[Milton-L] the variety of pauses

carl bellinger bcarlb at comcast.net
Fri Sep 14 14:03:04 EDT 2007

Johnson and Addison (and I presume many others) treat Milton's heavily enjambed style in PL as a matter of "the pauses." 
Addison sets out orderly examples of the occurrence the _pause_ in PL in each of the nine possible places in the 10-syllable line: after syll. #1, after # 2, .... after #9.  Johnson complains that "the variety of pauses" in PL washes out the verse *as verse,* leaving us merely with "the periods of a declaimer."

So in praise, or in blame, they speak of "the pauses," but Milton says nothing at all about pauses in his defense of THE VERSE of PL; he refers rather to the "sense variously drawn out." which language identifies the words themselves, the sense-laden phrases, not the pauses between phrases...

The question where did Johnson and Addison get their interest in the pauses --in respect to PL-- is a question properly for the18th century perhaps. I'd be grateful for any help with that question, but my really  pressing question is 'did Milton himself ever speak of the *pauses* in any place in his writings? Can anyone help me with this?


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jason Kerr 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007 6:57 AM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Re: AV/KJV

  I'll soon be reading the 1559 BCP in preparation for an oral exam on 17th century lit. Not having grown up in a tradition that uses it (or its successors), what advice do list members have as far as what I should attend to (beyond the language) to get the most from my reading? This by way of beginning to correct for the BCP being "under-attended to." 

  Thanks in advance,
  Jason A. Kerr

  The purpose of poetry is to remind us
  how difficult it is to remain just one person,
  for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors,
  and invisible guests come in and out at will. 

             —Czeslaw Milosz, from "Ars Poetica?" 


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