John Milton


John Milton’s chief polemical prose was written in the decades of the 1640s and 1650s, during the strife between the Church of England and various reformist groups such as the Puritans and between the monarch and Parliament. These works advocate a freedom of conscience and a high degree of civil liberty for humankind against the various forms of tyranny and oppression, both religious and governmental. In line with his libertarian outlook, Milton wrote Areopagitica (1644), often cited as one of the most compelling arguments on the freedom of the press.  Up to the Restoration, Milton continued to write in defense of the Protectorate government despite going blind by 1652. After Charles II was crowned, Milton was dismissed from governmental service, apprehended, and imprisoned. Payment of fines and the intercession of friends and family, including Andrew Marvell, Sir William Davenant, and perhaps Christopher Milton, his younger brother and a Royalist lawyer, brought about Milton’s release. In the troubled period at and after the Restoration he was forced to depart his home which he had occupied for eight years in Petty-France, Westminster. He took up residence elsewhere, including the house of a friend in Bartholomew Close; eventually, he settled in a home at Artillery Walk toward Bunhill Fields. On or about 8 November 1674, when he was almost sixty-six years old, Milton died of complications from gout. Source

Excerpt From “Paradise Lost” Book IV

As I bent down to look, just opposite, 

A Shape within the wat’ry gleam appeerd 

Bending to look on me, I started back, 

It started back, but pleased I soon returned, 

Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks 

Of sympathy and love; there I had fixed 

Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire, 

Had not a voice thus warned me, ‘What thou seest, 

What there thou seest fair creature is thyself, 

With thee it came and goes: but follow me, 

And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 

Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he 

Whose image thou art, him thou shall enjoy 

Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear 

Multitudes like thyself, and thence be call'd 

Mother of human Race:’ what could I do, 

But follow straight, invisibly thus led? 

Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall, 

Under a platan, yet methought less fair, 

Less winning soft, less amiably mild, 

Then that smooth watry image; back I turned, 

Thou following cried'st aloud, ‘Return fair Eve, 

Whom fli'st thou? whom thou fli'st, of him thou art, 

His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent 

Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart 

Substantial Life, to have thee by my side 

Henceforth an individual solace dear; 

Part of my Soul I seek thee, and thee claim 

My other half:’ with that thy gentle hand 

Seized mine, I yielded, and from that time see 

How beauty is excelled by manly grace 

And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.





Literary Movements:

English Renaissance

Anthology Years:



Love & Relationships


Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses

Iambic Pentameter

a line of verse composed of five iambs– an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (u / u / u / u / u /) commonly used in the Renaissance period

Media Res

a literary work that begins in the middle of the action (from the Latin “into the middle of things)


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered