How do you make John Milton, whose 400th anniversary fell this week, palatable to our lazy and cynical modern taste? I just had a go for a weekly radio programme put on by the local English-language amateur dramatic society. Don’t ask about Internet radio; the station is so marginal and has such poor equipment I sometimes wonder whether we are actually on the air, let alone reaching an audience. Today I turned doubt into certitude by not showing up.
My script is however salvaged here. Naturally it starts with Milton’s two sex scenes from Paradise Lost. Why two? I try to explain.
But I’ve no idea why the Ancient Greeks thought kingfishers (halycons) nested on the sea.