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  1. 10.9 hrs • 4/27/2016 • Unabridged

    As Vergil had surpassed Homer by adapting the epic form to celebrate the origin of the author’s nation, Milton developed it yet further to recount the origin of the human race itself and, in particular, the origin of and the remedy for evil; this is what he refers to as “things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.” After a statement of its purpose, the poem plunges, like its epic predecessors, into the midst of the action, shockingly bringing to the front the traditional visit to the underworld, for Satan’s malice is the mainspring of the negative action. But at the center of the poem lies the triumph by the Son of God over the angelic rebels, which counteracts Satan’s evil design. To preview this pattern, the fallen angels’ council in hell is counterbalanced by a council in heaven, in which the Son offers himself as a scapegoat for mankind long before the original sin has been committed. With this background, the narrator introduces us to Eden and our “Grand Parents.” Satan is detected spying on them and is expelled from the garden, after which God sends an angel to tutor Adam and Eve in the history of the heavenly war that has led to the present situation. At Adam's request, the heavenly guest then recounts the creation of the visible world, explaining also the proper nature of development, whereby all things proceed from lower to higher by refining that which nourishes them. Satan, however, returning in the form of a snake, offers Eve an evolutionary shortcut in the form of a magical food capable of endowing her with super powers. He claims it has conferred on him both reason and speech. Since Eve is suffering at the moment from a fancied slight to her moral strength, she allows herself to forget her recent lesson and yields to this temptation. Adam, unable to imagine life without Eve (and failing to explore alternatives to sin), accepts the fruit from her and eats as well. Satan’s triumph is short-lived, for although hell and the world of mankind are now linked by a broad highway, he and his followers are humiliated in hell by being turned involuntarily into snakes every year. Whatever their reasons, both Adam and Eve have disobeyed their Maker’s sole command, and both are condemned to mortality and expulsion from the garden, but before they leave they are vouchsafed another history lesson, this time of the world to come: the progress of sin, the Savior’s coming, and the growth of the church. Pronunciation: Although a Cambridge M.A., Milton was born and raised in Cheapside, within earshot of the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow, which would make him a Cockney, and the educated dialect which he spoke more nearly resembled the speech of modern Ireland or Ohio than of today's London. Therefore no British accent has been used for this recording, with rare exceptions like making shone rhyme with gone, as Milton's spelling shon specifies. For the most part, modern pronunciation has been employed, as Milton would doubtless have preferred, being so self-consciously avant garde as, for example, to require by his spelling that participles be clipped (e.g., despis'd, rang'd, stretcht) rather than given the syllabic -ed ending. However, he was equally firm about specifying personal preferences that have not survived in standard English on either side of the Atlantic, such as hunderd, heighth, sate (for sat), and elisions like th'ocean. Although blind, he meticulously checked the proofs of his poems and sent his publisher lists of errata with spelling corrections like these. He even distinguished between their and thir, me and mee. Wherever possible these distinctions have been respected. Research has also determined that he probably gave long vowels to the -able suffix and to the syllable -ube in cherube, but since there is little to be gained by honoring such idiosyncracies, they have not been consistently preserved. On the other hand, metrical considerations demand pronunciations such as SUpreme, blasPHEmous, REcepTAcle, and even ACcepTAble and unACcepTAble. Yet, even where corroborative evidence can be found in Shakespeare or elsewhere, such bizarre pronunciations have been kept to a minimum if the meter can be preserved without deviating from modern pronunciation (TRIumph has generally been preferred to triUMPH and inVISible to INviSIble). The Text: Because the Rev. H. C. Beeching, editor of the volume, was sensitive to the importance of Milton's spelling and apostrophes, his text provides ample support for the pronunciations employed in this reading. However, the reader is encouraged to pay attention to the notes at the end of each book, to which Beeching has consigned some of Milton's maturest artistic decisions.

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    Paradise Lost

    10.9 hrs • 4/27/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 15.3 hrs • 2/15/2016 • Unabridged

    Lord Byron’s satirical take on the legend of Don Juan is a moving and witty poem that sees the young hero in a reversal of roles. Juan sheds his image as a womanizer and instead becomes the victim of circumstance as he is relentlessly pursued by every woman he meets. Comprising seventeen cantos of rhyming iambic pentameter, the poem is a crisp and accessible meditation on the madness of the world.

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    Don Juan

    15.3 hrs • 2/15/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 33.2 hrs • 11/1/2015 • Unabridged

    This remarkable poem, dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I, was Spenser’s finest achievement. The first epic poem in modern English, The Faerie Queene combines dramatic narratives of chivalrous adventure with exquisite and picturesque episodes of pageantry. At the same time, Spenser is expounding a deeply felt allegory of the eternal struggle between truth and error.

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    The Faerie Queene

    33.2 hrs • 11/1/15 • Unabridged
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  4. 1.7 hrs • 10/6/2015 • Unabridged

    For fans of Lang Leav, beloved pieces from Lullabies and Love & Misadventure are collected together in this treasury. In addition, thirty-five new poems that have not been published in any Lang Leav collection offer something new to discover. The best of Leav’s evocative poetry in a gorgeous package!

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    Memories

    1.7 hrs • 10/6/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 4.9 hrs • 5/8/2015 • Unabridged

    Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage is a fascinating portrait of nineteenth-century Europe—disillusioned and ravaged by the wars of the post-revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. The protagonist, whose breathtaking journey eerily echoes Byron’s own life story, forgoes his destiny back home for the exciting unknown. The nature of humanity and the transformative effects of travel burst through the pages in four powerful cantos of Spenserian stanzas. Here is the poem that set Byron on his meteoric rise to fame in London society.

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    Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

    Read by Jamie Parker
    4.9 hrs • 5/8/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 1.2 hrs • 4/24/2015 • Unabridged

    Satan having come past the Earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist by Night into Paradise, enters into the Serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the Morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not, alleging the danger, lest that Enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should attempt her found alone: Eve loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields: The Serpent finds her alone; his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above all other Creatures. Eve wondering to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech and such understanding not till now; the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain Tree in the Garden he attained both to Speech and Reason, till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that Tree, and finds it to be the Tree of Knowledge forbidden …

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    Paradise Lost: Book IX

    1.2 hrs • 4/24/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 0.4 hrs • 4/24/2015 • Unabridged

    These selected poems by Edward Thomas (1878-1917) are read by Greg Wagland for Magpie Audio. The selection is as follows: “March” “Old Man” “Tears” “But These Things Also” “Melancholy” “The Glory” “Words” “Aspens” “This is No Case of Petty Right or Wrong” “Rain” “No One So Much As You” “The Sun Used to Shine” “As the Team’s Head-Brass” “Gone, Gone Again” “Lights Out” “The Lane”

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    Edward Thomas: Selected Poems

    0.4 hrs • 4/24/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 0.8 hrs • 4/24/2015 • Unabridged

    Most of Wilfred Owen’s war poems were composed in a thirteen-month period he spent in Europe on the front lines of World War I. They have retained their originality and force ever since. The best of them are considered the finest poems about war in the English language. Poems was published in 1920. The poems of that work are included here and are as follows: “Strange Meeting” “Greater Love” “Apologia pro Poemate Meo” “The Show” “Mental Cases” “Parable of the Old Man and the Young” “Arms and the Boy” “Anthem for Doomed Youth” “The Send-Off” “Insensibility” “Dulce et Decorum Est” “The Sentry” “The Dead-Beat” “Exposure” “Spring Offensive” “The Chances” “S. I. W.” “Futility” “Smile, Smile, Smile” “Conscious” “A Terre” “Disabled” Warm thanks are extended to the Trustees of The Owen Estate for permission to record the 1920 poems using the texts from the definitive work Complete Poems and Fragments (1983) by Professor Jon Stallworthy.

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    Poems

    0.8 hrs • 4/24/15 • Unabridged
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  9. 1.0 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Abridged

    Naxos AudioBooks begins its new Great Poets series—represented by a selection of the poet’s most popular poems on one CD—with William Blake, whose 250th anniversary of his birth was celebrated in 2014. This CD contains all of his most popular works, including “Tyger,” “Auguries of Innocence,” and “Jerusalem,” as well as some lesser-known poetry that demonstrates the range and power of his verse. These poems are strikingly read by Robert Glenister, Michael Maloney and Stephen Critchlow.

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  10. 1.2 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Abridged

    This anthology contains many of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous poems, including “If,” “Mandalay,” and “Gunga Din.” Though sometimes still regarded as a product of the colonial era, Kipling touches a very popular nerve in Britain’s literary tradition, and is regarded more generously now as a master of popular verse. It is often forgotten that he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907.

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  11. 2.6 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Abridged

    “The Tyger” … “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” … “Ode to the West Wind” … “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” … “Ode to a Nightingale” … “We’ll go no more a-roving” … “The Peasant Poet” and many more “All good poetry,” wrote Wordsworth, “is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” This was to be one of the hallmarks of the Romantic poets. With a dynamic spirit, these great English poets made a conscious return to nostalgia and spiritual depth. Each chose a different path, but they are united in a love of moods, impressions, scenes, stories, sights, and sounds. In this collection of more than forty poems are some of the finest and most memorable works in the English language, from William Blake, John Keats, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and John Clare.

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    Great Poets of the Romantic Age

    By various authors
    Read by Michael Sheen
    2.6 hrs • 8/21/14 • Abridged
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  12. 2.6 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Unabridged

    This highly entertaining anthology of verse is the comic, tender, and telling story of life’s seven ages, from childhood to old age. Based on Lord Owen’s published anthology Seven Ages—Poetry for a Lifetime, it features many of Britain’s leading actors. Shakespeare’s “seven ages” speech, read by Sir Ian McKellen, punctuates the program which contains more than one hundred poems read by forty actors. Highlights include Michael Caine reading Kipling’s “If,” Ralph Fiennes reading Hood’s “I Remember, I Remember,” John Cleese reading “The Owl and the Pussycat,” and Pete Postlethwaite reading “Kubla Khan.”

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    Seven Ages

    2.6 hrs • 8/21/14 • Unabridged
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  13. 2.6 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Unabridged

    The life of William Butler Yeats is a remarkable one. He was many things: poet, playwright, essayist, politician, occultist, astrologer, founder of a national theater, voluminous correspondent, lover, husband, and father. It was a life that extended to a packed, sometimes frantic seventy-three years and left us with what many consider to be one of the finest collections of poetry from one voice.

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  14. 2.6 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Unabridged

    The letters of John Keats written between 1816 and 1821 are passionate, revealing, and sensitive. Furthermore, it was within the context of these letters that many of the poems first appeared. Perry Keenlyside has selected some of the most revealing of Keats’ letters to reveal the state of mind and attitudes of one of the most loved poets in the English language.

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    Realms of Gold

    2.6 hrs • 8/21/14 • Unabridged
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  15. 3.9 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Abridged

    Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. In words remarkable for their richness of rhythm and imagery, John Milton tells the story of Man’s creation, fall, and redemption—to “justify the ways of God to men.” Milton produced characters which have become embedded in the consciousness of English literature: the frail, human pair, Adam and Eve; the terrible cohort of fallen angels; and Satan, tragic and heroic in his unremitting quest for revenge. The tale unfolds from the aftermath of the great battle between good and evil to the moving departure of Adam and Eve from Eden.

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    Paradise Lost

    3.9 hrs • 8/21/14 • Abridged
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  16. 3.4 hrs • 8/21/2014 • Abridged

    Geoffrey Chaucer’s greatest work paints a brilliant picture of medieval life, society, and values. The stories range from the romantic, courtly idealism of “The Knight’s Tale” to the joyous bawdiness of “The Miller’s Tale.” All are told with a freshness and vigour in this modern verse translation that make them a delight to hear.

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    Canterbury Tales

    Read by various narrators
    3.4 hrs • 8/21/14 • Abridged
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