Lines from L’Allegro

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Here are my favorite lines from John Milton’s “L’Allegro,” published in 1645.

“L’Allegro” translates from Italian as “The Happy Man.” Milton wrote this and another  poem, “Il Penseroso” (The pensive or thoughtful man) as a companion piece. Two moods are contrasted to pleasant effect by this pair of poems.

As with anything written so long ago, footnotes prove essential. One of the better online poetry resources I’ve encountered is The John Milton Reading Room, a project of Dartmouth College. For the full text with footnotes, click here.

Illustration is by William Blake, “Mirth and Her Companions.”