Return to Paradise

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His father was a scrivener, a job that went beyond the drawing up of legal documents and included moneylending, which he apparently did with such success that his son did not actually have to work for a living. His father, who was a gifted musician known for his psalm arrangements, also made sure that his son had a thorough musical education. It was on this trip that he had his encounter with Galileo, but he also came into contact with the lush beauty of Italian Renaissance art, and the homeland of Virgil and Dante further inspired his epic ambitions.

The trip was fraught with Miltonian paradox: at a time when his Puritan sympathies were growing, he steeped himself in Catholic art, depictions of the human form, and the languorous Mediterranean climate. Returning to England the next year, he was increasingly drawn into the religious struggles that would erupt openly in in the English Civil Wars. It is difficult for a modern reader to parse the intertwined worlds of politics and religion that Milton inhabited and that led to those wars. With Charles I at its head, Anglican Protestantism became increasingly ceremonial and High Church, spreading fear of Papist resurgence and increasing the power of certain key bishops.

Milton, like many of his contemporaries, moved toward Puritanism, attracted by its idea that the Bible was the ultimate authority and trumped all institutional hierarchies.

Elton John - Return to Paradise (1978) With Lyrics!

Milton was particularly well equipped to follow this line. He could read the Hebrew Bible in the original and had absorbed aspects of rabbinic culture; indeed, his Hebraism helped radicalize his Christian beliefs. For Milton, the rupture of the Civil Wars coincided with a more personal strife.

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Mary was only seventeen Milton was thirty-three , and it is unclear whether she was sent away or ran off. But soon after her departure—she was absent for three years—Milton wrote a treatise advocating divorce, which, characteristically, was both an idealistic cry for personal liberty and an act of self-justification. Milton based much of his argument on a reading of Deuteronomy, but although the Bible was always his argumentative cornerstone, he was far from being a fundamentalist.

For Milton, the great trial of life was to discover truth through error, but without falling off the path of good. His oratorical vigor balances divine purpose and individual autonomy, and he displays an optimism that, in its mixture of manliness and statecraft, sounds like a speech by Teddy Roosevelt:.

I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat. That which purifies us is trial, and trial is by what is contrary. In common with many radical Protestant groups, he saw the idea of a relationship to God unmediated by ecclesiastical authority as a justification for beheading the titular head of the Anglican Church, Charles I.


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He was appointed Secretary for Foreign Tongues soon afterward. Milton served the Commonwealth as a translator, polemicist, and all-around house intellectual. He claimed that the writing of his long pamphlets in defense of the new government cost him his eyesight. His enemies claimed it was divine retribution. Milton genuinely thought he was helping to fashion the Kingdom of God on earth, and—hard as this has proved for a later, secular age to understand—he was someone who would rather live there than write a poem about it.

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Alternate Versions. Rate This. An American drifter comes to a remote Polynesian island controlled by a Puritanical missionary and turns the social life of the island upside-down. Director: Mark Robson. Writers: James A.

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