[Milton-L] Christopher Hill once again - a brief note

John Geraghty johnegeraghty at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 14 12:14:33 EDT 2009

Be sure to cc Cheney on that.




G   reat and benign, indeed, must be the power

O  f living nature, which could thus so long

D  etain me from the best of other guides

S   hakespeare, or Milton, labourers divine!


A  nd Milton colleding all his fibres into impregnable strength 

G  arden, clothed in black, severe & silent he descended. 

O  ut from the eastern sky; descending down into my Cottage 

D  escended down a Paved work of all kinds of precious stones 



a dog and a god glar'd


A  mong th' accurst, that witherd all thir strength,

G  lar'd lightning, and shot forth pernicious fire

O  ne Spirit in them rul'd, and every eye

D  istinct alike with multitude of eyes,


  Beast now with Beast gan war, and Fowle with Fowle, 

A       nd Fish with Fish; to graze the Herb all leaving,

D       evourd each other; nor stood much in awe

O       f Man, but fled him, or with count'nance grim

G lar'd on him passing: these were from without




N   Human Form   but only a Fibrous Vegetation,


Or like a           Human Form,                 a friend with whom he liv'd

As the eye of         MAN                        views both the east & west


As with new clay, a Human Form in the Valley of Beth Peor. 


A  creature formed of earth, and him endow, 

D  etermined to advance into our room

A  re his created, or, to spite us more,

M ore Angels to create, if they at least


S  aying: Pity and Love are too venerable for the imputation 

O f Guilt. Others said: If it is true, if the ads have been performed, 

L et the Bard himself witness. Where hadst thou this terrible Song.? 

    The Bard replied: I am Inspired! I know it is Truth! for I Sing

According to the inspiration of the Poetic Genius, 

Who is the eternal all proteding Divine Humanity, 


T   he Poet's Tsol was with me at that time  (now losT);

S   weet meditations, the still overflow

O   f present happiness, while future years

L   acked not anticipations, tender dreams, 



From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Alan Rudrum
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 9:24 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: [Milton-L] Christopher Hill once again - a brief note


Some members of the list will recall the furor that erupted when I sent an
e-mail suggesting that Christopher Hill, former Master of Balliol College
Oxford, was "was wont to massage the evidence to fit his political biases;
... I understand that he was almost certainly a Soviet agent."

This resulted in some disapprobation from Bill Simpson and others, to which
I posted a long reply.  I am grateful to Jameela Ismael (predictably kind),
to John Leonard, who wrote that these allegations did not originate with me,
to Harold Skulsky, and to Nicholas von Maltzahn, who backed my view of
Hill's scholarly methods, and cited two reviews. Of these I remembered Blair
Worden's, but not Trevor-Roper's, so was grateful for the reference. Some of
this correspondence has disappeared from my computer, but I believe another
objector used some such word as "facile."  Having read von Maltzahn's work
and heard him at more than one conference, most recently in the IAUPE
conference in Lund, I think that is the last word that should be applied to

After I had followed the evidence in the website mentioned by John Leonard,
Cronaca March 5, 2003, and had read all the obtainable documentation
mentioned in it, and a good deal besides, it seemed to me that the evidence
for Hill's having been a Soviet agent was strong.

I have sent the following to the Research Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of
National Biography:

1.  My response to Bill Simpson, including my review of Hill's book on the
2.  My correspondence with the historian Anthony Glees, who wrote after
Hill's death that Hill had admitted that he had indeed been a Soviet agent
3.   The full text of Cronaca March 5, 2003.
4.   A lecture I gave a few weeks ago, "British Intelligence and the strange
case of the Master of Balliol"

And I mentioned that to what was said of Hill's scholarly practices in the
current ODNB Life, there should be added the chapter on Hill in J.H.
Hexter's book On Historians - a devastating but accurate account, written in
Hill's lifetime and taking account of Hill's replies.

Alan Rudrum

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