[Milton-L] Reading practices and empiricism & other knowledge
bcarlb at comcast.net
Mon Apr 30 13:49:44 EDT 2007
Books, & the natural world: that makes two sources of knowledge for
mankind; how many others does Milton recognize?
1) books secular (prose & poetry), containing some limited wisdom here and
2) the Bible, the book inspired by God;
3) the natural world _visible_ (the source blanked out by Milton's
4) direct inspiration from the Spirit: who, "before all temples, prefers the
upright heart and pure;"
5) the remnants of wisdom within oneself, by which the ancient authors of 1)
[books secular] achieved the partial instances of wisdom which they
Surely there are one or two more? I'd be grateful for help with this; I hope
it's not too embarrasingly elementary. Do we arrive at a simple, clear total
for Milton, or does the list trail off into more and more indefinite
6 ? the natural world _audible_: the sound of streams flowing; songs of
the "wakeful bird"
7 ? art music, instrumental & vocal: Monteverdi, Henry Lawes
8 ? the natural world _sensible apart from vision and hearing_, e.g. the
heat [the "invisible virtue"] of the sun? "Thee I revisit safe and FEEL thy
vital sovran lamp..."
9 ??? Prelapsarian Adam had Angels over for tea and instructive chit-chat,
but would Milton have allowed such a source of knowledge (still) available
in 17th c. England, as did, perhaps, Mr. John Dee?
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