According to a London cable, the British Medical Journal suggests that the great variation in Milton's poetry was due to a tumor on the brain.
Each poet that I know (he said) Has something funny in his head, Some wandering growth or queer disease That gives to him strange unease. If such a thing he hasn't got, What makes him write his silly rot? All poets' brains, so I have found, Go, like the music, round and round. Why they are suffered e'er to tread This sane man's earth seems strange (he said). I've never met a poet yet, A rhymster I have never met Who could talk sense like any man -- Like I, or even you, say, can. They make me sick! The time seems ripe To clean them up and all their tripe. And yet (he stopped and felt his head) I met a poet once (he said) Who, when I said he made me sick Hit me a punch like a mule's kick. That only goes to prove again The theory that I maintain: A man who can't gauge that crazy bunch; No poet ought to pack a punch. Of all the poetry I've read I've never yet seen one (he said) That couldn't be, far as it goes, Much better written out in prose. It's what we eat, I often think; Or, yet more likely, what they drink. Aw, poets! All the tribe, by heck, Give me a swift pain in the neck.
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2005-06|