Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blinded

Hi everyone, I'm trying to read through Paradise Lost over the holiday break from classes and I forgot how much I love reading it. One passage that strikes me everything time I read it I thought was worth sharing. Paradise Lost is an epic (really friggen long) poem written in the later half of the 17th century by John Milton. By 1652 Milton was completely blind when he wrote the poem (or rather recited it) and in one passage in particular he laments the loss of his eyesight. The passage tears at my heart when I try to emphasize with Milton and comprehend what it must be like to no longer be able to witness sunshine or know the changing of the seasons by have no vision of them, or to never again see the face of any person. However, I am at least solaced by the fact that Milton, at least according to the poem, didn't dwell in depression but found strength in his faith, as seen in the last 4 lines.

Paradise Lost - Book 3, lines 21-55

(Milton here is talking to the Holy Spirit - his 'muse" for the poem)

thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital Lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that rowle in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quencht thir Orbs, [ 25 ]
Or dim suffusion veild. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
Cleer Spring, or shadie Grove, or Sunnie Hill,
Smit with the love of sacred Song; but chief
Thee Sion and the flowrie Brooks beneath [ 30 ]
That wash thy hallowd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor somtimes forget
Those other two equal'd with me in Fate,
So were I equal'd with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind M├Žonides, [ 35 ]
And Tiresias and Phineus Prophets old.
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntarie move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful Bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest Covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal Note. Thus with the Year [ 40 ]
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of Ev'n or Morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or Summers Rose,
Or flocks, or heards, or human face divine;
But cloud in stead, and ever-during dark [ 45 ]
Surrounds me, from the chearful wayes of men
Cut off, and for the Book of knowledg fair
Presented with a Universal blanc
Of Nature's works to mee expung'd and ras'd,
And wisdome at one entrance quite shut out. [ 50 ]
So much the rather thou Celestial light
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate, there plant eyes
, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight. [ 55 ]