Paradise Lost "Fallen On Evil Days"
by John Milton

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"Fallen On Evil Days"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In Book VII of Paradise Lost Milton describes the creation of the universe by God, through the efforts of the Son of God and the angels, the narrative being placed in the mouth of the archangel Raphael, who tells the story to Adam. Milton, in typical epic fashion, invokes divine aid at the beginning of this Book, which represents a shift of attention from the discussion of the angelic rebellion in Heaven to the creation of the universe. In this invocation Milton makes reference to himself and his own condition after 1660. The poet, an important figure in the Commonwealth government of the 1650's, was practically an outcast after the restoration of the monarchy in the person of Charles II in 1660. In addition, the poet was blind and in economic distress, with the threat, at least, of kingly reprisal always in the background:

. . . I sing with mortal voice, unchanged
To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days,
On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues;
In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,
And solitude. . . .