Thursday, December 2, 2010

And malt does more than Milton can / To justify God's ways to man.

Right around the time I was finishing Don Quixote, Paul posted his notes on reading Milton’s Areopagitica and Of Education, and it seems he’s currently working through Milton’s English poetry, including Paradise Lost. My own reading project has been idling due to “life circumstances” and personal wishy-washy-ness, so… why not?

As of today I have read:

  • Literary introductions and biographical sketches
    • Harold Bloom’s introductory notes on Milton from The Best Poems of the English Language
    • Burton Raffel’s introduction to The Annotated Milton
    • Gordon Teskey’s “The Life of John Milton,” from the Norton Critical Edition of Paradise Lost
    • Dr. Eliot’s introductory note to The Harvard Classics, Volume 4
  • Actual poetic thingumies
    • “A Paraphrase on Psalm 114”
    • “Psalm 136”
    • “On The Death of a Fair Infant”
    • “At A Vacation Exercise”

I was in the midst of reading “On The Morning of Christ’s Nativity” when I began to nod off and figured I better get this written. “Christ’s Nativity” looks to be the first of the poems worth reading for the sake of the poem. The four poems I’ve read have been early poems and aren’t exactly remarkable, though it is somewhat interesting to see the young Milton’s attempt at a literary rendering of Psalms 114 and 136.

Let us with a gladsom mind

Praise the Lord, for he is kind,

For his mercies ay endure,

Ever faithfull, ever sure.

Hrm. Call me a Philistine, but isn't this a bit catchier?

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

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