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John Milton

Birthdate: 9. December 1608
Date of death: 8. November 1674

John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost , written in blank verse.

Milton's poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Writing in English, Latin, Greek, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica , written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship, is among history's most influential and impassioned defences of free speech and freedom of the press.

William Hayley's 1796 biography called him the "greatest English author", and he remains generally regarded "as one of the preeminent writers in the English language", though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death . Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as "a poem which...with respect to design may claim the first place, and with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind", though he described Milton's politics as those of an "acrimonious and surly republican".

Works

Areopagitica
Areopagitica
John Milton
Comus
Comus
John Milton
Samson Agonistes
Samson Agonistes
John Milton
Tetrachordon
Tetrachordon
John Milton
Eikonoklastes
John Milton
Arcades
Arcades
John Milton

Quotes John Milton

„As ever in my great Taskmaster's eye.“

—  John Milton

On his being arrived to the Age of Twenty-three, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)

„What though the field be lost?
All is not Lost; the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And the courage never to submit or yeild.“

—  John Milton, book Paradise Lost

Variant: All is not lost, the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, immortal hate, and the courage never to submit or yield.
Source: Paradise Lost

„The childhood shows the man,
As morning shows the day.“

—  John Milton, Paradise Regained by John Milton

Source: Paradise Regained by John Milton

„Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.“

—  John Milton, book Paradise Lost

Variant: Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
Source: Paradise Lost

„But he, though blind of sight,
Despised, and thought extinguished quite,
With inward eyes illuminated,
His fiery virtue roused
From under ashes into sudden flame,“

—  John Milton, book Samson Agonistes

Source: Samson Agonistes (1671), Lines 1687-1692 & 1697-1707
Context: But he, though blind of sight,
Despised, and thought extinguished quite,
With inward eyes illuminated,
His fiery virtue roused
From under ashes into sudden flame,
[... ]
So Virtue, given for lost,
Depressed and overthrown, as seemed,
Like that self-begotten bird
In the Arabian woods embost,
That no second knows nor third,
And lay erewhile a holocaust,
From out her ashy womb now teemed,
Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most
When most unactive deemed;
And, though her body die, her fame survives,
A secular bird, ages of lives.

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„I neither oblige the belief of other person, nor overhastily subscribe mine own.“

—  John Milton

The History of England, Book ii
Context: I neither oblige the belief of other person, nor overhastily subscribe mine own. Nor have I stood with others computing or collating years and chronologies, lest I should be vainly curious about the time and circumstance of things, whereof the substance is so much in doubt. By this time, like one who had set out on his way by night, and travelled through a region of smooth or idle dreams, our history now arrives on the confines, where daylight and truth meet us with a clear dawn, representing to our view, though at a far distance, true colours and shapes.

„Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most
When most unactive deemed“

—  John Milton, book Samson Agonistes

Source: Samson Agonistes (1671), Lines 1687-1692 & 1697-1707
Context: But he, though blind of sight,
Despised, and thought extinguished quite,
With inward eyes illuminated,
His fiery virtue roused
From under ashes into sudden flame,
[... ]
So Virtue, given for lost,
Depressed and overthrown, as seemed,
Like that self-begotten bird
In the Arabian woods embost,
That no second knows nor third,
And lay erewhile a holocaust,
From out her ashy womb now teemed,
Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most
When most unactive deemed;
And, though her body die, her fame survives,
A secular bird, ages of lives.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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