[Milton-L] "due at their hour" PL 10.93

ms493101 at ohio.edu ms493101 at ohio.edu
Wed Mar 14 11:09:18 EDT 2007

Dear Carl,

Interestingly, the 1560 Geneva, 1558 Bishop's Bible, the 1540 Great Bible, and 
the 1611 Authorized Version all refer to this as "the cool of the day" at 
Genesis 3:8. The 1610 Duoay-Rheims, while stopping short of naming the exact 
hour, renders it as "the afternoon air." Literally, the Hebrew here (ru'ach) 
could be translated as "spirit" or "wind" or "breath" of the day. Sounds 
refreshing enough.

Contast this period of the day with Genesis 18:1 where Abraham's visitors were 
said to come "in the very heat of the day." 

At any rate, I don't think you are going too far by suggesting that this refers 
to a specific time of day.


Matthew Stallard
Ohio University
Department of English Language and Literature

Quoting carl bellinger <bcarlb at comcast.net>:

> 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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