[Milton-L] A pause about pauses

Mario DiCesare dicesare1 at mindspring.com
Sun Sep 16 21:47:40 EDT 2007

Dear Carl,

It's too late right now to dig back into earlier emails, but I don't 
think I combined '"the pauses" on one hand, or the "sense drawn from 
verse into verse."' I have pretty strong feelings about prosody though 
I'm not inclined to be very technical about it. But what can one say to 
someone so generous spirited that he provides the best counter argument 
(if that's what it needs to be) for those he is ever so gently 
criticizing! Right on, Carl.


carl bellinger wrote:
> Thanks Mario for your pause on pauses; and in the midst of a move too.
> I must admit being uncomfortable by the thrust of your comment, as I was 
> too by Michael Gillum's which you cited and which did indeed back you 
> up. When I hear it's no big deal whether we call it "the pauses" on one 
> hand, or the "sense drawn from verse into verse" I say, no, that can't 
> be right. Does Milton ever let specific terminology, from his own pen, 
> 'off the hook' of cogent, stringent, and precise reference? Should not 
> Johnson's sharp displeasure about "the variety of pauses, so much 
> boasted by lovers of blank verse" [quote from decaying memory] give 
> pause to the easy idea that we mustn't get too hung up on terminology?
>     But then I'm a devotee of prosody, and any devotee of anything 
> intricate & finicky is likely to be finicky and crabby.
> And of course, the two of you have a powerful card you ain't played yet. 
> If I find your comments annoyingly dismissive of my precious 
> distinctions, you just plop Milton's own comment on the table. and case 
> closed!
> "I mean not here the prosody of a verse, which they could not but have 
> hit on before among the rudiments of grammar."
> You understand of course I'm actually the opposite of crabby to any 
> opinions on prosody; I love the topic and everyone with the chutzpah to 
> comment on it! I have read, by the way, more than one of John Creaser's 
> excellent articles on prosody, and would point out to my esteemed 
> colleagues Gillum & DiCaesura, that after reading one of these, Mr. 
> Gillum is less inclined to see the variety of the pause in blank verse 
> merely as an unavoidable by-product of enjambment.
> Pace,
> jcb
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Mario DiCesare" 
> <dicesare1 at mindspring.com>
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Sent: Friday, September 14, 2007 5:18 PM
> Subject: [Milton-L] A pause about pauses
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> May I suggest that maybe we really don't need to worry a lot about the 
>> fact that Milton does not explicitly discuss pauses? . . . .
> . . . .
> . . . .
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