This day’s portion Navigation Menu

Paradise Lost

The republican, radical protestants have all the best poetry.

I wonder if I would have enjoyed Paradise Lost if I’d have studied it at sixth form or university. It would have been good, I think, to have some context and supporting information.

On the other hand, I don’t think I’d have understood it or enjoyed it like I do now.

The Creation of Man, engraving from the 1688 edition, by John Baptist Medina

It’s surprisingly easy to read. There’s a story. And the poetry rumbles round and round, dizzyingly, like a spell.

Thus repuls’d, our final hope
Is flat despair: we must exasperate
Th’ Almighty Victor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us, that must be our cure,
To be no more; sad cure; for who would loose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through Eternity,
To perish rather, swallowd up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated night,
Devoid of sense and motion?