(Born 9th December 1608-8th November 1674)
‘The mind in its own place and in itself
Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.- Paradise Lost
‘What if earth Be but the shadow of heaven and things therein,
Each to other like, more than on earth is thought?’ – Paradist Lost
John Milton was an English Poet and a political writer. He was one of the three children, born in this father’s shop in Bread Street in London. His father was an amateur Musician and a Composer. John Milton attended St. Paul’s School and then Christ’s college at Cambridge University. His colleagues nicknamed him ‘Lady of Christ’ for his feminine face and precise conduct. However, Milton was not deterred with any remarks and while at Cambridge wrote poems and prepared himself for a religious career, dedicating himself to God’s service as a poet.
In 1632, after graduating, Milton went to his countryplace where he wrote his two major pieces ‘Comus’ and ‘Masque’ which was dramatic presentation with music. Later, Milton supported Puritan cause through a series of political writings and gradually with the sweeping change in political scenario, Milton turned away from poetry for a brief period to work on behalf of Parliament and common wealth through his prose.
Milton married 16 year old Mary Powell in 1643 but their marriage was unhappy. His work and constant study strained his weak eyes and he was completely blind by 1652. About his blindness, he wrote a sonnet ‘How my light is spent’ in 1655. John Milton wrote his masterpieces ‘The Paradise Lost’, ‘Paradise Regained’ and ‘samson Agonistes’ during his final years, composed first two works after he was totally blind. In ‘Paradise Lost’, John Milton justifies the ways of God to man. It retells the story of Bible and creation and the fall of Adam and Eve against the backdrop of Satan’s rebellion against God and expulsion from heaven. Milton studied classical greek and latin authors and was, greatly influenced by them. He died on 8th November 1608 due to gout and was buried with his father in St. Giles, Cripplegate, London.
SONG ON MAY MORNING
Now the bright morning Star, Dayes harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East,
and leads with her The Flowry May,
who from her green lap throws The yellow Cowslip, and the pale Primrose.
Hail bounteous May that dost inspire Mirth and youth,
and warm desire, Woods and
Groves, are of thy dressing, Hill and Dale,
doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early Song,
And welcom thee, and wish thee long.
ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST’S NATIVITY (Compos’d 1629)
THIS is the Month, and this the happy morn Wherin the Son of Heav’ns eternal King, Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born, Our great redemption from above did bring; For so the holy sages once did sing, That he our deadly forfeit should release, And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.
That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable, And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty, Wherwith he wont at Heav’ns high Councel-Table, To sit the midst of Trinal Unity, He laid aside; and here with us to be,
Forsook the Courts of everlasting Day, And chose with us a darksom House of mortal Clay.
Say Heav’nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein Afford a present to the Infant God? Hast thou no vers, no hymn, or solemn strein, To welcom him to this his new abode, Now while the Heav’n by the Suns team untrod, Hath took no print of the approching light, And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?
See how from far upon the Eastern rode The Star-led Wisards haste with odours sweet, O run, prevent them with thy humble ode, And lay it lowly at his blessed feet; Have thou the honour first, thy Lord to greet, And joyn thy voice unto the Angel Quire, From out his secret Altar toucht with hallow’d fire.