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Glistring with dew, nor fragrance after showers

Eve to Adam:

With thee conversing I forget all time,

All seasons and their change, all please alike.

Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,

With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun

When first on this delightful land he spreads

His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,

Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth

After soft showers; and sweet the coming on

Of grateful evening mild, then silent night

With this her solemn bird and this fair moon,

And these the gems of heav'n, her starry train:

But neither breath of morn when she ascends

With charm of earliest birds, nor rising sun

On this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, flower,

Glistring with dew, nor fragrance after showers,

Nor grateful evening mild, nor silent night

With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,

Or glittering starlight without thee is sweet.”

Paradise Lost Book IV


My Notes: Summons up by these mornings silent but for bird song. No human or machine noise, bliss. Milton uses the word glistring - OED says King James 1611 Luke ix. 29 "His raiment was white and glistering”, and Coverdale Job xx. 25 "A glisteringe swearde". And subsequent use 1718 by the fearsome and great Lady M. W. Montagu Verses written in Chiosk at Pera "The barren Meads no longer yield Delight, By glistring Snows made painful to the Sight"; and in 1849 by Matthew Arnold in the New Sirens in Strayed Reveller "If the glistering wings of morning On the dry noon shook their dew”. As Felipe Fernández-Armesto (a British historian) asserts maybe Paradise Lost would ‘winkle most Britons out of their bleak, dim, monoglot little worlds’.

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