[Milton-L] swerving

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Mon Sep 24 13:38:23 EDT 2007

"Swerve" doesn't mean "move" or "travel." It means "turn aside," implying in
this case error. Adam is to be warned not to slip up through complacency. So
unless someone can suggest a more plausible reading, there is a missing
comma: it should read "beware / He swerve not, too secure."


On 9/24/07 8:09 AM, "James Rovira" <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

> Of course, and figures of speech or idioms are one available means  of
> expression.  Is there a reason Milton couldn't have used these?  What
> he that committed to literal language at all times?  Is it possible
> that Milton's God wouldn't use figures of speech? (I think it is
> possible, but would like to know why).  The current construction (so
> understood) fits the context as part of God's warning to Adam and
> seems to fit the feel of the passage as well as its meter.
> Jim R
> On 9/24/07, jfleming at sfu.ca <jfleming at sfu.ca> wrote:
>> This construction, presumably, would have been within Milton's power of
>> expression. It is not what he expresses, as far as I can tell, with "swerve
>> not too secure." JDF
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