How are the lines from The Dunciad by Alexander Pope quoted below a parody of John Milton's account of the Creation in Paradise Lost? "Here she {Dulness} beholds the Chaos dark and deep, Where...

How are the lines from The Dunciad by Alexander Pope quoted below a parody of John Milton's account of the Creation in Paradise Lost?

"Here she {Dulness} beholds the Chaos dark and deep,

Where nameless Somethings in their causes sleep,

Till genial Jacob, or a warm Third day,

Call forth each mass, a Poem, or a Play:

How hints, like spawn, scarce quick in embryo lie,

How newborn nonsense first is taught to cry,

Maggots half formed in rhyme exactly meet,

And learn to crawl upon poetic feet."

Asked on by lucyball

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The lines from The Dunciad by Alexander Pope quoted in your question are based on John Milton's Paradise Lost Book VII Lines 85 - 110, which themselves are a summary of the account of Creation found at the beginning of the Biblical book of Genesis. 

The first point of comparison is that Milton describes the universe as originally Choas, but gradually becoming organized by God's will, with celestial objects gradually emerging from the Chaos. What is being parodied in the phrase "nameless Somethings" is Milton's elaborate Latinate vocabulary and extended descriptions compared to the simplicity, concreteness, and majesty of the Biblical original:

2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 
3: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 

The second parodic aspect is that while both the Bible and Milton describe God creating plants, humanity, and all the creatures of the land and sea, Pope describes the creation of maggot-like literary works. This is a typical stylistic device used by Pope to create mock-epic parody by using the style, diction, and form of a heroic epic to describe something trivial. 

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