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He is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost , the Biblical story of the Fall of Man : the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Already in early years he began attending plays and discovered his deep interest in poetry. After his graduation from Christ College in Cambridge with a Master of Arts in , a few setbacks due to his dying mother and the death of his childhood friend Charles Diodati, he took off for a journey through Europe.

He did not agree with the methods of teaching in schools and universities. In his opinion, they merely amounted to mechanical training. He rejected a theological study proposed by his father on the grounds that he would never be willing to be a slave to sign the articles of the episcopal church. King Charles I began invading Scotland, the Long Parliament was convened and Milton wrote many pamphlets on the recent political and religious matters that distressed the society.

He wanted to leave the decision about the separation of a marriage not to the courts, but to the conscience of the man. At the same time Milton, busy with raising the children of some friends, wrote a book on education in which he called for free, truly classical youth education. His participation in the political and church-critical movement began with five journalistic treatises Prelatical episcopacy , Reason of church etc. The teaching and the exercise of freedom were the themes of his life.

Then Milton addressed the parliament the Areopagitica , with which he became one of the pioneers of the freedom of the press. When the Republican Party came to power, the governing parliamentary committee appointed him secret clerk to the State Council for the Latin copies. This public misconduct was more important than private virtues. His vision, which had already deteriorated early on, was now completely extinguished.

Some smaller pamphlets for a free republic followed Upon the model of common Wealth, Ready and easy Way to establish a free common Wealth. Still, Milton had to face many losses. These incisive events were often handled by Milton through the numerous poems he published. After the fall of the Republic and the restoration of the Stuarts, Milton was subjected to harsh persecution by the Royalists and Presbyterians. On June 16, , the Defensio was publicly burned by the executioner, and only the intercession of influential friends succeeded in freeing the already arrested poet.

Milton now withdrew into private life.

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His first wife died in On 12 November he married Katharine Woodcock, who died shortly afterwards. The third marriage, which the year-old blind man in need of help entered into with three children to persuade his friends, was as unhappy as the first.


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In addition, his fortune was lost in the civil war and his house was destroyed in the great fire of London in It was published in in a total of ten books and Milton faced instant success with his masterpiece. Paradise Lost, the poem that is considered to be one of the greatest literary works in English language, deals with Adam and Eve, their temptation by Satan, and their banishment from the Garden of Eden.

For not to irksom toile , but to delight He made us, and delight to Reason joyn'd. For solitude somtimes is best societie , And short retirement urges sweet returne. The Wife, where danger or dishonour lurks, Safest and seemliest by her Husband staies , Who guards her, or with her the worst endures. To whom the Virgin Majestie of Eve , [ ] As one who loves, and some unkindness meets, With sweet austeer composure thus reply'd ,.

But that thou shouldst my firmness therfore doubt To God or thee, because we have a foe [ ] May tempt it, I expected not to hear. His violence thou fear'st not, being such, As wee , not capable of death or paine , Can either not receave , or can repell. His fraud is then thy fear, which plain inferrs [ ] Thy equal fear that my firm Faith and Love Can by his fraud be shak'n or seduc't ; Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy brest Adam , misthought of her to thee so dear?

To whom with healing words Adam replyd. I from the influence of thy looks receave Access in every Vertue , in thy sight [ ] More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on, Shame to be overcome or over- reacht Would utmost vigor raise, and rais'd unite. Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel [ ] When I am present, and thy trial choose With me, best witness of thy Vertue tri'd.

So spake domestick Adam in his care And Matrimonial Love; but Eve , who thought Less attributed to her Faith sincere, [ ] Thus her reply with accent sweet renewd. If this be our condition, thus to dwell In narrow circuit strait'nd by a Foe, Suttle or violent, we not endu'd Single with like defence, wherever met, [ ] How are we happie , still in fear of harm? But harm precedes not sin: onely our Foe Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem Of our integritie : his foul esteeme Sticks no dishonor on our Front , but turns [ ] Foul on himself; then wherefore shund or feard By us?

And what is Faith, Love, Vertue unassaid [ ] Alone, without exterior help sustaind? Let us not then suspect our happie State Left so imperfet by the Maker wise, As not secure to single or combin'd. Fraile is our happiness, if this be so, [ ] And Eden were no Eden thus expos'd. To whom thus Adam fervently repli'd. O Woman, best are all things as the will Of God ordain'd them, his creating hand Nothing imperfet or deficient left [ ] Of all that he Created, much less Man, Or aught that might his happie State secure, Secure from outward force; within himself The danger lies, yet lies within his power: Against his will he can receave no harme.

Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve, Since Reason not impossibly may meet [ ] Some specious object by the Foe subornd , And fall into deception unaware, Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warnd. Seek not temptation then, which to avoide Were better, and most likelie if from mee [ ] Thou sever not: Trial will come unsought.

Wouldst thou approve thy constancie , approve First thy obedience; th' other who can know, Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?

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John Milton and his great Epic Paradise Lost

But if thou think, trial unsought may finde [ ] Us both securer then thus warnd thou seemst , Go ; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more; Go in thy native innocence, relie On what thou hast of vertue , summon all, For God towards thee hath done his part , do thine. So spake the Patriarch of Mankinde , but Eve Persisted, yet submiss , though last , repli'd. With thy permission then, and thus forewarnd Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words Touchd onely , that our trial, when least sought, [ ] May finde us both perhaps farr less prepar'd , The willinger I goe , nor much expect A Foe so proud will first the weaker seek, So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse.

Her long with ardent look his Eye pursu'd Delighted, but desiring more her stay. Oft he to her his charge of quick returne Repeated, shee to him as oft engag'd [ ] To be returnd by Noon amid the Bowre , And all things in best order to invite Noontide repast, or Afternoons repose.

O much deceav'd , much failing, hapless Eve , Of thy presum'd return! For now, and since first break of dawne the Fiend, Meer Serpent in appearance, forth was come, And on his Quest, where likeliest he might finde The onely two of Mankinde , but in them [ ] The whole included Race, his purposd prey.

Paradise Lost by John Milton - Summary & Analysis

In Bowre and Field he sought, where any tuft Of Grove or Garden-Plot more pleasant lay, Thir tendance or Plantation for delight, By Fountain or by shadie Rivulet [ ] He sought them both, but wish'd his hap might find Eve separate, he wish'd , but not with hope Of what so seldom chanc'd , when to his wish, Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies, Veild in a Cloud of Fragrance, where she stood, [ ] Half spi'd , so thick the Roses bushing round About her glowd , oft stooping to support Each Flour of slender stalk, whose head though gay Carnation, Purple, Azure, or spect with Gold, Hung drooping unsustaind , them she upstaies [ ] Gently with Mirtle band, mindless the while, Her self, though fairest unsupported Flour , From her best prop so farr , and storm so nigh.

Much hee the Place admir'd , the Person more. As one who long in populous City pent, [ ] Where Houses thick and Sewers annoy the Aire , Forth issuing on a Summers Morn to breathe Among the pleasant Villages and Farmes Adjoynd , from each thing met conceaves delight, The smell of Grain, or tedded Grass, or Kine, [ ] Or Dairie , each rural sight, each rural sound; If chance with Nymphlike step fair Virgin pass, What pleasing seemd , for her now pleases more, She most, and in her look summs all Delight.

Such Pleasure took the Serpent to behold [ ] This Flourie Plat , the sweet recess of Eve Thus earlie , thus alone; her Heav'nly forme Angelic, but more soft, and Feminine , Her graceful Innocence, her every Aire Of gesture or lest action overawd [ ] His Malice, and with rapine sweet bereav'd His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought: That space the Evil one abstracted stood From his own evil, and for the time remaind Stupidly good , of enmitie disarm'd , [ ] Of guile, of hate, of envie , of revenge; But the hot Hell that alwayes in him burnes , Though in mid Heav'n , soon ended his delight, And tortures him now more, the more he sees Of pleasure not for him ordain'd : then soon [ ] Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites.

Thoughts , whither have ye led me, with what sweet Compulsion thus transported to forget What hither brought us, hate, not love, nor hope [ ] Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy, Save what is in destroying, other joy To me is lost. Then let me not let pass Occasion which now smiles, behold alone [ ] The Woman, opportune to all attempts, Her Husband, for I view far round, not nigh, Whose higher intellectual more I shun, And strength, of courage hautie , and of limb Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould , [ ] Foe not informidable, exempt from wound , I not; so much hath Hell debas'd , and paine Infeebl'd me, to what I was in Heav'n.


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Shee fair, divinely fair, fit Love for Gods, Not terrible, though terrour be in Love [ ] And beautie , not approacht by stronger hate, Hate stronger, under shew of Love well feign'd , The way which to her ruin now I tend. So spake the Enemie of Mankind, enclos'd In Serpent, Inmate bad, and toward Eve [ ] Address'd his way, not with indented wave, Prone on the ground, as since, but on his reare , Circular base of rising foulds , that tour'd Fould above fould a surging Maze, his Head Crested aloft, and Carbuncle his Eyes; [ ] With burnisht Neck of verdant Gold, erect Amidst his circling Spires , that on the grass Floted redundant: pleasing was his shape, And lovely, never since of Serpent kind Lovelier, not those that in Illyria chang'd [ ] Hermione and Cadmus , or the God In Epidaurus ; nor to which transformd Ammonian Jove , or Capitoline was seen, Hee with Olympias , this with her who bore Scipio the highth of Rome.

With tract oblique [ ] 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 Veres oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her Saile ; [ ] So varied hee , and of his tortuous Traine Curld many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve , To lure her Eye; shee busied heard the sound Of rusling Leaves, but minded not, as us'd To such disport before her through the Field, [ ] From every Beast, more duteous at her call, Then at Circean call the Herd disguis'd.

Hee boulder now, uncall'd before her stood; But as in gaze admiring: Oft he bowd His turret Crest, and sleek enamel'd Neck, [ ] Fawning, and lick'd the ground whereon she trod. His gentle dumb expression turnd at length The Eye of Eve to mark his play; he glad Of her attention gaind , with Serpent Tongue Organic , or impulse of vocal Air, [ ] His fraudulent temptation thus began. Wonder not, sovran Mistress, if perhaps Thou canst, who art sole Wonder, much less arm Thy looks, the Heav'n of mildness, with disdain, Displeas'd that I approach thee thus, and gaze [ ] Insatiate, I thus single, nor have feard Thy awful brow, more awful thus retir'd.

Fairest resemblance of thy Maker faire , Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine By gift, and thy Celestial Beautie adore [ ] With ravishment beheld, there best beheld Where universally admir'd ; but here In this enclosure wild, these Beasts among, Beholders rude, and shallow to discerne Half what in thee is fair, one man except, [ ] Who sees thee?

So gloz'd the Tempter, and his Proem tun'd ; Into the Heart of Eve his words made way, [ ] Though at the voice much marveling; at length Not unamaz'd she thus in answer spake. What may this mean? Language of Man pronounc't By Tongue of Brute, and human sense exprest? The first at lest of these I thought deni'd [ ] To Beasts, whom God on thir Creation-Day Created mute to all articulat sound; The latter I demurre , for in thir looks Much reason, and in thir actions oft appeers.

Thee, Serpent, suttlest beast of all the field [ ] I knew, but not with human voice endu'd ; Redouble then this miracle, and say, How cam'st thou speakable of mute, and how To me so friendly grown above the rest Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight? To whom the guileful Tempter thus reply'd. Empress of this fair World, resplendent Eve , Easie to mee it is to tell thee all What thou commandst and right thou shouldst be obeyd : [ ] I was at first as other Beasts that graze The trodden Herb, of abject thoughts and low, As was my food, nor aught but food discern'd Or Sex, and apprehended nothing high : Till on a day roaving the field, I chanc'd [ ] A goodly Tree farr distant to behold Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mixt , Ruddie and Gold: I nearer drew to gaze; When from the boughes a savorie odour blow'n , Grateful to appetite, more pleas'd my sense, [ ] Then smell of sweetest Fenel or the Teats Of Ewe or Goat dropping with Milk at Eevn , Unsuckt of Lamb or Kid, that tend thir play.

To satisfie the sharp desire I had Of tasting those fair Apples , I resolv'd [ ] Not to deferr ; hunger and thirst at once, Powerful perswaders , quick'nd at the scent Of that alluring fruit, urg'd me so keene. About the mossie Trunk I wound me soon, For high from ground the branches would require [ ] Thy utmost reach or Adams : Round the Tree All other Beasts that saw, with like desire Longing and envying stood, but could not reach.

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Amid the Tree now got, where plenty hung Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill [ ] I spar'd not, for such pleasure till that hour At Feed or Fountain never had I found. Sated at length, ere long I might perceave Strange alteration in me, to degree Of Reason in my inward Powers, and Speech [ ] Wanted not long, though to this shape retain'd. Thenceforth to Speculations high or deep I turnd my thoughts, and with capacious mind Considerd all things visible in Heav'n , Or Earth, or Middle , all things fair and good; [ ] But all that fair and good in thy Divine Semblance, and in thy Beauties heav'nly Ray United I beheld; no Fair to thine Equivalent or second, which compel'd Mee thus, though importune perhaps, to come [ ] And gaze, and worship thee of right declar'd Sovran of Creatures, universal Dame.

So talk'd the spirited sly Snake; and Eve Yet more amaz'd unwarie thus reply'd. Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt [ ] The vertue of that Fruit, in thee first prov'd : But say, where grows the Tree, from hence how far? For many are the Trees of God that grow In Paradise, and various, yet unknown To us, in such abundance lies our choice, [ ] As leaves a greater store of Fruit untoucht , Still hanging incorruptible, till men Grow up to thir provision , and more hands Help to disburden Nature of her Bearth.

To whom the wilie Adder, blithe and glad. Lead then, said Eve. Hee leading swiftly rowld In tangles, and made intricate seem strait , To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy Bright'ns his Crest, as when a wandring Fire Compact of unctuous vapor, which the Night [ ] Condenses, and the cold invirons round, Kindl'd through agitation to a Flame, Which oft, they say, some evil Spirit attends Hovering and blazing with delusive Light, Misleads th' amaz'd Night-wanderer from his way [ ] To Boggs and Mires, and oft through Pond or Poole , There swallow'd up and lost, from succour farr.

So glister'd the dire Snake, and into fraud Led Eve our credulous Mother, to the Tree Of prohibition, root of all our woe; [ ] Which when she saw, thus to her guide she spake. Serpent, we might have spar'd our coming hither, Fruitless to mee , though Fruit be here to excess, The credit of whose vertue rest with thee, Wondrous indeed, if cause of such effects. To whom the Tempter guilefully repli'd. To whom thus Eve yet sinless.

She scarse had said, though brief, when now more bold The Tempter, but with shew of Zeale and Love [ ] To Man, and indignation at his wrong, New part puts on, and as to passion mov'd , Fluctuats disturbd , yet comely and in act Rais'd , as of som great matter to begin. As when of old som Orator renound [ ] In Athens or free Rome , where Eloquence Flourishd , since mute, to som great cause addrest , Stood in himself collected, while each part, Motion, each act won audience ere the tongue, Somtimes in highth began, as no delay [ ] Of Preface brooking through his Zeal of Right.

So standing, moving, or to highth upgrown The Tempter all impassiond thus began. Queen of this Universe, doe not believe Those rigid threats of Death; ye shall not Die : [ ] How should ye? God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just; [ ] Not just, not God; not feard then, nor obeyd : Your feare it self of Death removes the feare.

Why then was this forbid? Why but to awe, Why but to keep ye low and ignorant, His worshippers; he knows that in the day [ ] Ye Eate thereof, your Eyes that seem so cleere , Yet are but dim, shall perfetly be then Op'nd and cleerd , and ye shall be as Gods , Knowing both Good and Evil as they know. So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off Human, to put on Gods, death to be wisht , Though threat'nd , which no worse then this can bring. The Gods are first, and that advantage use On our belief, that all from them proceeds; I question it, for this fair Earth I see, [ ] Warm'd by the Sun, producing every kind, Them nothing: If they all things, who enclos'd Knowledge of Good and Evil in this Tree, That whoso eats thereof, forthwith attains Wisdom without their leave?

What can your knowledge hurt him, or this Tree Impart against his will if all be his? Or is it envie , and can envie dwell In Heav'nly brests? Goddess humane, reach then, and freely taste. He ended, and his words replete with guile Into her heart too easie entrance won: Fixt on the Fruit she gaz'd , which to behold [ ] Might tempt alone, and in her ears the sound Yet rung of his perswasive words, impregn'd With Reason, to her seeming, and with Truth; Mean while the hour of Noon drew on, and wak'd An eager appetite, rais'd by the smell [ ] So savorie of that Fruit, which with desire, Inclinable now grown to touch or taste, Sollicited her longing eye; yet first Pausing a while, thus to her self she mus'd.

Great are thy Vertues , doubtless, best of Fruits. In plain then, what forbids he but to know, Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise? Such prohibitions binde not. But if Death [ ] Bind us with after-bands, what profits then Our inward freedom?

Paradise Lost by John Milton

In the day we eate Of this fair Fruit, our doom is, we shall die. How dies the Serpent? For us alone Was death invented?