There are only so many places you can read or see or hear allusions to a classic work before you’ve got to read it for yourself, to grok the references. Frankenstein’s creature’s pitiful comparisons of himself to Milton’s Adam and Satan were the straw here. I’m glad I’ve already read Dante’s Commedia and some of the Greek and Roman epics; this would send me down those rabbit holes, too.
“…a 1st-century BC didactic poem by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius with the goal of explaining Epicurean philosophy to a Roman audience.” I’ve quoted from the William Ellery Leonard translation, available free at Project Gutenberg and elsewhere.
A provocative and often dark poetic work that got Baudelaire prosecuted for an ‘affront to public decency’ and six of its poems banned. I quoted from the essays in the back of the Larousse edition (which, sadly, is not bilingual, so I consulted fleursdumal.org for translations of the poems themselves).
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith,
Add Vertue, Patience, Temperance, add Love,
By name to come call’d Charitie, the soul
Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A Paradise within thee, happier farr.
Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livst
Some say he bid his Angels turne ascanse
The Poles of Earth, twice ten degrees and more
…But if much converse perhaps
Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield.
For solitude somtimes is best societie,
And short retirement urges sweet return.
…and every Starr perhaps a World
Of destind habitation…
Cover’d th’Abyss: but on the watrie calme
His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspred,-
(are Hopkins’ “ah! bright wings” related to this?)
On heav’nly ground they stood, and from the shore
They view’d the vast immeasurable Abyss
Outrageous as a Sea, dark, wasteful, wilde,
Up from the bottom turn’d by furious windes
And surging waves, as Mountains to assault
Heav’ns higth, and with the Center mix the Pole.