Samuel Taylor Coleridge, From The Statesman's Manual

Appendix C to The Statesman’s Manual, or The Bible the Best Guide to Political Skill and Foresight presents Coleridge’s views on the character of Milton’s Satan, a prototype, he will claim, for the immoral yet dangerously popular heroes of contemporary writing.

But in its utmost abstraction and consequent state of reprobation, the Will becomes satanic pride and rebellious self-idolatry in the relations of the spirit to itself, and remorseless despotism relatively to others; the more  hopeless as the more obdurate by its subjugation  of sensual impulses, by its superiority to  toil and pain and pleasure; in short, by  the fearful resolve to find in itself alone  the one absolute motive of action, under  which all other motives from within and from without must be either subordinated or crushed.

This is the character which Milton has so philosophically as well as sublimely embodied in the Satan of his Paradise Lost. Alas! too often has it been embodied in real life!  Too often has it given a dark and savage grandeur to the historic page! And wherever it has appeared, under whatever circumstances of time and country, the same ingredients have gone to its composition; and it has been identified by the same attributes. Hope in which there is no cheerfulness; steadfastness within and immovable resolve, with outward restlessness and whirling activity; violence with guile; temerity with cunning; and, as  the result of all, interminableness of object with perfect indifference of means; these are the qualities that have constituted the commanding genius! these are the marks that  have characterized the masters of mischief,  the liberticides, and mighty hunters of mankind,  from Nimrod to Napoleon. And from inattention to the possibility of such a character as  well as from ignorance of its elements, even  men of honest intentions too frequently become  fascinated. Nay, whole nations have been so far duped by this want of insight and reflection as to regard with palliative admiration,  instead of wonder and abhorrence, the Molocks of human nature, who are indebted, for the  far larger portion of their meteoric success, to their total want of principle, and who  surpass the generality of their fellow creatures  in one act of courage only, that of daring  to say with their whole heart, "Evil, be thou my good!" >> note

 — From The Statesman's Manual (1816)


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