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John Milton (1608-1674) is best remembered for his epic poem, Paradise Lost, and is considered one of England's greatest writers. A scholar fluent in at least three languages, he served as an official under Oliver Cromwell, the non-royal leader and Lord Protector of England. Milton wrote in praise of the Commonwealth of England (the short era of common rule following the execution of King Charles I), but he lost his political powers following the restoration of the monarchy. He went into hiding but was eventually awarded a pardon. Nevertheless, it was from this time after 1660--though suffering from glaucoma and, later, blindness--that Milton wrote his greatest works. Paradise Lost (1667), considered one of the greatest works of blank verse poetry in the English language, in part laments the end of common rule.
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