UnPoetia:Paradise Abridged/Book VIII

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The Argument


Adam, after having been explained by Raphael the creation of the world basically as it appears in the Book of Genesis in detail, inquires as to the nature of celestial motions, which Raphael doubtfully answers. Raphael then remembers what it was he was sent down to Earth to do in the first place (admonish Man of his obedience), and does it.

The Verse

The angel ended, having thus explained [1]
To Adam in great detail the making
Of the world, which I have over-gloss’d in
Laze, resting on the Seventh Sabbath Book.
Anyway, Adam, now in curious pangs, [5]
Realizing that this Earth were but a spot,
An atom, with the firmament compar’d
And all her number’d stars; now wonderèd
How nature wise and frugal could commit
Such disproportions. Ask’d our general [10]
Father of the visiting angel mild:
“Why’s this Earth so small, and its firmament
So big, if meant for only man and beast?”
Raphael sat mute, and at last answer’d:
God never really told us of his plan, [15]
Or of his design for the great cosmos:
Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb,
The centric and eccentric paths alike
Confound both Man and us, save th’ Almighty
Who authored all of it; their cause I can’t [20]
Explain, though at their purpose I can guess:
Let it speak the Maker’s magnificence,
He who is able to create all this,
An edifice too large for Man to fill.[1]
Besides, Heav’n is for thee too high to know: [25]
Think only what concerns thee and thy being;
Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there
Live, in what state, condition or degree—
That reminds me!” said then the angel quick,
“Adam, I know you know of a tree’s fruit [30]
Here in the Garden that is death to taste.
I have come here, sent down from Heav’n, to warn,
To admonish thee of thy obedience
And to reinforce here the Lord God’s law
And sole command: Adam, do not ever [35]
Eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge,
Ever, ever, ever, ever, or else.”
And at these words Adam our sir sat mute.
“That’s something I’ve always wondered,” said he,
“Why would God forbid that, knowledge, of Man? [40]
I mean, just think of the implications—”[2]
And here, for once, Raphael interrupts:
“Adam, just don’t do it. And tell your wife.”
And with these words th’ Archangel Raphael
Took flight, and left the Garden of Eden. [45]

Clicketh Here for Book IX

The Annotations

  1. This motive is in keeping with God’s general characterization of being something of an asshole.
  2. Think of the implications, indeed.