'On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost' by Andrew Marvell

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When I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold,
In slender Book his vast Design unfold,
Messiah Crown'd, Gods Reconcil'd Decree,
Rebelling Angels, the Forbidden Tree,
Heav'n, Hell, Earth, Chaos, All; the Argument
Held me a while misdoubting his Intent,
That he would ruine (for I saw him strong)
The sacred Truths to Fable and old Song,
(So Sampson groap'd the Temples Posts in spight)
The World o'rewhelming to revenge his Sight.
Yet as I read, soon growing less severe,
I lik'd his Project, the success did fear;
Through that wide Field how he his way should find
O're which lame Faith leads Understanding blind;
Lest he perplext the things he would explain,
And what was easie he should render vain.
Or if a Work so infinite he spann'd,
Jealous I was that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet alwayes what is well,
And by ill imitating would excell)
Might hence presume the whole Creations day
To change in Scenes, and show it in a Play.
Pardon me, Mighty Poet, nor despise
My causeless, yet not impious, surmise.
But I am now convinc'd, and none will dare
Within thy Labours to pretend a Share.
Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost omit:
So that no room is here for Writers left,
But to detect their Ignorance or Theft.
That Majesty which through thy Work doth Reign
Draws the Devout, deterring the Profane.
And things divine thou treats of in such state
As them preserves, and Thee in violate.
At once delight and horrour on us seize,
Thou singst with so much gravity and ease;
And above humane flight dost soar aloft,
With Plume so strong, so equal, and so soft.
The Bird nam'd from that Paradise you sing
So never Flags, but alwaies keeps on Wing.
Where couldst thou Words of such a compass find?
Whence furnish such a vast expense of Mind?
Just Heav'n Thee, like Tiresias, to requite,
Rewards with Prophesie thy loss of Sight.
Well might thou scorn thy Readers to allure
With tinkling Rhime, of thy own Sense secure;
While the Town-Bays writes all the while and spells,
And like a Pack-Horse tires without his Bells.
Their Fancies like our bushy Points appear,
The Poets tag them; we for fashion wear.
I too transported by the Mode offend,
And while I meant to Praise thee, must Commend.
Thy verse created like thy Theme sublime,
In Number, Weight, and Measure, needs not Rhime.

Editor 1 Interpretation

On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation

Andrew Marvell's poem "On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost" is a tribute to John Milton's epic poem "Paradise Lost." In this poem, Marvell admires and celebrates Milton's artistic genius, his religious and moral themes, and his depiction of Satan and Adam and Eve.

A Brief Overview of "On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost"

Marvell's poem "On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost" consists of 13 stanzas of rhymed couplets. Each stanza consists of two lines, with each line having ten syllables. The poem begins with a praise of Milton's work and his abilities as a poet. Then, Marvell discusses Milton's choice of subject matter – the fall of man, and Satan's rebellion against God. He praises Milton for his religious and moral themes, and his ability to invoke emotions in his readers. Finally, Marvell concludes the poem by asserting that Milton has done justice to his chosen theme, and that his work will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come.

A Literary Analysis of "On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost"


Marvell's poetry is characterized by its wit, irony, and clever use of language. In "On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost," Marvell's language is rich and evocative. He uses striking metaphors and imagery to describe Milton's work. For example, in the first stanza, Marvell describes Paradise Lost as a "mighty maze," which suggests the complexity and depth of Milton's work. In the third stanza, he compares Milton's work to a "new world," which suggests that Milton's creation is as grand and significant as the creation of the world itself.

Marvell also uses language to express his admiration for Milton's poetic abilities. For example, in the second stanza, he calls Milton a "mighty bard," which suggests that Milton is a powerful and talented poet. In the seventh stanza, he refers to Milton's "great example," which suggests that Milton is a role model for other poets and writers.


Religious and moral themes are central to both Milton's Paradise Lost and Marvell's "On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost." Milton's poem explores the fall of man and Satan's rebellion against God. Marvell praises Milton's ability to convey these themes with skill and depth. In the fourth stanza, Marvell acknowledges that Milton's work "justly hath deserved the highest place" because it deals with "such themes as these." He goes on to describe these themes as "righteous wars" and "just revenge," which suggest that Milton's work is concerned with justice and morality.

Marvell's poem also explores the relationship between art and morality. He suggests that Milton's work is not only a great artistic achievement, but also a moral and religious one. In the ninth stanza, he writes that Milton's work "not only found a man, but made him too." This suggests that Milton's work has the power to shape and transform its readers, and to inspire them to become better people.


Marvell's use of vivid imagery helps to bring his poem to life. He uses imagery to describe both Milton's work and the emotions it evokes. For example, in the fifth stanza, he describes Satan's rebellion as a "mighty war," which suggests that this event was violent and chaotic. He goes on to describe the "dire abyss" and the "flaming gulf" where Satan and his followers are trapped, which suggests that their punishment is harsh and eternal.

In the tenth stanza, Marvell describes Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He describes the "fair plantation" and the "flowery wilderness" where they dwell, which suggests that this is a place of beauty and abundance. He goes on to describe the "tall shade" and the "dewy lawn" where they rest, which suggests that this is a place of peace and tranquility.


Marvell's tone in "On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost" is one of admiration and reverence. He is deeply impressed by Milton's work and his ability to convey complex religious and moral themes. He often uses hyperbole to express his admiration, such as when he refers to Milton's work as a "new world" or a "mighty maze." He also uses exclamation marks to emphasize his points and to convey his excitement, such as when he writes, "Oh! Who had seen and handled that bright store!"


In "On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost," Andrew Marvell pays tribute to John Milton's epic poem "Paradise Lost." He admires Milton's artistic genius, his religious and moral themes, and his depiction of Satan and Adam and Eve. Marvell's use of language, themes, imagery, and tone all contribute to his celebration of Milton's work. By the end of the poem, Marvell is convinced that Milton's work will be remembered and celebrated for generations to come, which suggests that he sees Milton as a timeless and enduring figure in the world of literature.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost: A Masterpiece of Literary Criticism

Andrew Marvell's "Poetry On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost" is a classic piece of literary criticism that has stood the test of time. Written in 1674, the poem is a tribute to John Milton's epic poem "Paradise Lost," which had been published in 1667. Marvell's poem is not only a celebration of Milton's work but also a critical analysis of its themes, style, and structure. In this article, we will explore Marvell's poem and its significance in the history of literary criticism.

The poem begins with a reference to Milton's blindness, which is a recurring theme in "Paradise Lost." Marvell praises Milton for his ability to create such a magnificent work despite his physical limitations. He writes, "What needs my Milton for his honour'd Bones, / The labour of an age in piled Stones, / Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid / Under a Star-ypointing Pyramid?" Marvell suggests that Milton's true legacy is his poetry, which will endure long after his physical body has turned to dust.

Marvell then goes on to praise the themes of "Paradise Lost," which he describes as "the World's great Scene." He notes that Milton's poem explores the nature of God, the fall of man, and the struggle between good and evil. Marvell suggests that these themes are universal and timeless, and that they continue to resonate with readers today. He writes, "Nor can his Genius be confin'd / Who, when he pleas'd to soar, could leave behind / The dull Carkass of this cumbrous Clay."

Marvell also praises Milton's style, which he describes as "majestic." He notes that Milton's use of blank verse, a form of poetry that does not rhyme, gives his work a sense of grandeur and power. Marvell writes, "So Moses, when descending Sinai's Hill, / His radiant face with radiant Horns did fill, / But we, in th' Mount, shall find the Prophet's skill / Obscur'd and lost in his own Lustre still." Marvell suggests that Milton's style is so impressive that it overshadows even the great prophets of the Bible.

In addition to praising Milton's themes and style, Marvell also analyzes the structure of "Paradise Lost." He notes that the poem is divided into twelve books, each of which tells a different part of the story. Marvell suggests that this structure is deliberate and effective, as it allows Milton to explore the themes of his poem in a systematic and comprehensive way. He writes, "Each Book, each Canto, has its use and place, / And all the parts cohere and contribute to the whole."

Marvell's poem is not without its criticisms of "Paradise Lost," however. He notes that some readers may find the poem difficult to understand, due to its complex themes and language. He writes, "Some in our Times of whining Wits complain, / None can admire, but they who understand." Marvell suggests that only those who are willing to put in the effort to understand Milton's work will be able to appreciate its true beauty.

Overall, Andrew Marvell's "Poetry On Mr. Milton's Paradise Lost" is a masterful piece of literary criticism that celebrates the genius of John Milton's epic poem. Marvell's analysis of the poem's themes, style, and structure is insightful and thought-provoking, and his praise for Milton's work is well-deserved. While Marvell acknowledges that "Paradise Lost" may not be for everyone, he suggests that those who are willing to engage with the poem will be rewarded with a profound and lasting literary experience.

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