Rouze up O young Men of the New Age! set your foreheads against the ignorant Hirelings! For we have Hirelings in the Camp, the Court, & the University: who would if they could, for ever depress Mental & prolong Corporeal War. Painters! on you I call! Sculptors! Architects! Suffer not the fashionable Fools to depress your powers by the prices they pretend to give for contemptible works or the expensive advertizing boasts that they make of such works; believe Christ & his Apostles that there is a Class of Men whose whole delight is in Destroying.
—William Blake, Milton
But why have we forgotten the great iconoclast who Blake admired (and who T.S. Eliot reviled)?
I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When straight a barbarous noise environs me
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes and dogs.
—Milton, Sonnet XII
Milton believed that every individual was naturally inclined toward mental slavery. Not everyone acted on his or her natural inclinations, however, and in fact a virtuous life should be a continuous act of resistance to slavish temptations. For Milton, virtue was not innate but had to be actively produced, manufactured through the battle against vice, just as good is created by the fight against evil, and freedom is won only through incessant internal and external war against our natural tendencies to slavery.
—David Hawkes, John Milton, A Hero of Our Time 2009