Paradise Lost: Top Ten Quotes
“What in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support;
That to the height of this great Argument
I may assert Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.”
Book I, 22-26
The poet invokes the Holy Spirit to inspire him.
- “What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield.” Book I, 105-08
Satan awakes on the burning lake of hell, voicing his eternal defiance.
- “The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven . . .
Here at least we shall be free . . .
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”
Book I, 254-263
Satan in Hell tells Beelzebub they will create their own world.
“I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.”
Book III, 98-99
God explaining to Christ and the angels in heaven that he has created Adam strong enough to resist evil but free to make his own choice.
“Me miserable! which way shall I fly
Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell.”
Book IV, 73-75
Satan is tortured by seeing the beauty of Eden and Adam and Eve. He realizes that God did not throw him out of heaven; his mind is no longer able to enjoy anything.
“Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native Honor clad
In naked Majesty seemed Lords of all . . .
Though both not equal . . .
For contemplation he and valor formed,
For softness she and sweet attractive Grace,
He for God only, she for God in him.”
Book IV, 288-299
This is the first description of Adam and Eve in their innocence.
“Hail wedded Love, mysterious Law, true source
Of human offspring, sole propriety
In Paradise of all things common else.
By thee adulterous lust was driven from men.”
Book IV, 750-54
Milton praises the innocence and purity of married sex before the fall.
“How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,
Defaced, deflowered, and now to Death devote? . . . no, no, I feel
The Link of Nature draw me: Flesh of Flesh,
Bone of my Bone thou art, and from thy State
Mine shall never be parted, bliss or woe.”
Book IX, 900-916
Adam is shocked to find Eve eating the forbidden fruit that brings the punishment of death. He says he cannot bear separation and will share her fate.
“But rise, let us no more contend, nor blame
Each other, blamed enough elsewhere, but strive
In offices of Love, how we may lighten
Each other’s burden in our share of woe.”
Book X, 958-61
Eve sets the pattern for married love after the fall, softening Adam’s heart to repent and bear their burdens together bravely.
Add Virtue, Patience, Temperance, add Love,
By name to come called 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.”
Book XII, 582-87
Archangel Michael leads the pair out of paradise, telling them if they are virtuous, they will create paradise within, a greater happiness than an external paradise.