If you’re thinking, “Oops,” click here to go back to the first Milton page
Or, if you’re ready for more rough drafting stuff … more thinking out loud while scan-“reading” and spot-reading Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained … to get a sense of what they are and what they do …
Then … continuing where we left off on the previous page …
Ready. Set. Genesis 1:21 …
21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Ok, finally back to where we were yesterday. At Genesis 1:26, creation of man. The beginning of the Adam and Eve story (Genesis 1:26-3:24) that is the basis for Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.
“Let us …” “in our image” … “after our likeness” … ???
I don’t know if this 1st person plural (we/us) manner of expressing the words of God is the way the story was passed down through generations of Hebrews, or whether the King James committee of reformation English translators in 1611 chose it, but I find it rather striking. When you’re God, who’s “us”? It doesn’t match the monotheistic expectation I bring to a reading of the Bible. It more makes me think of what I call the “Frank Capra stars” at the beginning of the Frank Capra movies, It’s a Wonderful Life. We’ll see how Milton deals with this. Maybe he’ll have God talking to one of the angel/arch-angels — Michael, Gabriel, who’s the third big name arch-angel … can’t remember …
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Verse 28. Ok, there’s the famous command to “be fruitful, and multiply.” I like to use that line as part of a joke about why Irish Catholics often had large families.
29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Verse 31. It seems God is aware that He does very good work. Self-esteem is good.
Onward to Genesis chapter 2! … ok … didn’t feel compelled to comment on any of it. it’s pretty short.
Onward to Genesis chapter 3 … ok. i read this the other day.
Time for a little more Milton.
Wow. Just read “the argument” section of Paradise Lost, Book 1. What an amazing amount of detail already! And none of it in Genesis. : ) I wonder if he’s making all this up? If so, it’s pretty good imagination. All of this detail about Satan, the guy next to him, the council, their building, their aspirations, conversations. : )
The annotations in the window at the bottom of the page by Dartmouth University’s Professor Luxon say the creation story from Genesis won’t come until Paradise Lost, Book 7! (of 12 books). What in the world is Milton going to say, and where is he getting it from, for 6 books of “the argument” summary and details in verse?!
Let’s find out. Let’s have us a little bite from the verse of Book 1.
Ok. Interesting. Right away in the opening lines of verse (lines 1-5), Milton seems to summarize both Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. He practically states that the overall story of the two books is that Jesus restores Paradise to mankind. So there’s not a lot of need to speculate or read between the lines anymore on that issue.
He also says right away that Jesus taught the people of Israel that produced him (line 8, “the chosen seed”). That’s not unusual for Christian interpretation. Maybe not completely popular with all Jewish readers.
Elegant indirect ways of saying everything. Not a big surprise. He’s a poet. An epic poet.
Whatever else can be said about Milton’s message, vision, experience, agenda, or interpretation, it’s clear already, after only reading “the argument” summary and the first 10 lines of verse in Paradise Lost Book 1, that he has an elegant manner of expression and a clear ability to create immediately a grand sweeping mood, tone, attitude, and feeling.
That’ll do for today.