Sunday, May 3, 2009

John Milton on Freedom of Expression

'Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.'

In 1644 at the height of the English Civil War, John Milton penned Areopagitica, which is now known as one of history’s first impassioned defences to freedom of expression. Ironically, Milton never delivered this argument verbally, however there was no need, the message was clear; to allow freedom of speech in written form. John Milton may have been more concerned about religion and less with the politics of war; unfortunately, history has seen these two go hand in hand.

Thanks to John Milton, and all who followed and fought for the right to freedom of expression. Thank you to all who exercise this right and provide the poetry, novels and the daily news which combined help to map out our history.




On Time
By John Milton

Fly, envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast intombed,
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss,
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood;
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
About the supreme throne
Of Him, t' whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall climb,
Then, all this earthly grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time.


5 comments:

  1. I like this quote attributed to Voltaire very much: "I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it".

    Kisses!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is passion. I aspire!

    Kisses back.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello dear, it's me again. I don't know if you're used to Awards, but there is one in my blog for you. Hope you can take it and keep it close to your heart.

    Love,
    Kenia

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've never been able to make sense of the line "Of Him, t' whose happy-making sight alone".

    It doesn't seem to make sense. I mean I get the meaning of the poem, but this line eludes me. What is the " t' " part - is it 'at', 'to'? Something else? Maybe I'm just dense, but there doesn't seem to me to be a proper 'end' to this thought - this sentence.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great question.

    My Catholic upbringing notices the capital on Him, which leads me to beleive Milton is speaking of God (Milton's father was a devout Catholic). And the t' - considering old English would be "to" - this poem is about happiness - this part of the poem appears to be speaking of the afterlife and Milton suggest that the meer sight of God would alone produce happiness.

    That, of course, is my interpretation.

    ReplyDelete