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John Milton , the poet ' s grand - father , was , according to Mr . Wood , an under -
ranger or keeper of the forest of Shotover near Halton in Oxfordshire ; he was of
the religion of Rome , and such a bigot that he disinherited his fon only for being
... the one the greatest modern poet of his own , and the other the greatest of
foreign nations . 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
W HEN I beheld the Poet blind , yet bold , W In slender book his vast design
unfold , Messiah crown ' d , God ' s reconcil ' d decree , Rebelling Angels , the
forbidden tree , Heav ' n , Hell , Earth , Chaos , all ; the argument Held me a while
If in either of these cases supplied out of his own imaginathe poet endevors to
argue or ex - tion , whereas the other might have plain , to magnify or diminish , to
been formed upon tradition , history saise love or hatred , pity or ter - and ...
Perspicuity is the first only to be consulted , the poet and most necessary
qualification ; in - would have nothing else to do but somuch that a good - natur '
d reader to clothe his thoughts in the most fometimes overlooks a little flip plain
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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.