cbartonphd at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 8 20:29:34 EDT 2005
Unless I have very much misread the prose, Boyd (and others), Milton cried
out, vehemently and vociferously against evil and injustice wherever he saw
it, and fought all his life against the power of sophistry to seduce the
misguided and overzealous -- (or were the lines that Alan and I quoted early
in this discussion composed by someone else?). He was very much a citizen of
the world, as are most authors, and I doubt he'd have wrung his hands and
wept in silence in the face of such unprovoked carnage in the city he loved
so well that he rarely left it, except to escape the plague("Avenge, O Lord,
thy slaughter'd saints"). That's what this has to do with Milton: the value
of his work, nearly four hundred years after he came into this world, is to
give us insight into the human condition, to help us understand our own
nature and the nature of those around us, and if we are among his "fit
audience, though few," to perceive "words cloth'd in Reason's garb" and
"seems" that is nothing of the sort. He would have wanted nothing less from
those who profess to cherish his works.
None of us will live forever, indeed--but may all of us live to a timely
death, and meet our ends in bed, as Milton did, peaceably, surrounded by
those who loved him best, after having fought long and hard the good
not before our time, at the hands of some maniac, in the middle of an
otherwise normal morning.
With all due respect to Cynthia, the Black Death was random, indiscriminate,
and impersonal, "the [risky] luck of the draw" that every thinking person
must accept if he or she is to have the courage to venture out of bed in the
morning -- not caused intentionally by some human agent. Cancer is random,
indiscriminate, and impersonal, and has been since at least the fourteenth
century. The Great Fire was random, indiscriminate, and impersonal, and the
result of carelessness or accident.
The attacks that occurred yesterday, and in Madrid, and on 11 September
2001, were not.
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