. © 1999 . Joseph Lanzara . All rights reserved

John Milton's Paradise Lost

V-1. Now Morn her rosie steps in th' Eastern Clime / Advancing, sow'd the earth with Orient Pearle, / When Adam wak't,

V-1. It was sunrise when Adam woke up.

V-4. so customd, for his sleep / Was Aerie light, from pure digestion bred, / And temperat vapors bland, which th' only sound leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan, / Lightly dispers'd, and the shrill Matin Song / Of Birds on every bough;

V-4. His healthy environment caused him to sleep light, so just the sound of rustling leaves or birds would wake him up.

V-9. so much the more / His wonder was to find unwak'nd Eve / With Tresses discompos'd, and glowing Cheek, / As through unquiet rest:

V-9. So he was surprised to see Eve still asleep with her hair in a mess and with a troubled expression on her face.

V-12. he on his side / Leaning half-rais'd, with looks of cordial Love / Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld / Beautie, which whether waking or asleep, / Shot forth peculiar graces;

V-12. He raised himself up on his elbow and stared at her, admiring her.

V-16. then with voice / Milde, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes, / Her hand soft touching, whisperd thus. Awake / My fairest, my espous'd, my latest found, / Heav'ns last best gift, my ever new delight, / Awake, the morning shines, and the fresh field / Calls us,

V-16. He whispered, “Wake up, Eve, before the beauty of the early morning is gone.

V-22. we lose the prime, to mark how spring / Our tended Plants, how blows the Citron Grove, / What drops the Myrrhe, and what the balmie Reed, / How Nature paints her colours, how the Bee / Sits on the Bloom extracting liquid sweet.

V-22. You don't want to miss the citrus blooms, the colors and the fragrance, and the bees collecting their pollen.”

V-26. Such whispering wak'd her, but with startl'd eye / On Adam, whom imbracing, thus she spake.

V-26. She woke up with a start and embraced him.

V-28. O Sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, / My Glorie, my Perfection, glad I see / Thy face, and Morn return'd,

V-28. “Oh, Adam,” she said, “I'm so glad to see your perfect face.

V-31. for I this Night, / Such night till this I never pass'd, have dream'd, / If dream'd, not as I oft am wont, of thee, / Works of day pass't, or morrows next designe, / But of offense and trouble, which my mind / Knew never till this irksom night;

V-31. I had a dream, but not as I usually dream, about you and pleasant things, but bad things I never thought about before.

V-36. methought / Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk / With gentle voice, I thought it thine;

V-36. I thought I heard you talking in my ear, telling me to go with you.

V-38. it said, / Why sleepst thou Eve? now is the pleasant time, / The cool, the silent, save where silence yields / To the night-warbling Bird, that now awake / Tunes sweetest his love-labor'd song; now reignes / Full Orb'd the Moon, and with more pleasing light / Shadowie sets off the face of things; in vain, / If none regard;

V-38. You talked about how beautiful the night was, the birds that sing at night, and how the moonlight from the full moon made everything beautiful, but nobody was there to see it.

V-44. Heav'n wakes with all his eyes, / Whom to behold but thee, Natures desire, / In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment / Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.

V-44. You said the stars were like eyes waiting to enjoy my beauty.

V-48. I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;

V-48. I got up to follow you, but you weren't there.

V-49. To find thee I directed then my walk; / And on, methought, alone I pass'd through ways / That brought me on a sudden to the Tree / Of interdicted Knowledge:

V-49. I went to look for you and I came to the tree with the forbidden fruit.

V-52. fair it seem'd, / Much fairer to my Fancie then by day:

V-52. It looked beautiful, much more than it does in daytime.

V-54. And as I wondring lookt, beside it stood / One shap'd and wing'd like one of those from Heav'n / By us oft seen; his dewie locks distill'd / Ambrosia; on that Tree he also gaz'd;

V-54. Suddenly I noticed an angel standing beside it.

V-58. And O fair Plant, said he, with fruit surcharg'd, / Deigns none to ease thy load and taste thy sweet, / Nor God, nor Man; is Knowledge so despis'd? / Or envie, or what reserve forbids to taste? / Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold / Longer thy offerd good, why else set here?

V-58. ‘What beautiful fruit!’ he said, ‘and nobody wants to taste it? Well, nobody's going to stop me from eating it. What else is it here for?’

V-64. This said he paus'd not, but with ventrous Arme / He pluckt, he tasted; mee damp horror chil'd / At such bold words voucht with a deed so bold:

V-64. Then he picked a piece of fruit and ate it. I was shocked.

V-67. But he thus overjoy'd, O Fruit Divine, / Sweet of thy self, but much more sweet thus cropt, / Forbidd'n here, it seems, as onely fit / For God's, yet able to make Gods of Men: / And why not Gods of Men, since good, the more / Communicated, more abundant growes, / The Author not impair'd, but honourd more?

V-67. He said ‘Wonderful fruit! Good to look at, better to taste. It's supposed to be only for the gods, but it's able to turn men into gods. And why not? Why not spread the good? That would honor God all the more.’

V-74. Here, happie Creature, fair Angelic Eve, / Partake thou also; happie though thou art, / Happier thou mayst be, worthier canst not be: / Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods / Thy self a Goddess, not to Earth confind, / But somtimes in the Air, as wee, somtimes / Ascend to Heav'n, by merit thine, and see / What life the Gods live there, and such live thou.

V-74. Then he told me I should eat the fruit too. He said it would make me even happier than I am and turn me into a goddess.

V-82. So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held, / Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part / Which he had pluckt; the pleasant savourie smell / So quick'nd appetite, that I, methought, / Could not but taste.

V-82. Then he put the fruit near my mouth. It smelled so good, I couldn't help myself. I ate it.

V-86. Forthwith up to the Clouds / With him I flew, and underneath beheld / The Earth outstretcht immense, a prospect wide / And various: wondring at my flight and change / To this high exaltation; suddenly / My Guide was gon, and I, me thought, sunk down. / And fell asleep;

V-86. Suddenly we both flew up into the sky. Then he was gone and I sank back down into sleep.

V-92. but O how glad I wak'd / To find this but a dream!

V-92. I'm so relieved to find out it was just a dream!”

V-94. Thus Eve her Night / Related, and thus Adam answerd sad. / Best Image of my self and dearer half, / The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep / Affects me equally; nor can I like / This uncouth dream, of evil sprung I fear;

V-94. Adam said, “I don't like this dream. It comes from some unknown evil.

V-99. Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none, / Created pure.

V-99. But where could it come from? There is no evil in you. You were created pure.

V-101. But know that in the Soule / Are many lesser Faculties that serve / Reason as chief; among these Fansie next / Her office holds; of all external things, / Which the five watchful Senses represent, / She forms Imaginations, Aerie shapes, / Which Reason joyning or disjoyning, frames / All what we affirm or what deny, and call / Our knowledge or opinion; then retires / Into her private Cell when Nature rests. / Oft in her absence mimic Fansie wakes / To imitate her;

V-101. But in addition to our five senses, we have imagination. Our conscious mind holds our knowledge, but when we sleep our imagination takes over.

V-111. but misjoyning shapes, / Wilde work produces oft, and most in dreams, / Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.

V-111. Imagination sometimes mixes up our memories in our dreams.

V-114. Som such resemblances methinks I find / Of our last Eevnings talk, in this thy dream, / But with addition strange;

V-114. I think I see some of what we talked about last night in your dream, with some more strange stuff.

V-116. yet be not sad. / Evil into the mind of God or Man / May come and go, so unapprov'd, and leave / No spot or blame behind:

V-116. But don't worry. We might get bad thoughts, but no harm is done. They're only thoughts.

V-119. Which gives me hope / That what in sleep thou didst abhorr to dream, / Waking thou never wilt consent to do.

V-119. The fact that you're so upset at what you dreamed shows us that it's something you would never do in real life.

V-122. Be not disheart'nd then, nor cloud those looks / That wont to be more chearful and serene / Then when fair Morning first smiles on the World, / And let us to our fresh imployments rise / Among the Groves, the Fountains, and the Flours / That open now thir choicest bosom'd smells / Reservd from night, and kept for thee in store. / So cheard he his fair Spouse, and she was cheard,

V-122. So cheer up, and let's get to work in the garden. The morning blossoms smell so good.”

V-130. But silently a gentle tear let fall / From either eye, and wip'd them with her haire; / Two other precious drops that ready stood, / Each in thir Chrystal sluce, hee ere they fell / Kiss'd as the gracious signs of sweet remorse / And pious awe, that feard to have offended.

V-130. She felt better that she hadn't offended God. She wiped some tears with her hair, and Adam kissed away the ones forming in her eyes.

. . .




Read the entire poem
in Plain English!