Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour;
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart;
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.
London, 1802, is a poem by William Wordsworth, written in 1802 (naturally) but unpublished until 1807. It's about the poet Milton, and what Wordsworth believed about him. He felt that Wordsworth had a part in making England a better place, and he was wishing he could return somehow, with a pen, to once more improve the world in his own way. England, to Wordsworth, is a sick man, one in need of Milton's inky medication.
This poem, in 14 lines, is a sonnet, and a shining example of one. I found it very interesting, in part because it's a very good poem, and also because of it's content. Wordsworth was very brave to say the things he did about England at the time, and he still waited (perhaps quite wisely) for five years to publish it. Wordsworth thought of England as a nasty, rotting stagnant place (at least from an artists perspective). I previously did not know how Wordsworth felt about Milton, either, seeing as he evidently viewed him as a saving grace for the world of literature, creativity, and humanity.
Give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. -Wordsworth
Shmoop on London, 1802
On another note, I was recently nominated by Zella Kate as her favorite literary reviews blog.
*STANDS ON PODIUM, GRINNING* "I'd like to thank my mother for my writing ability, the Academy for this great award, and of course, Zella, for her nomination. Zella, why don't you come on up here? In fact, let's have a bloggers party on stage? *MUSIC BEGINS TO PLAY* "And I'd like to nominate Ari Collins for amazing short stories, and back at Zella for great reviews, and,-" *O FORTUNA STARTS PLAYING, JOURDAN IS DRAGGED OFF STAGE*