In “Nutting,” which is comprised of a tissue of allusions to Paradise Lost, William Wordsworth carries on a sustained though enigmatic conversation with his great predecessor John Milton. The speaker in the poem describes a recollected boyhood episode of raiding a bower of hazel trees in terms borrowed from Milton’s descriptions of the tempter Satan and the tempted Eve and Adam. Wordsworth rewrites and internalizes in a compressed lyric space the drama played out in Paradise Lost, choosing a narrative in which the individual falls without external provocation, as both ravager and ravaged. Attention to the Miltonic elements in “Nutting” suggests, pace Harold Bloom, that, far from experiencing an “anxiety of influence” as he contemplates Milton, Wordsworth finds the example of Milton uniquely enabling, to the extent that assimilation of Milton’s poetry becomes for Wordsworth a condition of writing poetry. What Wordsworth inherits from Milton is, the essay argues, a deep balance of delight and sadness, of joy and sorrow, a balance arising from the sense that the world in which we live is at once a place of exile from paradise and a paradisal home.