Yale Class of 1975

Poetry Project, Week 15

Paradise Lost (excerpt)

Greatly instructed I shall hence depart,
Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill
Of knowledge, what this Vessel can contain;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
And love with fear the only God, to walk
As in his presence, ever to observe
His providence, and on him sole depend,
Merciful over all his works, with good
Still overcoming evil, and by small
Accomplishing great things, by things deem'd weak
Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise
By simple meek;  that suffering for Truth's sake
In fortitude to highest victory,
And to the faithful Death the Gate of Life;
Taught this by his example whom I now
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest.
To whom thus also th'Angel last repli'd:
This having learnt, thou hast attain'd the sum
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Stars
Thou know'st by name, and all th' ethereal Powers,
All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,
Or works of God in Heav'n, Air, Earth, or Sea,
And all the riches of this World enjoy'dst,
And all the rule, one Empire;  only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith,
Add Virtue, Patience, Temperance, add Love,
By name to come call'd Charity, the soul
Of all the rest:  then wilt thou not be loath
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A paradise within thee, happier far.

—John Milton, Book X11, verses 557-587

Mark Capaldini: Source material was the second (1674) edition of Milton.  Edition we used in English 25 in 1971-72 (our freshman year) was an edition by Merritt Y. Hughes, copyright 1962 by Odyssey Press / Bobbs Merrill, Indianapolis and New York. These verses appear towards the end of this epic poem.  For the first few verses, Adam is speaking to Michael the archangel.  Then Michael replies, as indicated in the text.  I consider this excerpt "Paradise Restored."