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Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Evening Poem, Paradise Lost

So is Wuthering Heights a reworking of "Paradise Lost" with a proto-feminist twist? Check out this stanza from John Milton's Epic Biblical Epic, (Book 1) in which rebellious angel SATAN tells BEEZLEBUB that he would rather "make a heaven of hell" than live a subservient life in heaven--to him, that's hell. (Think of all the ways Bronte signifies a connection between Heathcliff and Milton's oh-so-roguishly-appealing Satan, and the way she plays with the polarities between the two houses and the two generations)

Is this the Region, this the Soil, the Clime,
Said then the lost Arch Angel, this the seat
That we must change for Heav'n, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since he
Who now is Sovreign can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from him is best
Whom reason hath equal'd, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell happy Fields
Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrors, hail
Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell
Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time.
The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less then hee
Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
Th' associates and copartners of our loss
Lie thus astonisht on th' oblivious Pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy Mansion, or once more
With rallied Arms to try what may be yet
Regained in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell?

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