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Posts Tagged ‘Of Man’s first disobedience’

ON THIS DATE 

John Milton published his classic Paradise Lost 3/27/1667.  Milton, born in 1608 (12/9), was at a good mental age to produce this excellent contribution except for the fact that by now he was blind (a daughter wrote what he dictated to her from his memory).  Paradise Lost is not only a most worthy piece of English writing, it has become an enduring poem in the field of literature at large.

It is impossible to imagine a greater backdrop than he chose: Heaven, Earth, & Hell. His imagination is vast, his vocabulary stretches the modern mind.  Bible believers can “see” his word pictures yet must guard against making them too authoritarian – after all, Milton’s inspiration is only the earthly kind allowed to poets & great prose writers – he was not inspirited in the same sense as writers of Holy Writ.

Milton himself was an interesting person.  After preparing to enter the clergy (at Cambridge) he changed careers to become a poet.  He gave himself to extensive classical & modern readings (religion, science, philosophy, history, politics, & literature). He became proficient in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish,  Italian, & was familiar Old English & Dutch.  His education was “rounded out” by a 13-month tour of France & Italy in which he met several intellectuals among whom was Galileo,

Opening lines of Paradise Lost

Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, till one greater man

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,

Sing heavenly muse, that on the secret top

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,

In the beginning how the heavens and earth

Rose out of chaos: Or if Sion hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowed

Fast by the oracle of God; I thence

Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song…

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Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples th’ upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou know’st; thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast Abyss,
And mad’st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That, to the height of this great argument,
I may assert Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.

 

John Milton published this date Paradise Lost 3/27/1667.  Milton was one of the greates Christian writers of all years in the English language. 

See Milton also Blind

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