April 27, 1667 – John Milton assigned the copyright to Paradise Lost for 10£. Half then, half later: he should have made it 5£ plus a percentage. And did those pounds in ancient time make up for all of his striving, and his sight? Speculation as to why Milton wrote Satan in such a sexy way – he is close to the star of the show – and yet convicted him of an impious war on heaven on the mother of all monarchs, God herself – Milton, a congenital republican – leads nowhere, and so we just take the time and trouble to immerse ourselves in this long and dense masterpiece, which scans easily and is chock full of quotable quotes…
“Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss…”
“For so I created them free and free they must remain.”
“Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.”
“Who overcomes By force, hath overcome but half his foe…”
…and fascinating, all-too human characters. It is known more than read these days but read it you should – more than England hath need of Milton. Above all, he loved freedom, at times irresponsibly as all freedom-lovers do.[images by John Martin.]
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