Honour and empire with revenge enlarged,
By conquering this new world, compels me now
To do what else though damned I should abhor
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV, 392
I was commissioned into sin,
Called to arms to do what I found vile,
But reflected on my imminent mortality
And decided that I could no longer smile,
Benignly pretending that all was well.
So I went forth, sworn to commit
All atrocities of gluttony, lust, and war
Advancing roaring mightily that I cared not if I died;
To do what else, though damned, I should abhor.
I hope you are well. I have now returned from the Edinburgh Fringe, and it is a pleasure to be working with Milton again, in every possible way. This poem is from a point where Satan is questioning the morality of corrupting mankind – he resolves, of course, to continue on his course – but curiously, he does not do so for himself. He claims to melt at the sight of man’s ‘harmless innocence’, but be compelled by ‘public reason just’, having been sent by the conference of the demons. A point of little matter, perhaps, but an interesting insight into Milton’s Satan.
The Hapless Neo-Romantic