgets, [ 585 ] Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.
Milton takes the ancient Greek geographical concept of Hades and its rivers - when Hades is not at all like hell -and uses it as basis for the Christian hell (maybe in part because he and many Christian leaders placed pagans and others of virtue who lived before Christ in the Limbo between Heaven and Hell).
Wikipedia has an article on the Greek underworld Hades at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_underworld Wikipedia also has a page on Christian views of Hades. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_Hades The rivers that Milton mentions exist in the Greek view of hell but with some slight differences. For example, Styx is not "abhorred Styx the flood of deadly hate". Gods swore unbreakable oaths on the River Styx, whose waters were believed to make one invulnerable to death.