Old Calabria By Norman Douglas

 -  He made no answer, but sat some time in a muse. . . .]

For this poem there were not so many models - Page 250
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He Made No Answer, But Sat Some Time In A Muse.


. .]

For this poem there were not so many models handy as for the other, but Milton has written too little to enable us to decide how far its inferiority to the earlier epic is due to this fact, and how far to the inherent inertia of its subject-matter. Little movement can be contrived in a mere dialogue such as 'Paradise Regained '; it lacks the grandiose mise-en-scene and the shifting splendours of the greater epic; the stupendous figure of the rebellious archangel, the true hero of 'Paradise Lost,' is here dwarfed into a puny, malignant sophist; nor is the final issue in the later poem even for a moment in doubt - a serious defect from an artistic point of view. Jortin holds its peculiar excellence to be 'artful sophistry, false reasoning, set off in the most specious manner, and refuted by the Son of God with strong unaffected eloquence'; merits for which Milton needed no original of any kind, as his own lofty religious sentiments, his argumentative talents and long experience of political pamphleteering, stood him in good stead. Most of us must have wondered how it came about that Milton could not endure to hear 'Paradise Lost' preferred to 'Paradise Regained,' in view of the very apparent inferiority of the latter. If we had known what Milton knew, namely, to how large an extent 'Paradise Lost' was not the child of his own imagination, and therefore not so precious in his eyes as 'Paradise Regained,' we might have understood his prejudice.

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