Monday, July 31, 2017


Wikipedia Commons 
Illustrations to Milton's Paradise Lost 
Illustration 7
The Rout of the Rebel Angels
Genesis 1
[1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
[2] And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
[3] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
[4] And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

John 1
[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
[2] The same was in the beginning with God.
[3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
[4] In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
[5] And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Milton's account of the rout of the rebel angels is from a memory as told by Raphael to Adam and Eve who were not in that time or place when it occurred. This is an account of the separation of light from darkness as was the biblical statement of what occurred 'In the beginning.' The rebel angels infected heaven - the place of light - with darkness when they chose to be separate themselves from the unity. The light cast them out into hell - the place of darkness.

The rebel angels were not destroyed for their disobedience. They were sent away from the light; they were forced out of heaven. But as Adam and Eve would learn, they were still capable of engaging Men and Women in the Battle for Truth.
Paradise Lost
John Milton
Book VI 
Line 710-718
[From the account by Raphael to Adam and Eve]
"Go then, Thou Mightiest, in thy Father's might;
Ascend my chariot, guide the rapid wheels
That shake Heaven's basis, bring forth all my war,
My bow and thunder, my almighty arms
Gird on, and sword upon thy puissant thigh;
Pursue these sons of darkness, drive them out
From all Heaven's bounds into the utter deep:
There let them learn, as likes them, to despise
God, and Messiah his anointed King."

Line 844-866
 "Nor less on either side tempestuous fell
His arrows, from the fourfold-visaged Four
Distinct with eyes, and from the living wheels
Distinct alike with multitude of eyes;
One Spirit in them ruled; and every eye
Glared lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire
Among the accursed, that withered all their strength,
And of their wonted vigor left them drained,
Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fallen.
Yet half his strength he put not forth, but checked
His thunder in mid volley; for he meant
Not to destroy, but root them out of Heaven:
The overthrown he raised, and as a herd
Of goats or timorous flock together thronged
Drove them before him thunder-struck, pursued
With terrors, and with furies, to the bounds
And crystal wall of Heaven; which, opening wide,
Rolled inward, and a spacious gap disclosed
Into the wasteful deep: The monstrous sight
Struck them with horror backward, but far worse
Urged them behind: Headlong themselves they threw
Down from the verge of Heaven; eternal wrath
Burnt after them to the bottomless pit." 

C. S. Lewis gives us insight into Milton's character Satan by revealing the incompatibility of self-centeredness and self-deception with clarity of vision.

From Preface to Paradise Lost by C. S. Lewis:

"But I do not know whether we can distinguish his [Satan's] conscious lies from the blindness he has almost willingly imposed upon himself... for far earlier in his career he has become more a Lie than a Liar, a personified contradiction. (Page 97)
What we see in Satan is the horrible co-existence of a subtle and incessant intellectual ability with an incapacity to understand anything. (Page 99)
The point need not be laboured. Adam, though confined to a small park on a small planet, has interests which embrace 'all the choir of heaven and all the furniture of earth.' Satan has been in the Heaven of Heavens and in the abyss of hell, and surveyed all that lies between them, and in that whole immensity has found only one thing that interests Satan. It may be said that Adam's situation made it easier for him, than for Satan, to let his mind roam. But that is just the point. Satan's monomaniac concern for himself, and his supposed rights and wrongs is a necessity of the Satanic predicament. Certainly, he had no choice. He had chosen to have no choice. He had wished to 'be himself', and to be in himself and for himself, and his wish was granted. The Hell he carries with him is, in one sense, a Hell of infinite boredom...Milton makes plain the blank unintrestingness of being Satan." (Page 102)

Blake has his own way of treating the the opposition of the forces promoting the success of light or of darkness - of the Son of Man or Satan. For him the inexorable advance of truth opening the way for the power and glory of the Son of Man to reveal the apocalypse comes through recognition, repentance and forgiveness. The battle like the tears it provokes, is an intellectual thing.

Four Zoas, Night IX, Page 123, (E 392)
"The furious wind still rends around they flee in sluggish effort

They beg they intreat in vain now they Listend not to intreaty
They view the flames red rolling on thro the wide universe
From the dark jaws of death beneath & desolate shores remote
These covering Vaults of heaven & these trembling globes of Earth
One Planet calls to another & one star enquires of another  
What flames are these coming from the South what noise what dreadful rout
As of a battle in the heavens hark heard you not the trumpet
As of fierce battle while they spoke the flames come on intense roaring

They see him whom they have piercd they wail because of him  
They magnify themselves no more against Jerusalem Nor
Against her little ones the innocent accused before the Judges
Shines with immortal Glory trembling the judge springs from his throne 
Hiding his face in the dust beneath the prisoners feet & saying
Brother of Jesus what have I done intreat thy lord for me  
Perhaps I may be forgiven While he speaks the flames roll on
And after the flames appears the Cloud of the Son of Man
Descending from Jerusalem with power and great Glory" 
Songs and Ballads, The Grey Monk, (E 489)
"But vain the Sword & vain the Bow 
They never can work Wars overthrow
The Hermits Prayer & the Widows tear
Alone can free the World from fear

For a Tear is an Intellectual Thing  
And a Sigh is the Sword of an Angel King 
And the bitter groan of the Martyrs woe
Is an Arrow from the Almighties Bow"

No comments: