If ye be found obedient
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book V, 501
If ye be found obedient was the condition
Upon which eternal bliss once did depend.
If by nature free do what you will,
Except for that one thing – so commanded
We chose to obey, until that day we were deceived.
Being found quite susceptible to he who turned angels
We disobeyed, and then we learnt to weep.
The constant theme in Paradise Lost that one cannot escape is, of course, that Adam and Eve must obey the one commandment of God – not to eat of the tree of knowledge. That God chose that to be the measure of their love – to obey one command, on pain of death (a thing that they did not know what it was) – is delightfully odd to me. Milton’s God is an interesting one, to say the least. To be honest, he’s not that nice.
The Hapless Neo-Romantic