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"Zadie Smith: Artist and Citizen" (Lecture)

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May 11, 2011


Paradise Lost
Opening Lines

Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought Death into the world and all our woe
With the loss of Eden, till one greater man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, O heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed

In the beginning, how the heaven and earth
Rose out of chaos: or, if sion hill
Deight thee more, and Siola's brook that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God, I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song.
That with no middle flights intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in prose of rhyme.
And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all the temples the upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou know'st; thou from the first
Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like Sat'st brooding on the vast Abyss
And Mad'st it pregnant; what in me is dark
Illumine, what is low raise and support,
That, to th height of this great argument,
I may assert Eternal Providence
And Justtify the way of God to men.
--JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost, Book 1

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