This collection of Milton's Political Writings, published in 1991, sheds some light on a politician who managed to survive as a poet. He got blind, had to go on hiding but finally got his own Candide's garden.
After reading his Tenure of King's and Magistrates, written to justify the beheading of the catholic Charles the First, and especially after reading his vitriolic argument, in Anglicorum Popolo Defensio, with Symasius, who was himself an «hired gun» for the royalists, one concludes that the modern conception of Republic didn't surface in Paris, in 1789, but did it long before, in London, in 1649.
What made both of the republics so prone to beheading as an execution techinque? It was the same costum of reserving to aristocrats, the fast lane. If the matter was speed, the ensuing civil wars, which didn't stop at all, neither during the Glorious Revolution, in 1688, nor with Napoleon, became the weapon of choice for eliminating other categories of ennemies, who were slower in time. At some point, Milton contends that his peculiar way of defending Cromwell's militar dictatorship is supported by evidences such as the fact that there is a pars potior or a pars sanior, a better or a healthier part of the population (the army, for instance) to legitimize a murder vested in trial. It doesn't matter which kind of church or doctrine, was Milton standing for. A mixture of Zwingli, and Luther was fair enough, particularly if all of it mouthed in the well proven demagoguery of Buchanan. As it happens in every Revolution, especially those ones proped up by black shirts such as the puritans and round-heads, the protagonists, and nobody but them, are day-dreaming. Therefore, there is a need in combing poets with advocates in every revolution, because they make nightmares look like dreams.
As far as one studies the fine art of conspiracy which leads to Monk turning his coat and facilitate the restoration of Charles the second, and, further in time, the restoration of parliamentarism, by William of Orange, one gets the feeling that what counts, is to have friends who stay afloat in every situation. If this corresponds to a technique of managing a stock of skeletons in the closet, as a kind of way in reaching a newtonian mass, it depends on how far Newton followed a secret cult. But it shows as well that nobody needs a kind of british parliamentarism, where royalists are ressented and republicans are frustrated. Instead of a little fatalism called Leviathan and a great deal of cynicysm, called Behemoth, as Hobbes put it, one needs more than a cave light which led Milton to see Lucifer as a superman, the moment he couldn´t see anything. As a matter of fact, in Paradise Lost, he watched the wrong movie: it was Frankenstein. The parts of the monster's body were ghosts of a demagogical assembly of sensations : an allucination called res publica.