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POETRY-1 (ENG403). LECTURE – 16. RECAP OF LECTURE 15. The Puritan Age Political and Social Background General Perception of Literature Notable Writers John Milton His Literary Career The Paradise Lost Literary Sources Meter Argument. CHARACTERISTICS OF HIS WORKS.

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poetry 1 eng403



recap of lecture 15
  • The Puritan Age
  • Political and Social Background
  • General Perception of Literature
  • Notable Writers
  • John Milton
  • His Literary Career
  • The Paradise Lost
  • Literary Sources
  • Meter
  • Argument
characteristics of his works
  • Master of English Blank Verse
  • Cosmic Sweep of Theme
  • Sublimity of Execution
  • Sharp concreteness
  • Intensity of Religious Idealism
  • Full of Classical Allusions to Literature
  • Profound Scholarship
  • Organ-roll of linked Vowel Sounds
characteristics of his works1
  • Power of delineating character
  • Vivid accurate description
  • Presentation of Nature
  • Simple, sensuous and Passionate
  • His rule of Poetry
paradise lost
  • Printed in 1667; 10 books
  • Printed in 1674; 12 books

His ambition: write an epic

    • Vacation Exercise
    • Lycidas
    • Epitaphium Damonis
literary sources
  • Scriptual & Talmudic writings
  • The Illiad, Oddyssey & Aeneid
  • St. Augustine’s Civitas Deis
  • Claudian’s De Raptu Proserpine
  • Vondel’s Lucifer
  • Caedman
  • Shakespeare
  • Marlowe
  • Giles Fletcher
  • Phineas Fletcher
doctrinal content
  • The Creation of World is Purposeful.
  • Christ is the son of God but second to him.
  • Absolute Freedom/Human will
  • Epitome: belief in Reformed Catholicism
  • Copernican system
  • Ptolemaic system
  • Plato, Dante & Aquinas
  • Better represented his poetry
  • Blank verse
  • Iambic Pentameter
  • The Fall of Satan & his angels; the burning lake of Hell; the palace Pandemonium
  • In each book one aspect is described in detail. Book Vll and book X are divided into two parts
argument 1
  • This first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole Subject, Mans disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was plac't: Then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his side many Legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out of Heaven with all his Crew into the great Deep.
argument 2
  • Which action past over, the Poem hastes into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, describ'd here, not in the 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: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning Lake, thunder-struck and astonisht, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in Order and Dignity lay by him; they confer of thir miserable fall.
argument 3
  • Satan awakens all his Legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded; They rise, thir Numbers, array of Battel, thir chief Leaders nam'd, according to the Idols known afterwards in Canaan and the Countries adjoyning. To these Satan directs his Speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new World and new kind of Creature to be created, according to an ancient Prophesie or report in Heaven; for that Angels were long before this visible Creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers.
argument 4
  • To find out the truth of this Prophesie, and what to determin thereon he refers to a full Councel. What his Associates thence attempt. Pandemonium the Palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the Deep: The infernal Peers there sit in Councel.
    • Pandemonium. Literally, "all the demons."

OF Mans First Disobedience, and the FruitOf that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tastBrought Death into the World, and all our woe,With loss of Eden, till one greater ManRestore us, and regain the blissful Seat, [ 5 ]

  • Eden- Paradise
  • Mortal- deadly
  • One greater man- Christ
  • blissful Seat- paradise

Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret topOf Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspireThat Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and EarthRose out of Chaos: Or if Sion Hill [ 10 ]

  • Oreb- Moses received the Law on mount Horeb or its spur on mount Sinai
  • chosen seed. The people of Israel
  • In the Beginning. The opening words of both Genesis and the Gospel (Geneva)
  • out of Chaos. One of Milton's several deviating positions. Orthodoxy held that God created everything ex nihilo, out of nothing.
  • Sion Hill- on which Jerusalem was built

Delight thee more, and Siloa's Brook that flow'dFast by the Oracle of God; I thenceInvoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,That with no middle flight intends to soarAbove th' Aonian Mount, while it pursues [ 15 ]

  • adventrous Song. The similarities between Milton's opening and the opening lines of Virgil's Aeneid and of Homer's Odyssey.
  • Aonian Mount. Mt. Helicon, in Aonia, sacred to the classical muses.

Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.And chiefly Thou O Spirit, that dost preferBefore all Temples th' upright heart and pure,Instruct me, for Thou know'st; Thou from the firstWast present, and with mighty wings outspread [ 20 ]

  • The line ironically recalls the stanza 2 of Canto 1 of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso.

Dove-like satst brooding on the vast AbyssAnd mad'st it pregnant: What in me is darkIllumin, what is low raise and support;That to the highth of this great ArgumentI may assert Eternal Providence, [ 25 ]And justifie the wayes of God to men.

  • Dove-like. The Holy Spirit appears as a dove.
  • brooding on the vast Abyss. Milton's "brooding" is a better translation of the Hebrew; "moved upon the face of the waters"

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy viewNor the deep Tract of Hell, say first what causeMov'd our Grand Parents in that happy State,Favour'd of Heav'n so highly, to fall off [ 30 ]

  • Say first. Can be compared with Homer's invocation to the muse in the Iliad.

From thir Creator, and transgress his WillFor one restraint, Lords of the World besides?Who first seduc'd them to that foul revolt?Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guileStird up with Envy and Revenge,deceiv'd [ 35 ]

  • one restraint. single injunction.
  • Lords of the World. According to Genesis, human beings were created to "have dominion" over the rest of creation.

The Mother of Mankind, what time his PrideHad cast him out from Heav'n, with all his HostOf Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiringTo set himself in Glory above his Peers,He trusted to have equal'd the most High, [ 40 ]

  • Mother- Eve

If he oppos'd; and with ambitious aimAgainst the Throne and Monarchy of GodRais'd impious War in Heav'n and Battel proudWith vain attempt. Him the Almighty PowerHurld headlong flaming from th' Ethereal Skie [ 45 ]

  • Hurld headlong flaming. This description recalls Pieter Bruegel's Fall of the Rebel Angels

With hideous ruine and combustion downTo bottomless perdition, there to dwellIn Adamantine Chains and penal Fire,Who durst defie th'Omnipotent to Arms. [ 49 ] Nine times the Space that measures Day and Night

  • Adamantine. Unbreakable, rocklike
  • Nine times the Space. In Hesiod's, the Titans take a similar fall.

To mortal men, he with his horrid crewLay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery GulfeConfounded though immortal: But his doomReserv'd him to more wrath; for now the thoughtBoth of lost happiness and lasting pain [ 55 ]

  • Vanquish- defeated

Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyesThat witness'd huge affliction and dismayMixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:At once as far as Angels kenn he viewsThe dismal Situation waste and wilde, [ 60 ]

  • kenn. Range

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 ]

  • Dungeon- prison, cell

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 ]

  • hope never comes. A deliberate echo of Dante's Inferno: "All hope abandon ye who enter here."

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.O how unlike the place from whence they fell! [ 75 ]

  • thir. Their.
  • from the Center to ... the Pole. Milton asks us to refer to the Ptolemaic model of the universe with the earth at the center of nine concentric spheres.

There the companions of his fall, o'rewhelm'dWith Floods and Whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,He soon discerns, and weltring by his sideOne next himself in power, and next in crime,Long after known in Palestine, and nam'd [ 80 ]

  • Tempestuous- passionate
review of lecture 16
  • John Milton
  • The Paradise Lost
  • Argument
  • Book 1
    • Lines 1-80
    • Invocation
    • Theme
    • Fallen Angels