[Milton-L] "due at their hour" PL 9.93

carl bellinger bcarlb at comcast.net
Tue Mar 13 15:25:59 EDT 2007


Dear scholars,

Looking at PL 9.93...  Was there by convention a specific "hour" of the 
clock when, the "gentle Aires [are] due ... to fan the Earth?" The language 
might seem to suggest a specific hour of the day, but perhaps I'm reading 
too closely:

92: Now was the Sun in Western cadence low
93: From Noon, and gentle Aires due at thir hour

The ancient Christian service of vespers has "Now that we come to the 
setting of the sun and our eyes behold the vesper light," and although I 
doubt Milton here is making any kind of liturgical reference, the passage 
might represent [but that's my question] some at least psychological if not 
mystical convention.

The whole ten line context is thick with terms and notions relating to time; 
please see below. Why such a concentration of chronological interest at this 
point in PL?

 Thanks   -Carl

* The word "now" appears three times.
* There is "sun" and "noon" and "eavning;"
* there is "low" [of th sun] and "western cadence" [whatever "cadence" may 
denote (?) it (also) suggests timing issues of a more or less precise 
nature];
* there is "due at thir hour," and "now wak'd."
* Finally, there is "Time" itself; and the _only_  reference in PL to 
"minutes."
* The collocation of "western cadence" and "gentle aires" is revisited at 
the close in "soft windes" and "day declin'd."

PL Book 9:
92: ____________________; the speed of Gods
91: Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes wing'd.
92: Now was the Sun in Western cadence low
93: From Noon, and gentle Aires due at thir hour
94: To fan the Earth now wak'd, and usher in
95: The Eevning coole when he from wrauth more coole
96: Came the mild Judge and Intercessor both
97: To sentence Man: the voice of God they heard
98: Now walking in the Garden, by soft windes
99: Brought to thir Ears, while day declin'd, 




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