The Gate of Heaven (Life after Death)
Our sight and hearing senses are attentive because of the strong imagery that is described. The imagery is very bright and makes us imagine fire which symbolizes hell. The loud peers represent their devotion and support towards Satan and his journey. That their thoughts are so "restless" without Satan's presence among them suggests his sheer force of character as their sole rallying point. The reader is then offered an overview of the hell-bound angels' various responses to Satan's departure, ranging from "Typhonian rage" to the distractions of sport to the communicative power of music Whereas in Book I, the comparison between Satan's Legions and Pharoah's chariots conveys a serious act of aggression I: , this passage in Book II reduces the analogy to mere Olympian sport This effective downgrading of the "host of Hell" takes into account the speaker's evaluation of their motivation as a "false, presumptuous hope" Alongside the Legions' futile military endeavours are their diminished mental capabilities, indicated by their wrangling with the central philosophical quandaries "of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate" - existential problems which the fallen angels cannot resolve Overall, while this passage may seem like a literary lull in the action, it is perhaps meant to illustrate the vanity of humanity's own diverse pursuits and furthermore spark a moment of recognition and identification in the reader whether he or she is a person of sport or song.
Paradise Lost: The Fourth Book. John Milton. Complete Poems. The Harvard Classics
As in the Puritan Christian worldview, we are likewise fallen creatures who cannot attain personal satisfaction, perfection, or truth - especially while estranged from our natural leader. For the fallen angels, that leader is Satan; for "favor'd" Man, it is God Almighty. Then off to the side is a smaller stream: Lethe.
It made a reference to Fables and how this place comes nowhere close to anything you could imagine. As Satan approaches the Gates of Hell and scopes out the surrounding area, he realizes that there are actually nine gates and "three folds were Brass, Three Iron, three of Adamantine Rock" Before he gets to the gates, he notices a woman shaped figure to the waist, but below was a serpent. Also, around her waist were "Hell Hounds never ceasing bark'd" She is known as Sin.
Next came the Night-Hag "with the smell of infant blood to dance with Lapland Witches" Satan then sees a dark figure "black it stood as night" This figure is known as death. The figure approached Satan and he "trembled" as the figure was unknown to him. The lines end with Satan about to speak to the dark figure. Satan does not know what the creature is and is not afraid of it. Satan says, "retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof," Satan calls the monster "hell-born" and warns that it is no match for a spirit created in heaven.
In line , I believe this is referring to Revelation and his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. He is basically asking if Satan is the one that was outcast and sent to Hell to spend the rest of his days in misery. This creature shares that he is the reigning King of Hell. Whether this is a literal increase in size or a figurative growth due to the severity of his threat is not clear. Nevertheless it is important to note that Satan is not in the least bit perturbed.
The speaker compares his bold defiance to that of a burning comet. However the speaker does not stop with only the comet reference. So why Ophiucus? This reference is not only another example of apostasy Jesus is the giver and reviver of life ie.
Lazarus but it is also a suggestion as to why Satan has no need to fear Death. As it suggests in line , in essence these two foes had met their match. As they prepare to face off the speaker draws our attention to the accuracy of this essence. Both Satan and Death: were unable to retreat, possessed fatal powers that could be delivered in a single blow, and both were convinced in and of themselves that they would be victorious. In an intense frowning match the two foes are described as two storm clouds rolling in over the Caspian Sea known for its extreme and sporadic storms.
The fact that she managed to halt him suggests that he is confused as to her purpose and doesn't know what to make of her. Even in his surprise he's still posturing. I wonder if this was intentional, or just me trying to find meaning where there isn't any? This is the conversation that Satan has with Sin as he is trying to get past and through the gates that are keeping him in hell.
I found it interesting to have the character of Sin as the guard to the gate because sins are bad and bad is often simplistically associated with evil and misdoing. Satan is a very evil character and in Christianity is known for doing what he should not and the evil that he represents. Sin has been sent to guard the gates and is the one with the power to open. This section of them poem also talks a lot about birth. Sin appears to be the mother of death who is also her enemy.
John Milton. Complete Poems. The Harvard Classics. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan—to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in Heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, equal, or not much inferior, to themselves, about this time to be created. Their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search: Satan, their chief, undertakes alone the voyage; is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways and to several imployments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return.
He passes on his journey to Hell-gates; finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Heaven. With what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new World which he sought.
Say Heav'nly Powers, where shall we find such love , Which of ye will be mortal to redeem Mans mortal crime, and just th' unjust to save, [ ] Dwels in all Heaven charitie so deare? He ask'd , but all the Heav'nly Quire stood mute , And silence was in Heav'n : on mans behalf Patron or Intercessor none appeerd , Much less that durst upon his own head draw [ ] The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set. And now without redemption all mankind Must have bin lost, adjudg'd to Death and Hell By doom severe, had not the Son of God, In whom the fulness dwells of love divine, [ ] His dearest mediation thus renewd.
Thou at the sight Pleas'd , out of Heaven shalt look down and smile, While by thee rais'd I ruin all my Foes, Death last , and with his Carcass glut the Grave: Then with the multitude of my redeemd [ ] Shall enter Heaven long absent, and returne , Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud Of anger shall remain, but peace assur'd , And reconcilement; wrauth shall be no more Thenceforth, but in thy presence Joy entire. His words here ended, but his meek aspect Silent yet spake, and breath'd immortal love To mortal men, above which only shon Filial obedience: as a sacrifice Glad to be offer'd , he attends the will [ ] Of his great Father.
Admiration seis'd All Heav'n , what this might mean, and whither tend Wondring ; but soon th' Almighty thus reply'd :. O thou in Heav'n and Earth the only peace Found out for mankind under wrauth , O thou [ ] My sole complacence! As in him perish all men, so in thee As from a second root shall be restor'd , As many as are restor'd , without thee none. His crime makes guiltie all his Sons, thy merit [ ] Imputed shall absolve them who renounce Thir own both righteous and unrighteous deeds, And live in thee transplanted, and from thee Receive new life.
So Man, as is most just, Shall satisfie for Man, be judg'd and die, [ ] And dying rise, and rising with him raise His Brethren, ransomd with his own dear life.
Chapter 11: The State of the Soul between Death and the Resurrection
So Heav'nly love shall outdoo Hellish hate, Giving to death, and dying to redeeme , So dearly to redeem what Hellish hate [ ] So easily destroy'd , and still destroyes In those who, when they may, accept not grace. Nor shalt thou by descending to assume Mans Nature, less'n or degrade thine owne. Then all thy Saints assembl'd , thou shalt judge [ ] Bad men and Angels, they arraignd shall sink Beneath thy Sentence; Hell her numbers full, Thenceforth shall be for ever shut.
Mean while The World shall burn, and from her ashes spring New Heav'n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell [ ] And after all thir tribulations long See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds, With Joy and Love triumphing, and fair Truth.
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But all ye Gods , Adore him, who to compass all this dies, Adore the Son, and honour him as mee. No sooner had th' Almighty ceas't , but all The multitude of Angels with a shout [ ] Loud as from numbers without number, sweet As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heav'n rung With Jubilee, and loud Hosanna's filld Th' eternal Regions: lowly reverent Towards either Throne they bow, and to the ground [ ] With solemn adoration down they cast Thir Crowns inwove with Amarant and Gold, Immortal Amarant , a Flour which once In Paradise, fast by the Tree of Life Began to bloom, but soon for mans offence [ ] To Heav'n remov'd where first it grew, there grows, And flours aloft shading the Fount of Life, And where the river of Bliss through midst of Heavn Rowls o're Elisian Flours her Amber stream; With these that never fade the Spirits elect [ ] Bind thir resplendent locks inwreath'd with beams, Now in loose Garlands thick thrown off, the bright Pavement that like a Sea of Jasper shon Impurpl'd with Celestial Roses smil'd.
Thee Father first they sung Omnipotent, Immutable, Immortal, Infinite, Eternal King; thee Author of all being, Fountain of Light, thy self invisible [ ] Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sit'st Thron'd inaccessible, but when thou shad'st The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud Drawn round about thee like a radiant Shrine, Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appeer , [ ] Yet dazle Heav'n , that brightest Seraphim Approach not, but with both wings veil thir eyes, Thee next they sang of all Creation first, Begotten Son, Divine Similitude, In whose conspicuous count'nance , without cloud [ ] Made visible, th' Almighty Father shines, Whom else no Creature can behold; on thee Impresst the effulgence of his Glorie abides, Transfus'd on thee his ample Spirit rests.
Hee Heav'n of Heavens and all the Powers therein [ ] By thee created, and by thee threw down Th' Aspiring Dominations: thou that day Thy Fathers dreadful Thunder didst not spare, Nor stop thy flaming Chariot wheels, that shook Heav'ns everlasting Frame, while o're the necks [ ] Thou drov'st of warring Angels disarraid. Back from pursuit thy Powers with loud acclaime Thee only extoll'd , Son of thy Fathers might, To execute fierce vengeance on his foes, Not so on Man; him through their malice fall'n , [ ] Father of Mercie and Grace, thou didst not doome So strictly, but much more to pitie encline : No sooner did thy dear and onely Son Perceive thee purpos'd not to doom frail Man So strictly, but much more to pitie enclin'd , [ ] He to appease thy wrauth , and end the strife Of Mercy and Justice in thy face discern'd , Regardless of the Bliss wherein hee sat Second to thee, offerd himself to die For mans offence.
O unexampl'd love , [ ] Love no where to be found less then Divine! Thus they in Heav'n , above the starry Sphear , Thir happie hours in joy and hymning spent. Mean while upon the firm opacous Globe Of this round World, whose first convex divides The luminous inferior Orbs , enclos'd [ ] From Chaos and th' inroad of Darkness old, Satan alighted walks: a Globe farr off It seem'd , now seems a boundless Continent Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night Starless expos'd , and ever- threatning storms [ ] Of Chaos blustring round, inclement skie ; Save on that side which from the wall of Heav'n Though distant farr some small reflection gaines Of glimmering air less vext with tempest loud: Here walk'd the Fiend at large in spacious field.
The Stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw [ ] Angels ascending and descending, bands Of Guardians bright, when he from Esau fled To Padan - Aram in the field of Luz, Dreaming by night under the open Skie , And waking cri'd , This is the Gate of Heav'n [ ] Each Stair mysteriously was meant , nor stood There alwayes , but drawn up to Heav'n somtimes Viewless, and underneath a bright Sea flow'd Of Jasper, or of liquid Pearle , whereon Who after came from Earth , sayling arriv'd , [ ] Wafted by Angels, or flew o're the Lake Rapt in a Chariot drawn by fiery Steeds. The Stairs were then let down, whether to dare The Fiend by easie ascent, or aggravate His sad exclusion from the dores of Bliss.