|Paradise Lost, Book 2: Here's the fallen angel Belial discouraging his fellow demons against entering into open warfare with Heaven, reminding them how God kicked their asses last time:|
What when we fled amain, pursu'd and strook
With Heav'ns afflicting Thunder, and besought
The Deep to shelter us? this Hell then seem'd
A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay
Chain'd on the burning Lake? that sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindl'd those grim fires
Awak'd should blow them into sevenfold rage
And plunge us in the Flames? or from above
Should intermitted vengeance Arme again
His red right hand to plague us?
The "red right hand," then, is God's. But look who's doing the characterizing: a devil, the Father of Lies.
(Nick Cave, BTW, has written two songs that use the phrase: one called, unsurprisingly, "Red Right Hand," about a shadowy, Mephistopheles-figure: it was used on The X-Files and in all three SCream movies. The other, "Song of Joy" is about a serial killer who [the narrator rather clumsily informs us] "quotes John Milton on the walls in his victim's blood / on my wall he wrote 'His red right hand' / that, I'm told, is from Paradise Lost": in the end, it turns out that the narrator of the song is, himself, the killer, and is telling his sad story to lure a prospective victim.)