The mighty, mind-boggling style with lofty ideas creates the element of the ‘sublime’ in Milton’s poetry
The Miltonic Sublime will change your minds. No doubt, after reading Milton you will have a different opinion about Poetry.
The term Miltonic Sublime refers to to Milton’s loftiness of thought and style in his magnum opus Paradise Lost (1667). According to Edmund Burke, the term “Sublime” is characterized by obscurity, vastness, and power. Dryden described Milton as the poet of the sublime.
Milton’s loftiness and stateliness of thought is visible in the opening immortal lines of Paradise Lost:
Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss ofEden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, Heavenly Muse (i. 1–6)
The above lines are full of noble thought, magnificent words, worthy of reverence. The train of sacred fancies fired by such lines illuminates us so much that we emerge with changed minds.
The mighty, mind-boggling style with lofty ideas creates the element of the ‘sublime’ in
Milton’s use of blank verse is sublime: “His blank-verse paragraph, and his audacious and victorious attempt to combine blank and rhymed verse with paragraphic effect in Lycidas, lay down indestructible models and patterns of English verse-rhythm, as distinguished from the narrower and more strait-laced forms of English metre” (Saintsbury).
Milton in his magnum opus Paradise Lost is able to create sublime effects by changing the order of words. This is evident in the following words and phrases where Milton alters the natural order of words and phrases:
“Ten paces huge
He back recoil’d”. (vi. 193-4)
2. "temperate vapours bland"(v. 5)
3. "heavenly form Angelic"(ix. 457-8)
4. "unvoyageable gulf obscure"(x. 366)