Copy and Imitation

John Milton, Paradise Lost: 7: 309-338 [copied and imitated from Genesis 1-2]

Let th’ Earth
Put forth the verdant Grass, Herb yeilding Seed,
And Fruit Tree yeilding Fruit after her kind;
Whose Seed is in her self upon the Earth.
He scarce had said, when the bare Earth, till then
Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorn’d,
Brought forth the tender Grass, whose verdure clad
Her Universal Face with pleasant green,
Then Herbs of every leaf, that sudden flour’d
Op’ning thir various colours, and made gay
Her bosom smelling sweet: and these scarce blown,
Forth flourish’t thick the clustring Vine, forth crept
The swelling Gourd, up stood the cornie Reed
Embattell’d in her field: add the humble Shrub,
And Bush with frizl’d hair implicit: last
Rose as in Dance the stately Trees, and spred
Thir branches hung with copious Fruit; or gemm’d
Thir Blossoms: with high Woods the Hills were crownd,
With tufts the vallies & each fountain side,
With borders long the Rivers.

Steven Marx, “April the First”

The Spring god talked the green world into being.
She said to earth, “Push up the verdant grasses
And all the vegetation bearing seed
The fruit trees yielding their own distinct fruits
To hold and spread the seeds of progeny.”
And earth no sooner heard, still bleak and bare,
But that her crust burst forth with tender Grass
That softened to a face of smiling green,
And then with broad-leafed herbs that sudden bloomed
To dress her breast in luscious colored flowers
And fragrance sweet. And still more growth,
The lengthy vines emerged and soon grew thick
Swelling with squash and pumpkin. Ranks of grain
Sprang up in fields and shrubby chapparel
Sprouted impen’trable thickets. Climaxing
Above this growth, majestic trees rose
Reached out their overarching limbs adroop
With fruits and flowers, and crowned in groves
The hills, gave shade to springs riparian,
And bordered watercourses.

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