Wednesday, November 11, 2009

...this pendant world

It can be bewildering getting a closely calibrated sense of the scale and orientation of things in Paradise Lost, so it's worth remembering that Milton is working with - and creatively reworking - inherited models of the universe, including the Hebrews' ancient conception, imaged here:

Image found here.

like a weather-beaten Vessel holds
Gladly the Port, though Shrouds and Tackle torn;
Or in the emptier waste, resembling Air, [ 1045 ]
Weighs his spread wings, at leasure to behold
Farr off th' Empyreal Heav'n, extended wide
In circuit, undetermind square or round,
With Opal Towrs and Battlements adorn'd
Of living Saphire, once his native Seat; [ 1050 ]
And fast by hanging in a golden Chain
This pendant world, in bigness as a Starr
Of smallest Magnitude close by the Moon. II.1043 ff

No comments: