December 09, 2008

Milton's Birthday

WHAT needs my Shakespeare, for his honoured bones,
The labour of an age in pilèd stones?
Or that his hollowed relics should be hid
Under a stary-pointing pyramid?
Dear son of Memory, great heir of Fame,
What need’st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou, in our wonder and astonishment,
Hast built thyself a livelong monument.
For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavouring art,
Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart
Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalued book,
Those Delphic lines with deep impression took;
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us marble, with too much conceiving;
And, so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.

John Milton was born three hundred years ago today. This is what he wrote about Shakespeare. The thing is that it is as true of Milton as it was of Shakespeare.


Crushed said...

Apparently, he dictated Paradise Lost, because he was pretty much blind by then.
This is why it has the curious feature that it really LOOKS awful on paper, but if you read it out loud, it's so marvellously rythmical.

Although perhaps as bloggers, it's his Areopagita we should revere, I seem to recall it has quite a bit to say on Free sppech :)

Eshuneutics said...

Milton was born 400 years ago, surely.

Gracchi said...

Yes I can't subtract!