This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Saturday Rave: Lycidas, by John Milton.

In England, amaryllises are bursting forth in bloom on almost every window sill:

File:Amaryllis (5555347489).jpg
photo: Dwight Sipler, from Stow, MA, USA

and amaryllises lead me inevitably to Lycidas

To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, goes the line, which for a long time I thought was about flower-arranging. I love that line.

There are other famous bits of Lycidas, too:

Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of Noble mind)
To scorn delights and live laborious days;

and then there's:

To morrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new.

Two of my very best friends in the world have Lycidas as one of their very favourite poems,'s no good. I've tried and tried, but I just can't get on with Milton. Well, I did enjoy Paradise Lost because it's so splendidly and heroically over-the-top, but...

...look, I know I must be wrong, and this is why Lycidas is featuring here.

HERE is the full text. I genuinely hope you enjoy it tremendously, but for me, personally, anything by Milton makes me feel as if I'm watching ballet with the dancers wearing hobnail boots.

Still, I really enjoyed this line:

He must not flote upon his watry bear

Now there's a bit of genuinely useful life-advice - and possibly the inspiration for a picture-book, too.

Word To Use Today: amaryllis. Apart from being a big flower, this is the name formerly used in pastoral poetry for a shepherdess or country girl.

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