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HomePoems > Kubla Khan > Sources > John Milton > 6. Mount Amara in Abyssinia



1. The green border of Paradise

2. The fragrance of Paradise

3. A steep, savage hill

4. A Heaven on earth

5. Imitations of Paradise

6. Mount Amara in Abyssinia


John Milton

6. Mount Amara in Abyssinia

Milton continues with another false paradise, but this one is in Abyssinia, and involves Mount Amara, where the Abyssinian kings come from, and the headwaters of the Nile, as it comes up from underneath a lot of rock.

Satan sees no joy in the delightful gardens of Eden, though they are so much more beautiful than the area in Ethiopia, where the Nile appears.

Lowes postulates that Milton's Mount Amara, described as the "supposed" true Paradise, reinforces Coleridge's memory of Purchas (which Lowes argues Milton also read with care), where Purchas describes "the Hill of Amara":

There are two Temples, built before the Raigne of the Queene of Saba, one in honour of the Sunne, the other of the Moone, the most magnificent in all Ethiopia. Purchas VII 844.

Perhaps the name Amara merged with the names of rivers such as Abola and Astaboras and became Abora, in Kubla Khan. Lowes argues:

Mount Amara--its name merged with the name of the river that flowed by the Mountains of the Moon--was drawn into that concourse of impressions which, as Coleridge sat sleeping over Purchas, was slipping through the ivory gate.

Glad of some scholarly support, Lowes cites Professor Lane Cooper, who suggested, in an article on "The Abyssinian Paradise in Coleridge and Milton," that Coleridge's Mount Abora was really Milton's Mount Amara. 374 Modern Philology, III, 327-32


Nor where Abassin Kings thir issue Guard,
Mount Amara, though this by som suppos'd
True Paradise under the Ethiop Line
By Nilus head, enclos'd with shining Rock,
A whole dayes journey high, but wide remote
From this Assyrian Garden, where the Fiend
Saw undelighted all delight, all kind
Of living Creatures new to sight and strange:
--Paradise Lost, Book IV, lines 280-287.

Other sources

William Bartram
William Beckford
F. Bernier
James Bruce
Thomas Burnet
William Collins
Athanasius Kircher
Jerome Lobo
Thomas Maurice
Samuel Purchas
Major James Rennell

Mary Wollstonecraft


Word Line # Line Sources for word


Singing of Mount Abora

 Bruce 6
 Bruce 7
 Kircher 4
 Milton 6

 Purchas 5




It was an Abyssinian maid,

 Bruce 5
 Bruce 8
 Bruce 9
 Milton 6

Delight 44 To such deep delight 'twould win me  Bartram 2
 Milton 2
 Milton 6
 Purchas 1
 Purchas 4


And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills

 Bartram 2
 Bernier 1
 Bernier 2
 Bernier 3
 Milton 4
 Milton 6
 Purchas 3
 Purchas 4



And drunk the milk of Paradise.

 Bruce 1
 Burnet 1
 Kircher 1
 Milton 1
 Milton 2
 Milton 4
 Milton 5
 Milton 6

 Purchas 4



And ‘mid these dancing rocks at once and ever

 Bartram 5
 Bartram 6
 Bartram 7
 Bartram 8

 Bruce 2
 Bruce 7

 Milton 6


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