Summary of “On The Morning of Christs Nativity”:
When Milton was twenty-one years old, he wrote ‘On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,’ commonly known as Nativity Ode. It was included in his 164 collection Poems of Mr. John Milton. He composed the work to commemorate the Birth of Jesus and to celebrate his twenty-first birthday.
At the start of the poem, the reader is taken through a sequence of natural imagery. The poet expresses his thoughts about the sun, stars, moon, and natural surroundings. Their feelings are comparable, and they convey the power of the child’s birth to the reader.
The poetry then shifts to a forecast of what the future would be like. There will be peace in all lands, and no one will go to battle. Christ must first die. A brief period of darkness falls over the poem, but it is rapidly removed to reveal a sequence of pagan themes. The ancient gods are represented as fleeing their homes and hurrying to Hell as they would spend the rest of their time there.
The “Nativity Ode” is divided into a 4 stanza intro and a 27-stanza hymn by Milton. He outlines Christ’s function in Christian doctrine in the first two stanzas of the introduction.
In paragraphs 3 and 4, Milton reveals the goddess who influences his poetry and instructs her to race ahead of the sages who are bringing presents to the manger at which Christ was born. Milton tells his muse to give him his own present first: the hymn that encapsulates the remainder of the poetry.
The hymn starts with an account of Christ’s birth in a stable. As the scenario unfolds, Milton represents Nature as a lady concealing her crimes in white snow, a biblical emblem of purity. Eve’s attempt to hide herself from God after the Fall is echoed in his description of Nature covering her sin.
MEG-01 British Poetry Summary and Analysis of “On The Morning of Christs Nativity” by John Milton
Milton portrays the perfect tranquilly that follows Christ’s arrival in stanzas 3–7. He envisions conflicts ending, the seas and stars ceasing to exist, and the sun fading to make room for Christ’s brighter light.
Milton shifts to a group of herders in stanzas 8 and 9, who hear Heaven’s melody from a field and listen in awe. He portrays Nature bending to the force of the song in verse 10, and implies that the music creates a better harmony than the world’s physical rules. A number of angels arrive in the sky singing in stanzas 11 and 12, and Milton relates their music to the music that was heard during the origin of the world.
In paragraph 13–15, Milton asks for the music to begin playing again, and explains what might occur when that does: the Final Judgment, where eternity will come to a halt and the gates of Heaven will access for everyone.
In verse 16, Milton returns to the present after his divine experience. Because Christ has just recently been born, he tells himself that “it must not yet be so.” Returning to the present, Milton describes Christ’s function in Christian doctrine: adopting a physical form and paying for our sins. He then travels back in time to imagine the other side of the Final Verdict: where sinners would be condemned in a “dreadful” court.