Paradise Lost

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Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle rages across three worlds - heaven, hell, and earth - as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, motivated by all too ...

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Paradise Lost

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Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle rages across three worlds - heaven, hell, and earth - as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, motivated by all too human temptations, but whose ultimate downfall is unyielding love.

Marked by Milton's characteristic erudition is a work epic both in scale and, notoriously, in ambition. For nearly 350 years it has held generation upon generation of scholars, students and readers in rapt attention and its profound influence can be seen in almost every corner of Western culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Even a dozen critical essays, representative of the postmodern wave that has largely displaced liberal humanism in English studies in the years in which they were written (1970-96), do not dethrone Satan as the flawed hero of Milton's masterwork. Contributors vivisect, yet manage to convey, the contemporary relevance of the seminal 17th century epic poem with interpretations from Marxist/ historicist, feminist, psychoanalytic, and poststructuralist approaches. The editor provides a concisely informative introduction to the English Revolution and modern contexts for deconstructing . Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
“In this landmark edition, teachers will discover a powerful ally in bringing the excitement of Milton’s poetry and prose to new generations of students.”—William C. Dowling, Rutgers University
“This magnificent edition gives us everything we need to read Milton intelligently and with fresh perception.”—William H. Pritchard, Amherst College
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199535743
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/15/2008
  • Series: Oxford World's Classics Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 324,438
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Milton (1608-1674) was an English poet, best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, which first appeared in 1667, having been completely written, and dictated, while he was blind. His works continue to influence Western culture, thought and language.
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Read an Excerpt

PARADISE LOST the printer to the reader

Courteous Reader, there was no argument at first intended to the book, but for the satisfaction of many that have desired it, I have procured it, and withal a reason of that which stumbled many others, why the poem rhymes not. S. Simmons

The Verse

The measure is English heroic verse without rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Vergil in Latin; rhyme being no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set off wretched matter and lame meter; graced indeed since by the use of some famous modern poets, carried away by custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse than else they would have expressed them. Not without cause therefore some both Italian and Spanish poets of prime note have rejected rhyme both in longer and shorter works, as have also long since our best English tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judicious ears, trivial and of no true musical delight; which consists only in apt numbers, fit quantity of syllables, and the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned ancients both in poetry and all good oratory.

1. The defense of blank verse and the prose arguments summarizing each book “procured” by Milton’s printer, Samuel Simmons, were inserted in bound copies of the first edition beginning in 1668, with this brief note.

This neglect then of rhyme so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.

Book I The Argument

This first book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, man’s disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed: then touches the prime cause of his fall, the serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent, who revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of angels, was by the command of God driven out of Heaven with all his crew into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem hastes into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his angels now fallen into Hell, described here, not in the center (for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed) but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos. Here Satan with his angels lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him. They confer of their miserable fall. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded; they rise, their numbers, array of battle, their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in Heaven; for that angels were long before this visible creation was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandaemonium the palace of Satan rises, suddenly built out of the deep. The infernal peers there sit in council.

Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, till one greater man

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,

Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,

In the beginning how the heavens and earth

Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flowed

Fast by the oracle of God, I thence

Invoke thy aid to my advent’rous song,

That with no middle flight intends to soar

Above th’ Aonian mount, while it pursues

Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.

And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer

Before all temples th’ upright heart and pure,

Instruct me, for thou know’st; thou from the first

Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread

Dove-like sat’st brooding on the vast abyss

And mad’st it pregnant: what in me is dark

Illumine, what is low raise and support,

That to the highth of this great argument

I may assert eternal providence,

And justify the ways of God to men.

Say first, for Heav’n hides nothing from thy view

Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause

Moved our grand parents in that happy state,

Favored of Heav’n so highly, to fall off

From their Creator, and transgress his will

For one restraint, lords of the world besides?

Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?

Th’ infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile

Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived

The mother of mankind, what time his pride

Had cast him out from Heav’n, with all his host

Of rebel angels, by whose aid aspiring

To set himself in glory above his peers,

He trusted to have equaled the Most High,

If he opposed; and with ambitious aim

Against the throne and monarchy of God

Raised impious war in Heav’n and battle proud

With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power

Hurled headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky

With hideous ruin and combustion down

To bottomless perdition, there to dwell

In adamantine chains and penal fire,

Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms.

Nine times the space that measures day and night

To mortal men, he with his horrid crew

1. The first line’s introduction of an exemplary man recalls the epics of Homer and Vergil. Milton’s theme, however, is neither martial nor imperial but spiritual: humanity’s disastrous failure to obey God counterpoised by the promise of redemption. Of man’s: The proper name Adam is also the Hebrew word for generic man or humankind. He is both an individual male and, with Eve, the entire species: “so God created man . . . ; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1.27). Of man translates the Hebrew for “woman” (Gen. 2.23). fruit: Its dual meanings (outcome, food) are put in play by enjambment, a primary formal device by which Milton draws out sense “from one verse into another” (The Verse).

4. one greater man: Jesus, second Adam (1 Cor. 15.21–22; Rom. 5.19). Cp. PR 1.1–4.

5. blissful seat: translates Vergil’s epithet for Elysium, Aen. 6.639.

6. Sing Heav’nly Muse: the verb and subject of the magnificently inverted sixteen-line opening sentence. By invoking a Muse, Milton follows a convention that dates from Homer. Yet Milton’s Muse is not the muse of classical epic (Calliope) but the inspiration of Moses, David, and the prophets (cp. 17–18n). secret: set apart, not common. When the Lord descends to give Moses the law, thick clouds and smoke obscure the mountaintop, and the people are forbidden on pain of death to cross boundaries around the mountain (Exod. 19.16, 23).

8. shepherd: The vocation of shepherd is a key vehicle for Milton’s integration of classical and scriptural traditions. Moses encounters God while tending sheep on Mount Horeb (Oreb) and later receives the law on Sinai, a spur of Horeb (Exod. 3; 19). (Or the doubling of names may simply acknowledge the inconsistency of Exod. 19.20 and Deut. 4.10.)

9. In the beginning: opening phrase of Genesis and the Gospel of John.

10. Chaos: classical term for the primeval state of being out of which God creates, also referred to as “the deep” (as in Gen. 1.2) and “the abyss” (as in l. 21). Sion hill: Mount Zion, site of Solomon’s Temple, “the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 6.1, 13). Adding to the persistent doubleness of the invocation, Milton requests inspiration from two scriptural sites associated with God’s presence and prophetic inspiration. Both sites receive dual designations: Mount Horeb/Sinai and Mount Zion/Siloa’s brook.

11–12. Siloa’s brook . . . God: spring whose waters flowed through an underground aqueduct, supplied a pool near (Fast by) Solomon’s Temple, and irrigated the king’s lush garden (cp. 4.225–30). Jerome says it ran directly beneath Mount Zion (A. Gilbert 1919, 269). Scripturally, it symbolizes David’s monarchical line (Isa. 7–8, esp. 8.6). In opening the eyes of the man born blind, Jesus sends him to wash his eyes with its waters (John 9). Cp. 3.30–31. oracle of God: the holiest place in the Temple, the tabernacle of the Ark of the Covenant (1 Kings 6.19). The classical Muses haunt a spring (Aganippe) on Helicon (cp. 15n), “the sacred well, / That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring” (Lyc 15–16). In identifying the spring near the “Holy of Holies” as similarly a site of inspiration, Milton again links scriptural and classical prophetic and poetic traditions.

14. no middle flight: Milton will go beyond middle air, whose upper boundary is as high as the peaks of tall mountains, and soar to the highest Empyrean, the abode of God. His soaring ambition recalls the myth of Icarus, whose failure to follow a middle flight caused him to tumble into the sea (cp. 7.12–20).

15. Aonian mount: Helicon, Greek mountain favored by the Muses (cp. 11–12n). Hesiod says that while he tended sheep on Helicon (like Moses on Horeb), the Muses called him to sing of the gods (Theog. 22).

16. Translates the opening of Orlando Furioso (1.2) and is reminiscent of Masque 43–45; cp. similar claims by Lucretius (De Rerum Nat. 1.925–30) and Horace (Odes 3.1.2–4).

17–18. 1 Cor. 3.16–17, 6.19. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit (l. 21). In Milton’s theology, the diverse functions of the Holy Spirit derive from “the virtue and power of God the Father,” in this case “the force or voice of God, in whatever way it was breathed into the prophets” (CD 1.6, p. 1194). The site of revelation progresses from Horeb/Sinai to Sion hill/Siloa’s brook to, finally, the individual human heart.

21. brooding: Milton thus renders the Hebrew word translated as “moved” in the AV (Gen. 1.2) but as incubabat (brooded) in St. Basil and other Latin patristic authors (see also 7.235). Cp. Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici: “This is that gentle heat that brooded on the waters, and in six days hatched the world” (73).

24. argument: subject matter; cp. 9.28.

25. assert: take the part of, champion.

26. justify: vindicate; cp. Pope, Essay on Man: “Laugh where we must, be candid where we can,/But vindicate the ways of God to man” (1.15–16). Milton’s word order permits dual readings: either “justify (the ways of God to men)” or “justify (the ways of God) to men.” Cp. SA: “Just are the ways of God,/And justifiable to men” (293–94).

27–28. Milton introduces the narrative with a query, an epic convention; cp. “Tell me, O Muse, the cause” (Vergil, Aen. 1.8). Homer also depicts the Muses as all-knowing: “Tell me now, ye Muses that have dwellings on Olympus—for ye are goddesses and are at hand and know all things” (Il. 2.484–85).

29. grand: great, original, all-inclusive; cp. line 122.

30. fall off: deviate, revolt (as in l. 33).

33. Cp. Il. 1.8.

36. what time: when; cp. Masque 291, Lyc 28.

44–49. Him . . . arms: “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness” (2 Pet. 2.4; cp. Jude 6).

45. “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10.18); cp. Homer’s Hephaestus “hurled . . . from the heavenly threshold . . . headlong” (Il. 1.591–92).

46. ruin: a fall from a great height, from the Latin ruina; cp 6.867–68.

48. adamantine: unbreakable (Gk.); cp. Aeschylus’s Prometheus, clamped “in shackles of binding adamant that can- not be broken” (Prom. 6). The myth of adamant persists today; the indestructible claws of the Marvel Comics hero Wol- verine are made of “adamantium.”

49. durst: dared.

50–52. The rebel angels regain consciousness after nine days falling from Heaven (6.871) and nine days rolling in the fiery gulf. Hesiod’s Titans fall nine days from heaven to earth and another nine from earth to Tartarus (Theog. 720–25). Milton, like many Christian mythographers, deemed the Titans’ rebellion a pagan analogue for Satan’s fall.

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Table of Contents

Note on This Edition.


List of Illustrations.



Textual Introduction.


In Paradisum Amissam Summi Poetæ (S[amuel] B[arrow] M. D.).

On Paradise Lost (A[ndrew] M[arvell]).

The Verse.

Book 1.

Book 2.

Book 3.

Book 4.

Book 5.

Book 6.

Book 7.

Book 8.

Book 9.

Book 10.

Book 11.

Book 12.

Textual Notes.

Appendix: Sketches for Dramas on the Fall, from the Trinity Manuscript.

Select Bibliography

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 34 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2004


    Paradise Lost and The Canterbury Tales are the most super writings I have ever had the pleasure to read!!! I reccomend them both!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2005

    Milton's endless perdition of nothing

    If you have insomnia, or would like to hear a crazy and bored evangelical maniac's carp version of the fall of man, by all means buy this book. If you wish the bible was more wordy and full of endless descriptions of nothing this book is for you. If you are a normal person and have absolutly no trouble sleeping avoid this garbage. If you're looking for a good book along these lines that won't bore you to tears, try Dante's Inferno. Al least he writes something that's interesting and at times amusing.

    2 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    This is the one you're looking for...

    Great formatting. Great navigation. And those awesome Gustave Dore illustrations. Only 99¿

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2015

    &real&alpha&eta&delta&iota<_>'s Q&upsilon&sigma&tau&epsilon<_>s

    "Some say that life is a gamble, which means love is a casino." ~Kevin Gates. <p> "Life is only as good as you make it." ~Me <p> "If life is only as good as I make it, why do I make it so hard?" ~Me <p> "You can't live life without optimism." ~Me <p> "Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?" ~Leo Buscaglia <p> "Love is like handing someone a gun, having them point it at your heart, and trusting them to never pull the trigger." ~Michael Gardner. <p> "I'm gonna smile like nothing's wrong, pretend like everything's alright, act like it's all perfect- even though inside it really hurts." ~Anonymous <p> "Be careful with your words. Once they're said, they can only be forgiven. Not forgotten." ~Anonymous <p> "With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." Eleanor Roosevelt. <p> "All alone! Whether you like it or not, alone is something you'll be quite alot!" ~Dr. Seuss. <p> "Anger doesn't solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything." ~Anonymous <p> "Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret." ~Ambrose Brierce <p> "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." ~Buddha <p> "Destiny isn't a path any cat follows blidnly. It is always of choice, and sometimes the heart speaks the loudest. Listen to your heart, because that's where your true destiny lies." ~Leafpool <p> Yuhs, quotes that I've found over time and fell in love with. Wrote 'em down...Once I gathered enough, I posted 'em here. Enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2015

    *&real&alpha&eta&delta&iota<_>'s &beta&iota&sigma [Part-Three]

    Godda<_>mn it! Below is supposed to say "[Part-Three]". Sorreh! T_T

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2015

    &real&alpha&eta&delta&iota<_>'s &beta&iota&sigma

    &starf Best Friends &starf <br> Seven, Avalanche, Swift, Thistlefang, Platinum, Reivunfeza, Silv, other people who I ish forgettin'. Cx <p> &starf Friends &starf <br> [Mostly] anybody not mentioned above! :) <p> &starf Enemies &starf <br> Reivunfeza, Coyotewhisp [More of an frenemy], Armageddon [More of a frenemy], and Faith. <p> &starf Likes &starf <br> Ermahgersh. TUNA! Fish! TUNA! Fish! The scent of lavender and pine sap, Springtime, annoying peeps [occassionally], not sleeping [live it up like, it's the weekend! *sings*], etc. <p> &starf Dislikes &starf <br> Squirrels, Winter, cold weather, the scent of death, blood and gore, meh. Other things. ^-^ <p> &starf Theme Songs &starf <br> You Found Me -by- The Fray <br> Fly -by- Nicki Minaj ft. Rihanna <br> Paradise -by- Coldplay <br> Hall of Fame -by- The Script <p> &starf Den &starf <br> "Sphinx" first result. <p> &starf Siggy &starf <br> &starf, and has been since I've began rping her. Anyone else with this symbol, NOT me. [Randi's my only rp in BC with this symbol.] <p> &starf Other What-Nurt &starf <br> Sorry for any confusing miss-spells or left out characters. My NOOK hates me, and likes to mess up my perfectly good bio. Also sorry for making Part-One say "bii". Honest mistake. This bio will be re-done about every month, but any necessary updates will be posted within the month(s) of this bio being here. Thank you. Good-bye. c:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2015

    &real&alpha&eta&delta&iota<_>'s &beta&iota&sigma [Part-Two]

    &starf Kin &starf <br> Mum: Fairen [Deceased] <br> Pop: Draconite [Missing] <br> Sister: Cinquedea [Missing] <p> &starf Crush &starf <br> x-x Really not sure what to say here... Let me just say, she still has feelings for Avalanche, but she just wants to be friends. <p> &starf Ex-Mates &starf <br> Technically there were two. First there was Darknavy, then there was Korra. e-e<p> &starf Mate &starf <br> No, and honestly, she doesn't ever want one. She only thinks that no relationship lasts, they always end. And it isn't worth the hurt. <p> &starf Kits &starf <br> Darknavy's: Talon [Missing; &male], Amethyst [Missing; &female], Kosmos [Deceased; &male] <br> Adopted: River [&female], and Night [&female] <p> &starf History &starf <br> So, Randomness started out as an OOC rp. One day I just randomly began rping her as an IC rp. The rest is history. xD literally... [Tired of typing all of this out.]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2015

    &real&alpha&eta&delta&iota<_>'s &beta&iota&iota

    &starf Name &starf <br> Randomness! :D I know, I know. What a strange name for a cat. Deal wiff it. o3o <p> &starf Nicknames &starf <br> Rando, Randi (thanks to Zhiming! :P), Randeh, Randeh-Buddeh, Randelion, Randi Dandi, etc. Feel free to add one! :3 <p> &starf Gender &starf <br> Uhm, really? You should know her by now. If you didn't just catch that, you're a lost cause. ^-^ <p> &starf Age &starf <br> ANCIENT. xD Just kidding. I've rped her since.... March/April 2014, so yeah.... But I don't age my cats according to the "so many days = one moon". Like Avalanche, I age my cat via rl time. So, she was already like a year old when I began rping her, so now she'd be two years. Good enough? Better be. :P <p> &starf Clan &starf <br> That's the stupidest question yet. Haha, what do /you/ think? I live in that mighty Clan of Blood. Heh. o.e <p> &starf Rank &starf <br> Temporary Leader along with Thistlefang and Reivunfeza. Note that it's temporary. You wish it wasn't. xD I amuse myself... ;-; <p> &starf Personality &starf <br> Whale, Miss Randi has several different rsonality traits. Let's start with that she is in fact a pathological liar, like it or not. She's also intelligent, and witty, wise, and what-nurt. She's a quick thinker as well. She's also known to despise blood and gore. And even though she despises it, she will not hestitate to spar or fight. This just basically means that she hates seeing a cat die. She will kill one if need be though, so don't take this the wrong way. She can also very cheery, bright, optimistic, playful, humourous, etc., when she wants to be. But on the other hand, in a bad mood she can be snappy, ill-tempered, pessimistic, depressing, etc. She's hardly ever afraid to hide her true emotions, but when she does, it usually has a personal reason as to why. *Facepalm* Why am I even explaining her to you? You really wanna know her personality? Meet her, doofus. v-v <p> &starf Appearance &starf <br> Randi's build is lithe; which practically means lean but strong. She's slightly taller than a normal she-cat, though just by little. Her pelt is a shimmery black, as if it's been dyed. (Obviously it hasn't been.) In the sunlight, it will shine with orange-ish/purple-ish streaks. I the moonlight, it will shin with blue-ish/white-ish streaks. Her eyes ared rare for a black-coated cat, but they're a beautiful and mysterious stormy grey, that still will look bright, even when she is down in the dum<_>ps. Her entire left foreleg is an egg-shell white, up to the "armpit". Her right forepaw has dark brown-tipped toes. She has a longer tail than a normal cat's, in fact, it usually gets in the way of a spar/fight. She has three notable scars. One is a wide vertical on her stomach; given by Coyotewhisp. The other is a thin but long scar that extends from her right hip, down to her hackle; given by Starlight, a cat in a SkyClan raid. The last is three think scars on her flank, which was made by claw marks; given by a forgotten cat on a raid. She wears two necklaces, in which the first hangs higher. The first is small thin silver chain, and hung on it is a shard of an amethyst; representing her daughter, Amethyst. The other necklace is a silver linked chain, and hung on it is the red-orange toe from a bird's talon; representing her son, Talon. She used to wear one that represented Kosmos, her deceased son, but ridded of it after he died. She doesn't wear one to represent her adopted kits, River and Night, for personal reasons. :D

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2015

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    Bad formatting

    This ebook was very poorly formatted. The first letters of most lines in the poem were missing. Needless to say, it rendered the text very difficult to read. But what can you expect for 99 cents?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2012

    I like it, i love it

    Why are all of the classics free?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

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