John Milton (1608-1674), a total genius, was the very first poet I began to study deliberately. I often wonder if my interest and dedication to poetry would have been different had I not come across, what I believe to be, one of the most awesome references to the Garden of Eden. It was while reading a book written by Edward O. Wilson titled, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Within just 8 lines of verse Milton captured my attention permanently. Concerning those lines, I wrote in a blog post a few years back that ...
Here are those 8 lines below (what do you think):
Not that fair field
Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis
Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove
Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspired
Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
Of Eden strive...
Paradise Lost, Book IV 268 - 275
If it were not for Milton I sometimes wonder whether I would have ever engaged poetry at all. I'm in utter debt to him.