Archive for the ‘milton’ Category

If Milton had a Blog – part 2

January 16, 2007

this is taken from the end of Paradise Lost, from book 12 –

New Heavens, new Earth, ages of endless date,
Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love;
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.
He ended; and thus Adam last replied.
How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest,
Measured this transient world, the race of time,
Till time stand fixed! Beyond is all abyss,
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.

This may be a vision of heaven, but it can also serve as a signpost for a secular world. Who doesn’t want to live in a world of peace, and love, and joy and eternal bliss?

Delusions? Maybe. If you expect it to be given to you when you ask. Here I differ from the Christ on the Cross story. You can’t expect someone else to “save” you. That’s just childish. Personal responsibility, patience, collective action; this is what makes things happen and changes the world for the better.

But what a luscious last line!

“Eternity, whose end no eye can reach”

There is something of the zen koan about this. It is deep, and powerful.

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If Milton had a Blog – part 1

January 14, 2007

John Milton only did one thing in his life. But that one thing was enough to ensure him everlasting immortality. That thing was – Paradise Lost.

The greatest of poetical works, I dare say it even trumps Virgil for it’s relevance and narrative tightness. I am as besotted as anyone with Homer’s Odyssey, but that work only works at the storyline level; it lacks depth and mortal profundity. And as for the Faerie Queen, it’s technical mastery still astonishes, yet it will ever be the fairie tale of elizabethan england. No, it is Milton who bears the poetical crown for uniting text and meaning, and I will explain his deep significance to us living so many centuries on.

Who are We?

However much we have thrown off the shackles of a Christian past, it’s legacy is everpresent in our most cherished institutions. Whether is be schooling, law, the two houses of parliament, our speech, our workday week, our musical scales, our universities; all bear their birth from the Church.

I am not religious, and not many are in the traditional sense, but to rightly comprehend who we are, where we come from, what our culture is reacting to, you need to know a little about the Christian faith.

And I know no better way than starting with Milton.