Every few months, usually after re-watching Blade Runner, I feel driven, nay, inspired to have another go at Milton. Paradise Lost, considered one of the pinnacles of English epic poetry. The fall of Lucifer, the fall of man, rich mythological soil in which to reap masterworks of literature.
And Milton butchers it entirely. Oh, he has the decency to include the occasion good line, and in amongst the turgid verbal discharge that is shat across the page, one can occasionally find true, decent poetry. But ai, ai, ai, his verbage oozes in ink in column after column of the most unreadable rubbish. He cites everything and anything he can, whether it makes any sense to source them or not. Every king and god that worms it's way into Lucifer's fall just sucks all life from the poem. He is the king of the run-on sentence. He lords it over us, dragging out the poor syntax and damning the reading breath to a rarity normally found associated with Vermeers. I would rather read through the entire collected work of Bulwer-Lytton than have to read Paradise Lost.
Ugh. Milton, I shun thee. I consign your work to the undercrofts of ivory towers, to be perused only by the rare lost academician, who might note your oeuvre as a historical curiosity; the last breath of the Round Heads dying in rout and exile.
"Soun is noght but air ybroken,
And every speche that is spoken,
Loud or privee, foul or fair,
In his substaunce is but air;
For as flaumbe is but lighted smoke,
Right so soun is air ybroke."