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Paradise Lost by John Milton - Barron's Booknotes
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LINES 308-450. ADAM AND EVE ENTERTAIN RAPHAEL

Adam calls to Eve to prepare a special meal with the best food and drink. Raphael approaches alone with great dignity, and here Milton makes a comment aside to the reader: he contrasts Raphael's composure with the "tedious pomp that waits / On Princes." A few years before Paradise Lost was written, King Charles II had entered London with great processions and parades. Since Milton had opposed the restoration of the monarchy, he was inclined to speak sourly of royal display.



Raphael, Adam, and Eve gather round a "grassy turf" to eat what seems to be a sumptuous picnic. Milton adds a domestic note: when you eat fruit and drink juice, there is "No fear lest dinner cool."

Raphael delivers another of Book V's lectures, this time on the universal need for nourishment. There is a vertical order which causes all lower things to become food for higher ones. Even the elements of earth, air, fire, and water feed the moon, which then sends out nourishment to the higher planets. In return for giving light to evening, the sun sucks up the humidity which rises. Saying that the food on earth compares well to that available in heaven, Raphael eats enthusiastically and digests his food as other creatures do, thus demonstrating that angels have a bodily existence.

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