[Milton-L] help interpret a line

Harold Skulsky HSKULSKY at email.smith.edu
Mon Jan 26 23:56:38 EST 2004


David Harper's alternative parsing "(Your fear itself) (of death removes
the fear)" yields a persuasively Miltonic latinism (the retranslation
goes smoothly: "Timor tuus ipse [pause] mortis aufert timorem"). What we
get here rhetorically, in the way of balance and symmetry, is complex,
elegant, and highly characteristic. 

The possibility escaped me--entrapped by duck-rabbit prejudice. Does
Milton resort to this type of genitive-noun inversion elsewhere? I don't
know now, if I ever did. It does occur rather frequently in Renaissance
Italian, Spanish, and French high style. No matter; the syntax is highly
eligible--though (for what it's worth) I'm not yet ready to say the same
of the semantics. The upshot is that, from where I sit, David Harper is
onto something. I'm in his debt. 




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