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Hence his theories of the Fall. And the same feeling of pride allows him no thought that places outside man either fall or regeneration. Clearly and pitilessly, Milton makes man responsible for his failure and his shame.
We shall find in Milton, then, not only a supreme poetical genius and an incomparable master of expression, but a clear and powerful intellect and will, a deep and quick sensitiveness, and, towering above all other traits, pride - pride tremendous and yet worthy of respect because it does not separate Milton from his fellow-men, but rather unites him to them in sublime aspiration towards an ideal common to all mankind.
Milton's thought comes from all these elements. The distinction between feeling and idea is purely fictitious, for Milton in any case. In his most abstruse ideas, apparently the work of the purest intellect, we find his feelings, elaborated and transposed into the refining, analyzing forms of language and art.
MILTON: MAN AND THINKER
THE ELEMENTS OF MILTON'S CHARACTER
I. CHARACTER AND FAMILY
WO essential traits of character can be discerned
in Milton from his youth onwards. The first is
a varied, lively, and deep sensitiveness, such as is expected in a poet. The second is a sort of moral intractableness, which led Milton to sacrifice every practical or sentimental consideration to a high ideal of purity and truth, in private or public life.
This latter trait, generally referred to as Milton's puritanism of character, is the one which has most impressed the public and the majority of the biographers. It is at the basis of the ordinary conception of Milton as a rigid Puritan, upright no doubt, but on the whole unlovable, lacking in that good warm human feeling which creates sympathy in men — and in readers.
There is no doubt an element of truth in this popular conception of the poet; but there is also an element of exaggeration, and above all a large element of injustice in ignoring the human side of his character. Some critics, however and those most in sympathy with Miltonhave protested against the prejudices that mar the personal reputation of the poet. Richard Garnett, in his admirable preface to his extracts from Milton's prose,