Tuesday, July 5, 2011

John Milton -- On Time

Nankoweap Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park

One of the greatest English poets was a man by the name of John Milton.  Born on December 9th, 1608.  He held his office with Oliver Cromwell until the restoration, which led King Charles II to arrest and to execute all of those in collaboration with Cromwell.

Milton was arrested in 1659 and was to be executed.  On the 15th of December of the same year, however, he was set free because of petitions received in regard to his good character.  Milton then decided to live in retirement and devote his time to poetry, publishing Paradise Lost in 1667, with which he gained universal fame.  His poem "On Time" is well known.

On Time

Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets' pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.

For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,
And last of all , thy greedy self consum'd,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And joy shall overtake us as a flood,
When everything that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With Truth, and Peace, and Love shall ever shine.

About the supreme Throne
Of  Him, t'whose happy-making sight alone,
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall climb,
Then all this earthly grossness quit,
Attir'd with Stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee O Time.

John Milton died in St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, England on November 8th, 1674 and was buried beside his father in St. Giles' Cripplegate.  Milton influenced many future poets including:  Alexander Pope, John Keats, Lord Byron and especially the Romantic poets William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

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