Johnny Depp and George Bush
Was Milton’s Paradise Lost a farewell to Cromwell and the Congregationalist Commonwealth? Sometimes I think I’m living in 17th century Britain. I had grown hot for Rochester’s poetry just before Johnny Depp made The Libertine. Oft do I ogle Dyke’s Sucking at the Musee Prick; translation: I love van Dyke’s portrait of Sir John Suckling, the Cavalier poet, here in New York at the Frick Museum. Michael Leapman’s book on Inigo Jones and Ben Jonson filled in some blanks on the arts and the court. I have just finished The Cradle King, a biography of James I by Alan Stewart of Columbia U. In the 17th century, England evolved from a monarchy into a democracy. But the people at the time didn’t realize what was happening. Cromwell, for instance, thought the English Civil War was all about religion. And thus it seems even stranger that Bush and Blair could march into Iraq and “impose” democracy. Bush is a blind actor on history’s stage, but I myself am conscious mostly of the fog.