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These two editions then , the first in ten books printed in a small quarto , and the
second in twelve books printed in a small octavo , are proposed as our standard :
the variations in each are noted ; and we never deviate from them both without ...
The nation was now in a great ferment in 1641 , and the clamor run high against
the bishops , when he joined loudly in the cry , to help the puritan ministers , ( as
he says himself in his second Defense ) they being inferior to the bishops in ...
He published it at first without his name , but the stile easily betrayed the author ;
and afterwards a second edition , much augmented , with his name ; and he
dedicated it to the Parlament of England with the Assembly of Divines , that as
Two or three years before this second marriage he had totally lost his fight . And
his enemies triumphed in his blindness , and imputed it as a judge ment upon
him for writing against the King : but his fight had been decaying several years ...
So that , notwithstanding these variations , there was still only one impression in
quarto ; and two years almost elapsed , before 1300 copies could be fold , or
before the author was intitled to his second five pounds , for which his receipt is
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Chronicles the rise and fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. Begins with the crowning of the Son of God, moves to Lucifer's rebellion and fall, the beginning of the Earth, the birth of Adam and Eve, and how they fell prey to Satan's fraud.
Written in 10 syllable per line prose, which must have been very difficult. Milton was blind, which makes the accomplishment even more amazing. Parts of the book were wonderfully written (the battles with Satan, Eden, the creation of the Earth, the coming events as Adam and Eve are escorted from Eden by Archangel Michael), but others are difficult with many references to Greek characters. I'm sure Milton was brilliant, but those parts don't add much for me and make it seem as though he's being pretentious. I also disliked the way all the characters addressed each other: "Lo, great angel from Heaven, graceful and true of spirit." The pictures of the story in the book, while they received vast praise in the preface, were forgettable.
Still, I can't get away from the amazing work that Milton put here. My only real compliant was the blatant sexism that Adam had for Eve, assuming she was always inferior to him. That is no longer the way of the world, and I doubt Adam would have treated Eve thusly. Sin, Death. Satan, Michael and Raphael were my favorite characters, all providing memorable lines.