I thought youd find it fun and you did. The poem whose first stanza was given in this Blog yesterday is Frederich March who is a brilliant contributor here, with Bob in P. F. whose candor I love and his ability to put into memorable words where he agrees and disagrees, second. The author is John Milton [1608-74] and the poem is On His Blindness. In some ways I think Milton is more profound than Shakespeare. At any rate, he lived longer and may well have had more experience with women. His first wife was seventeen who became bored with him and skipped town. She returned and they had three daughters; she died in childbirth while delivering a fourth. He got a job translating Latin for a commission on foreign affairs but the work so severely strained his eyes that he lost his sight.
That didnt stop him from marrying again, a young woman he never saw, who like her predecessor died in childbirth. A third wife aged 24 took over whom he also never saw. The poem On His Blindness was written when he was 43 which alludes to his line Ere half my days in this dark world and wide. The concluding line in this poem which has endured throughout English literature is:
They also serve who only stand and wait.
My all-time favorite of course (as an English major who graduated 56 years ago) is Miltons epic Paradise Lost. It is a work of art who wrote with a purpose and knowledge of a generation of literature behind him. His objective: to justify the ways of God to men. Showing that evil in the world came not from a Deity who is all-loving for from a spirit who is the essence of evil. Paradoxically, in writing about Satan, Milton made him so colorful that he lives far more vividly in memory than any other character in the epic. Get these lines showing Satans fall from grace:
Him the Almighty Power
Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms
Nine times the space that measures day and
To mortal men, he, with his horrid crew
Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded, though immortal.
Satan views his Hell in Miltons description:
round he throws his baleful eyes
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay,
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate
At once, as far as Angels ken, he views
The dismal situation wste and wild
A dungeon horrible, on all sides round,
As one great furnace flamed; yet from those
No light; but rather darkness visible
Now for another if you care to play. What man wrote these immortal lines for essays that have become immortal in English literature?
What is truth? said jesting Pilate and would not stay for an answer.
Wives are young mens mistresses; companions for middle age and old mens nurses.