Miltonesquie: Enlightenment Republicanism and a Very British Civil War College
Some months after the ignominious treatment of the English Lord Protector’s newly surfaced corpse marked the English commonwealth’s official demise, one of the Royalists who bayed for the spilling of John Milton’s blood flicked his satirical ink in the blind man’s direction, claiming ‘he is so much an enemy to usual practices that I believe, when he is condemned to travel to Tyburn in a cart, he will petition for the favour to be the first man that ever was driven in a wheelbarrow’ . Milton had a great penchant for non-conformism; one that led him to a life of heresy, heterodoxy and over a decade as the reddest-handed Cromwellian apologist in England; one that had clearly caught the eyes of both admirers and detractors alike. Was he simply a contrarian whose scruples were not above bending or were his controversial theses on liberty, grace and republic truly felt; clung to and only abandoned when fate presented no other choice?
Cambridge Milton was rather cheerfully orthodox, and wholly unapologetic in said capacity. The poems written in 1626 marking the deaths of two notable Bishops - that of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester and Nicholas Felton, Bishop of Ely - present standard fifteenth century college fare....
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