Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rather life-like

I'm stealing this from Will Evans, because it's too good not to disseminate as widely as possible:

"Satan then jumps over the wall into Paradise, already watched by Uriel because the passion of his soliloquy has betrayed him. Evidence of confusion has been found in 'Uriel once warned' (IV.125); but it only means that Uriel after being asked the way by this character felt enough curiosity to follow his later movements. The idea of a soliloquy being observed has been found absurdly theatrical or literary, so I make bold to remark that it once happened to me. I had landed at Los Angeles on my way from China to England, and there is a park in that city which rises to a fairly bluff summit. I went to the top of it and screamed; this was in 1939, so my feelings need not all be blamed upon Los Angeles. After I had been screaming for a bit I found I was being shot at by boys with air-guns; this satisfied me in some way; I came down the hill, and took the train to San Francisco. The incident on Niphates' top strikes me as a rather life-like thing to have happened to Satan."

— William Empson, Milton's God, 67