A Landscape of Linguistic Love: Milton’s Mind as a Seat of Companionate Paradise


  • Percy Verret


A survey of British poet John Milton’s early and extensive initiation into the language(s) of scholarship highlights that, through his intensive immersion within it, the language of scholarship became fundamental to Milton’s perception of reality, ultimately dictating and defining his notions of meritorious living. This preeminence of the language of scholarship within Milton’s understanding of his world further led Milton to perceive the language of scholarship as the only truly satisfactory basis upon and means through which to pursue meaningful human relationships. Through a survey of a selection of Milton’s shorter works—the Prolusions, “On the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Cough,” “Ad Patrem,” and “Epitaphium Damonis”—as well as a detailed examination of his multilingual friendship with Charles Diodati, this paper demonstrates that Milton not only perceived a linkage between love and language, but actively employed each in the service of the other, leading to a richer understanding and experience of both.