John Milton

John Milton

Bread Street, City of London, Greater London, England
Death 8 Nov 1674 (aged 65)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial London, City of London, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 716 · View Source
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Poet. His long narrative poem "Paradise Lost" (1667) is considered one of the great epics of World Literature. Based on the Old Testament and written in 12 books of blank verse, it tells of Satan's revolt and downfall in Heaven, his temptation of Adam and Eve, their banishment from the Garden of Eden and the introduction of sin and evil into the world. Milton subsequently provided a sequel, "Paradise Regained" (1671), but critics prefer his "Samson Agonistes" (1671), modeled after Greek tragedies. His other poetic works include "L'Allegro" (1631), "Il Penseroso" (1631), the masque "Comus" (1634), with music by Henry Lawes, and the elegy "Lycidas" (1637). Milton was born in London, the son of a prosperous notary. His brilliance as a student at Christ's College, Cambridge pointed him towards a religious career, but he refused to become a clergyman because he thought the Church of England was corrupt. During the English Civil War he wrote tracts and pamphlets supporting the Puritan cause, though many of his ideas were unorthodox (he advocated divorce in certain cases). In 1649, with the beheading of King Charles I and the rise of the Commonwealth, Milton was appointed Latin secretary to Oliver Cromwell, acting as a sort of literary ambassador to Europe. His duties weakened his already poor eyesight and he went totally blind in 1652, a personal tragedy that inspired his poem "When I Consider How My Light is Spent" (1655). With the restoration of Charles II in 1660 several Puritan leaders were executed; Milton was arrested and fined, but escaped serious punishment. He devoted the rest of his life to poetry, dictating his masterpieces to his daughters. A difficult, conflicted man, Milton was torn between his religious beliefs and a deeply sensual nature; he loved music, literature, theatre, and other amenities that were anathema to the Puritans. It is hardly surprising that the theme of temptation dominates his major works.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 716
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Milton (9 Dec 1608–8 Nov 1674), Find a Grave Memorial no. 716, citing St. Giles Cripplegate Churchyard, London, City of London, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .