Simon Schama TV - Alfred Lord Tennyson - William Wordsworth - A E Housman - John Dryden - William Winstanley - esias -
30,321. The poet John Milton, an ardent champion of the parliamentary commonwealth, was hired to attack the cult of the king-martyr as so much wicked idolatry. (Great Britain & England & Civil War & John Milton) Simon Schama, A History of Britain: Revolutions
41,095. O mighty-mouthed inventor of harmonies,
O skilled to sing of time or eternity,
God-gifted organ-voice of England,
Milton, a man to resound for ages. (Compliment & Milton) Alfred Lord Tennyson, Milton: Alcaics 1863
81,112. We must be free or die, who speak the tongue
That Shakespeare spake; the faith and morals hold
Which Milton held. William Wordsworth
81,113. Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. William Wordsworth
10. Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
Or why was Burton built on Trent?
Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think. (God & Alcohol & Beer & Milton & Think) A E Housman, A Shropshire Lad
81,114. Three poets, in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.
The first in loftiness of thought surpassed;
The next, in majesty; in both the last.
The force of Nature could no further go.
To make a third, she joined the former two. John Dryden, Under Mr Milton’s Picture 1688
81,115. Milton’s Paradise Lost is admirable; but am I therefore bound to maintain, that there are no flats amongst his elevations, when it is evident he creeps along sometimes for above an hundred lines together? Cannot I admire the height of his invention, and the strength of his expression, without defending his antiquated words, and the perpetual harshness of their sound? It is as much commendation as a man can bear, to own him excellent; all beyond it is idolatry. John Dryden
81,116. John Milton was one whose natural parts might deservedly give him a place amongst the principal of our English Poets, having written two Heroick Poems and a Tragedy, namely Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Sampson Agonista. But his Fame is gone out like a Candle in a Snuff, and his Memory will always stink, which might have ever lived in honorable Repute, had not he been a notorious Traytor, and most impiously and villanously bely’d that blessed Martyr, King Charles the First. William Winstanley, Lives of the Most Famous English Poets 1687, cited Edmund Gosse, Gossip in a Library 1913
94,529. The free-spirited pupil of a Meaning of Life will see through the smoke of fireside tall tales of where we began our infestation of the universe. But the fanciful and the high-flying, though often inspirational, prove featherweight when weighed against the down-to-earth atomic value of evidence.
John Milton’s praiseworthy epic poem Paradise Lost presents English heroic verse without rhyme comparable to that of Homer in Greek or Virgil in Latin, ‘Rime being no necessary Adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age’ (S Simmons – printer’s note to reader).
Ovid recommends the writer kick off a work in media rem, or in the middle of the action. In Paradise Lost we spot Satan face-down in the mud of Hell, ‘Driv’n headlong from the Pitch of Heaven’ (II:772):
Had cast him out from Heav’n, with all his Host
Of Rebel Angels, by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in Glory above his Peers,
He trusted to have equal’d the most High,
If he oppos’d; and with ambitious aim
Against the Throne and Monarchy of God
Rais’d impious War in Heav’n and Battel proud
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power
Hurld headlong flaming from th’ Ethereal Skie
With hideous ruine and combustion down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine Chains and penal Fire,
Who durst defie th’ Omnipotent to Arms. (I:37-49)
Milton rewinds the shooting match in Books V and VI to show the star striker Satan illuminated under floodlights in ‘dubious battle’ against the ‘Tyranny of Heaven’ with a gang of ne’er-do-wells who are later identified as Arsenal supporters:
His count’nance, as the Morning Starr that guides
The starrie flock, allur’d them, and with lyes
Drew after him the third part of Heav’ns Host (V:705- 707)
Does Satan, the rotten runt of a riotous brood, exist permission of God? Is Satan on a mission from God? ‘… though strange to us it seemd/ At first, that Angel should with Angel warr’ (VI:91-92). Are we then the losers from the War in Heaven given a substitute’s chance? Or are we the victors from the side that fought against fascism? Have we a noble inheritance?
Is Satan right to protest against the imposition of new match rules?
... the work
Of secondarie hands, by task tranferd
From Father to his Son? strange point and new!
Doctrin which we would know whence learnt: who saw
When this creation was? rememberst thou
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being?
We know no time when we were not as now;
Knew none before us, self-begot, self-rais’d
By our own quick’ning power (V: 850-858)
Satan steaming and snorting and sporting the latest fighting fashions on the Elysian Fields of Heaven, ‘in his Sun-bright Chariot sate’ is flanked ‘in terrible array/ Of hideous length’ ... ‘On the rough edge of battel’, ‘Satan with vast and haughtie strides advanc’t/ Came towring, armed in Adamant and Gold’ (VI:100-110) and is met by Abdiel with the sword of truth:
So saying, a noble stroke he lifted high,
Which hung not, but so swift with tempest fell
On the proud Crest of Satan, that no sight,
Nor motion of swift thought, less could his Shield
Such ruin intercept: ten paces huge
He back recoild; the tenth on bended knee
His massie Spear upstaid; (VI:189-195)
Devoid of grace and parachute Satan propelled by Jesus’ big boot free-falls kicking and protesting from the high grass of Heaven down into the seed-husk chaff of Space:
Nine dayes they fell; confounded Chaos roard,
And felt tenfold confusion in thir fall
Through this wilde Anarchie, so huge a rout
Incumberd him with ruin (VI:871-874)
Satan and the chaps are converting from the charming to the chimeric:
But O how fall’n! how chang’d
From him, who in the happy Realms of Light
Cloth’d with transcendent brightness didst outshine
Myriads though bright (I 84-87)