Paradise Lost, Book V, 180-184

Aire, and ye Elements the eldest birth,
Of Natures Womb, that in
quaternion run
Perpetual Circle, multiform, and mix
And nourish all things, let your ceasless change
Varie to our great Maker still new praise.


Paradise Lost, Book V, 180-184, John Milton


... a really good quote from Milton. It is Paradise Lost, Book 5, 180-184, part of Adam and Eve's morning prayer. And this prayer is based on Psalm 148. Like the psalmist, Adam and Eve are urging every creature, from angels in heaven to fishes, animals, and reptiles on earth, to praise God. So you can see, can't you, what the quote means?

The quote is in the 17th century spelling, which makes it a little more difficult to understand than is necessary. The comma at the end of the first line seems unnecessary. "Quaternion" is a noun, which means "fourfold combination." "Multiform" is an adjective, meaning "Having many forms, shapes, or appearances." And "vary" is a verb. Its meaning is "To express in different words."

by President of the Milton Center Japan, Prof. Dr. Hideyuki Shitaka, Hiroshima Women's University, Hiroshima, Japan

[ King James Version of the Bible | John Milton | Geometric Calculus Publications]


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