tyranny before freedom from political tyranny could be addressed. Milton had made this point in the Second Defense of the English People (1654) and the last of his revolutionary prose tracts, The Readie and Easie Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth (1660). It is reiterated in book ii of Paradise Regained:

'he who reigns within himself, and rules
Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king;
Which every wise and virtuous man attains;
And who attains not, ill aspires to rule
Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes,
Subject himself to anarchy within,
Or lawless passions in him which he serves.
But to guide nations in the way of truth
By saving doctrine, and from error lead
To know, and, knowing worship God aright,
Is yet more kingly, this attracts the soul.
Governs the inner man, the nobler part,
That other o'er the body only reigns.
And oft by force, which a generous mind
So reigning can be no sincere delight
Besides to give a kingdom hath been thought
Greater and nobler done, and to lay down
Far more magnanimous, than to assume.' (ii.466- 83)

The ending of the two poems are starkly contrasted. Christ returns to his mother's house 'unobserved / ... private returned', without pomp or celebration; whereas at the end of Samson Agonistes Manoa announces:

'Let us go find the body where it lies
Soaked in his enemies' blood, and from the stream
With lavers pure, and cleansing herbs wash off
The clotted gore. I with what speed the while
(Gaza is not in plight to say us nay)
Will send for all my kindred, all my friends
To fetch him hence and solemnly attend
With silent obsequy and funeral train
Home to his father's house.' (ll.1725-33)

Samson lies dead, and with him the old military values; Christ walks alone and unobserved. The 'new' Christian values of 'patience and heroic martyrdom' have superseded the old. With the two poems Milton established a contrast between the heroic ambitions of military glory and the idea of the Messiah as a military hero or conqueror and the values the Messiah actually brought. Above attempts to use Satanic violence and war for the purposes of God's will, Christ brought the ethic of private moral victories and the preparation of the individual soul for the Kingdom of Heaven. But what is Milton's purpose in this? The path that Christ takes in Paradise Regained is that which Milton advocates in The Readie and Easie Way; the poet, on the dawn of the collapse of republicanism and toleration in the church, had come to believe that the Cromwellian experiment, though its intentions were godly, was ineffective because it lacked the day- to-day spiritual victories within 'the people'. In Paradise Lost with the characterisation of Satan as the archetypal classical military hero the picture of this concept emerges more clearly. Dr Johnson observed of Milton in his Lives of the English Poets:

'He hated monarchs in the state and prelates in the church; for he hated all whom he was required to obey. It is to be suspected that his predominant desire was to destroy rather than establish, and that he felt not so much the love of liberty as repugnance to authority.'

While we may not agree with Dr Johnson on all of these points, particularly with regards to Milton's concern for republican form of government, the anti-authoritarian attitudes remained with him until the end of his life. Milton indeed was very concerned with safeguarding civil and spiritual liberty, and the creation of a new society of the godly. Later in his life he lost faith in the methods of the good old cause such as Cromwell's Major Generals, which attempted to forcibly change society, and many of the men who had come to power later in the regime. Milton was concerned for what would happen to the godly under the Restored Monarchy; he placed his belief not in the ability to overturn the state by military force, but in the daily battles of individuals with temptation and toils on the path to God.

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