Friday, September 03, 2010

Job and Milton

Our brief time with Job left many of us wanting more. It's a book full of extraordinarily rich poetry, a fact which sometimes gets lost amid the briefs and court papers we compile in our minds in order to arraign and indict (a) God, (b) Satan, (c) Job, (d) his friends, (e) all the above. A book that generates so much resistance and diverse responses in its readers might warrant a bit more attention. The good news is, we can return to it anytime we like.

Perhaps when we get to Book 7 of Paradise Lost - the account of the Creation - we can spend a few minutes reading aloud from the final chapters.

See, for example:

out of the ground up rose
As from his Laire the wilde Beast where he wonns
In Forrest wilde, in Thicket, Brake, or Den;
Among the Trees in Pairs they rose, they walk'd:
The Cattel in the Fields and Meddowes green: [ 460 ]
Those rare and solitarie, these in flocks
Pasturing at once, and in broad Herds upsprung.
The grassie Clods now Calv'd, now half appeer'd
The Tawnie Lion, pawing to get free
His hinder parts, then springs as broke from Bonds, [ 465 ]
And Rampant shakes his Brinded main; the Ounce,
The Libbard, and the Tyger, as the Moale
Rising, the crumbl'd Earth above them threw
In Hillocks; the swift Stag from under ground
Bore up his branching head: scarse from his mould [ 470 ]
Behemoth biggest born of Earth upheav'd
His vastness: 

But even earlier in Milton's epic, in the new found land of hell, for example, we've seen passages that were probably influenced by the astonishing originality of the poet of Job::
A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness. 10.22 

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