Paradise Regained by John Milton

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.

Paradise Regained by John Milton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thou Spirit who ledd’st this glorious Eremite
Into the Desert…
inspire,
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.

 

Paradise Lost by John Milton

classic-books-2

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.

Five Gold Stars

Paradise LostParadise Lost by John Milton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Quite a read for a poet! My first journey with an epic poem in its entirety, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Too many lines of good verses to name–phrases that inspired me for their deft command of language–and a great amount of passages that left me feeling triumphant. One of the simplest lines I liked the most, spoken to the Son: “Two days are therefore pass’d, the third is thine”; and a favorite passage, sung to the Creator: “Who seeks To lessen thee, against his purpose serves To manifest the more thy might: his evil Thou usest, and from thence creat’st more good.”

I was impressed with what creativity the characters’ experiences and emotions were developed. Story-wise, my favorite character is the Son, the unmatched warrior amid all the hosts of heaven who compassionately serves as intercessor for fallen humankind. This classic presents a challenge to me, both as a poet and as a novelist.