[Milton-L] When Milton is the title, not the author

Dario Rivarossa dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
Fri Nov 28 06:15:53 EST 2014

Rereading William Blake's long poem "Milton" after ten years is a
shocking experience: here Blake really surpasses himself. On the other
hand, probably no poet has ever been honored by another poet like that
--- not even Virgil by Dante!

A major point of interest in this poem is that Blake's views on Milton
and Swedenborg have grown much more complex than in "The Marriage of
Heaven & Hell," whose insights have unfortunately become shallow
commonplace, however bold they might have been at that time.

Just one curious detail. In "Milton," Dante's influence is nearly
absent; Blake would probably 'discover' the Divine Comedy later. But
in these lines from Plate 20:

          . . .  on the Earth were Satan
          Fell and was cut off, . . .

the vision does not come from Paradise Lost, where hell is a sphere
beyond our universe, but from Dante, Inferno 34. 121 ff.
Last but not least, in these our days of ISIS menace, Blake's warning
about the dangerous pair "War & Religion" (that is not the same as
Faith) sounds definitely fitting.

il Tassista / the Tasso Driver

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