[Milton-L] Directly

Diane McColley dmccolley at earthlink.net
Sat Jul 29 15:34:19 EDT 2006


I don't understand why the "towards" can't have the compound object 
"World" and "Man."   You can fly directly to California and me there 
placed if you can do it with your own wings.

On Jul 29, 2006, at 1:20 PM, Jeffrey Wilson wrote:

> At the risk of cluttering up the in-boxes of uninterested list 
> members, I'll here present my summa directly.
>
> No one disputes the fact that Satan goes directly to the new created 
> world. Dr. Hodges and Dr. Gillum are both exactly right that Satan 
> goes directly to the World. The trustworthiness of the Father's claim 
> is not an issue of cosmology, it's an issue of grammar. The issue to 
> consider is whether or not it is responsible to read these lines as 
> saying, "he wings his way / ... / Directly toward... / ...man..." My 
> argument is that it's not only responsible but necessary. It may be 
> helpful to have the complete passage in front of us:
>
> And now
> Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way
> Not farr off Heav'n, in the Precincts of light,
> Directly towards the new created World,
> And Man there plac't, with purpose to assay [ 90 ]
> If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
> By some false guile pervert;
>
> The argument against my position wants to paraphrase God as saying, 
> "Satan wings his way directly toward the world and IN GENERAL toward 
> man." In order to do so, the antecedent for "man" in line 90 would 
> have to be the main subject and verb of the sentence (i.e. "he wings" 
> in line 87). But this would mean that the line reads, "he wings his 
> way / ...Man there plac't, with purpose to assay..." which makes no 
> sense because of the lack of a prepositional phrase (i.e. the lack of 
> "to" or "toward").
>
> In order for the line to satisfy the rules of grammar, there must be a 
> prepositional phrase, and of course there is one in "Directly toward." 
> Now, if Milton had written, "he wings his way / ... / toward the new 
> created World directly, / And Man there plac't, with purpose to 
> assay..." then we would have a non-issue because the adverb "directly" 
> would only modify the first half of the compound prepositional phrase 
> (i.e. "directly" would only modify "the new created World" and not 
> "and man there plac't"). But that's not what Milton wrote. Milton puts 
> the adverb that modifies the prepositional phrase outside the phrase, 
> indicating that it modifies the entire compound prepositional phrase. 
> Moreover, the conjunction "and" in the prepositional phrase 
> distributes "Directly" equally to both "the new created World" and not 
> "and man there plac't"). 
>
> In sum, "toward" is a necessary grammatical feature in order for "Man" 
> to make sense, and "Directly" necessarily governs "toward" and 
> everything in the prepositional phrase that "toward" introduces. 
>
> Thus, the paraphrase that adheres to the grammatical structure of 
> these lines is, "Satan wings his way directly toward the world and 
> DIRECTLY toward man." Directly is used here as a description of how 
> Satan moves spatially, as Dr. Herman pointed out in his original post, 
> "according to the OED, 'directly' is not one of these words with a 
> multiplicity of meanings. Basically, it means moving 'In a straight 
> line of motion; with undeviating course; straight' (def. 1.a.) or 'not 
> obliquely' (def. 2)." I also agree with Michael Brysen that "Winging 
> one's way anywhere 'directly' and 'as directly as possible' are two 
> different things."
>
> The conclusion I draw from analyzing the content and syntax of God's 
> speech and then comparing that analysis with the events in the poem is 
> that God is somewhat loose with the Truth in this instance.
>
> Jeff Wilson
>
> P.S. I am by no means a grammarian - my above analysis is at about the 
> level of freshman composition - and if someone with more expertise in 
> this area has an alternate take or any qualifications to my analysis 
> of the grammatical construction of these lines I'd be sincerely 
> interested to hear another close reading.
>
> On Jul 29, 2006, at 12:07 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges wrote:
>
> I haven't yet seen the force of the argument that the
> word "directly" implies that God the Father, speaking
> in PL 3.89, is either dishonest or mistaken.
>
> We last saw Satan in PL 2.1034-1055:
>
> But now at last the sacred influence
> Of light appears, and from the walls of Heav'n [1035]
> Shoots farr into the bosom of dim Night
> A glimmering dawn; here Nature first begins
> Her fardest verge, and Chaos to retire
> As from her outmost works a brok'n foe
> With tumult less and with less hostile din, [1040]
> That Satan with less toil, and now with ease
> Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light
> And like a weather-beaten Vessel holds
> Gladly the Port, though Shrouds and Tackle torn;
> Or in the emptier waste, resembling Air, [1045]
> Weighs his spread wings, at leasure to behold
> Farr off th' Empyreal Heav'n, extended wide
> In circuit, undetermind square or round,
> With Opal Towrs and Battlements adorn'd
> Of living Saphire, once his native Seat; [1050]
> And fast by hanging in a golden Chain
> This pendant world, in bigness as a Starr
> Of smallest Magnitude close by the Moon.
> Thither full fraught with mischievous revenge,
> Accurst, and in a cursed hour he hies. [1055]
>
> [Borrowed from
> http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_2/index.shtml]
>
> We take leave of Satan as he hies toward the pendant
> world, i.e., the created cosmos hanging by a golden
> chain, but he still has some distance to go, for the
> world is far enough distant that it appears no bigger
> than a star.
>
> We next hear of Satan, as described by God in PL
> 3.70-92, closely approaching the world:
>
> ... [The Almighty Father] then survey'd
> Hell and the Gulf between, and Satan there [ 70 ]
> Coasting the wall of Heav'n on this side Night
> In the dun Air sublime, and ready now
> To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet
> On the bare outside of this World, that seem'd
> Firm land imbosom'd without Firmament, [ 75 ]
> Uncertain which, in Ocean or in Air.
> Him God beholding from his prospect high,
> Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
> Thus to his onely Son foreseeing spake. 
> Onely begotten Son, seest thou what rage [ 80 ]
> Transports our adversarie, whom no bounds
> Prescrib'd, no barrs of Hell, nor all the chains
> Heapt on him there, nor yet the main Abyss
> Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems
> On desparate reveng, that shall redound [ 85 ]
> Upon his own rebellious head. And now
> Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way
> Not farr off Heav'n, in the Precincts of light,
> Directly towards the new created World,
> And Man there plac't, with purpose to assay [ 90 ]
> If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
> By some false guile pervert;
>
> [Borrowed from
> http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_3/index.shtml]
>
> As some have noted, "world" at that time was the usual
> term for "cosmos." Given that Satan is "Coasting the
> wall of Heav'n on this side Night / ... and ready now
> / To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet / On
> the bare outside of this World," then the Father seems
> accurate in maintaining of Satan that "now / Through
> all restraint broke loose he wings his way / Not farr
> off Heav'n, in the Precincts of light, / Directly
> towards the new created World." At this point, Satan's
> movement is direct. He has had the newly created world
> in his sights since first spying it in PL 2.1051ff,
> where it appeared about the size of a star, knows from
> the 'rumor' in heaven that he will find mankind there,
> and has been hieing his way toward it since the moment
> that he first spied it.
>
> At the time that God describes Satan in flight, he is
> winging his way directly toward the newly created
> world, i.e., the cosmos, if we assume that "World" in
> PL 2.74 has the same referent as "World" in PL 2.89,
> which seems to me a safe assumption.
>
> Thus, "directly," as descriptive of Satan's words at
> this moment in his flight, looks accurate to me.
>
> Jeffery Hodges
>
> University Degrees:
>
> Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
> (Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic 
> Texts")
> M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
> B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University
>
> Email Address:
>
> jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
>
> Blog:
>
> http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/
>
> Office Address:
>
> Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
> Department of English Language and Literature
> Korea University
> 136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
> Seoul
> South Korea
>
> Home Address:
>
> Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
> Sehan Apt. 102-2302
> Sinnae-dong 795
> Jungrang-gu
> Seoul 131-770
> South Korea
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