“I am of a cautious temper, and unwilling to risk my happiness in a hurry. Nobody can think more highly of the matrimonial state than myself. I consider the blessing of a wife as most justly described in those discreet lines of the poet, ‘Heaven’s last best gift.'”
Mansfield Park, volume 1, chapter 4
According to my Oxford World’s Classics edition, Henry Crawford is joking about Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which “Adam describes Eve as God’s ultimate gift; Henry Crawford wittily turns the line to express his preference for deferring wedlock.”
Hmm… I have known many men “of a cautious temper.”
Joseph Beattie as Henry Crawford. ©Jon Hall/ITV plc (Granada International) for Masterpiece™
One Response to Heaven’s last best gift
Thank you, Lori!