461 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2020
    1. None shall partake with me

      Like Aeneus, Satan is decisive and has the final decision but also assumes the responsiblility of the most difficult tasks.

    2. Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd

      Addressing the troops is heroic (Odysseus, Aeneus). "By merit rais'd" is ironic.

  2. May 2020
    1. Man had not hellish foes anow besides, That day and night for his destruction waite.

      I think this means Man has hellish foes before he was even created. Doomed from the start, so to speak.

    2. here perhaps Som advantagious act may be achiev'd By sudden onset, either with Hell fire To waste his whole Creation, or possess [ 365 ] All as our own, and drive as we were driven, The punie habitants, or if not drive, Seduce them to our Party, that thir God May prove thir foe, and with repenting hand Abolish his own works.

      Their plan is either to destroy God's creation, Man, or seduce them to their own "party," thus causing God to repent that he ever made Man.

    3. Thus repuls'd, our final hope Is flat despair; we must exasperate Th' Almighty Victor to spend all his rage, And that must end us, that must be our cure, [ 145 ] To be no more;

      Belial's argument seems to be that we should fight as a possible escape from this our new existence. Perhaps, by fighting the all-powerful God in Heaven, he will grant us salvation in non-existence.

    4. if our substance be indeed Divine, And cannot cease to be, we are at worst [ 100 ] On this side nothing; and by proof we feel Our power sufficient to disturb his Heav'n, And with perpetual inrodes to Allarme, Though inaccessible, his fatal Throne: Which if not Victory is yet Revenge

      Very common argument for those in a losing position. It amounts to "it can't get any worse.

      If indeed we are immortal, he says, then worst comes to worse and we will be as we are now in Hell. And even if the best scenario isn't a victory, it can be revenge.

    5. Turning our Tortures into horrid Arms Against the Torturer;

      When we think of the machinations of hell, we are thinking of the machinations of war.

      As General Sherman noted, "War is Hell." This of course means that, Hell is War. These tossed aside angels have become eternal warriors.

    6. now fiercer by despair:

      Interesting observation that despair makes on more ferocious.

    7. but who here Will envy whom the highest place exposes Formost to stand against the Thunderers aim Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share Of endless pain? where there is then no good [ 30 ] For which to strive, no strife can grow up there From Faction; for none sure will claim in Hell Precedence, none, whose portion is so small Of present pain, that with ambitious mind Will covet more.

      Satan makes an important argument about hierarchy. That with an throne and power comes inevitable envy and an usurper. There can be no usurper without a throne to usurp.

      This was a major theme among the ancient Greeks. The constant overthrowing of kings and gods. Here, Satan jokes that he has a safe unenvied throne, yielded with full consent. Of course, no one yielded this throne, he was tossed aside and simply acquired it.

      He argues that in a place "where there is ... no good for whiich to strive," then there will be no strife. No factions to rise up and say "we will be better strivers for the good than you can be!" In a location where the hierarchy goes from pain to increasing amounts of pain, there will be no one who wishes to strive for more pain and evil.

    8. and the fixt Laws of Heav'n

      I always find it helpful to keep in mind the dramatic shift in scientific, theologic and philosophic thinking that occurred post Newton.

      Newton, in 1687 united Heaven and Earth. For the first time in history, he proved that the laws which governed us on earth were the same as which governed the heavenly bodies. This was an enormous proposition. It either meant that our earthly, low, degrading bodies were as grand as the heavens and angels or that the heavens and angels were actually lowered to the degrading nature of Humans.

      Pre-Newton you can read poetry by John Donne and see the view that there is a distinct difference between the heavenly and angelic realm and the human realm.

      Post Newton you can read poetry starting with Alexander Pope and you will notice a shift in the worldview that Newton has brought into the world.

      As 21st century readers, it may help to keep this fact in mind. In Milton, with the fix't Laws of heaven, he is likely going to imply a fundamentally different set of laws than on earth. Heaven, to Milton and his readers, was not merely a metaphorical location with pearly gates and clouds. It was quite literally the "stuff" that you see above your heads (primarily at night).

    9. And trust themselves to fear no second fate:

      They won't fail again.

    10. From this descent Celestial vertues rising, will appear [ 15 ] More glorious and more dread then from no fall,

      We are stronger BECAUSE we fell. This is his argument as to why they should try again.

    11. I give not Heav'n for lost.

      I sometimes get lost in terms of voice. Who exactly is talking. I can tell now that Satan is talking (mostly because of the note for "vertues.")

      However, I saw no transition from what I assume was narrative above and this monologue.

      This seems to be a textual problem. In the Signet Classic book of Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained edited by Ricks, there are quotations here before "powers and dominions."

      It may make it easier to read if those were re-incorporated.

    12. insatiate to pursue Vain Warr with Heav'n, and by success untaught His proud imaginations thus displaid

      The note for "success" indicates the irony here. Of course, Satan is initiating another war with heaven, one that will be ultimately "in vain." No war with God could succeed. But it seems Satan has been "untaught." He has learned the lesson, and then the lesson has been "unlearned." I am not sure what has untaught him. I suppose, as the text indicates, it is his "proud imaginations" which untaught him.

      There seems something psychologically true in that statement. We know today that one definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yet, how many of us fall for that trap? We try to succeed in business with the same basic value-structures and methods that we tried the last time, when we failed.

      There are many cliches in business about failing your way to success, but this has been shown to be a bias. We only hear the stories of those who have succeeded. Many people fail their way to more failure. Perhaps, that is what is occurring here with Satan. "His proud imaginations" gives him visions of success which will be in vain. Yet he will continue.

      There is a kind of admirable quality in that. Pursuing despite the inevitability of failure. If you believe you are correct, this should be the only way to proceed. It is the courage to act on ones convictions.

      I think of the play Cyrano de Bergerac, where the lead character will fail in all important realms of his life: productive, love and creativity. Nonetheless, to the very end he will not surrender his convictions.

    1. In utter darkness, and thir portion setAs far remov'd from God and light of Heav'nAs from the Center thrice to th' utmost Pole.

      Like Origen's understanding of the fall. Platonic/Neoplatonic again.

    2. But his doom Reserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thought Both of lost happiness and lasting pain [ 55 ]

      Again, that concept of evil as the privation of good. What dwells inside Satan is 'lost happiness', that is the emptiness, the darkness that births evil.

    3. way

      I found this whole section to be very difficult to follow. It felt a lot like the list of ships in Homer. There were so many references I was overloaded and retained very little, despite attempting to re-read.

    4. Taking on the supernatural powers to achieve end.

    5. Platonic/ Neoplatonic imagery?

    6. Rose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill [ 10 ]

      Creation out of chaos, differing from creatio ex nihilo - creation out of nothing. Chaos - primordial matter that existed before the good that is heaven and earth. Links well with concepts of original sin, and existence of evil as the absence of good. Absence of heaven and earth = chaos.

    7. the broad circumferenceHung on his shoulders like the Moon, whose OrbThrough Optic Glass the Tuscan Artist viewsAt Ev'ning from the top of Fesole,Or in Valdarno, to descry new Lands, [ 290 ]Rivers or Mountains in her spotty Globe.

      This epic simile seems almost to be categorically different then Homeric similes. it is a good example of the influence of science on literature.

  3. Apr 2020
    1. Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n

      From the ghost of Achilles to Odysseus in The Odyssey: “I’d rather slave on earth for another man-some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive-than rule down here over the breathless dead”

      Commonly translated: "I'd rather be a slave on earth than a king in hell."

      Milton is flipping this on its head, as he seems to be flipping much of epic on its head.

    2. and in it selfCan make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.

      I believe this to be an idea taken very seriously by the early 19th century Romantics in poetry and literature.

    3. The mind is its own place, and in it selfCan make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.

      This brings to mind the 1607 English poem, "My Mind to me a Kingdom Is" by Sir Edward Dyer: https://www.bartleby.com/40/51.html

      I've always thought a kingdom was a great analogy for mind. But the idea of a place is similar, if less concrete (since Place is less particular than Kingdom).

    4. forlorn and wilde,

      Parallel with line 60, spoken by Milton's narrator: "he views / The dismal Situation waste and wilde,"

      Here Satan does not call the place where he has been thrown as a "waste" but as "forlorn."

      An interesting etymology is that from the 1570s Forlorn has had the connotation of a "faint hope," in its association with the phrase "forlorn hope." The phrase meaning, essentially, "suicide mission," which does have a wisp of hope. Even if we die, our mission will succeed. Or, rather, even if we fail, our mission will succeed.

      I believe this is done intentionally by Milton. Above the narrator describing Satan speaks of "waste and wilde." Below Satan speaking of himself says "forlorn and wilde." Which has a stronger connotation of success and hope.

    5. but of this be sure,To do ought good never will be our task,But ever to do ill our sole delight, [ 160 ]As being the contrary to his high willWhom we resist.

      Despite having shown our weakness (from the previous three lines) we fallen ones will define ourselves in contrast to the will of the king of heaven.

      Since this is the creation story, there can only be chaos and order. Only two essences at this point. So Satan, having decided on an eternal battle against, has but one alternative. His alternative is "to do ill." That is, to cause sickness (this can be interpreted as more than bodily sickness, but soul sickness too.)

    6. Fall'n Cherube, to be weak is miserableDoing or Suffering:

      I'm reminded of the old paradox from Socrates: "Is it worse to do evil or to have evil done to you?"

      Rather than evil he says it is weakness that is miserable, whether through your own actions or from outside causes.

    7. A Dungeon horrible, on all sides roundAs one great Furnace flam'd, yet from those flamesNo light, but rather darkness visibleServ'd onely to discover sights of woe,Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace [ 65 ]And rest can never dwell, hope never comesThat comes to all; but torture without endStill urges, and a fiery Deluge, fedWith ever-burning Sulphur unconsum'd:Such place Eternal Justice had prepar'd [ 70 ]For those rebellious, here thir Prison ordain'dIn utter darkness, and thir portion setAs far remov'd from God and light of Heav'nAs from the Center thrice to th' utmost Pole.

      Is this where my view of Hell comes from?

    8. waste and wilde,

      I find this a fascinating choice by Milton. Why Waste AND wilde?

      A waste in reference to place is a location desolate and uncultivated https://www.etymonline.com/word/waste

      Moreover, it has many connotations. Empty and useless being among them.

      Wild too means uncultivated (by man).

      If we take The Garden of Eden to be a perfectly cultivated land provided by God, This "infernal Serpent"is now viewing his "dismal situation" both the region he now occupies and the state of his existence are a "waste and wide."

    9. for now the thought Both of lost happiness and lasting pain [ 55 ] Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes That witness'd huge affliction and dismay Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:

      This makes me wonder about Christian conceptions of evil. From what I understand, evil is just, evil. It doesn't think or "become" evil. it just is evil. I like how Milton is establishing evil as something which has a cause.

    10. baleful

      Definition of Baleful from Oxford Dictionary online: https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/us/definition/english/baleful

      Sense 1: of the way somebody looks at somebody/something) threatening to do something evil or to hurt somebody

      Origin: Old English bealufull (from archaic bale ‘evil as a destructive force’ + -ful).

    11. What in me is dark Illumin, what is low raise and support;

      This seems to be the essence of literature and knowledge. Literature, the capturing of mankind's greatest thoughts and immortalizing it on the page, can illuminate what is dark within us and elevate us through emulation.

      It makes me think of the lines in Book V of The Prelude by Wordsworth. In that poem, Wordsworth tells a tale of a man troubled with "disquietude." while reading Don Quixote. Upon putting the book down he has a very odd dream.

      In the dream he analogizes Scientific Truth in the form of a stone and Literary Truth in the form of a sea shell. Places the shell to his ear and he hears "that instant in an unknown tongue, / Which yet I understood, articulate sounds, / A loud prophetic blast of harmony."

      Wordsworth's point in this section may be that the call to illuminate the dark within me and raise the low within me, may be a critical value of reading literature.

      Milton is firmly aware of his tradition in a literary form rather than a oral form.

    12. Center (for Heaven and Earth may be suppos'd as yet not made, certainly not yet accurst) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest call'd Chaos:

      Like in Homer and Virgil, Milton is positioning his work as a creation story. We can expect many myths and creation stories as we read Paradise Lost.

    13. THE ARGUMENT

      Neither Homer nor Virgil thought of using a formal reasoning in their art. I do not know when this trend began, but as Milton is writing toward the end of what we think of as The Renaissance and the beginning of The Age of Reason, this makes sense.

      Still, it is striking to me that he is choosing to explain in reasoning terms his story. As far as I know, previous epic writers have not done that.

      This could also speak to the very different nature of the eras in which epics have been written. Homer, for instance, is writing out of an oral tradition. Milton expects his work to be read rather than recited.

  4. Mar 2020
    1. To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n

      Satan is making the best of his situation, even when he knows that it is rather out of his control. He wants to create an illusion of how he is able to control his own life and be the ruler of his own world away from God.

    2. Of subterranean wind transports a HillTorn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd sideOf thundring Ætna, whose combustibleAnd fewel'd entrals thence conceiving Fire,Sublim'd with Mineral fury, aid the Winds, [ 235 ]And leave a singed bottom all involv'dWith stench and smoak: Such resting found the soleOf unblest feet.  Him followed his next Mate,Both glorying to have scap't the Stygian floodAs Gods, and by thir own recover'd strength, [ 240 ]Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

      While not taking direct images and ideas from Dante, Milton clearly wants to make know the connection between the god-demons within Inferno, and how Milton himself is using images of Hell-as-Hades.

    3. high permission of all-ruling HeavenLeft him at large to his own dark designs

      Omni-whatever God has the intention of Satan getting up to antics, since it eventually leads to one purpose. Satan really thinks he's bad, but he's aligning the world in such a way to further necessary events.

    4. Our labour must be to pervert that end,And out of good still to find means of evil

      This indicates that Satan knows more than just thinking he is doing good, when in actuality it is evil. He plainly knows that there is an intended place for evil and that it is meant to disrupt God any way that he can think. This is some cartoon villain hi-jinx, honestly.

    5. Or do him mightier service as his thrallsBy right of Warr, what e're his business be [ 150 ]Here in the heart of Hell to work in Fire,Or do his Errands in the gloomy Deep

      God has defeated them, and they are still within his service and realm, taking on the role of evil beings to serve a purpose in Hell. They are still trapped within the interworkings of God's Plan.

    6. To whom th' Arch-Enemy,And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan

      There is a name change (Lucifer to Satan), but is there any evidence in how the word "seraph" can mean both angel and snake? And how important might The Book of Job be to this narrative, as God claims to have been the originator of many monsters and evils to test Job.

    7. torture without end

      Satan's torture? Or torture of all the rebel angels?

    8. But his doom Reserv'd him to more wrath

      God sending Lucifer to Hell made worse the anger and resentment he had, leading to the events meant to be strikes at God.

    9. That Shepherd

      Referring to Moses and his assent to receive the Ten Commandments from God. This is post-Adam and Eve, making a possible indication of the ignorance of Adam and Eve.

    10. The Mother of Mankind,

      Feature of an epic. Eve has the importance of being the Mother of Mankind.

    1. HIgh on a Throne of Royal State, which far Outshon the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand Showrs on her Kings Barbaric Pearl and Gold, Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd [ 5 ] To that bad eminence; and from despair Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue Vain Warr with Heav'n, and by success untaught His proud imaginations thus displaid. [ 10 ]

      Satan is presented as a classical epic hero.

  5. Aug 2019
    1. He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flewMillions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighsOf mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze [ 665 ]Far round illumin'd hell: highly they rag'dAgainst the Highest, and fierce with grasped armsClash'd on thir sounding Shields the din of war,Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heav'n

      Indication of response of the mighty army's cries for the Satan speech.

    2. Thammuz came next behind,Whose annual wound in Lebanon allur'dThe Syrian Damsels to lament his fateIn amorous dittyes all a Summers day,While smooth Adonis from his native Rock

      Thammuz is the other Greek god whom the bleeds his own blood in the river which syrian women laments

  6. Mar 2019
    1. impious

      Impious: to exhibit no respect towards of religion or God

      https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/impious

    2. Creator

      Milton consistently conveys the great power of God through his manipulation of the aesthetic device of repetition. Through his reinforcement of God as an Ultimate Deity, the Creator (as described here), he distinguishes the significant imbalance of power between the Lord and every other being/force.

  7. Dec 2018
    1. And thy faire Eve; Heav'n is for thee too high To know what passes there; be lowlie wise: Think onely what concernes thee and thy being; Dream not of other Worlds, what Creatures there

      It’s is very interesting how Milton’s Raphael tells Eve not to dream of other worlds, only to think of her and Adam. While on the other hand he informs Adam of everything he is curious about. This emphasizes Adam’s superiority once again.

    2. THE Angel ended, and in Adams Eare So Charming left his voice, that he a while Thought him still speaking, still stood fixt to hear; Then as new wak't thus gratefully repli'd. What thanks sufficient, or what recompence [ 5 ] Equal have I to render thee, Divine Hystorian, who thus largely hast allayd The thirst I had of knowledge, and voutsaf't

      I’m the original story we don’t hear much or get the sense that Adam is curious about his creation and how the world was formed. I think Milton did a great job explaining Adams thirst for knowledge giving us new insight.

    1. Let ther be Light, said God, and forthwith Light

      Here Milton references the beginning of creation in Genesis, with the same words used by God when forming the world.

    2. r staid, but on the Wings of Cherubim Uplifted, in Paternal Glorie rode Farr into Chaos, and the World unborn; [ 220 ] For Chaos heard his voice: him all his Traine Follow'd in bright procession to behold Creation, and the wonders of his might. Then staid the fervid Wheeles, and in his hand

      I find it quite interesting about Milton’s idea of chaos. On how he believes it is the median part between heaven and hell. It’s something that’s never been heard before, it gives insight onto Milton’s view of Heaven and hell.

    3. Mean while the Son On his great Expedition now appeer'd, Girt with Omnipotence, with Radiance crown'd Of Majestie Divine, Sapience and Love

      Milton also includes that the Som drove the fallen angels out of heaven which has never really been heard before in the original story.

    4. Say Goddess, what ensu'd when Raphael, [ 40 ] The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarn'd Adam by dire example to beware Apostasie, by what befell in Heaven To those Apostates, least the like befall In Paradise to Adam or his Race,

      I really like how Milton emphasizes on Raphael being such a prominent character in his poem that he is even sent by God to warn Adam about Satan and Adam’s potential fall. This is very contrary to the original story in the Bible however it gives insight into why the fall could have been so terrible for the human race because Adam was warned of this very potential fall.

    1. Sword of Michael smote,

      I find it very interesting how Milton places emphasis on Michael’s sword and it’s power. Something not thoroughly described in the original story.

    2. High in the midst exalted as a God Th' Apostate in his Sun-bright Chariot sate [ 100 ] Idol of Majesty Divine, enclos'd

      I find it very interesting how Milton describes him as an apostate with “Majesty”, and “Glorious Divine”, seared on a chariot during the war. This is not really mentioned in the Bible and Satan being portrayed this way is a technique I think Milton used very well to show, a non conventional form of Satan.

    3. Coverd with thick embatteld Squadrons bright, Chariots and flaming Armes, and fierie Steeds Reflecting blaze on blaze, first met his view: Warr he perceav'd, warr in procinct, and found Already known what he for news had thought [ 20 ] To have reported: gladly then he mixt Among those friendly Powers who him receav'd With joy and acclamations loud, that one That of so many Myriads fall'n, yet one Returnd not lost: On to the sacred hill [ 25 ] They led him high applauded, and present Before the seat supream; from whence a voice From midst a Golden Cloud thus milde was hea

      Milton goes into much more detail about the war in heaven to explain to the reader the battle fought and to help us understand that Raphael is trying his best to make sure Adam understands the entire “ history “ of heaven and his role.

    4. Abdiel

      Abdiel is like the fictional anti-Satan

    1. and to thy Husbands will [ 195 ] Thine shall submit, hee over thee shall rule.

      This is not a new rule, already in Eden Eve was ruled by Adam.

    1. Haile Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful Womb Shall fill the World more numerous with thy Sons

      It feels weird that Raphael is sent here to prevent Adam from falling, yet already seems to know that Eve will live outside of paradise and have many babies.

    2. Affects me equally;

      Eve’s dream affects Adam equally, emphasizing on the fact that though they are different they are equally different and dependent on one another.

    3. Best Image of my self and dearer half, [

      An interesting thing about Milton’s Adam and Eve, is that though Adam is superior to her, the words he uses to describe her, are words that show he adores her, and that she is the best image of himself, just as Jesus is to the father. I like how Milton’s compares and draws the two relationships together by how one being sees the other.

    4. O Sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, My Glorie, my Perfection

      I think another interesting thing about Adam and Eve’s relationship here is that she refers to him as her “Perfection”. This implies that she is incomplete without him, and she is very respectful of his superiority.

    1. Gabriel, thou hadst in Heav'n th' esteem of wise, And such I held thee; but this question askt Puts me in doubt.

      Burrrrrn :D

    2. Not equal, as thir sex not equal seemd; For contemplation hee and valour formd, For softness shee and sweet attractive Grace, Hee for God only, shee for God in him:

      I wonder if Satan seduced Eve and not Adam because he felt similarly inferior to Good as Eve was to Adam?

    3. Yet happie pair; enjoy, till I return, Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed. [ 535 ]

      Satan is implying that Adam and Eve should enjoy the Garden while they have it, because with his plan everything they in the garden that they are enjoying right now is going to be taken away when he returns.

    4. Mother of human Race: what could I doe, [ 475 ] But follow strait, invisibly thus led? Till I espi'd thee, fair indeed and tall, Under a Platan, yet methought less faire, Less winning soft, less amiablie milde, Then that smooth watry image; back I turnd, [ 480 ] Thou following cryd'st aloud, Return faire Eve, Whom fli'st thou? whom thou fli'st, of him thou art, His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent Out of my side to thee, neerest my heart Substantial Life, to have thee by my side [ 485 ] Henceforth an individual solace dear; Part of my Soul I seek thee, and thee claim My other half: with that thy gentle hand Seisd mine, I yielded, and from that time see How beauty is excelld by manly grace [

      I believe another thing that surprises me about Adam and Eve in Milton’s book is because he emphasizes so much on Eve being submissive and how Adam is in a sense “superior” to her because he’s closer to God. However he shows that Adam doesn’t see her that way he sees her as glorious and far more superior to him, and he respects her equally to him.

    5. That day I oft remember, when from sleep I first awak't, and found my self repos'd [ 450 ] Under a shade of flours, much wondring where And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.

      I believe this aspect of Eve surprises me the fact that we see that Eve talks about how she was formed. We see a new perspective on which she even recalls how she was made, implying that it is something she strongly remembers. Thsi is a new perspective because I personally haven’t heard of Eve recalling how she was made from Adam. I believe it gives more insight into Eve as a character of the book.

    6. His fair large Front and Eye sublime declar'd [ 300 ] Absolute rule; and Hyacinthin Locks Round from his parted forelock manly hung Clustring, but not beneath his shoulders broad: Shee as a vail down to the slender waste Her unadorned golden tresses wore [ 305 ] Disheveld, but in wanton ringlets wav'd As the Vine curles her tendrils, which impli'd Subjection,

      You can tell the contrast between Adam and Eve in the way Milton describes their physical appearance. Through Milton’s eyes Adam is broad has long locks, and appears a bit firm. However Eve is fair, has a vail and through her long hair, she appears to be submissive.

    7. The image of thir glorious Maker shon, Truth, wisdome, Sanctitude severe and pure,

      Milton then reveals that the reason this Garden is so beautiful is because the image of God shows through it. It is as pure, glorious, and majestic as it’s maker.

    8. Southward through Eden went a River large, Nor chang'd his course, but through the shaggie hill Pass'd underneath ingulft, for God had thrown [ 225 ] That Mountain as his Garden mould high rais'd Upon the rapid current, which through veins Of porous Earth with kindly thirst up drawn, Rose a fresh Fountain, and with many a rill Waterd the Garden; thence united fell [ 230 ] Down the steep glade, and met the neather Flood, Which from his darksom passage now appeers, And now divided into four main Streams, Runs divers, wandring many a famous Realme And Country whereof here needs no account, [ 235 ] But rather to tell how, if Art could tell, How from that Saphire Fount the crisped Brooks, Rowling on Orient Pearl and sands of Gold, With mazie error under pendant shades Ran Nectar, visiting each plant, and fed [ 240 ] Flours worthy of Paradise which not nice Art In Beds and curious Knots, but Nature boon Powrd forth profuse on Hill and Dale and Plaine, Both where the morning Sun first warmly smote The open field, and where the unpierc't shade [ 245 ] Imbround the noontide Bowrs: Thus was this place, A happy rural seat of various view; Groves whose rich Trees wept odorous Gumms and Balme, Others whose fruit burnisht with Golden Rinde Hung amiable, Hesperian Fables true, [ 250 ] If true, here only, and of delicious taste: Betwixt them Lawns, or level Downs, and Flocks Grasing the tender herb, were interpos'd, Or palmie hilloc, or the flourie lap Of som irriguous Valley spred her store, [ 255 ] Flours of all hue, and without Thorn the Rose: Another side, umbrageous Grots and Caves Of coole recess, o're which the mantling vine Layes forth her purple Grape, and gently creeps Luxuriant; mean while murmuring waters fall [ 260 ] Down the slope hills, disperst, or in a Lake, That to the fringed Bank with Myrtle crownd, Her chrystal mirror holds, unite thir streams. The Birds thir quire apply; aires, vernal aires, Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune [ 265 ] The trembling leaves, while Universal Pan

      I believe it’s truly remarkable how Milton goes into great detail about the garden. From the trees, to the birds, and the mountains, you can really tell Milton wanted to paint a great picture of this garden. He wanted the readers to know and comprehend how beautiful this amazing garden was.

    1. Some I have chosen of peculiar grace Elect above the rest; so is my will:

      This sounds incredibly cruel.

    2. The first sort by thir own suggestion fell, Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: Man falls deceiv'd [ 130 ] By the other first: Man therefore shall find grace, The other none: in Mercy and Justice both,

      This line also shows how God fulfilled my expectations because he shows that, this is not the end for his beloved mankind. He will grant them grace and mercy die to the fact that they did not fall out of their own volition. The fallen angels, however, will be granted no mercy because they fell on their own will.

    3. Thir freedom, they themselves ordain'd thir fall.

      This also backs the fact that God is a just God, because just as he gave man free will to make choices, certain choices man makes can lead to his fall, which it ultimately did. So in all truth we ordain our failures or success based on our choices.

    4. Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. Not free, what proof could they have givn sincere Of true allegiance, constant Faith or Love, Where onely what they needs must do, appeard, [ 105 ] Not what they would? what praise could they receive? What pleasure I from such obedience paid,

      Here God also fuffils my expectations because it shows that when creating man, he intended to create them with free will. This sense of free will was to show that man would have had sincere, true allegiance to god, not one that was bought or insincere, hence why man can make his own choices in life.

    5. And Man there plac't, with purpose to assay [ 90 ] If him by force he can destroy, or worse, By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert For man will heark'n to his glozing lyes, And easily transgress the sole Command, Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fall, [ 95 ] Hee and his faithless Progenie: whose fault? Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of mee All he could have; I made him just and right, Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.

      In this part of the passage I believe God does fuffil my expectations of him, because I believe is characteristics are rational and very fair. When God mentions that it is Adam’s fault he has fallen, I don’t necessarily believe that is an attempt to portray, a scenario of “victim blame” , I believe God was very right in the sense that he told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree, and they did so. By them doing so it lead to the fall of man, which all goes back to it being mans fault, when he was tempted my the serpent and disobeyed God.

    1. For Spirits when they pleaseCan either Sex assume, or both; so softAnd uncompounded is thir Essence pure, [ 425 ]Not ti'd or manacl'd with joynt or limb,Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,Like cumbrous flesh; but in what shape they chooseDilated or condens't, bright or obscure,Can execute thir aerie purposes, [ 430 ]

      This reminds me of Silmarillion by Tolkien, where beings similar to angels also have no predetermined gender.

    2. 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 [ 20 ] Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss And mad'st it pregnant: What in me is dark Illumin, what is low raise and support

      This part parallesls the beginning of Genesis:

      2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

      3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

      4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

    3. as when men wont to watchOn duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.Nor did they not perceave the evil plight [ 335 ]

      Being asleep on guard, not the most proactive situation, not one of control, as a guard rarely guards their own property, but the property of another.

    4. Confounded though immortal

      They seem to be forever lost and confused.

    1. Then shining Heav'nly fair, a Goddess arm'd Out of thy head I sprung; amazement seis'd All th' Host of Heav'n back they recoild affraid At first, and call'd me Sin, and for a Sign

      Maybe Milton is equating sin with free thinking.

    2. Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd [ 5 ] To that bad eminence; and from despair Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue Vain Warr with Heav'n, and by success untaught His proud imaginations thus displaid. [ 10 ]

      I’m this passage specifically we see that Satan exhibits behavior that could be deemed, “ridiculous”. He Sits “ by “his merit rais’d” and aspires to pursue success in his war quietly heaven. This could be deemed ridiculous regarding to the fact that Satan is exalted by his ironic merit, which merits punishment rather than glory, contrasting to the Messiah’s merits. This could be also deemed ridiculous because he has remained unttauhht by his banishment to hell and still urges to wage this war against heaven.

    3. Of Thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend With awful reverence prone; and as a God Extoll him equal to the highest in Heav'n:

      There is a comparison between satan and God because, satan is also surprisingly revered by his demons, however with what Milton describes as an “awful reverence”.

    4. Deliverance for us all: this enterprize [ 465 ] None shall partake with me.

      Here Satan exhibits signs of an epic hero by offering to deliver the demons from their current life in hell.

    5. exasperate

      To exasperate means to “intensely infuriate”. By this we understand that Belial’s plan is to exasperate God to his ultimate limit of rage so that he takes it “out on the demons”, and in turn they “perish”and are put out of their misery instead of waging a war which he believes they are going to lose.

    6. As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd [ 120 ] Main reason to persuade immediate Warr, Did not disswade me most, and seem to cast Ominous conjecture on the whole success: When he who most excels in fact of Arms, In what he counsels and in what excels [ 125 ] Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair And utter dissolution, as the scope Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. First, what Revenge? the Towrs of Heav'n are fill'd With Armed watch, that render all access [ 130 ] Impregnable; oft on the bordering Deep Encamp thir Legions, or with obscure wing Scout farr and wide into the Realm of night, Scorning surprize. Or could we break our way By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise [ 135 ] With blackest Insurrection, to confound Heav'ns purest Light, yet our great Enemy All incorruptible would on his Throne Sit unpolluted, and th' Ethereal mould Incapable of stain would soon expel [ 140 ] Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire Victorious.

      Here we see the contrast between Belial and Moloc. Moloc strongly believes that the war should take place in order to seek revenge. He believes that after all they have nothing to lose and even if they do not wage this war, it will at least be a sign of revenge taken. Belial however believes that this war shouldn’t be waged, and that it could be quit impossible as he believes the “demons” do not have power to win a war against such a huge, miraculous, and powerful being such as God

    7. Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heav'n, For since no deep within her gulf can hold Immortal vigor, though opprest and fall'n,

      This line of Book Two,May seem ridiculous regarding the fact that though Satan and his followers ( demons), are cast into hell, and are “dammned” they are still immortal and are still deities of heaven.

  8. Nov 2018
    1. Might hap to move new broiles

      ??

    2. Before the Gates there sat On either side a formidable shape;

      Hell is a truly hellish place. This description is nightmare inducing

    3. The Stygian Counsel thus dissolv'd; and forth In order came the grand infernal Peers:

      again referencing parliament

    4. Thus saying rose The Monarch, and prevented all reply, Prudent, least from his resolution rais'd Others among the chief might offer now (Certain to be refus'd) what erst they fear'd; [ 470 ] And so refus'd might in opinion stand His Rivals, winning cheap the high repute Which he through hazard huge must earn.

      Love this - Satan is a very astute politician

    5. palpable obscure

      To go along w "darkness visible"

    6. Synod of Gods,

      synod - an assembly of clergy

    7. for so the popular vote

      There are several references here to parliamentary procedure

    8. Which when Beelzebub perceiv'd, then whom, Satan except, none higher sat, with grave [ 300 ] Aspect he rose,

      Beelzebub: Silly to think we would be allowed to build an empire here - let's find Earth

    9. and after him thus Mammon spake.

      Mammon: Open war won't be successful - let's build a place here with our gems and gold ( this seems popular - demons applaud)

    10. On th' other side up rose Belial

      Belial: revenge is no use - we should be model prisoners and hope for minimum security

    11. My sentence is for open Warr

      Moloch: Open war - things can't be worse so why not? At least we'll get revenge

    12. More glorious and more dread then from no fall, And trust themselves to fear no second fate

      It seems a bit silly to think the second go round would be better - against an omnipotent foe!

    1. So thick the aerie crowd [ 775 ]Swarm'd and were straitn'd; till the Signal giv'n.Behold a wonder! they but now who seemdIn bigness to surpass Earths Giant SonsNow less then smallest Dwarfs, in narrow roomThrong numberless, like that Pigmean Race

      Not only time but space is distorted

    2. Expos'd a Matron to avoid worse rape.

      Well ok then. Gah. How do believers justify this?

    3. drove them thence to Hell

      Still worried about the timeline here. All the old Gods are represented here as demons, yet Man has yet to appear

    4. Moloch

      Beelzebub, Moloch, Chemos (Peor), Baal, Astarte, Thammuz, Dagon, Rimmon, Osiris, Isis, Orus, Belial and all the greek Gods...

    5. Say, Muse, thir Names then known, who first, who last

      Lists are a common occurrence in epics - but whew the similes in this one!

    6. And justifie the wayes of God to men.

      Is the poet telling us this is the purpose of his poem?

    7. by thir own recover'd strength, [ 240 ]Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

      Yet first they had to be freed from their chains. see line 212 "high permission of all-ruling Heaven"

    8. So stretcht out huge in length the Arch-fiend layChain'd on the burning Lake, nor ever thence [ 210 ]Had ris'n or heav'd his head, but that the willAnd high permission of all-ruling HeavenLeft him at large to his own dark designs,

      Here Satan is freed to create mischief - why?

    9. Who from the terrour of this Arm so lateDoubted his Empire,

      The holy spirit was afraid of Satan's power, and doubted he could keep his empire? When does the idea of God's omnipotence arise?

    10. If thou beest he; But O how fall'n! how chang'd

      Lucifer, now and evermore Satan, begins to speak

    11. As from the Center thrice to th' utmost Pole.

      celestial pole - another astronomy reference

    12. Who durst defie th' Omnipotent to Arms

      who dared to defy God

    13. Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile Stird up with Envy and Revenge, deceiv'd [ 35 ] The Mother of Mankind,

      Deceived after the fall...

    14. Thou from the first Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread

      Holy spirit? But ...wings outspread - Archangel?

    15. That with no middle flight intends to soar Above th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues [ 15 ] Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime

      Things unattempted - more epic reference here. Noble deeds by a noble man, written by a nobel (but not humble!) poet

    16. Sing Heav'nly Muse

      Epic reference - see Iliad, Odyssey

    17. (for Heaven and Earth may be suppos'd as yet not made

      Driven out of Heaven, yet Heaven " ...may be supposed as yet not made" I'm having a little issue already with the timeline. ( very biblical, since God said "let there be light" before the the formation of the stars)

    18. And thence in Heav'n call'd Satan, with bold wordsBreaking the horrid silence thus began.

      This is an example of Satan's heroic characteristics. He is rallying a group for a common casue.

  9. Oct 2018
    1. soar
    2. Heav'ns and Earth

      the two poles of creation

    3. To these Satan directs his Speech, comforts them

      Beginnings of Satan as epic hero rallying "troops" after loss

    4. BOOK 1

      Organized into books paralleling structure of bible

    5. I thence Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song, That with no middle flight intends to soar Above th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues [ 15 ] Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.

      perhaps establishes the poet as the hero? "things unattempted yet" is arrogant & ambitious

    6. Mov'd our Grand Parents in that happy State, Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off [ 30 ]

      A foreshadow of the Adam and Eve story.

    7. Bullion

      Gold or silver in a bunch.

    8. Phalanx

      Here we see that Milton uses Greek heroic army terms to describe satan's army giving us the notion that satan is this hero of the epic, and is being packed up by his "heroic perfect phalanx", which is a body of troops moving in Unison. He also uses many other heroic adjectives to describe the army.

    9. the unconquerable Will

      This reminds me of the poem Invictus.

      Out of the night that covers me, Black as the pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul.

      I wonder if William Ernest Henley was inspired by Milton.

    10. wanton

      A deliberate and unprovoked action.

    11. Vale.

      A valley

    12. O Prince, O Chief of many Throned Powers,That led th' imbattelld Seraphim to WarrUnder thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds [ 130 ]Fearless, endanger'd Heav'ns perpetual King;And put to proof his high Supremacy,

      With Satan being describes as a "Prince" and "Chief" who lead great battles, it starts to fill the readers mind with thoughts about Satan being perceived as the hero in this epic, since Miton hasn't specifically narrowed down on a specific hero...yet.

    13. eternal Warr

      The "Eternal Warr" being referred to here is the battle between good, and evil, heaven and hell. This shows some characteristics of an epic because it brings the mention of a war. Which is in a sense an attribute associated with heroism.

    14. ignominy

      Public shame or disgrace

    1. To whom our general Ancestor repli'd

      This is the first thing that I find slightly surprising. Adam/Milton declares marriage is meant for 'fit conversation' but all the while implies that Eve is a simpleton and uneducated. It seems instead as if Adam/Milton wants a wife to be inferior in intelligence to the husband to make him feel proud of himself to know so much and be able to lecture her.

    2. '

      And he called this woman Pandora, because all the gods who abide in Olympus gave her as a gift, a pain for grain eating man. (works and days, verse 80). Mind that the gifts are not all good: and he ordered Hermes to put inside her an intent that is doglike and a temperament that is stealthy. .. and within her breast the messenger and argos killer fashioned falsehoods, crafty words, and a stelthy disposition.

      Pandora is created by Zeus (through Hepaistos) to punish mankind for deceiving him.<br> The act of deceiving/outsmarting can be seen as an attempt of being equal to the gods. An act of defiance.

    3. But follow strait, invisibly thus led?

      Eve needs guidance, God's voice, to become self aware.<br> Eve is physical (rib / flesh) and mentally dependent on Adam (my guide and head). When that balance is disturbed: when instead of Adam Eve is providing guidance, the paradise is lost. Eve is like Até, the Greek goddess of mischief, delusion, ruin, and folly.

    4. Had not a voice thus warnd me, What thou seest, What there thou seest fair Creature is thy self,

      Eve needs guidance, Adam's voice, to become self aware, self conscience. The question "what I was" is answered. Eve is physical and mentally dependent on Adam. When that balance is disturbed: when Eve is providing guidance advising to eat the apple, the paradise is lost.

    5. ease would recant Vows made in pain

      Even at his lowest, Satan is extremely self-perceptive.

    6. To wreck on innocent frail man his loss

      My pain is your pain. Man is the scapegoat of Satan.

    1. the tenth on bended knee

      Satan is made to bend the knee, an act of submission to God. Although not voluntarily.

    1. So cheard he his fair Spouse, and she was cheard, But silently a gentle tear let fall

      The dream is the announcement of the first disobedience of man. Adam shows compassion and emphasizes her innocence and incapability to sin. "In thee can harbour none". During the real act, God shows the opposite. Knowledge ends the dream they were living.

    1. They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow, Through Eden took thir solitarie way.

      A rather beautiful ending which leaves hope for better, given the mercy of God.

      I was rather sad to see Satan and his kin fade from the scene - things were always rather jolly when they were about! But of course they lie in Adam and Eve's future.

    2. Upon thir Tongues a various Spirit to rase Quite out thir Native Language, and instead To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:

      God did well here; the many languages we have is a part of the joy it is to be human. Of course babble here is about confusion.

    1. till fire purge all things

      The day of judgement follows the flood.

    2. Where luxurie late reign'd, Sea-monsters whelp'd And stabl'd

      Milton shows his Ovid here. The pervasive nature of flood stories, and arks, is remarkable. It, the flood, appears in the very ancient (and pre-Genesis) 'Epic of Gilgamesh'.

    3. Smote him into the Midriff with a stone [ 445 ] That beat out life; he fell, and deadly pale Groand out his Soul with gushing bloud effus'd.

      The beginning of a catalogue of horrors which even details many of the known diseases of Milton's time (lines 483 +). It is thought Milton was familiar with some of these, 'Joint-racking Rheums' (488), the gout he experienced late in life. Having experienced it myself I know the description, 'joint-racking', is a good one!

    4. Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first behold Th' effects which thy original crime hath wrought

      Adam is to behold how God's will has shaped the world. The 'original crime', disobeying God - 'crime' rather than 'sin'!

    5. First hunter then, pursu'd a gentle brace, Goodliest of all the Forrest, Hart and Hinde;

      The lion, now a hunter rather than the peaceful beast of before the fall. The 'Hart and Hinde', the prey, are deer.

    1. Self-tempted, self-deprav'd

      Compare to the earlier "self-rais'd" description offered by the fallen angels in Hell for their eventual future triumph. God has so recently championed the need to autonomy in his worshippers and yet scathingly rejects the fallen angels for self-determining.

    2. Reason also is choice)

      CS Lewis suggested that Satan rejects rationality and reason along with goodness through his rebellion.

    1. This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat

      A parallel can be drawn here to the way marginalised groups sometimes seek to reclaim their marginalisation, trying to make a point of pride out of surviving their oppression, sometimes to the point of ceasing to acknowledge the extent and cruelty of the oppression.

  10. Sep 2018
    1. What in me is dark Illumin, what is low raise and support

      A prayer to disperse the darkness caused due to ignorance and raise it to the place where there is light so that he may justly act as a link between the readers and God, asserting the ways of God - just like the bad angels were driven out of heaven, the sin of the man will be delivered by the greater man mentioned earlier in the poem.

    2. Invoke thy aid

      An appeal to one of the nine goddesses in Greek mythology who was responsible for inspiration in arts and literature. Now, this is again unique to epic poetry as was a tradition in Greek Literature. Homer invokes the muses in both, the Illiad and the Odyssey.

    3. Sing Heav'nly Muse,

      An invitation probably to the holy spirit for divine guidance to justly describe the epic deeds of Satan and later, a greater man(Jesus)

    4. Of Oreb, or of Sinai

      The Protestant reformer John Calvin took the view that Sinai and Horeb were the same mountain, with the eastern side of the mountain being called Sinai and the western side being called Horeb(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Horeb)

    5. Mans First Disobedience,

      This occupies the epic formula position as in the epics of Virgil and Homer and talks about man's disobedience as a heroic deed.(Contrary to what the epic poems highlight - noble doings of noble men)

    6. one greater Man

      Refers to Jesus Christ, the Son of God who redeemed us of all our sufferings.

    7. hope

      We've been told that this new place they've been cast is utterly without help, yet their will seems to sustain them in much the same way that hope might.

    8. If thou beest he; But O how fall'n! how chang'dFrom him, who in the happy Realms of Light [ 85 ]Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didst out-shineMyriads though bright:

      Here the author makes a reference to the Bible when he says "Oh how fall'n!" This is referenced in the book of Isaiah where it describes Satan's fall and how much he had changed from being such a respected Angel, to being thrown down into the lake of fire, and becoming the leader of other fallen angels like himself. Here you can also feel a wave of emotion from he author where he puts himself into the story to describe Satan's transformation.

    9. Sing Heav'nly Muse,

      Milton introduces Satan as subject of epic

    10. his Crew

      It should be meaning Lucifer and his advocates. Here in this composition, Satan, Lucifer and Serpent are confused. It seems the author wanted to imply the notion that Satan is the same person with Lucifer, which is not the concept as suggested in the Bible.

    11. consult

      In seventeenth-century usage, the term is associated with secret meetings for plotting insurgency. Was there ever a more secret and more insurgent meeting!

    12. Chaos

      I've always been confused over whether or not "Chaos" referred to here is the same as the character Chaos in the poem.

    13. Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.

      Aeschylus' Prometheus expresses the same sentiment and a favorite saying of Julius Caesar was that he would rather be the first man in a village, than the second in Rome.

    14. Such place Eternal Justice had prepar'd

      Unlike Dante's well-structured Inferno, the topography of Milton's Hell is muddled and uncertain; conveying more a state of mind than a sense of place.

    15. As one great Furnace flam'd, yet from those flamesNo light, but rather darkness visible

      Milton's Hell is a chaotic, ill-defined region of turbulent darkness as opposed to the brilliant light that illuminates the orderliness of Heaven.

    1. what hope

      I noted this in the last book as well -- we're given an assertion that Hell is a wholly hopeless place, and yet the fallen angels are all such driven, dynamic personalities that the word appears again and again even so.

    2. with that care lost Went all his fear

      The variety of ways that the different fallen angels experience misery does more to mark them out as memorable than any of their other offered features.

    3. destin'd to Eternal woe;

      referring to original sin

    4. inheritance

      Satan is claiming what is his

    5. the fixt Laws of Heav'n

      democratic under Satan

    6. all things shall be your prey

      on earth. Satan introduces death and sin on earth while God introduces eternal live and love.

    7. Where I reign King, and to enrage thee more, Thy King and Lord? Back to thy punishment, False fugitive,

      "Better to reign in hell, than to serve in heaven". Now Satan finds out that he is king of nothing.

    8. learn by proof, Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heav'n.

      Satan is not hell born, like sin and death. He is from heaven, so be warned :-) .

    9. Before the Gates there sat
    10. In discourse more sweet [ 555 ] (For Eloquence the Soul, Song charms the Sense

      Like the sirenes odyssey xii 184- 191. Sweet sounds of the voices that come from our mouths, and he who listens will not only expierience great pleasure before he goes back home but will also far more knowledgeable than before.. All is a lie off course.

    11. They vote:

      Satan is no leader or absolute ruler as he presents himself. In fact he has nothing to say in the matter and it is decided for him.

    12. and his Sentence pleas'd, Advising peace: for such another Field They dreaded worse then Hell: so much the fear Of Thunder and the Sword of Michael

      Evil is scared of a even worse fate than hell. They prefer peace; they are cowards.

    13. But perhaps [ 70 ] The way seems difficult and steep to scale With upright wing against a higher foe.

      Al least Moloc has some self insight and all his advice turns out to be dreams or illusions or proud imaginations.

    14. the Torturer

      AKA God.

    15. might draw [ 25 ] Envy from each inferior

      Here Satan claims he is inferior because he envied the throne of god, waged war and lost. Rather ironic that he mentions it as a benefit from hell.

    16. Did first create your Leader, next free choice,

      Like God created Adam first as his equal , he created Satan also first (and equal). And then free choice... . Free choice is a gift that makes a being.

    17. and another kind of creature equal or not much inferiour to themselves

      The other creature is the snake. Since this creature is equal or not much inferior than themselves it makes them ridiculous. All the grandeur of Satan from book 1 is deflated when he put himself on the same level of a snake.

    18. So he with difficulty and labour hard Mov'd on, with difficulty and labour hee

      When Milton repeats himself it is to make an important point. Here Satan's "labour" is "difficult" because it is in vain, since he is alienated from God. So he certainly does not look heroic here.

    19. and by what best way, [ 40 ] Whether of open Warr or covert guile, We now debate

      Satan is nothing if not incongruous…or, more specifically, ridiculous. One would've assumed that he, and by extension, the rebel angels, had learned that rebellion (overt or covert) against God supremacy was useless. But here they are again, this time plotting to avenge the perceived wrongs of their own rebellion.

    1. Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles Wanted

      I find it surprising that, to Milton, "fit conversation" was the purpose of marriage and his ideal of paradise.

    2. hee as a vail down to the slender waste Her unadorned golden tresses wore [ 305 ] Disheveld, but in wanton ringlets wav'd

      In the Bible, long and disheveled hair is associated with eroticism.

    3. Of sympathie and love; there I had fixt [ 465 ] Mine eyes till now, and pin'd with vain desire, Had not a voice thus warnd me, What thou seest, What there thou seest fair Creature is thy self, With thee it came and goes: but follow me, And I will bring thee where no shadow staies

      Eve's self-reflection amid this male cosmology is interrupted and she's urged into the arms of waiting Adam.

    1. Scorpion and Asp, and Amphisbæna dire, Cerastes hornd, Hydrus, and Ellops drear, [ 525 ] And Dipsas (not so thick swarm'd once the Soil Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the Isle Ophiusa)

      All of this reveals the breadth of Milton's reading; Lucan and DuBartas, with Ovid providing the image of the change from 'man' to serpent. A problem for the modern reader of this poem is that, perhaps apart from Ovid, these sources are only in the realms of academia today.

    2. His Quadrature, from thy Orbicular World,

      'Orbicular World': a spherical world reflecting the ancient belief in the perfection of the circle. Heaven is 'Quadrature', a square, or probably, cube. The 'why?' of a cubic world I don't know.

    3. for thou Out of the ground wast taken, know thy Birth, For dust thou art, and shalt to dust returne.

      Straight from Genesis 3, 18 -19.

    4. Upon thy Belly groveling thou shalt goe, And dust shalt eat all the dayes of thy Life.

      This even though earlier (line 84) the serpent had been declared innocent.

    5. thy God, that her thou didst obey [ 145 ] Before his voice, or was shee made thy guide,

      Adam, in worshipping Eve, is effectively worshipping a false god, idolatry. He has not followed God's instruction.

    6. his Angels to make several alterations in the Heavens and Elements.

      Again Milton's attention to the heavens and astronomy. A reference to the events involving Adam and Eve, the microcosm, causing a realignment in the macrocosm: a renaissance conceit.

    1. The sharpest sighted Spirit of all in Heav'n; Who to the fraudulent Impostor foule

      If Uriel cannot see the evil, how can men do? It is all part of the plan of God. In that way God and Zeus are alike. They design fate. It all meant to be like this.

    2. To serve him better: wise are all his wayes.

      Men serve better because they die. Heavenly creatures do not. The reward to do Godś bidding or being his slave is heaven so they serve him better.

    3. Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing, Escap't the Stygian Poo

      The narrator took the identity of satan to write book 1 and 2, like an actor and now is returning to the light, returning to his own identity, like a prophet.

    1. Apples

      Interesting that Satan actually names the fruit. It is just a fruit in Genesis. The name, 'Apple' seems unimportant for it is the act of eating a fruit which is the act of disobedience Satan encourages.

    2. err'd in overmuch admiring What seemd in thee so perfet,

      Poor Adam, like so many of us, has been distracted by the beauty of a woman. Never mind, he comes out of it well enough; he has knowledge (and the beautiful woman!)

    3. I now must change [ 5 ] Those Notes to Tragic

      A change signaled by the narrator, Milton, the epic 'Notes' are now to tell of a tragedy. I have read that Bk 9 is about the length of an Euripidean tragedy, c. 1100 lines, and the Book is complete in itself.

    4. Scipio the highth of Rome. With tract oblique [ 510 ] At first, as one who sought access, but feard To interrupt, side-long he works his way. As when a Ship by skilful Stearsman wrought Nigh Rivers mouth or Foreland, where the Wind

      The first letter of lines 510 to 514 spell SATAN, an acrostic. Presumably deliberate?