In Charles Robert Anon's Miltonic sonnet, entitled "On Death" (death, like blindness, could be death in life; cf.
It is worth noting that Anon also signs non-political Miltonic sonnets.
In "London 1802" Wordsworth has composed the quintessential Miltonic sonnet: Italian in rhyme scheme, richly allusive, political, prophetic, and in praise of a heroic individual--Milton himself.
The poem is at once a Miltonic sonnet, like Wordsworth's "Milton" and Dunbar's "Douglass," and yet very much of the mid-twentieth century.
Obviously, Milton's is the great precedent in English poetry for political sonnets; and Coleridge's publishing them in a newspaper gives them a certain political immediacy and renews what Stuart Curran calls the sonnet's "public and polemical responsibility" (35).(33) I believe, however, that the sonnets can be read as evidence of Coleridge's ambivalence towards the Miltonic sonnet
: in Poems on Various Subjects, Coleridge recasts the newspaper series as "effusions," thus softening their political import in the implicit affiliation he makes with the literature of sensibility.
But Harrison seizes the form precisely to embody his struggle with the language of "educated men." The sequence begins with a Miltonic sonnet entitled "On Not Being Milton," which makes poetry from the challenge of the unspoken: The stutter of the scold out of the branks of condescension, class and counterclass thickens with glottals to a lumpen mass of Ludding morphemes closing up their ranks.
"The School of Eloquence" is something between a Bildungsroman and a novel of retrospection, recounted in sixteen-line Miltonic sonnets. A bright working-class boy from Leeds (father: bakery worker and former miner; mother; housewife) is educated to "rise beyond his class." His parents encourage him, even as his education, particularly the different spoken language it requires, separates him from them.