. © 1999 . Joseph Lanzara . All rights reserved

John Milton's Paradise Lost

VII-1. Descend from Heav'n Urania, by that name / If rightly thou art call'd, whose Voice divine / Following, above th' Olympian Hill I soare, / Above the flight of Pegasean wing.

VII-1. Come down from Heaven, Urania. (Milton is speaking) That's the best name I can think of for you. Listening to you I get higher than Mount Olympus, even higher than Pegasus, the winged horse, can fly.

VII-5. The meaning, not the Name I call: for thou / Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top / Of old Olympus dwell'st, but Heav'nlie borne,

VII-5. I'll call you that even though you're not really one of the nine Muses or one of the Olympian gods. You were born in Heaven.

VII-8. Before the Hills appeerd, or Fountain flow'd, / Thou with Eternal Wisdom didst converse, / Wisdom thy Sister, and with her didst play / In presence of th' Almightie Father, pleas'd / With thy Celestial Song.

VII-8. Before the world was created, you were already there. You made God happy as you talked and played and made poetry with your sister, Wisdom.

VII-12. Up led by thee / Into the Heav'n of Heav'ns I have presum'd, / An Earthlie Guest, and drawn Empyreal Aire, / Thy tempring;

VII-12. With your guidance I dared to go up into Heaven.

VII-15. with like safetie guided down / Return me to my Native Element: / Least from this flying Steed unrein'd, (as once / Bellerophon, though from a lower Clime) / Dismounted, on th' Aleian Field I fall / Erroneous there to wander and forlorne.

VII-15. Now you better guide me safely back down to Earth where I belong before I fall, like Bellerophon, who fell off Pegasus and ended up lost and wandering aimlessly.

VII-21. Half yet remaines unsung, but narrower bound / Within the visible Diurnal Spheare;

VII-21. I've told only half of my story now. The rest of it takes place here on Earth.

VII-23. Standing on Earth, not rapt above the Pole, / More safe I Sing with mortal voice, unchang'd / To hoarce or mute, though fall'n on evil dayes, / On evil dayes though fall'n, and evil tongues;

VII-23. As a poet, I feel more confident writing about earthly rather than heavenly things. Although here is where I have many personal problems and dangers.

VII-27. In darkness, and with dangers compast round, / And solitude;

VII-27. I'm blind, surrounded by darkness and solitude.

VII-28. yet not alone, while thou / Visit'st my slumbers Nightly, or when Morn / Purples the East: still govern thou my Song, / Urania,

VII-28. But I am not alone. You come to me in my dreams and inspire me to tell this story.

VII-31. and fit audience find, though few.

VII-31. Not many people will read it though, only the really smart ones.

VII-32. But drive farr off the barbarous dissonance

VII-32. Keep the stupid, noisy ones away from us.

VII-33. Of Bacchus and his Revellers, the Race / Of that wilde Rout that tore the Thracian Bard / In Rhodope, where Woods and Rocks had Eares / To rapture, till the savage clamor dround / Both Harp and Voice; nor could the Muse defend / Her Son.

VII-33. The Muse, Calliope, couldn't save her son, Orpheus. His music charmed even the trees and rocks till the drunken mob killed him.

VII-38. So fail not thou, who thee implores: / For thou art Heav'nlie, shee an empty dreame.

VII-38. But that won't happen to us because you really are from Heaven, not just a Greek myth, right?

VII-40. Say Goddess, what ensu'd when Raphael, / The affable Arch-Angel, had forewarn'd / Adam by dire example to beware / Apostasie, by what befell in Heaven / To those Apostates, least the like befall / In Paradise to Adam or his Race, / Charg'd not to touch the interdicted Tree, / If they transgress, and slight that sole command, / So easily obeyd amid the choice / Of all tastes else to please thir appetite,

VII-40. So, what happened after Raphael warned Adam that the same thing that happened to the bad angels could happen to him if he touched the forbidden tree?

VII-50. Though wandring. He with his consorted Eve / The storie heard attentive, and was fill'd / With admiration, and deep Muse to heare / Of things so high and strange, things to thir thought / So unimaginable as hate in Heav'n, / And Warr so neer the Peace of God in bliss / With such confusion: but the evil soon / Driv'n back redounded as a flood on those / From whom it sprung, impossible to mix / With Blessedness.

VII-50. He and his wife had listened carefully and were fascinated, hearing about things they could never have imagined, like the war in Heaven.

VII-59. Whence Adam soon repeal'd / The doubts that in his heart arose: and now / Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know / What neerer might concern him, how this World / Of Heav'n and Earth conspicious first began, / When, and whereof created, for what cause, / What within Eden or without was done / Before his memorie, as one whose drouth / Yet scarce allay'd still eyes the current streame, / Whose liquid murmur heard new thirst excites,

VII-59. Adam was so impressed with Raphael's story that he became thirsty to hear more—like how and why the world was created, and what all happened before he was born.

VII-69. Proceeded thus to ask his Heav'nly Guest. / Great things, and full of wonder in our eares,

VII-69. So Adam said to Raphael: “That was quite a story, sir!

VII-71. Farr differing from this World, thou hast reveal'd / Divine interpreter, by favour sent / Down from the Empyrean to forewarne / Us timely of what might else have bin our loss, / Unknown, which human knowledg could not reach: / For which to the infinitly Good we owe / Immortal thanks,

VII-71. We thank God for sending you to us. You warned us about things we wouldn’t have known anything about otherwise, which could have been disastrous for us.

VII-77. and his admonishment / Receave with solemne purpose to observe / Immutably his sovran will, the end / Of what we are.

VII-77. Now we're more determined than ever to obey his will forever.

VII-80. But since thou hast voutsaf't / Gently for our instruction to impart / Things above Earthly thought, which yet concernd / Our knowing, as to highest wisdom seemd, / Deign to descend now lower, and relate / What may no less perhaps availe us known,

VII-80. And since you have been kind enough to teach us these wonderful high things, I was just wondering if maybe you might also be willing to tell us some more about some other things that it might be good for us to know about?

VII-86. How first began this Heav'n which we behold / Distant so high, with moving Fires adornd / Innumerable, and this which yeelds or fills / All space, the ambient Aire, wide interfus'd / Imbracing round this florid Earth,

VII-86. Like, for example, how did the sky with all the stars come to be? And the air that flows over all the plants and trees?

VII-90. what cause / Mov'd the Creator in his holy Rest / Through all Eternitie so late to build / In Chaos, and the work begun, how soon / Absolv'd,

VII-90. And what prompted the Creator in the first place, at this point in all eternity, to decide to create this world out of nothing? And how long did it take him to do it?

VII-94. if unforbid thou maist unfould / What wee, not to explore the secrets aske / Of his Eternal Empire, but the more / To magnifie his works, the more we know.

VII-94. If it's not forbidden for you to reveal these things to us, we want to know them, not to be nosey about God's secrets, but because the more we know about his creation, the more we will admire him.

VII-98. And the great Light of Day yet wants to run / Much of his Race though steep, suspens in Heav'n / Held by thy voice, thy potent voice he heares, / And longer will delay to heare thee tell / His Generation, and the rising Birth / Of Nature from the unapparent Deep:

VII-98. I'll bet Daylight will slow down just to hear you tell about how it was created, and how Nature was born.

VII-104. Or if the Starr of Eevning and the Moon / Haste to thy audience, Night with her will bring / Silence,

VII-104. And if the Evening Star and the Moon come out to hear your story, Night will make everything quiet so they can hear.

VII-106. and Sleep listning to thee will watch, / Or we can bid his absence, till thy Song / End, and dismiss thee ere the Morning shine. / Thus Adam his illustrious Guest besought:

VII-106. And Sleep will wait and listen too, or we'll tell him to go away until you finish your story.

VII-110. And thus the Godlike Angel answerd milde. / This also thy request with caution askt / Obtaine: though to recount Almightie works / What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice, / Or heart of man suffice to comprehend?

VII-110. The angel answered, “I'll grant your request, though it's hard to put into words that you can understand what great things God can do.

VII-115. Yet what thou canst attain, which best may serve / To glorifie the Maker, and inferr / Thee also happier, shall not be withheld / Thy hearing, such Commission from above / I have receav'd, to answer thy desire

VII-115. But God told me to answer whatever questions you may have in ways you can understand, to make you happy and better able to glorify him.

VII-120. Of knowledge within bounds; beyond abstain / To ask, nor let thine own inventions hope / Things not reveal'd, which th' invisible King, / Onely Omniscient hath supprest in Night, / To none communicable in Earth or Heaven: / Anough is left besides to search and know.

VII-120. But some things are none of your business, and those things you shouldn't ask about or even try to imagine.

VII-126. But Knowledge is as food, and needs no less / Her Temperance over Appetite, to know / In measure what the mind may well contain, / Oppresses else with Surfet, and soon turns / Wisdom to Folly, as Nourishment to Winde.

VII-126. Knowledge is like food, and when you seek too much it turns into nonsense, the way too much food turns into gas.

. . .




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