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But at Paris he stayed not long ; his thoughts and his wishes haftened into Italy ;
and fo after a few days he took leave of the Lord Scudamore , who very kindly
gave him letters to the English merchants in the leveral places thro ' which he
was to ...
principal cities of Italy , for the exercise and improvement of wit and learning
among them . And in these conversations he bore so good a part , and produced
so many excellent compofitions , that he : was soon taken notice of , and was very
At Rome too Selvaggi made a Latin distich in honor of Milton , and Salfilsi a Latin
tetrastich , celebrating him for his Greek and Latin and Italian poetry ; and he in
return presented to Saltilli in his fickness those fine Scazons , or Iambic verses ...
Having seen the finest parts of Italy , Milton was now thinking of paffing over into
Sicily and Greece , when he was diverted from his purpose by the news from
England , that things were tending to a civil war between the King and Parlament
... and having shipped off the books , which he had collected in his travels , and
particularly a chest or two of choice music books of the best masters florishing
about that time in Italy , he took his course thro ' Verona , Milan , and along the
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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.