Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thou Spirit who ledd’st this glorious Eremite
Into the Desert…
As thou art wont, my prompted Song else mute…
to tell of deeds
Above Heroic, though in secret done…
The Tempter who once deceived humankind in the Garden of Eden is back, generations later, to tempt the Son of God in the wilderness in Paradise Regained by John Milton.
I read the preceding epic poem, Paradise Lost, some years ago and finally read its coda here for the first time. That is, I initially didn’t know it was more of a coda and was thus surprised to find it so much shorter than the first poem, which is, of course, the length of a novel.
I now have a better idea of why Paradise Lost so often stands alone. It involves more characters and does tell more of an epic story, sweeping between heaven and earth with terrestrial business and celestial war.
Still, the poetess in me was again absorbed in Milton’s way with verse.
“Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules
Passions, Desires, and Fears, is more a King;
Which every wise and virtuous man attains:
And who attains not, ill aspires to rule
Cities of men…
Subject himself to Anarchy within…”
Though I’ll admit I got more of a thrill watching the Son as the dominant warrior in the first poem, it was also great listening to him outwit his artful adversary here. Then, after his deeds Above Heroic done before none but an audience of praising angels, what else does the Son do but have a meal, leave the site of triumph, and privately head back to his mother’s house?
Hm. What else indeed.
“…and now thou hast aveng’d
Supplanted Adam, and by vanquishing
Temptation, hast regain’d lost Paradise…
on thy glorious work
Now enter, and begin to save mankind.”
Here’s what I had to say about Paradise Lost.