Wide World of Quotes > John Milton Quotes


John Milton
English poet and pamphleteer
(1608-74)



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Before the starry threshold of Jove's Court
My mansion is.
-- Comus (1637), line 1

Above the smoke and dim stir of this dim spot,
Which men call earth.
-- Comus (1637), line 5

An old and haughty nation proud in arms.
-- Comus (1637), line 33

What hath night to do with sleep?
-- Comus (1637), line 122

How charming is divine philosophy!
Not harsh and crabbèd, as dull fools suppose,
But musical as is Apollo's lute,
And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets
Where no crude surfeit reigns.
-- Comus (1637), line 476

For this is not the liberty which we can hope, that no grievance should ever arise in the Commonwealth, that let no man in this world expect; but when complaints are freely heard, deeply considered, and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained that wise men look for.
-- Areopagitica (1644)

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.
-- Areopagitica (1644)

Unless wariness be used, 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.
-- Areopagitica (1644)

A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.
-- Areopagitica (1644)

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.
-- Areopagitica (1644)

I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat... that which purifies us is the trial, and trial is by what is contrary.
-- Areopagitica (1644)

Here the great art lies, to discern in wha the law is to be to restraint and punishment, and in what things persuasion only is to work.
-- Areopagitica (1644)

If we think to regulate printing, there to rectify manners, we must regulate all recreations and pastimes, all that is delightful to man... And shall silence all the airs and madrigals that whisper softness in chambers?
-- Areopagitica (1644)

Where there is much desire to learn, here of necessity will be much arguing, much writing, many opinions; for opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making.
-- Areopagitica (1644)

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
-- Areopagitica (1644)

There is yet behind of what I purposed to lay open, the incredible loss and detriment that this plot of licensing puts us to; more than if some enemy at sea should stop up all our havens and ports and creeks, it hinders and retards the importation of our richest merchandise, truth.
-- Areopagitica (1644)

Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat.
-- Paradise Lost (1667), Book I, lines 1-5

When I consider how my life is spent...
(...)
They also serve who only stand and wait.
-- Sonnet 16 "When I consider how my life is spent" (1673)


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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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