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Posts Tagged ‘Milton’

A New Canaan
Of U.S Constitution, and the first
Amendment let me not discredit
Founding Fathers nor their sagacity:
Their New Canaan was but one continent,
Pity them, for conscience of pilgrims
Still shackled fast to the fleshpots o’ Europe
Cast the new resolution more o’ the old
feuds, -amid alarums and skirmishes
Taint the new soil, where bisons roamed free;
In the shackles of proud race the new
ever mire’d foul, they made their home as of old;
With their guns drew their fate in New Canaan.
Original:
OF Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,
Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed,
In the Beginning how the Heav’ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion Hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa’s brook that flow’d
Fast by the Oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventrous Song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above th’ Aonian Mount, while it pursues
Things unattempted yet in Prose or Rhime.

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Paradise Lost- Satan in reverie

VI-406 “Now Night her course began”

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John Milton

John Milton(1608-1674)

Milton is best known for Paradise Lost, widely regarded as the greatest epic poem in English. Together with Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes, it confirms Milton’s reputation as one of the greatest English poets. In his prose works Milton advocated the abolition of the Church of England and the execution of King Charles I. From the beginning of the English Civil Wars in 1642 to long after the restoration of Charles II as king in 1660, he espoused in all his works a political philosophy that opposed tyranny and state-sanctioned religion. His influence extended not only through the civil wars and interregnum but also to the American and French revolutions.
In understanding his polemics and championing anti-monarchial cause that was the most disruptive event of his time a clue may be found from his childhood experience. He must have been aware how religious belief had made his own father an outcast.
Milton’s paternal grandfather, Richard, was a staunch Roman Catholic who expelled his son John, the poet’s father, from the family home in Oxfordshire for reading an English (i.e., Protestant) Bible. Banished and disinherited, it was only natural the banishment of Old Adam would be the crowning piece of his poetic world. He transcended like Tennyson after him a personal calamity with his vigor and classicism achieved as though there was a compensatory mechanism at work. If any poet were destined to attempt the grandeur of the entire King James’ version of the Bible in retelling the fall of men he was the most qualified to do so. How well he enriched the English language ever since! Naturally poets like John Keats and Robert Browning accepted him as their master.

‘According to Gavin Alexander, lecturer in English at Cambridge university and fellow of Milton’s alma mater, Christ’s College, who has trawled the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for evidence, Milton is responsible for introducing some 630 words to the English language, making him the country’s greatest neologist, ahead of Ben Jonson with 558, John Donne with 342 and Shakespeare with 229. Without the great poet there would be no liturgical, debauchery, besottedly, unhealthily, padlock, dismissive, terrific, embellishing, fragrance, didactic or love-lorn. And certainly no complacency.
“The OED does tend to privilege famous writers with first usage,” Alexander admits, “and early-modern English – a composite of Germanic and Romance languages – was ripe for innovation. If you couldn’t think of a word, you could just make one up, ideally based on a term from French or Latin that others educated in those languages would understand. Yet, by any standards, Milton was an extraordinary linguist and his freedom with language can be related to his advocacy of personal, political and religious freedoms.”
Milton’s coinages can be loosely divided into five categories. A new meaning for an existing word – he was the first to use space to mean “outer space”; a new form of an existing word, by making a noun from a verb or a verb from an adjective, such as stunning and literalism; negative forms, such as unprincipled, unaccountable and irresponsible – he was especially fond of these, with 135 entries beginning with un-; new compounds, such as arch-fiend and self-delusion; and completely new words, such as pandemonium and sensuous.
Not that Milton got things all his own way. Some of his words, such as intervolve (to wind within each other) and opiniastrous (opinionated), never quite made it into regular usage – which feels like our loss rather than his. ‘(ack: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jan/28/britishidentity.johncrace)
trivia
Milton was displeased with Cambridge, possibly because study there emphasized Scholasticism, which he found stultifying to the imagination. Moreover, in correspondence with a former tutor at St. Paul’s School, Alexander Gill, Milton complained about a lack of friendship with fellow students. They called him the “Lady of Christ’s College,” perhaps because of his fair complexion, delicate features, and auburn hair.
benny

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