. © 1999 . Joseph Lanzara . All rights reserved

John Milton's Paradise Lost

XII-1. As one who in his journey bates at Noone, / Though bent on speed, so heer the Archangel paus'd / Betwixt the world destroy'd and world restor'd,

XII-1. Like a traveler taking a break at noon, Michael paused in his story at the point where one world was destroyed and a new one was about to begin.

XII-4. If Adam aught perhaps might interpose; / Then with transition sweet new Speech resumes.

XII-4. He thought Adam might want to say something, but he didn't. So Michael continued:

XII-6. Thus thou hast seen one World begin and end; / And Man as from a second stock proceed.

XII-6. “So now you saw one world end and a new generation of men begin.

XII-8. Much thou hast yet to see, but I perceave / Thy mortal sight to faile; objects divine / Must needs impaire and wearie human sense:

XII-8. There's a lot more I wanted to show you, but I think the magic drops I put in your eyes are beginning to wear off.

XII-11. Henceforth what is to com I will relate, / Thou therefore give due audience, and attend.

XII-11. So I'll just tell you the rest of the story.

XII-13. This second sours of Men, while yet but few; / And while the dread of judgement past remains / Fresh in thir mindes, fearing the Deitie, / With some regard to what is just and right

XII-13. This new generation, still just a small number of people, will behave themselves for a while. They'll remember only too well what God could do if they made him angry.

XII-17. Shall lead thir lives and multiplie apace, / Labouring the soile, and reaping plenteous crop, / Corn wine and oyle; and from the herd or flock, / Oft sacrificing Bullock, Lamb, or Kid, / With large Wine-offerings pour'd, and sacred Feast, / Shal spend thir dayes in joy unblam'd, and dwell / Long time in peace by Families and Tribes / Under paternal rule;

XII-17. The population will quickly grow. They'll farm and raise livestock, and they'll hold religious feasts and live in peaceful communes.

XII-24. till one shall rise / Of proud ambitious heart, who not content / With fair equalitie, fraternal state, / Will arrogate Dominion undeserv'd / Over his brethren,

XII-24. But there was a rebellious man, Nimrod, who wanted power over the others.

XII-29. and quite dispossess / Concord and law of Nature from the Earth, / Hunting (and Men not Beasts shall be his game) / With Warr and hostile snare such as refuse / Subjection to his Empire tyrannous: / A mightie Hunter thence he shall be styl'd / Before the Lord, as in despite of Heav'n, / Or from Heav'n claming second Sovrantie; / And from Rebellion shall derive his name, / Though of Rebellion others he accuse.

XII-29. He ended the period of peace. He hunted men like they were animals. He killed anyone who refused to accept him as their ruler. He wanted to be like a god.

XII-38. Hee with a crew, whom like Ambition joyns / With him or under him to tyrannize, / Marching from Eden towards the West, shall finde / The Plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge / Boiles out from under ground, the mouth of Hell; / Of Brick,

XII-38. He got others to follow him. They went west from Eden to a place where they could mine building materials.

XII-44. and of that stuff they cast to build / A Citie and Towre, whose top may reach to Heav'n; / And get themselves a name, least far disperst / In foraign Lands thir memorie be lost, / Regardless whether good or evil fame.

XII-44. They decided to build a tower tall enough to reach Heaven. They wanted to be famous world-wide. They didn't care if it was good fame or evil fame.

XII-48. But God who oft descends to visit men / Unseen, and through thir habitations walks / To mark thir doings,

XII-48. But sometimes God comes down and wanders around, invisible, to see what men are doing.

XII-50. them beholding soon, / Comes down to see thir Citie, ere the Tower / Obstruct Heav'n Towrs, and in derision sets / Upon thir Tongues a various Spirit to rase / Quite out thir Native Language, and instead / To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:

XII-50. When he saw the tower they were trying to build he cast a spell on them so that when they spoke to each other it seemed they were all speaking different languages and nobody could understand anybody.

XII-56. Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud / Among the Builders; each to other calls / Not understood, till hoarse, and all in rage, / As mockt they storm; great laughter was in Heav'n / And looking down, to see the hubbub strange / And hear the din; thus was the building left / Ridiculous, and the work Confusion nam'd.

XII-56. There was loud babbling all over. All the builders were confused and angry and stormed off the job, leaving the building unfinished. The angels in Heaven were laughing.”

XII-63. Whereto thus Adam fatherly displeas'd. / O execrable Son so to aspire / Above his Brethren, to himself assuming / Authoritie usurpt,

XII-63. “What a stupid man,” said Adam, “to think he could make himself lord over his brothers.

XII-66. from God not giv'n: / He gave us onely over Beast, Fish, Fowl / Dominion absolute; that right we hold / By his donation; but Man over men / He made not Lord; such title to himself / Reserving, human left from human free.

XII-66. God gave us authority over the animals only, not over people. He's the only one who can rule over us.

XII-72. But this Usurper his encroachment proud / Stayes not on Man; to God his Tower intends / Siege and defiance:

XII-72. And to make matters worse he builds this tower to defy God.

XII-74. Wretched man! what food / Will he convey up thither to sustain / Himself and his rash Armie, where thin Aire / Above the Clouds will pine his entrails gross, / And famish him of Breath, if not of Bread?

XII-74. How stupid! Where did he expect to get food to feed himself and his army up there?—that is, if he didn't run out of air to breath first.”

XII-79. To whom thus Michael. Justly thou abhorr'st / That Son, who on the quiet state of men / Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue / Rational Libertie; yet know withall,

XII-79. “You're right about him,” said Michael, “but there's something else you have to understand.

XII-83. Since thy original lapse, true Libertie / Is lost,

XII-83. Since you committed your original sin there is really no true liberty anymore.

XII-84. which alwayes with right Reason dwells / Twinn'd, and from her hath no dividual being: / Reason in man obscur'd, or not obeyd, / Immediately inordinate desires / And upstart Passions catch the Government / From Reason, and to servitude reduce / Man till then free.

XII-84. Liberty is linked to wisdom, so when a man is unwise or ignores what he should know, that's when unhealthy desires take over.

XII-90. Therefore since hee permits / Within himself unworthie Powers to reign / Over free Reason,

XII-90. Then his mind becomes a slave to his desires.

XII-92. God in Judgement just / Subjects him from without to violent Lords; / Who oft as undeservedly enthrall / His outward freedom: Tyrannie must be,

XII-92. So God allows tyrants to come along and enslave his body as well.

. . .


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