Here and there – Milton on Trump’s Washington – Paradise Lost

Quite by chance a couple of days ago, I started to listen again, with text in hand, to Paradise Lost so gorgeously read by Anton Lesser.  It is ravishing – if you forget the theology, which is awful.  Every time I listen to it or read it, I wonder why Satan is the star of the show.  But the events in Washington yesterday reminded me of the title.  And some of the lines look to bear directly on the gruesome convulsions of America at this solemn hour.

The following look good for those made cowards by Trump.

The conquered also, and enslaved by war,
Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose
And fear of God; from whom their piety feigned
In sharp contest of battle found no aid
Against invaders; therefore, cooled in zeal,
Thenceforth shall practice how to live secure,
Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords
Shall leave them to enjoy; for the earth shall bear
More than enough, that temperance may be tried:
So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved;
Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot.

No prizes for this one.

……..till one shall rise
Of proud ambitious heart; who, not content
With fair equality, fraternal state,
Will arrogate dominion undeserved
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
Concord and law of nature from the earth;
Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game)
With war, and hostile snare, such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous:
A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled
Before the Lord; as in despite of Heaven,
Or from Heaven, claiming second sovranty;
And from rebellion shall derive his name,
Though of rebellion others he accuse.

This seems apt for the Republicans.

Since thy original lapse, true liberty
Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being:
Reason in man obscured, or not obeyed,
Immediately inordinate desires,
And upstart passions, catch the government
From reason; and to servitude reduce
Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits
Within himself unworthy powers to reign
Over free reason, God, in judgement just,
Subjects him from without to violent lords;
Who oft as undeservedly enthrall
His outward freedom: Tyranny must be;
Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
But justice, and some fatal curse annexed,
Deprives them of their outward liberty;
Their inward lost….

But here is the bell-ringer.  My new Public Enemy Number 1 – which, given the competition, is a mighty achievement – Ted Cruz.  Trump is just an illiterate spoiled child who was never taught better or brought to heel.  It’s not that he did not go to discipline school – he was never house trained.  Ted Cruz – and his younger dreadful fist-bearing lieutenant – do not have that excuse.  I am told that they had glittering careers as young lawyers.  I know just the type.  High IQ and zero judgment.  And, after lives spent in front of mirrors, the last people you would want to have behind you in an Indian tiger hunt.

Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?
Army of Fiends, fit body to fit head.
Was this your discipline and faith engaged,
Your military obedience, to dissolve
Allegiance to the acknowledged Power supreme?
And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem
Patron of liberty, who more than thou
Once fawned, and cringed, and servilely adored
Heaven’s awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope
To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?
.

There you have Teddy Boy to a tee – fawning and cringing servilely – the lowest form of life to crawl out from under a rock.

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