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May be spoken to freely, familiarly, friendly, without adoration” (CPW 7:425). This recurrent theme of The Readie and Easie Way is expanded upon in the second edition (quoted here), which further deplores the debasement of the people by monarchy. Soon after, in the poetry, Milton will attempt to illustrate how natural hierarchies can exist without elevation or adoration. One of the most disturbing things about a king, or perhaps about Charles II, is the pageantry which surrounds him, stripping both him and his people of dignity: the king “who for any thing wherin the public really needs him, will have little els to do, but to bestow the eating and drinking of excessive dainties .

I get no help in judging life; I scarcely feel that Milton lived or knew men & women; except for the peevish personalities about marriage & the woman’s duties. He was the first of the masculinists: but his disparagement rises from his own ill luck & seems even a spiteful last word in his domestic quarrels. But how smooth, strong & elaborate it all is! What poetry! . The inexpressible fineness of the style, in which shade after shade is perceptible, would alone keep one gazing in to it, long after the surface business in progress has been despatched.

15. For Dryden’s translation of Juvenal’s Sixth Satire in “The Learned Wife,” see The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century Verse and Prose, ed. Alan Rudrum, Joseph Black, and Holly Faith Nelson (Petersborough, Canada: Broadview Press, 2000), 1003. Given that Dryden’s marriage was far less happy than any of Milton’s, there seems little doubt that his translation choice clearly reflects his own view of women. 1, 92. 16. Rachel Speght, A Muzzle for Melastomus, the Cynical Baiter of, and foul mouthed Barker against Eve’s Sex (1617), rpt.

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