The English language is broken. There are not enough words—there is not the right order—it cannot convey everything I want it to convey. I love it, though. I love its scars–its flaws–its quirks. Since the languages were scattered at Babel, our tongues have been divided, and no language holds the original beauty of the unbroken words. But in English, I see a smeared reflection of the first words–I hear echoes of the voice of God in, “Let there be light.” I want to help reflect that beauty.
Which brings me to Milton. How does he make English do things like that? “And worthy seemed, for in their looks divine/The image of their glorious Maker shone.” So beautiful. How does he wed this beauty with comprehension? How can he use such a broken language to convey such utter loveliness? It skips, and bounds, and frolics over the pages, creating melodic and harmonic splendor beyond reckoning. It embroiders a tale of unfallen man. It marches, stately, through Heaven and Hell, through bliss and fall, from the lips of God and Satan and man. Even in his error there is beauty. The syllables slip through my mind, seducing my emotions, whispering sweetly. They make me wish they were true. They sound true. They create a tale that I could almost believe—where it not for the protection of the unbroken Word.
Milton is dangerous. Milton is broken and shattered, like everyone in this shattered world, since our sinful parents first shattered it with one small bite. He makes beauty out of the shattered pieces–but in the process he shatters them a bit more.
I want to make beauty out of the shards, but I do not want to create more shards in the process. Lord, help me to not break further the already-broken.