In the first, "A Note on Milton's Verse," he claims that what Milton did well he did better than any other writer, but that "the marks against him are both more numerous and more significant than the marks to his credit." Some of these marks against Milton include his strenuous adherence to traditional language and his verbose inefficiency. Many blame Eliot and his disciples for removing Milton from the forefront of literary thought and replacing him with Donne and the metaphysical poets.
Although Eliot would later revisit the subject and give Milton some credit he had denied him,
(particularly his ability to create visual imagery through language) it could be said the the damage had been done. Eliot certainly didn't feel that Milton shouldn't be studied, but he felt that he was a poor example to aspiring poets. I personally feel from my educational experience that Milton has been snubbed-- I've certainly been assigned to read more Donne than I have Milton.
The big question for me is this: what do we do with the literary tradition that's been handed us? Do we have a responsibility to discover and revive texts that have not been necessarily popular? Or do we trust Eliot's canonization, considering the scope of his knowledge and the weight of his influence?
Eliot, T. S. Essays on Poetry and Poets. London: Faber and Faber, 1957. Print.
In this collection, Eliot's essays have been renamed simply "Milton I" and "Milton II"