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

carl bellinger bcarlb at comcast.net
Wed Mar 14 11:18:58 EDT 2007

A great help indeed, Nancy.  Thank you much!  So if I have it right even the "decline" [the term used in line 99] towards night is a divinely donated comfort, and not because as the saying goes, "day must follow night," good must follow bad; but because the alternation itself is a permanent blessing.

And thanks for the ref. to Fowler. Are there other scholars who treat "confessions" of mystical faith in PL or elsewhere in Milton?

By the way, I had the passage as occurring in Book 9 because I looked it up in Ed 1 (using a file that contains all the books and thus allows a single search to cover the whole of PL). I should have used Ed. 2 for the citation.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Nancy Rosenfeld 
  To: Milton List 
  Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 1:56 AM
  Subject: [Milton-L] Re: "due at their hour" PL 10.93

  Dear Carl,

  (You of course refer to PL 10.91-102--not 9).
  These lines are reminiscent of Genesis 8.21-22:

  "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth ... While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

  The context of Gen. 8--the Deity's acceptance of the fact of humankind's inborn evil streak--followed by the promise to maintain a cosmic chronology whose very regularity provides erring human beings with comfort, may be reflected in PL 10.91-102, the point at which the Son is about to confront Adam and Eve, to both condemn and comfort them, i.e. to be "both judge and savior" (PL 10.209).  

  Re "mystical conventions," you might find food for thought (mixed metaphor--ouch!)in Alastair Fowler on Milton's use of imagery of day and night, of chronology generally, e.g.: "The imagery is in keeping with a seventeenth-century fashion for philosophical optics and astronomical mysticism. But it would be a mistake to think of it as the result of easy or impersonal choices on Milton's part. It is more like a confession of his faith in the justice of the God who had made darkness succeed light for him so unnaturally" (Introduction to PL, Longman, 1991, p.28).  

  Hope this is of help,
  Nancy Rosenfeld.

  Nancy Rosenfeld, PhD.
  Dept. of English Language and Literature, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Israel.
  English Studies Unit, Max Stern Academic College of the Jezreel Valley, Israel.  


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