[Milton-L] swerving

Rose Williams rwill627 at suddenlink.net
Mon Sep 24 15:09:01 EDT 2007


This construction is common in Latin, both in prose and poetry.
"Aeneas in pugnam cucurrit fidens " tranlates literarlly "Aeneas into battle 
ran confident."
Usually we translate the adjective as the adverb "confidently" and change 
the word order for English.
The simpler English rendering of the Milton line would probably be
"he should beware lest he, being too secure, might swerve (from the true 
path, etc.)"
Rose Williams
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Gillum" <mgillum at unca.edu>
To: "milton-l" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2007 11:38 AM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] swerving


> "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."
>
> Michael
>
>
> 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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