Niall O'Sullivan

high brow, low brow, none of that stuff in the middle


Posted on | December 4, 2017 | No Comments

Tonight I am re-reading Paradise Lost so that I can regurgitate canonical standards for a clutch of bored millennials who think I cant see them checking their phones under the desk. This will no doubt tempt me to yell the name of Satan each time it crops up. Milton, the only person to have inverted syntax because it was the more difficult formal option. The way in which the vehicle is stretched out over so many lines before he even reveals what the tenor is. The reader ploughs through the Biblical imagery fuelled by the knowledge of what it is like but still none the wiser about what “it” is. His brilliance almost absolves him for being Cromwell’s Alastair Campbell, in the same way that regicide almost absolves Cromwell for his genocide. It is said that Milton went blind from writing propaganda by candlelight. I cannot deny that such forceful poetry comes from days when a tyrant was never far from a last cold kiss of an axe-head to his neck. Nowadays we can’t take away their blue ticks.


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