Evening in Paradise

Before reading the poem, do research on John Milton

-What kind of writer was he? Explain.

John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674) was an English metaphysical poet, polemicist, man of letters, and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), written in blank verse.

Metaphysical poet, any of the poets in 17th-century England who inclined to the personal and intellectual complexity and concentration. Their work is a blend of emotion and intellectual ingenuity, characterized by conceit or “wit”. Metaphysical poetry is less concerned with expressing feeling than with analyzing it, with the poet exploring the recesses of his consciousness. The boldness of the literary devices used—especially obliquity, irony, and paradox—are often reinforced by a dramatic directness of language and by rhythms derived from that of living speech.

Milton’s poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Writing in English, Latin, Greek, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime

-He wrote Paradise Lost. What is it about?

In 1667, he published Paradise Lost in 10 volumes. It is considered his greatest work and the greatest epic poem written in English. The free-verse poem tells the story of how Satan tempted Adam and Eve, and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In 1671, he published Paradise Regained, in which Jesus overcomes Satan’s temptations, and Samson Agonistes, in which Samson first succumbs to temptation and then redeems himself. A revised, 12-volume version of Paradise Lost was published in 1674.

-Now, read the poem and say what you understand from it using your own words. (work on vocabulary)

Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray
Had in her sober
livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale.
She all night longer her amorous
descant sung:
Silence was now pleased. Now glowed the
With living Saphirs; Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the Moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen, unveiled her
peerless light,
And o’er the dark her silver mantle threw;
When Adam thus to Eve: “Fair
consort, the hour
Of night, and all things now retired to rest
Mind us of like repose; since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Successive, and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft
slumberous weight, inclines
Our eye-lids. Other creatures all day long
idle, unemployed, and less need rest;
Man hath his daily work of body or mind
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways;
While other animals unactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
Tomorrow, ere fresh morning streak the east
With first approach of light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labour, to reform
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our
scant manuring, and require
More hands than ours to
lop their wanton growth.
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
That lie
bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,
riddance, if we mean to tread with ease.

John Milton (1608-1674)

The poem is an extract from the epic poem ʼParadise Lost’ where Milton explores Adam and Eve’s spectacular mucking up of a lifetime in paradise, while also giving us his insight into the primordial war between God and Satan.

In this section, we are presented with a resplendent image of dusk, which in its majesty calms and soothes the world to sleep. Milton’s Adam reflects upon the nature of day and night and basically tells us that we need to enjoy our slumber as in the day we need to be working hard to maintain the perfection of God’s creation.

As well as giving us a reflection upon this specific part of the Bible, there is a general message that permeates about how we should live our lives.


livery: a special uniform worn by a servant, an official, or a member 
of a City Company.

grassy: covered with grass. 

clad: archaic or literary past participle of clothe.

slink (slunk): move smoothly and quietly

nightingale: migratory birds of Europe, noted for the melodious song 
of the male, given chiefly at night during the breeding season.

descant: a melody or counterpoint accompanying a simple musical 
themeand usually written above it.

firmament: the vault of heaven; sky.

Hesperus – another name for Venus (the planet);

peerless: having no equal; matchless; unrivaled.

consort: a husband or wife; spouse, especially of a reigning monarch.

slumberous: causing or inducing sleep. 

idle: not working or active; unemployed; doing nothing. 

yonder: being the more distant or farther. 

scant: not abundant. 

lop: to cut off from a tree or other plant.

wanton: done, shown, used, etc., maliciously or unjustifiably. 

bestrew: to lie scattered over. 

riddance: relief or deliverance from something.