Marvell, “The Mower Against Gardens”

The Mower Against Gardens

THE MOWER, AGAINST GARDENS.

LUXURIOUS man, to bring his vice in use,
Did after him the world seduce,
And from the fields the flowers and plants allure,
Where Nature was most plain and pure.
He first inclosed within the gardens square
A dead and standing pool of air,
And a more luscious earth for them did knead,
Which stupefied them while it fed.
The pink grew then as double as his mind ;
The nutriment did change the kind.                      10
With strange perfumes he did the roses taint;
And flowers themselves were taught to paint.
The tulip white did for complexion seek,
And learned to interline its cheek ;
Its onion root they then so high did hold,
That one was for a meadow sold :
Another world was searched through oceans new,
To find the marvel of Peru ;
And yet these rarities might be allowed
To man, that sovereign thing and proud,              20
Had he not dealt between the bark and tree,
Forbidden mixtures there to see.
No plant now knew the stock from which it came ;
He grafts upon the wild the tame,
That the uncertain and adulterate fruit
Might put the palate in dispute.
His green seraglio has its eunuchs too,
Lest any tyrant him outdo ;
And in the cherry he does Nature vex,
To procreate without a sex.                                30
‘Tis all enforced, the fountain and the grot,
While the sweet fields do lie forgot,
Where willing Nature does to all dispense
A wild and fragrant innocence ;
And fauns and fairies do the meadows till
More by their presence than their skill.
Their statues polished by some ancient hand,
May to adorn the gardens stand ;
But, howsoe’er the figures do excel,
The Gods themselves with us do dwell.  40

Oxford English Dictionary’s Definition of Providence

1. a. Foresight; anticipation of and preparation for the future; prudent management, government, or guidance. Also: an instance of this. Now rare.

a1382 Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Bodl. 959) Wisd. vi. 17 In hys weies it shal shewen itself to {th}em, & gladsumly in alle prouydence [a1425 L.V. puruyaunce; L. providentia] or bifore ordeynyng [1611 in every thought, R.V. purpose], it shal a{ygh}en comen to {th}em. a1450 (?c1421) LYDGATE Siege Thebes (Arun.) 2982 Wher prudence can fynde no socour And prouidence haueth no favour, Farwel wisdam. 1485 Malory’s Morte Darthur I. vi. sig. a.v, The Archebisshop..by Merlyns prouydence lete purueye thenne of the best knyghtes that they myghte gete. a1500 Sidrak & Bokkus (Lansd.) 10703 Good wisdom and prouidence Most be chef parcel of thi deffence. 1548 Hall’s Vnion: Edward IV f. clxxxixv, In compassyng and bryngyng greate thynges to passe, there lacked no industrie, nor prouidence. 1590 W. SEGAR Bk. Honor & Armes A 2v, No prouidence can preuent the questions and quarrels that daylie happen among Gentlemen and others professing Armes. 1622 BACON Hist. Great Brit. in Wks. (1879) I. 796/1 In this matter the providence of king Henry the seventh was in all men’s mouths. 1702 Eng. Theophrastus 379 This is not to exclude that providence of tracing premisses into consequences and causes into their effects. 1768 J. WESLEY Let. 26 Nov. (1931) V. 113 There seems to have been a particular providence in Hannah Harrison’s coming to Beverley, especially at that very time when a peace-maker was so much wanting. 1867 F. D. MAURICE Patriarchs & Law-givers (1877) vi. 134 The creature who bears His image is intended to exercise providence. 1881 R. L. STEVENSON Virginibus Puerisque 174 Into the views of the least careful there will enter some degree of providence. 2003 National Rev. (Nexis) 10 Mar., One important way to exercise this providence is to take care not to foul our habitat.

b. spec. Regard for future needs in the management of resources; thrift, frugality.

1608 T. HEYWOOD Rape Lucrece sig. F v, We must be carefull and with prouidence Guide his domestick busines. 1620 Horæ Subsecivæ 105 They that spend more then they haue, want gouernment: they that spend all, Prouidence. 1743 J. DOWNES Serm. preached in Sheffield, 26th Aug. 1742 27, I should flatter you to say there are not some amongst you who, though they have the Diligence of the Bee, yet want the Providence of the Ant. 1848 J. S. MILL Princ. Polit. Econ. (1876) I. xiii. §1 117/2 [It] renders the increase of production no longer exclusively dependent on the thrift or providence of the inhabitants themselves. 1857 J. RUSKIN Polit. Econ. Art i. 8 When there should have been providence, there has been waste. 1885 LD. PEMBROKE in Pall Mall Gaz. 23 May 2/1 The providence which is all that is necessary in a rich country like ours to bring material prosperity to the labouring class. 1941 P. HAMILTON Hangover Square (1974) 130 Unlike herself.., he had a curious but ineraseable streak of providence, and possessed a certain sum of money in his bank. 2000 Guardian (Nexis) 25 Mar. 9 Isas were introduced to make savers out of everyone and encourage prudence and providence.

2. In full providence of God (also nature, etc.) , divine providence. The foreknowing and protective care of God (or nature, etc.); divine direction, control, or guidance.

a1382 Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Bodl. 959) Wisd. xiv. 3 {Th}ou..fader, gouernyst bi prouydence [L. providentia, Gk. {pi}{rho}{goacu}{nu}{omicron}{iota}{alpha}; a1425 L.V. puruyaunce]. c1450 (?c1400) Three Kings Cologne (Cambr. Ee.4.32) 35 God, whos prouidence in his ordinance faile{th} no{ygh}t. 1483 CAXTON tr. J. de Voragine Golden Legende 121/2 He was in hys chyldhode sette to studye whereby dyuyne prouydence he floured in double science. a1500 (c1400) St. Erkenwald 161 {Th}e prouidens of {th}e prince {th}at paradis weldes. 1553 T. WILSON Arte of Rhetorique I. f. 31, Nature by her prouidence, myndeth vnto vs a certain immortalitie. 1587 SIR P. SIDNEY & A. GOLDING tr. P. de Mornay Trewnesse Christian Relig. ix. 151 What else is Prouidence, than the will of God vttered foorth with Reason, and orderly disposed by vnderstanding? 1632 W. LITHGOW Totall Disc. Trav. x. 471 Thy Bookes..are miraculously Translated by her [sc. the Virgin Mary’s] speciall prouidence. 1663 J. SPENCER Disc. Prodigies (1665) 298 Those..signs with which the Providence of Nature..was noted to preface her works of greater note. 1676 W. HUBBARD Happiness of People 36 Creation and providence are the issues of the same Being and Power. 1727 D. DEFOE Ess. Hist. Apparitions iv. 37 Providence..which is..the administration of Heaven’s Government in the World. 1776 GIBBON Decline & Fall I. Notes p. lxxxv/1 The providence of the gods..for the most part destroyed the books of the Pyrrhonians and Epicureans. 1808 LD. ERSKINE in Parl. Deb. 1st Ser. 10 929 Surrounded by that impregnable moat with which the Divine Providence has fortified this island. 1854 H. H. MILMAN Hist. Lat. Christianity (1864) II. III. vii. 150 That the ordinary providence of God gave place to a perpetual interposition of miraculous power. 1883 Pall Mall Gaz. 19 Nov. 12/2 Calmly, lovingly, and indulgingly trusting to God’s providence. 1930 Amer. Mercury Jan. 6/1 The next step was an accident, one of a series that has displayed God’s providence to Mormonry. 1963 M. L. KING Strength to Love viii. 60 The Israelites, through the providence of God, crossed the Red Sea. 2000 D. ALLEN in A. Hastings et al. Oxf. Compan. Christian Thought 538/2 Biblical history is directed by divine providence toward the realization of the Kingdom of God.

{dag}3. That which is provided; a supply, a provision. Cf. PROVIDING n. 2, PROVIDANCE n. 1. Obs.

c1450 Pilgrimage Lyfe Manhode (Cambr.) 74 Memorie..is thing riht necessarie to alle thilke that wolen make here ordinaunce and here prouidence [Fr. providence] of any wit or science. a1470 MALORY Morte Darthur (Winch. Coll.) 947 Whan he kneled downe to drynke of the welle, there he saw grete provydence of the Sankgreall. c1484 J. DE CARITATE tr. Secreta Secret. (Takamiya) 141 To por folk..{th}at haue chyldyr lyckely to lernne, {th}i prouydens schuld help to {th}er fyndyng. [1706 Phillips’s New World of Words (ed. 6), Providentia, Providence… In some old Records, Provision of Meat or Drink.]

4. The action of providing something; provision, preparation, arrangement. Chiefly in to make providence. Cf. PROVIDANCE n. 2. Now rare.

?a1475 (?a1425) tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Harl.) (1879) VII. 115 God schalle make providence [for a king] after hym [TREVISA God schal purveie, L. providebit Deus]. 1488 HARY Actis & Deidis Schir William Wallace IX. 77 Gud Wallace than has maid his prouidance. a1533 LD. BERNERS tr. A. de Guevara Golden Boke M. Aurelius (1546) R iij b, Sodeyn death came to the fathers, and no prouidence made for the doughters. 1547 Bk. Marchauntes e v b, That they maye make suche prouidens and remedy that the vengeaunce of God do not fall on the poore peopel.
2004 Herald (Torquay) Express (Nexis) 11 June 16 An efficient business makes providence for future expected upkeep and does not squander current income.

5. a. An act or instance of divine intervention; an event or circumstance which indicates divine dispensation.
special providence, a particular act of direct divine intervention.

c1540 J. BELLENDEN tr. H. Boece Hyst. & Cron. Scotl. XII. xvi. f. clxxxv/1, Ye haly croce..was not cumin but sum heuinly prouydence. a1632 T. TAYLOR Christs Victorie over Dragon (1633) 807 Wee meane those speciall providences, by which the former floods were dryed up. 1651 MRQ. ORMONDE in G. F. Warner Nicholas Papers (1886) I. 279 The King being by an eminent and high providence escaped the bloody hands of the Rebells is arived at Paris. 1719 D. DEFOE Life Robinson Crusoe 175 How can he sweeten the bitterest Providences. 1784 E. ALLEN Reason x. §1. 347 Admitting the first three propositions to be true, to wit, that there are three Gods..their essences and providences would interfere. 1801 W. HUNTINGTON God Guardian of Poor Ded. p. iii, Those providences which appear rather out of the common line are hard nuts in the mouth of a weak believer. 1857 Harper’s Mag. Dec. 84/1 [It] made it seem like a special providence that the great water-doctor should have been born in a country where douches and bandages were so convenient. 1871 J. TYNDALL Fragm. Sci. (1879) II. ii. 11 The miracle of the Thundering Legion was a special providence. 1911 J. MUNRO F. J. Furnivall: Rec. p. xvii, A special providence seems to have guarded over Furnivall on his remigatory excursions. 1976 P. DONOVAN Relig. Lang. iv. 40 Particular phenomena like miracles, providences, answered prayers, prophetic utterances and conversions. 1999 A. WALSHAM Providence in Early Mod. Eng. v. 229 ‘Special providences’ and miracles were not spontaneous or impromptu interventions; they were events for which God had foreseen the need.

b. Chiefly U.S. regional (east.). A fatality or disastrous accident, regarded as an act of God. Now rare.

1645 New Haven Colonial Rec. 162 The judgem[en]t of the Court was thatt itt was an afflicting providence of God w[hi]ch the said Barnes was to beare himselfe. 1684 I. MATHER Ess. Illustrious Providences xi. 339 There hapned a most awful providence at Farmington in Connecticot Colony. 1721 Essex Inst. Coll. 60 289 Mr. Nathl. Higginson… Dyed on March 10… An awfull Providence this is to..Madm. Higginson & the family of the Higginson. 1740 J. WESLEY Wks. (1872) I. 290, I was informed of an awful providence. 1809 E. A. KENDALL Trav. Northern Parts U.S. III. lxxxv. 292 The phrase a providence..in New England..appears to be more frequently used for that which is disastrous but which is at the same time to be regarded and submitted to as the act of God. 1814 Connecticut Courant 1 Mar. 3/2 Distressing Providence.{em}On Wednesday last as John N. Olcott..was scating on Connecticut river..he..broke in and drowned. 1837 S. S. ARNOLD in Proc. Vermont Hist. Soc. (1940) 8 129 In the morning a dreadful providence occurred. The Charlestown stage with 5 passengers and the driver fell with Cold river bridge, while crossing, into the stream. 1865 Herald & Torch Light (Hagerstown, Maryland) 7 June 3/3 We tender to his surviving family our..profound sympathies in the afflicting Providence which has deprived our people of one of the best of men. 1954 Landmark (Statesville, N. Carolina) 16 Mar. 2/3 Many of the strange and terrible providences of God..may be punishment.

6. a. Usu. in form Providence. God or nature as exercising prescient and beneficent power and direction.

1602 W. WARNER Albions Eng. (rev. ed.) XIII. lxxviii. 321 Whom if yee Nature call (saith One) yee call him not amis… Or Prouidence, whose acting power doth all begin and end. 1691 J. NORRIS Pract. Disc. Divine Subj. 219 No Man is too little and despicable for the notice of Providence, however he may be overlook’d by his Fellow-Creatures. 1704 DE FOE in 15th Rep. Hist. MSS. Comm. App. IV. 88 What Providence has reserved for me he only knows. 1782 W. COWPER Conversation in Poems 437 The mind, dispatched upon her busy toil, Should range where Providence has blest the soil. 1813 T. JEFFERSON Let. 24 May in Writings (1984) 1272 It has been the will of Providence to raise up..a tyrant. 1842 A. ALISON Hist. Europe X. lxxviii. 1013 Moreau expressed a fact of general application, explained according to the irreligious ideas of the French Revolution, when he said, that ‘Providence was always on the side of dense battalions’. 1894 S. BARING-GOULD Queen of Love II. 59, I am not one to fly in the face of Providence. 1934 G. B. SHAW Let. in Times 2 Jan. 11/5 An announcer who pronounced decadent and sonorous as dekkadent and sonnerus would provoke Providence to strike him dumb. 1959 M. SPARK Memento Mori (1961) 111 As if tempting Providence to send them another, avenging, Tempest, they transferred Sister Burstead..to another ward. 1994 T. CLANCY Debt of Honor xlvi. 755 Sato thanked Providence for the timing of the event.

{dag}b. The lot assigned to an individual by Providence. Obs. nonce-use.

a1661 T. FULLER Worthies (1662) Cambr. 152 Stephen de Fulborn..Going over into Ireland to seek his Providence (commonly nicknamed his fortune)..became..Bishop of Waterford.

{dag}c. colloq. In extended use: a person who acts as, or appears to have the power of, Providence. Obs.

1814 WORDSWORTH Excursion III. 121 My Guardian;{em}shall I say That earthly Providence. 1856 R. W. EMERSON Eng. Traits xi. 195 ‘They might be little Providences on earth,’ said my friend, ‘and they are, for the most part, jockeys and fops.’ 1886 P. ROBINSON Valley Teetotum Trees 28 Man is the Providence of the goose and..it is well that we should..generously condescend to sympathy with it. 1895 Daily News 30 May 6/5 The Providence of the officers who were sent to stay at St. Petersburg was Mlle. Georges.

Essay Formatting Requirements

– 3-5 pages in length.  Times New Roman font (no bigger than 12 point), double spaced, with one-inch margins.

– a title that gives an indication of what you are going to discuss.

– pages numbered.

– a minimum of three quotations, properly cited.

– a works cited page.

I hope it is obvious that I expect proper spelling and punctuation. I will be happy to answer questions via e-mail, and encourage you to talk to me about any concerns that you might have.  I’m happy to look over parts of your essay, providing that you give me sufficient notice, so if you are unsure about something, please get in touch. Your thesis is your anchor; make sure that at the end of each paragraph, you check that your point somehow relates to the thesis you are trying to prove, and it is not a digression.

Bring a hard copy to class, and e-mail me a draft at LouiseCGeddes@aol.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

LG

Extra Credit Assignment

Due: 12/08, on the blog.

The assignment is simple: imagine that you are making a text from this class into a modern-day movie (and by modern day, we can say post 1985), aimed at making the text relevant for a contemporary audience.  Explain where you would relocate the setting to (and don’t forget to explain why), and suggest casting ideas.  The aim is to re-imagine the text, while staying true to your chosen piece of literature.  You can tinker with minor aspects of your literary text, but you can’t change major parts of the book to fit the movie.
I’m interested in how creative you can be, and your thought process behind your project – this is supposed to be fun, so be as silly or outlandish as you like, as long as you offer up an honest rendering of the text you have chosen.  No limit on length, and no specific formatting requirements.

Paradise Lost – The Argument

Verse

THE Measure is English Heroic Verse without Rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and Virgil in Latin; Rime being no necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Meeter; grac’t indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets, carried away by Custom, but much to thir own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse then else they would have exprest them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian, and Spanish Poets of prime note have rejected Rime both in longer and shorter Works, as have also long since our best English Tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, triveal, and of no true musical delight; which consists onely in apt Numbers, fit quantity of Syllables, and the sense variously  drawn out from one Verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoyded by the learned Ancients both in Poetry and all good Oratory. This neglect then of Rime so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar Readers, that it rather is to be esteem’d an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recover’d to heroic Poem from the troublesom and modern bondage of Rimeing.

BOOK I. THE ARGUMENT.

This first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole Subject, Man’s disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was plac’t: Then touches the prime cause of his fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who revolting from God, and drawing to his side many Legions of Angels, was by the command of God driven out of Heaven with all his Crew into the great Deep. Which action past over, the Poem hasts into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now fallen into Hell, describ’d here, not in the Center (for Heaven and Earth may be suppos’d as yet not made, certainly not yet accurst) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest call’d Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning Lake, thunder-struck and astonisht, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in Order and Dignity lay by him; they confer of thir miserable fall. Satan awakens all his Legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded; They rise, thir Numbers, array of Battel, thir chief Leaders nam’d, according to the Idols known afterwards in Canaan and the Countries adjoyning. To these Satan directs his Speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new World and new kind of Creature to be created, according to an ancient Prophesie or report in Heaven; for that Angels were long before this visible Creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this Prophesie, and what to determin thereon he refers to a full Councel. What his Associates thence attempt. Pandemonium the Palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the Deep: The infernal Peers there sit in Councel.

BOOK II. THE ARGUMENT

The Consultation begun, Satan debates whether another Battel be to be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: some advise it, others dissuade: A third proposal is prefer’d, mention’d before by Satan, to search the truth of that Prophesie or Tradition in Heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature equal or not much inferiour to themselves, about this time to be created: Thir doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search: Satan thir chief undertakes alone the voyage, is honourd and applauded. The Councel thus ended, the rest betake them several wayes and to several imployments, as thir inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to Hell Gates, finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them, by whom at length they are op’nd, and discover to him the great Gulf between Hell and Heaven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new World which he sought.

BOOK III. THE ARGUMENT

God sitting on his Throne sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shews him to the Son who sat at his right hand; foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own Justice and Wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free and able enough to have withstood his Tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduc’t. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man; but God again declares, that Grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine justice; Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to God-head, and therefore with all his Progeny devoted to death must dye, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his Punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a Ransome for Man: the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all Names in Heaven and Earth; commands all the Angels to adore him; they obey, and hymning to thir Harps in full Quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Mean while Satan alights upon the bare Convex of this Worlds outermost Orb; where wandring he first finds a place since call’d The Lymbo of Vanity; what persons and things fly up thither; thence comes to the Gate of Heaven, describ’d ascending by staires, and the waters above the Firmament that flow about it: His passage thence to the Orb of the Sun; he finds there Uriel the Regent of that Orb, but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner Angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new Creation and Man whom God had plac’t here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed; alights first on Mount Niphates.

BOOK IV. THE ARGUMENT

Satan now in prospect of Eden, and nigh the place where he must now attempt the bold enterprize which he undertook alone against God and Man, falls into many doubts with himself, and many passions, fear, envy, and despare; but at length confirms himself in evil, journeys on to Paradise, whose outward prospect and scituation is discribed, overleaps the bounds, sits in the shape of a Cormorant on the Tree of life, as highest in the Garden to look about him. The Garden describ’d; Satans first sight of Adam and Eve; his wonder at thir excellent form and happy state, but with resolution to work thir fall; overhears thir discourse, thence gathers that the Tree of knowledge was forbidden them to eat of, under penalty of death; and thereon intends to found his Temptation, by seducing them to transgress: then leaves them a while, to know further of thir state by some other means. Mean while Uriel descending on a Sun-beam warns Gabriel, who had in charge the Gate of Paradise, that some evil spirit had escap’d the Deep, and past at Noon by his Sphere in the shape of a good Angel down to Paradise, discovered after by his furious gestures in the Mount. Gabriel promises to find him ere morning. Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to thir rest: thir Bower describ’d; thir Evening worship. Gabriel drawing forth his Bands of Night-watch to walk the round of Paradise, appoints two strong Angels to Adams Bower, least the evill spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping; there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel; by whom question’d, he scornfully answers, prepares resistance, but hinder’d by a Sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.

BOOK V. THE ARGUMENT

Morning approacht, Eve relates to Adam her troublesome dream; he likes it not, yet comforts her: They come forth to thir day labours: Thir Morning Hymn at the Door of thir Bower. God to render Man inexcusable sends Raphael to admonish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand; who he is, and why his enemy, and whatever else may avail Adam to know. Raphael comes down to Paradise, his appearance describ’d, his coming discern’d by Adam afar off sitting at the door of his Bower; he goes out to meet him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choycest fruits of Paradise got together by Eve; thir discourse at Table: Raphael performs his message, minds Adam of his state and of his enemy; relates at Adams request who that enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first revolt in Heaven, and the occasion thereof; how he drew his Legions after him to the parts of the North, and there incited them to rebel with him, perswading all but only Abdiel a Seraph, who in Argument diswades and opposes him, then forsakes him.

BOOK VI. THE ARGUMENT

Raphael continues to relate how Michael and Gabriel were sent forth to battel against Satan and his Angels. The first Fight describ’d: Satan and his Powers retire under Night: He calls a Councel, invents devilish Engines, which in the second dayes Fight put Michael and his Angels to some disorder; But they at length pulling up Mountains overwhelm’d both the force and Machins of Satan: Yet the Tumult not so ending, God on the third day sends Messiah his Son, for whom he had reserv’d the glory of that Victory: Hee in the Power of his Father coming to the place, and causing all his Legions to stand still on either side, with his Chariot and Thunder driving into the midst of his Enemies, pursues them unable to resist towards the wall of Heaven; which opening, they leap down with horrour and confusion into the place of punishment prepar’d for them in the Deep: Messiah returns with triumph to his Father.

BOOK VII THE ARGUMENT

Raphael at the request of Adam relates how and wherefore this world was first created; that God, after the expelling of Satan and his Angels out of Heaven, declar’d his pleasure to create another World and other Creatures to dwell therein; sends his Son with Glory and attendance of Angels to perform the work of Creation in six dayes: the Angels celebrate with Hymns the performance thereof, and his reascention into Heaven.

BOOK VIII. THE ARGUMENT

Adam inquires concerning celestial Motions, is doubtfully answer’d, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledg: Adam assents, and still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remember’d since his own Creation, his placing in Paradise, his talk with God concerning solitude and fit society, his first meeting and Nuptials with Eve, his discourse with the Angel thereupon; who after admonitions repeated departs.

BOOK IX. THE ARGUMENT

Satan having compast the Earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist by Night into Paradise, enters into the Serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the Morning go forth to thir labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not, alledging the danger, lest that Enemy, of whom they were forewarn’d, should attempt her found alone: Eve loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make tryal of her strength; Adam at last yields: The Serpent finds her alone; his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above all other Creatures. Eve wondring to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attain’d to human speech and such understanding not till now; the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain Tree in the Garden he attain’d both to Speech and Reason, till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that Tree, and finds it to be the Tree of Knowledge forbidden: The Serpent now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat; she pleas’d with the taste deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam or not, at last brings him of the Fruit, relates what perswaded her to eat thereof: Adam at first amaz’d, but perceiving her lost, resolves through vehemence of love to perish with her; and extenuating the trespass, eats also of the Fruit: The Effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover thir nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.

BOOK X. THE ARGUMENT

Mans transgression known, the Guardian Angels forsake Paradise, and return up to Heaven toapprove thir vigilance, and are approv’d, God declaring that The entrance of Satan could not be by them prevented. He sends his Son to judge the Transgressors, who descends and gives Sentence accordingly; then in pity cloaths them both, and reascends. Sin and Death sitting till then at the Gates of Hell, by wondrous sympathie feeling the success of Satan in this new World, and the sin by Man there committed, resolve to sit no longer confin’d in Hell, but to follow Satan thir Sire up to the place of Man: To make the way easier from Hell to this World to and fro, they pave a broad Highway or Bridge over Chaos, according to the Track that Satan first made; then preparing for Earth, they meet him proud of his success returning to Hell; thir mutual gratulation. Satan arrives at Pandemonium, in full of assembly relates with boasting his success against Man; instead of applause is entertained with a general hiss by all his audience, transform’d with himself also suddenly into Serpents, according to his doom giv’n in Paradise; then deluded with a shew of the forbidden Tree springing up before them, they greedily reaching to take of the Fruit, chew dust and bitter ashes. The proceedings of Sin and Death; God foretels the final Victory of his Son over them, and the renewing of all things; but for the present commands his Angels to make several alterations in the Heavens and Elements. Adam more and more perceiving his fall’n condition heavily bewailes, rejects the condolement of Eve; she persists and at length appeases him: then to evade the Curse likely to fall on thir Ofspring, proposes to Adam violent wayes which he approves not, but conceiving better hope, puts her in mind of the late Promise made them, that her Seed should be reveng’d on the Serpent, and exhorts her with him to seek Peace of the offended Deity, by repentance and supplication.

BOOK XI. THE ARGUMENT

The Son of God presents to his Father the Prayers of our first Parents now repenting, and intercedes for them: God accepts them, but declares that they must no longer abide in Paradise; sends Michael with a Band of Cherubim to dispossess them; but first to reveal to Adam future things: Michaels coming down. Adam shews to Eve certain ominous signs; he discerns Michaels approach, goes out to meet him: the Angel denounces thir departure. Eve’s Lamentation. Adam pleads, but submits: The Angel leads him up to a high Hill, sets before him in vision what shall happ’n till the Flood.

BOOK XII THE ARGUMENT

The Angel Michael continues from the Flood to relate what shall succeed; then, in the mention of Abraham, comes by degrees to explain, who that Seed of the Woman shall be, which was promised Adam and Eve in the Fall; his Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, and Ascention; the state of the Church till his second Coming. Adam greatly satisfied and recomforted by these Relations and Promises descends the Hill with Michael; wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, but with gentle dreams compos’d to quietness of mind and submission. Michael in either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery Sword waving behind them, and the Cherubim taking thir Stations to guard the Place.

Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe

 

    Pyramus and Thisbe, he the loveliest youth, and she the most sought after girl, the East held, lived in neighbouring houses, in the towering city of Babylon, that Semiramis is said to have enclosed with walls of brick. Their nearness and their first childhood steps made them acquainted and in time love appeared. They would have agreed to swear the marriage oath as well, but their parents prevented it. They were both on fire, with hearts equally captivated, something no parent can prevent. They had no one to confide all this to: nods and signs were their speech, and the more they kept the fire hidden, the more it burned.

    There was a fissure, a thin split, in the shared wall between their houses, which traced back to when it was built. No one had discovered the flaw in all those years – but what can love not detect? – You lovers saw it first, and made it a path for your voices. Your endearments passed that way, in safety, in the gentlest of murmurs. Often, when they were in place, Thisbe here, and Pyramus there, and they had each caught the sound of the other’s breath, they said ‘Unfriendly wall, why do you hinder lovers? How hard would it be for you to let our whole bodies meet, or if that is too much perhaps, to open to the kisses we give each other? Not that we are not grateful. We confess that we owe it to you that words are allowed to pass to loving ears’ So they talked, hopelessly, sitting opposite, saying, as night fell, ‘Farewell’, each touching the wall with kisses that could not reach the other side.

    One morning when Aurora had quenched the fires of night, and the sun’s rays had thawed the frosty grass, they came to their usual places. Then they decided, first with a little murmur of their great sorrows, to try, in the silence of night, to deceive the guards, and vanish outside. Once out of the house they would leave the city as well, and they agreed, in case they went astray crossing the open country, to meet by the grave of Ninus, and hide in the shelter of a tree. There was a tall mulberry tree there, dense with white berries, bordering a cool fountain. They were satisfied with their plan, and the light, slow to lose its strength, was drowned in the waters, and out of the same waters the night emerged.’

    ‘Carefully opening the door, Thisbe, slipped out, deceiving her people, and came to the tomb, her face veiled, and seated herself under the tree they had agreed on. Love made her brave. But a lioness fresh from the kill, her jaws foaming, smeared with the blood of cattle, came to slake her thirst at the nearby spring. In the moonlight, Babylonian Thisbe sees her some way off, and flees in fear to a dark cave, and as she flees, she leaves behind her fallen veil. When the fierce lioness has drunk deeply, returning towards the trees, she chances to find the flimsy fabric, without its owner, and rips it in her bloodstained jaws. Leaving the city a little later, Pyramus sees the creature’s tracks in the thick dust, and his face is drained of colour. When he also discovers the veil stained with blood, he cries, “Two lovers will be lost in one night. She was the more deserving of a long life. I am the guilty spirit. I have killed you, poor girl, who told you to come by night to this place filled with danger, and did not reach it first. O, all you lions, that live amongst these rocks, tear my body to pieces, and devour my sinful flesh in your fierce jaws! Though it is cowardly to ask for death”

    He picks up Thisbe’s veil, and carries it with him to the shadow of the tree they had chosen. Kissing the token, and wetting it with tears, he cries, “Now, be soaked in my blood too.” Having spoken he drove the sword he had been wearing into his side, and, dying, pulled it, warm, from the wound. As he lay back again on the ground, the blood spurted out, like a pipe fracturing at a weak spot in the lead, and sending long bursts of water hissing through the split, cutting through the air, beat by beat. Sprinkled with blood, the tree’s fruit turned a deep blackish-red, and the roots, soaked through, also imbued the same overhanging mulberries with the dark purplish colour.’

    ‘Now Thisbe returns, not yet free of fear, lest she disappoint her lover, and she calls for him with her eyes and in her mind, eager to tell him about the great danger she has escaped. Though she recognizes the place and the shape of the familiar tree, the colour of the berries puzzles her. She waits there: perhaps this is it. Hesitating, she sees quivering limbs writhing on the bloodstained earth, and starts back, terrified, like the sea, that trembles when the slightest breeze touches its surface, her face showing whiter than boxwood. But when, staying a moment longer, she recognises her lover, she cries out loud with grief, striking at her innocent arms, and tearing at her hair. Cradling the beloved body, she bathes his wounds with tears, mingling their drops with blood. Planting kisses on his cold face, she cries out ‘Pyramus, what misfortune has robbed me of you? Pyramus, answer me! Your dearest Thisbe calls to you: obey me, lift your fallen head!’ At Thisbe’s name, Pyramus raised his eyes, darkening with death, and having looked at her, buried them again in darkness.’

    ‘When she recognised her veil and saw the ivory scabbard without its sword, she said, “Unhappy boy, your own hand, and your love, have destroyed you! I too have a firm enough hand for once, and I, too, love. It will give me strength in my misfortune. I will follow you to destruction, and they will say I was a most pitiful friend and companion to you. He, who could only be removed from me by death, death cannot remove. Nevertheless I ask this for both of us, in uttering these words, O our poor parents, mine and his, do not deny us the right to be laid in one tomb, we whom certain love, and the strangest hour have joined. And you, the tree, that now covers the one poor body with your branches, and soon will cover two, retain the emblems of our death, and always carry your fruit darkened in mourning, a remembrance of the blood of us both.”

    Saying this, and placing the point under her heart, she fell forward onto the blade, still warm with his blood. Then her prayer moved the gods, and stirred her parents’ feelings, for the colour of the berry is blackish-red, when fully ripened, and what was left from the funeral pyres rests in a single urn.’