Listening time: 3 minutes. Surely one of the sweetest love poems of all time (alongside this one), in which Adam and Eve enjoy each other’s company in perfect accord. These lines of Milton lift you on the wing of an inventory of beauty, then daringly repeated as he presents again the idyllic tumble of images before landing on the fact that none of them can be whole-heartedly savoured in the absence of the beloved.
Source: John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV, lines 640-656
Photo credit: Mable Amber
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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 beam, on herb, tree, fruit, and flow’r,
Glist’ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful ev’ning 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, flow’r,
Glist’ring with dew, nor fragrance after showers,
Nor grateful ev’ning mild, nor silent night
With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,
Or glittering starlight without thee is sweet.