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For this last day of National Poetry Month (I can hear you out there breathing a sigh of relief that I won’t be pestering you with daily poems) we have an especial favorite of mine.  I discovered it years and years ago when I first read Philip Pullman’s Golden Compass.

I’ve read most of Paradise Lost, and I’m amused by an unexpected element of the poem that gets a lot of comment.  Hell and Satan are waaaaay more interesting than Heaven and its inhabitants.  Milton’s potrayal is almost sympathetic to Satan, whose life is as vibrant and colorful as Heaven’s existence is thoroughly dull.

From Paradise Lost, book two, by John Milton, starting at line 910.

Into this wild Abyss,         910
The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave,
Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain         915
His dark materials to create more worlds—
Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while,
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross.