By Meg Harris Williams
English poetry -- heritage and feedback.
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Extra info for Inspiration in Milton and Keats
The aerial vision based on the heaven-earth polarity is echoed in the perspective which narrows from the 'sea-girt isles' like gems in the ocean, to 'this islel The greatest' (England), and finally to the western setting of Ludlow Castle in 'all this tract that fronts the falling sun'. Similarly, the lesser 'tributary gods' who 'wield their little tridents', and the 'mortal peer' hirnself, are shown to derive their power from the larger forces of Neptune and ofJove. Finally, the immediate landscape of the masque is sketched, induding the figures of the protagonists, the Earl of Bridgewater's children: but their way Lies through the perplexed paths of this drear wood, The nodding horror of whose shady brows Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger .
The greater part of this verseletter consists of an elegant rhetorical elaboration of the respective roles of the lyric and epic poet (with slightly more glamour attached to the epic poet). In a short paragraph tagged on to the end, however, the tone and style change; with restrained excitement, Milton stops concentrating on presenting a good 34 Inspiration in Milton and Keats description, and suggests that something has been happening to hirn at the present time: But ifyou want to know what I am doing- if, that is, you think it worth while to know whether I am doing anything at all- I am writing a poem about the king who was born of heavenly seed, and who brought peace to men.
However, the pagan deities and nymphs who people the earth, now that it is no longer covered by snow and its natural life is visible, are released with mourning, being unable to take part in the perfeetion of the universe: 32 Inspiration in Milton and Keats The lonely mountains o'er, And the resounding shore, A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament: From haunted spring, and dale Edged with poplar pale, The parting genius is with sighing sent, With flower-inwoven tresses torn The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.