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The Poets

December 09, 2012

None with Eden Can Strive


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 ...

"There were no extravagant words employed, and as far as I can remember, Milton almost never even mentioned the Garden. But within 8 lines, and by means of images taken from mythology, Milton expresses what in other words would simply require pages to attain."

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.

2 comments:

David C Brown said...

To come to poetry through Milton must be a good thing. I love the sonorous roll of his verse and the poetic complexity of his syntax. And, though I might not accept every detail of his theology I appreciate his glorification of God and His ways.

David C Brown said...

To come to poetry through Milton must be a good thing. I love the sonorous roll of his verse and the poetic complexity of his syntax. And, though I might not accept every detail of his theology I appreciate his glorification of God and His ways.

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