Geoffrey Hill has frequently drawn attention to Milton's formulation ‘simple sensuous and passionate’ to describe the distinctive character of poetry. Undeniably, for the reader, the drawing together from the uncountable range of possibilities of a number of words that simply present themselves as ‘right’ seems not only a beauty but a mystery beyond the laws of logic or rhetoric. It is in part because Geoffrey Hill's work, in poetry and prose, is in perpetual struggle with ‘plain speaking’ that he is drawn to write so often on seventeenth-century subjects.
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