Chapter

Early Poems and Prose: Some Hidden Continuities

Christopher Tilmouth

in Young Milton

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199698707
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191740756 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698707.003.0012
Early Poems and Prose: Some Hidden Continuities

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This essay examines continuities and divergences between Milton's early poems and The Reason of Church‐Government in assessing the young Milton as a ceremonial Arminian who later endorses congregational independency. Attention to the Nativity Ode and ‘The Passion’ discloses an emphasis upon ritual and a suspicion of corporeality. A ‘self‐pious regard’ found in the tract also coheres with Comus's Neoplatonic evocation of the integrity of the self. Lycidas focuses several themes to which Church‐Government replies: the tract redefines the poet's ministry and sets episcopal carnality and definitions of the church in new contexts crucial to later Milton: that of old‐ versus new‐law sensibilities.

Keywords: prose tracts; Arminianism; ritual; Nativity Ode; church reform; corporality; individual integrity

Chapter.  11375 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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