John Milton – “Il Penseroso”

I have always indulged my own Melancholy to great creative effect. I consider Melancholy one of my chief poetic and musical (lyrical songwriting and compositional) Muses, a trait I developed from Keat’s work and habits and outlooks. Keats being one of my favorite English poets.

I share this view of Melancholy and always have. I can make myself melancholy when I so desire (I have discussed this on my various blogs and writings) and I in no way see her as depressing, but rather pragmatic and practically gloomy and dark (as does Milton), reminding me soberly of what is wrong in this world and not to be naive about evil and what I and others suffer.

Melancholy prevents self-deception and naiveté.

John Milton is also one of my very favorite English poets. Next to Beowulf, which is arguably Nordic in some fashions though at heart Anglo-Saxon, Paradise Lost is my very favorite English epic.

This was a good summation and I often enjoy reading the insights contained in this blog. I recommend it.

Well done…

Reading The Norton Anthology of English Literature

The poem, which is the mirror image of “L’Allegro”, begins similarly to the previous one, with the poet driving away foolish mirth and inviting Melancholy. His Melancholy is not sadness or depression, but rather a pensive temper, conducive to scholarly pursuits. His Melancholy is black-faced, as she was traditionally depicted, but Milton compares her favourably to various Ethiopian princesses known from mythology. Milton also invents for her a mythological parentage, making her the daughter of Saturn and Vesta (who in fact was a virgin, just like her priestesses). Saturn of course being the patron of the planet which was supposed to be the patron of melancholics is an appropriate choice here (hence the adjective “saturnine”). Melancholy arrives dressed soberly in dark and modest clothes like a nun (it’s an interesting comparison for such a thorough Protestant). She is followed by her retinue, which includes Fast, Peace, Quiet, and Contemplation. The…

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