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And worthie seemd, for in thir looks Divine

Godlike erect, with native Honour clad

From Book 4

...the Fiend

Saw undelighted all delight, all kind

Of living Creatures new to sight and strange:

Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,

In naked Majestie seemd Lords of all,

The image of thir glorious Maker shon,

Truth, wisdome, Sanctitude severe and pure,

Severe but in true filial freedom plac't;

Whence true autoritie in men; though both

Not equal, as thir sex not equal seemd;

For contemplation hee and valour formd,

For softness shee and sweet attractive Grace,

Hee for God only, shee for God in him:

His fair large Front and Eye sublime declar'd

Absolute rule; and Hyacinthin Locks

Round from his parted forelock manly hung

Clustring, but not beneath his shoulders broad:

Shee as a vail down to the slender waste

Her unadorned golden tresses wore

Dissheveld, but in wanton ringlets wav'd

As the Vine curles her tendrils, which impli'd

Subjection, but requir'd with gentle sway,

And by her yielded, by him best receivd,

Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,

And sweet reluctant amorous delay.

Nor those mysterious parts were then conceald,

Then was not guiltie shame, dishonest shame

Of natures works, honor dishonorable,

Sin-bred, how have ye troubl'd all mankind

With shews instead, meer shews of seeming pure,

And banisht from mans life his happiest life,

Simplicitie and spotless innocence.

So passd they naked on, nor shund the sight

Of God or Angel, for they thought no ill:

So hand in hand they passd, the lovliest pair

 

The more one reads Paradise Lost the more one recognizes Milton's powers of imagination and organization. Everywhere, on the largest or the smallest scale, in abstract idea or concrete act, theme and material are closely knit through parallel and contrast. The central conflict and contrast between good and evil are reflected and intensified in the contrasts between heaven and hell, light and darkness, order and chaos, love and hate, humility and pride, reason and passion.

The poem is rich in its appeal to both the eye and the ear. Milton's manipulation of rhythm and sound is of course one of his supreme achievements. Milton's blank verse is never monotonous. His freedom in the placing of phrases and clauses enlarge and enrich his range of emphasis and he uses contrast, suspension, and all the devices of forceful utterance. Many other functional elements of the grand style can be noted: periphrasis, epic similes, geographic, historical, and mythological allusions, and so on.

 

6.2.4. Paradise Regained and the tragedy Samson Agonistes are the other two poems written by Milton. Paradise Regained is a natural sequel to Paradise Lost: Christ, the second Adam, wins back for man what the first Adam had lost. But Milton did not, as might have been expected, deal with the Crucifixion; instead, he showed Christ in the wilderness overcoming Satan the tempter, thereby proving his fitness for his ultimate trial and, in his human role, showing what humankind might achieve through strong integrity and humble obedience to the divine will.

For some readers, the drama of Samson Agonistes is the most powerful of Milton's major works. It is by far the greatest English drama on the Greek model and is known as a closet tragedy i.e., one more suited for reading than performance. The play recounts the story as told in the Old Testament. The action is wholly psychological; it is the process by which Samson, "eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves," moves from preoccupation with his misery and disgrace to selfless humility and renewed spiritual strength, so that he can once more feel himself God's chosen champion. He is granted a return of his old strength and pulls down the pillars that support the temple of the Philistine god, crushing himself along with his captors. The drama must owe a great deal of its power to Milton's sense of kinship with his hero; he has been eyeless in London among a nation of slaves.

6.3. : . . - .

To better understand the situation in the country during the Restoration, one can remember an anonymous poem written around 1675.

Oh, England!

Sick in head and sick in heart,

Sick in whole and every part:

And yet sicker thou art still

For thinking that thou art not ill.

The most profound authors of the period did think that England was "ill". They wanted to find ways to make England a better place to live in. One of them was John Locke (1632-1704), English philosopher, who founded the school of empiricism.

6.3.1. Locke was educated at the University of Oxford and lectured on Greek, rhetoric, and moral philosophy at Oxford in his early thirties. Locke also began his association with the English statesman Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, to whom Locke was friend, adviser, and physician. Shaftesbury secured for Locke a series of minor government appointments. In 1669, in one of his official capacities, Locke wrote a constitution for the proprietors of the Carolina Colonyin North America, but it was never put into effect.

Locke's empiricism emphasizes the importance of the experience of the senses in pursuit of knowledge rather than intuitive speculation or deduction. The empiricist doctrine was first expounded by the English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon, but Locke gave it systematic expression in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding. He regarded the mind of a person at birth as a tabula rasa, a blank slate upon which experience imprinted knowledge, and did not believe in intuition or theories of innate conceptions. Locke also held that all persons are born good, independent, and equal.

Locke's views, in his Two Treatises of Government, attacked the theory of divine right of kings and the nature of the state. In brief, Locke argued that sovereignty did not reside in the state but with the people, and that the state is supreme, but only if it is bound by civil and what he called natural law.

Many of Locke's political ideas, such as those relating to natural rights, property rights, the duty of the government to protect these rights, and the rule of the majority, were later embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Locke further held that revolution was not only a right but often an obligation, and he advocated a system of checks and balances in government. He also believed in religious freedom and in the separation of church and state. Locke's influence in modern philosophy has been profound and, with his application of empirical analysis to ethics, politics, and religion, he remains one of the most important and controversial philosophers of all time.

6.3.2.The same generation producedJohn Bunyan(1628-88), English writer and Puritan minister, author of one of the most famous religious allegories in the English language.

At about the age of 17, during the civil war, Bunyan fought in the Parliamentary army. Later he became a popular Puritan preacher, speaking to large audiences. However, after the restoration of Charles II, Puritans lost the privilege of freedom of worship, and it was declared illegal to conduct divine service except in accordance with the forms of the Church of England. Bunyan, who persisted in his unlicensed preaching, was confined to Bedford county jail for 12 years.

While Bunyan was in prison his library consisted of the Bible and the Book of Martyrs by the theologian John Foxe. Studying the content and literary style of these works, Bunyan began to write religious tracts and pamphlets. Before his release he wrote the first of his major works.

In 1675 Bunyan was imprisoned for six months, and during that time he probably wrote the major part of his masterpiece, The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come, a prose allegory of the pilgrimage of a soul in search of salvation. Ten editions of this great work were printed during Bunyan's lifetime, and it eventually became the most widely read book in English after the Bible. It exerted great influence on later English writers. Noted for its simple, biblical style, The Pilgrim's Progress is now generally considered one of the finest allegories in English literature, and it has been translated into many languages.

 

Then I saw in my Dream, that when they were got out of the Wilderness, they presently saw a Town before them, and the name of that Town is Vanity; and at the Town there is a Fair kept called Vanity- Fair: It is kept all the year long, it beareth the name of Vanity-Fair, because the Town where tis kept, is lighter then Vanity; and also, because all that is there sold, or that cometh thither, is Vanity. As is the saying of the wise, All that cometh is vanity.

This Fair is no new erected business, but a thing of Ancient standing; I will shew you the original of it.

Almost five thousand years agone, there were Pilgrims walking to the Coelestial City, as these two honest persons are; and Beelzebub, Apollyon, and Legion, with their Companions, perceiving by the path that the Pilgrims made, that their way to the City lay through this Town of Vanity, they contrived here to set up a Fair; a Fair wherein should be sold of all sorts of Vanity, and that it should last all the year long. Therefore at this Fair are all such Merchandize sold, as Houses, Lands, Trades, Places, Honours, Preferments, Titles, Countreys, Kingdoms, Lusts, Pleasures, and Delights of all sorts, as Whores, Bauds, Wives, Husbands, Children, Masters, Servants, Lives, Blood, Bodies, Souls, Silver, Gold, Pearls, Precious Stones, and what not.

And moreover, at this Fair there is at all times to be seen Juglings, Cheats, Games, Plays, Fools, Apes, Knaves, and Rogues, and that of all sorts. Here are to be seen too, and that for nothing, Thefts, Murders, Adultries, False-swearers, and that of a blood-red colour

6.4. : .

The leading literary figure of the Restoration was John Dryden (1631-1700), English poet, dramatist, and critic.

About 1657 he went to London as clerk to the chamberlain to the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. Dryden's first important poem, Heroic Stanzas (1659), was written in memory of Cromwell. After the Restoration, however, Dryden became a Royalist and celebrated the return of King Charles II in two poems.

Dryden began to write plays as a source of income. His first attempts failed, but a tragicomedy written in 1664 was a success. During the next 20 years, he became the most prominent dramatist in England. His comedies are broad and bawdy; one of them was banned as indecent, an unusual penalty during the morally permissive period of Restoration theater.

His early heroic plays, written in rhymed couplets, are extravagant and full of pageantry. Among them are the semi-opera The Indian Queen; this work contains some of the most famous music of his contemporary, the English composer Henry Purcell. In his poem Annus Mirabilis,Dryden wrote of the events in the Wonderful Year 1666, chiefly of the English naval victory over the Dutch in July and of the Great Fire of London in September.

 

() Such was the rise of this prodigious fire,

Which in mean buildings first obscurely bred,

From thence did soon to open streets aspire,

And straight to palaces and temples spread.

In this deep quiet, from what source unknown,

Those seeds of fire their fatal birth disclose:

And first, few scattering sparks about were blown,

Big with the flames that to our ruin rose.

Then, in some close-pent room it crept along,

And, smoldering as it went, in silence fed:

Till th'infant monster, with devouring strong,

Walked boldly upright with exalted head.

At length the crackling noise and dreadful blaze,

Called up some waking lover to the sight;

And long it was ere he the rest could raise,

Whose heavy eye-lids yet were full of night.

The next to danger, hot pursu'd by fate,

Half clothed, half naked, hastily retire:

And frighted mothers strike their breasts, too late,

For helpless infants left amidst the fire.

 

Dryden was appointed poet laureate and royal historiographer, and a translator.




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