John Milton Quotes

John Milton, 1608 – 1674

Born: 9 December 1608, Bread Street, Cheapside, London, England
Died: 8 November 1674, Bunhill, London, England

The elder John Milton was a scrivener, a legal intermediary who prepared and notarized documents, lent money, and arranged real estate transactions, which funded a private tutor for the younger Milton and entry into St Paul’s School in 1620. Five years later he entered Christ’s College, Cambridge, where a fist fight with his tutor led to a one-term suspension, but he earned his M.A. cum laude in 1632. After graduation he retreated to his family’s homes in London and Horton, Buckinghamshire to study and write on his own. His tribute On Shakespeare was published anonymously as part of Shakespeare’s Second Folio. In 1638 he set out on the customary “Grand Tour” of Europe, spent mostly at Paris, the major cities of Italy (where he made the acquaintance of Galileo, then under house arrest for heresy), back to France, and then home. He married for the first time in 1642, but his wife was unsatisfied and left almost immediately for three years, leading Milton to publish a pair of tracts on the subject of divorce before his wife moved back. England was in political tumult at the time, it’s quite possible that Milton witnessed the public execution of Charles I in 1649. He became Secretary of Foreign Tongues under Cromwell that spring, responsible for translating the official acts and correspondence of the government into Latin for transmittal to other nations. He also wrote a fair amount of propaganda for the Commonwealth government. His vision deteriorated, possibly from glaucoma, and he was completely blind by 1654. When the English Republic collapsed following Cromwell’s death in 1658, Milton went into hiding. He was arrested and released only by the influence of powerful friends at court. He lived quietly at London after that, working on a number of minor prose works and his magnum opus, the blank-verse Paradise Lost, which he composed in his head at night and dictated to aides in the morning. In his later years he suffered from gout, which led to renal failure and his death. His funeral was attended by “his learned and great Friends in London, not without a friendly concourse of the Vulgar” according to one biographer, a monument was installed in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey.

John Milton quotes:

A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.
    John Milton

A man may be a heretic in the truth, and if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy.
    John Milton

A poet soaring in the high reason of his fancies, with his garland and singing robes about him.
    John Milton

Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part;
Do thou but thine.
    John Milton

As good almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.
    John Milton

Awake, arise, or be forever fallen!
    John Milton

Beauty is nature’s brag, and must be shown in courts, at feasts, and high solemnities, where most may wonder at the workmanship.
    John Milton

Beauty is Nature’s coin, must not be hoarded,
But must be current, and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss.
    John Milton

Boast not of what thou would’st have done, but do
What then thou would’st.
    John Milton

Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.
    John Milton

By labor and intent study (which I take to be my portion in this life), joined with the strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps leave something so written to after-times, as they should not willingly let it die.
    John Milton

Come and trip it as ye go, On the light fantastic toe.
    John Milton

Confidence imparts a wonderful inspiration to its possessor.
    John Milton

Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil.
    John Milton

For evil news rides post, while good news baits.
    John Milton

A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.
    John Milton

A man may be a heretic in the truth, and if he believe things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy.
    John Milton

A poet soaring in the high reason of his fancies, with his garland and singing robes about him.
    John Milton

Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part;
Do thou but thine.
    John Milton

As good almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.
    John Milton

Awake, arise, or be forever fallen!
    John Milton

Beauty is nature’s brag, and must be shown in courts, at feasts, and high solemnities, where most may wonder at the workmanship.
    John Milton

Beauty is Nature’s coin, must not be hoarded,
But must be current, and the good thereof
Consists in mutual and partaken bliss.
    John Milton

Boast not of what thou would’st have done, but do
What then thou would’st.
    John Milton

Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them.
    John Milton

By labor and intent study (which I take to be my portion in this life), joined with the strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps leave something so written to after-times, as they should not willingly let it die.
    John Milton

Come and trip it as ye go, On the light fantastic toe.
    John Milton

Confidence imparts a wonderful inspiration to its possessor.
    John Milton

Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil.
    John Milton

For evil news rides post, while good news baits.
    John Milton

For evil news rides post, while good news baits.
    John Milton

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