In the image of Lycidas 130 Milton conflates “th’ abhorred shears” of Atropos and St. Peter's two keys. Two-handed is ambiguous, held with two hands or composed of two portions. Engine covers both keys and shears, and perhaps also sheep-hook. The fateful shears invoke the ritual harvest of “the shearers feast” (117). “Blind Fury” similarly conflates a Fury and Fate (Atropos). The ambiguity of image and phrasing in “two-handed engine” accommodates a combination of pagan and Christian instruments of final justice, as so much of Lycidas’ thought and imagery interweaves humanistic and Christian material, especially pastoral, while building toward a new revelation of triumphant Christian truth. Structurally, the engine image concludes the second movement of Lycidas with emphasis on punishment imposed from above according to human deserts, as the first movement ends with emphasis on reward (“meed”) imposed, and as the third ends with Grace that uplifts beyond human deserts.

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