Passages and Quotations: Paradise Lost

From John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the archangel Michael, trying to find a way to explain Satan’s fall and the world of heavenly Spirits to earthly Adam and Eve:

High matter thou enjoin’st me, O prime of men,

Sad task and hard, for how shall I relate

To human sense th’invisible exploits

Of warring Spirits; how without remorse

The ruin of so many glorious once

And perfect while they stood; how last unfold

The secrets of another world, perhaps

Not lawful to reveal? Yet for thy good

This is dispensed, and what surmounts the reach

Of human sense, I shall delineate so,

By lik’ning spiritual to corporeal forms,

As may express them best, though what if earth

Be but the shadow of heav’n, and things therein

Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?

~ John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book V


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