Sweet Gardning labour

from John Milton – Paradise Lost (4.288-357) on Rap Genius

Meaning

Milton didn’t believe that work has to suck; Adam and Eve’s cheerful gardening in Paradise shows that manual labor can be fun and not necessarily back-breaking. After the Fall, things were different, as Genesis 3:17-19 tells us:

Cursed is the ground because of you;
Through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.

(Milton would have loved Rap Genius — it’s basically his ideal of collective intellectual labor, a successful blending of work and pleasure, scholarship and creativity, with the goal of putting together a corpus of knowledge. It’s no Garden of Eden, but there are plenty of hoes, and belabored puns)

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