UnPoetia:Paradise Abridged/Book V

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The Argument


His speech on Mount Niphates cut short by the interjecting Gabriel, Satan flees Eden for a time, allowing the narrative agent to come at last to Adam and Eve, who are joined the following morn in their bower. God, to render Man inexcusable for their inevitable Sin, sends the Archangel Raphael down to admonish Man of his obedience and free estate. Raphael does this in part, but is distracted by small talk and winds up explaining a bunch of other stuff instead.

The Verse

Now morning shows her rosy head once more [1]
When Adam waked, so custom, from his sleep;
Stirred he once, and farted twice, bland vapors
Getting lost in Eden’s fragrant growth, for
Even farts smell pleasant in the Garden.[1] [5]
Laid next to him, unawaken’d, was Eve,
Who, even when sleeping, was really hot.
Adam, her hand touching, whispered thus: “Awake
My fairest, my espous’d, my latest found,
Heav’n’s last best gift, my ever new delight, [10]
Awake, the morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us, we lose the prime, to mark how spring
Our tended plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrrh. But seriously, get up.”
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye [15]
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake:
“O Sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection, glad I see
Thy face, and morn return’d, for I this night,
Such night till this I never pass’d, have dream’d, [20]
If dream’d, not as I oft am wont, of thee,
Works of day pass’d, or morrows next design,
But of offense and trouble—” “Eve Eve Eve,”
Interrupted here the caring Adam,
“You have nothing to worry about here [25]
In the Garden of Eden, now calm down.”
Meanwhile, in Heaven, up above all height,
Heaven’s high King the Lord Almighty God
Called to Him Raphael, the sociable
Spirit and competent Archangel[2] to [30]
Run an important errand down on Earth.
“Raphael,” said He, “thou hear’st what stir on Earth:
Satan from Hell ’scap’d through the darksome gulf,
Hath rais’d in Paradise, and how disturb’d
This night the human pair, how he designs [35]
In them at once to ruin all mankind.
Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade
Thou find’st him from the heat of noon retir’d,
To respite his day-labor with repast, [40]
And explain to him just what shit is up.”
Th’ Archangel understood, and with speed flew,
Hastening beyond all haste to Earth, his
Coming thus discerned, far off, by Adam,
Who, in the noon-time heat, was in his bow’r [45]
Shading himself from the heat of the Sun;
Th’ other half of this harmonious pair
Was off slaving in said heat preparing
Dinner, as had ought a woman do, for
Her much belovèd husband in the shade.[3] [50]
Thus Adam to his proper wife made call:
“Haste hither Eve, and get me a sandwich![4]
Also, I see’st a heavenly stranger
Coming—I hope for your sake the bow’r’s clean!”
Thus Adam off his ass movèd to greet [55]
The heavenly visiting Raphael,
And to he and his wife’s angelic guest
Thus said: “Native of Heav’n, for other place
None can then Heav’n such glorious shape contain,
Welcome to our bow’r! Would you like a tour?” [60]
Whom thus the Angelic Virtue answer’d mild:
“Adam, I therefore came, nor art thou such
Created, or such place hast here to dwell,
As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heav’n
To visit thee—” “Well great!” interrupted [65]
Adam, “Come right this way and I will show
You our humble bower mild. Would you like
To stay for dinner? My lovely wife has
Made sandwiches and pick’d ambrosial fruit.”
“I cannot stay for dinner,” spake th’ angel, [70]
“Rather I have come to explain to thee
The dire state of affairs: escap’d from Hell
A rebel angel proud with cruel intent—”
And interrupted here Adam once more: [5]
“Rebel angel?” Answer’d thus Raphael: [75]
“Oh, you do not know! Well then, I’ll explain.”

Clicketh Here for Book VI

The Annotations

  1. The notion of pleasant-smelling bowel movements was an appealing one to Milton.
  2. Competent in contrast to Uriel, who was a decidedly incompetent angel.
  3. This model of male-female relations was actually considered relatively progressive in the early 1600s.
  4. Milton was a well-known admirer of the Earl of Sandwich. This enthusiasm could explain Adam’s anachronistic request—in Milton’s day, the sandwich was an exciting new invention.
  5. Ironically, Adam’s interruption leads to Raphael explaining a great deal of tangential information, which actually accounts for about a fifth of the poem.