Excerpt from Paradise Lost: A Poem in Twelve Books
I have believed it worth while to take time and pains to understand Milton. Not that his natural science, his political theories, or his theological ideas are always to be accepted; in the case of so ardent a controversialist this would be too much to demand. The asperities that grew out of the intense convictions of an age of contest are scarcely proper subjects for review in an age of laxity and tolerance. I have not usually thought it important to bring his ideas before the bar of orthodoxy, or to say whether I agree with them or not. To subject the poet of the seventeenth century to a test of the knowledge and belief of the nineteenth would be neither profitable nor fair.
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