Paradise Lost. I have heard the title before, but it never clicked that it was a poem--a poem written without rhyme. I decided on impulse that I was going to read this book, until I realized what it was. But, I requested it anyways. And then it came....
I must say, though I did manage to read through the book, I did not understand most of it. And it took me two weeks. Try reading an unrhymed poem, 412 pages long, that you can't understand. It makes for slow reading.
However, the few parts that I did understand, I enjoyed. And if you can find the rhythm, it can be fun to read aloud. The spelling is a challenge though. Written in what I would call Old English (I have no idea if that's right, or even what Old English actually is), some of the words are spelled differently, and being a poem that must keep rhythm, other words are cut down (flower vs. flow'r, etc.). Again, when you get the hang of it, it can be fun to read.
The book is divided into twelve sections, called books.
~ Book I: Touches on the fall of Man a bit, then Satan's fall.
~ Book II: Satan and his legions decide whether to overtake Heaven, and whether there is or not another world.
~ Book III: God in Heaven sees Satan flying for the newly created world and tells what shall unfold. The Son offers Himself the ransom for man.
~ Book IV: Satan enters the world and begins to doubt. Gabriel is warned of his presence.
~ Book V: Eve relates a troublesome dream. Adam is warned, and told of Satan's fall.
~ Book VI: Some sort of battle between Satan and Michael in which the Son is sent and wins.
~ Book VII: At Adam's request, Raphael tells of Satan's fall and God's creation of Paradise. (Personally, this was my favorite part. The creation. I really liked how the account sounded in poem form. And from here on I had a better grasp on what was happening.)
~ Book VIII: Raphael and Adam still conversing.
~ Book IX: Satan enters the garden. Adam and Eve sin.
~ Book X: The guardian angels alert God who tells them it could not be avoided. Satan returns to his legions.
~ Book XI: The Son intercedes for Man. God declares they will not die but leave the garden. Michael is sent to tell Man, then takes Adam and tells him the future up to the Flood.
~ Book XII: Michael tells of the time from the Flood to the second Coming, then escorts Adam and Eve from the garden.
A few phrases I liked are:
-pg 214, lines 908-912 -pg 221, lines 111-114
But list'n not to his Temptations, warn This also thy request with caution askt Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard Obtain: though to recount Almighty works
By terrible Example the reward What words or tongue of Seraph can suffice,
Of disobedience; firm they might have stood, Or heart of man suffice to comprehend?
Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress.
-pg 251, lines 188-194
-pg 228, lines 249-252 But apt the Mind or Fancy is to rove
God saw the Light was good; Uncheckt, and of her roving is no end;
And light from darkness by the Hemisphere Til warn'd, or by experience taught, she learn
Divided; Light the Day, and Darkness Night That not to know at large of things remote
He nam'd. Thus was the first Day Ev'n and Morn: From use, obscure and subtle, but to know
That which before us lies in daily life,
-pg 391, lines 48-51 Is the prime Wisdom;
But God who oft descends to visit men
Unseen, and through thir habitations walks -pg 409, lines 561-564
To mark thir doings, them beholding soon, Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
Comes down to see thir City, ere the Tower And love with fear the only God, to walk
Obstruct Heav'n Tow'rs, and in derision sets As in his presence, ever to observe
Upon thir Tongues a various Spirit to rase His providence, and on him sole depend,
Quite out thir Native Language, and instead
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:
I have always hated poetry. Likely due the fact I had to work with it in school. But after reading this book, I think I enjoy it to a certain extent. Cheers to whomever has read/soon reads this book!!