Published in 1667, Paradise Lost by John Milton is considered by many scholars to be the only epic written in the English language. For such a bold claim to exist, one must understand the literary elements that make up epic poetry. When compared to other canonical epics such as Homer’s Odyssey or Virgil’s Aeneid, one notices similarities in regards to structure, flow, methodologies, etc. These elements include a declaration to the muses, a story starting mid-battle, and characters that represent the essence of a particular society.Taking into account the significance of John Milton’s epic on England’s society, future poets greatly respected his contributions and paid homage to the man. One such poet, William Wordsworth, pontificated his longing for Milton’s return in the sonnet, “London, 1802,” and further modeled the structure of his poem in a similar and vivid fashion as Milton did with his epic; thus allowing readers to see the current state of England’s society portrayed in the style of one of the country’s greatest poets.Written in 1802, but not published until 1807, “London, 1802” is a Shakespearian sonnet consisting of 14 lines. Initially, readers see no break in flow aside from comma and colon placement. Stylistically, Wordsworth relies heavily on simple words that convey powerful emotion and celestial imagery. Furthermore, no word in the poem exceeds three syllables and lends itself to easy reading when compared to other poems written during the time period. When compared to passages from Paradise Lost, Milton utilizes the blank verse poetic structure to progress his narrative, just like Wordsworth.Blank verse is a stylistic feature seen in approximately two-thirds of all English poetry, starting in the early …
…of political uprising.With Wordsworth and Milton both being elements of England’s literary past, the work both authors contributed to England’s society helped define English poetry. Not only examples of literary mastery, both authors’ works represent particular issues in their society. Even to this day, issues in European government have created tension between social classes. Both texts are as relevant today as they were during the time they were written.
Work Citied”London 1800-1913.” The Proceedings of the Old Bailey. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb 2012. .Milton, John. Paradise Lost. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2004. 10. Print.Wordsworth, William . “London 1802.” Poetry-Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb 2012.