Abstract and Keywords
The impressive Latin poems Milton wrote between ‘On the Morning of Christ's Nativity’ and ‘Lycidas’ are concerned with vocation. The success of the Nativity Ode would compel Milton to think about poetry in a new way. It is composed of a four-stanza introduction in modified ‘rime roiall’ and twenty-seven stanzas of ‘The Hymn’. The paired poems ‘L'Allegro’ and ‘Il Penseroso’ are unique in English literature. Milton was a mature man in his twenties when he wrote these poems, but they reflect a younger state of mind. It is an insight that gives imaginative as well as moral force to the central theme of Milton's career: temptation was a word that Milton understood to mean ‘testing’. Milton addresses this theme for the first time in Comus.
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