On 27 April 1667, poet John Milton sold the publication rights to Paradise Lost for £5 with a further £5 to be paid if and when each print run of between 1,300 and 1,500 copies sold out. The first run, priced at three shillings per copy, was published in August 1667 and sold out in eighteen months. The poem was immediately hailed as a masterpiece of the English language.
Once upon a time, children,
long, long ago we lived amidst the green
woods with deep running rivers,
with deer and bears and otters and birds.
Oh, oh so many birds, so many their song filled the air,
so many their flocks filled the sky
and the plants grew that we might eat
and yes, we killed, but with care;
we hunted with respect,
taking only those beasts we needed to feed ourselves,
catching only the fish that we could eat…
We didn’t notice at first, how everything changed.
Bit by bit, piece by piece, it slipped away from us,
the green turned brown and the rivers ran dry.
The Corporations grew and farmed and controlled
what we might eat and drink. To think that water was once free!
And the beasts and the birds and the fish died,
oh no, we didn’t kill too many,
we killed their homes.
We cut down their forests, we polluted their streams.
we poisoned their air.
We poisoned our home.
We gave it all up for 30 pieces of silver,
for greed, for wealth, for a bright,
Brave New World.
And so in time as many, well, most died
we had no choice but to leave.
We still had no way to reach a new world,
but we had Luna and so here we are.
Living in bubbles and domes, tending the last few trees
and plants and growing just what little we can.
The greedy died of course. The Corporate Masters
in their ivory towers were so satisfied with owning a world
that they did not see their demise.
they could not see their deaths and after so many had fallen,
victims to their regime:
up we rose to take back what little was left and to throw
the Masters down and let them rot amongst the rotting fields,
amongst the desolation they had created.
Yes, all of this is true, but oh so long ago, when I was a child like you.
The Earth was blue with water and green with trees
and people, oh so many people lived all over it.
It was all we had and we gave it away, nay I lie,
we sold it for a handful of Magic Beans,
but in the end we paid far more
we paid with all we had…
Grandma, what’s a bear?