Analysis Of John Milton 's London

885 WordsMar 26, 20164 Pages
Content Synopsis "London, 1802" is a sonnet inspired by, and in praise of, John Milton, one of the greatest poets of the English language and one of its most accomplished writers of sonnets. The form of the poem is thus particularly appropriate to its subject. The work opens by exclaiming Milton 's name, which is metrically emphasized through the accented first syllable (a violation of strict iambic meter). Milton is treated as a kind of muse, capable of inspiring both the poet Wordsworth and the English nation. By expressing his wish that Milton should "be living at this hour" (1), Wordsworth helps bring that wish that pass: he uses this very poem to help revive Milton 's memory and influence. The verb "living" is especially apt, since the poem is greatly concerned with restoring life to some of England 's most important traditions and values, while the phrase "at this hour" stresses Wordsworth 's sense of urgency. He believed that England in 1802 was at a moment of crisis, both domestically and because of its latest conflicts with France. Although he knew, of course, that Milton could not literally be revived, in this sonnet he seeks not only to reawaken and renew interest in his great predecessor, but also to adopt Milton 's role as a public poet addressing the nation on issues of pressing ethical concern. Just as Milton 's name was metrically emphasized in line 1, so "England" is emphasized in the same way (and in the same initial, first-word position) in line 2. The

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