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It was certainly a very recluse and ftudious life , that both he and his pupils led ;
but the young men of that age were of a different turn from those of the present ;
and he himself gave an example to those under him of hard study and spare diet
and fimple , less figurative and metaphorical , and better suited to the nature of
history , has enough of the Latin turn and idiom to give it an air of antiquity , and
sometimes rises to a surprising dignity and majesty . In 1670 likewise his
Belial came last , than whom a Spi ' rit more lewd 490 Fell not from Heaven , or
more gross to love Vice for itself : to him no temple stood Or altar smok ' d ; yet
who more oft than he In temples and at altars , when the priest Turns atheist , as
585 Days months and years , towards his all - chearing lamp Turn swift their
various motions , or are turn ' d By his magnetic beam , that gently warms The
universe , and to each inward part With gentle penetration , though unseen ,
Turn ' d him all ear & c . ] A Sole partner , and fole part , of all pretty expression
borrow ' d from the these joys , Latin , So the passage ought to be read Totum te
cupias , Fabulle , nasum . ( I think ) with a comma after part ; Bentley . and of here
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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.