John Milton – In Praise of the One Infinite Reality
Etching by John Martin
Today is National Poetry Day, so I thought I would take the opportunity to share one of my favourite poems with you.
In fact, it’s just a part of a longer poem, the English poet, John Milton's, Paradise Lost. It's a part of this poem that is sometimes referred to as Adam’s morning him. It's the hymn of praise and celebration that Adam and Eve sing every morning as they emerge from what Milton refers to previously in the poem was their shady arborist roof, that is, the tree under which they have slept the previous night. It’s early in the morning, and Adam and Eve, wake and rise from underneath the tree. This poem is really a hymn of praise to the one infinite reality.
Just as before a wave tells us anything about its own particular name and form, it indicates the ocean, out of which it emerges, in which it exists, and into which it vanishes when it disappears. So, in this hymn, Milton shows us the whole of nature, before it tells us anything about any particular part indicates the one infinite reality, the divine reality, from which all of nature emerges, of which all of nature is an appearance, in which all of nature exists and into which it vanishes when it disappears. So, this hymn is a hymn of praise to the one infinite reality that we see all around us, in the form of nature.
Adam’s Morning Hymn, from John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Book 5.
These are thy glorious works Parent of good,
Almighty, thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sitst above these Heavens
To us invisible or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works, yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and Power Divine:
Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels, for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing, ye in Heav'n,
On earth join all ye creatures to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crownst the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater, sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon has gaind, and when thou fall'st.
Moon, that now meet'st the orient sun, now fli'st
With the fixed stars, fixed in their orb that flies,
And ye five other wandering fires that move
In mystic dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness call'd up light.
Air, and ye elements the eldest birth
Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
And nourish all things, let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or grey,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great author rise,
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praise ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breath soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains and ye, that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices all ye living souls, ye birds,
That singing up to Heaven gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise;
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail universal Lord, be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gathered aught of evil or concealed,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.
I wish you all a beautiful day praising, communicating and celebrating the one infinite reality from which we all derive our apparently independent existence.