[Milton-L] swerving

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Mon Sep 24 18:59:08 EDT 2007


beware / He swerve not, too secure

beware / He swerve, not too secure

beware / He swerve not too, secure

I guess one could suppose Milton omitted punctuation in order to admit two
or more of these possibilities, although the unpunctuated line invites first
the nonsensical notion of "swerving that is not too secure."

Michael 


On 9/24/07 3:46 PM, "carl bellinger" <bcarlb at comcast.net> wrote:

> There is no comma between "not" and "too" in Milton's two editions:
> 
> "whence warne him to beware/He swerve not too secure:"
> 
> It's an easy guess that many subsequent editions have added a comma where
> Michael Gillum suggests one is needed granted a certain interpretation. [An
> easy guess because editors have for centuries had a hay-day interpreting
> Milton's text with their happy commas.]  Here, for instance, is the text as
> it appears in a [strange and strangely undocumented] online edition of PL:
> 
> Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
> He swerve not, too secure:  Tell him withal
> 
> http://www.web-books.com/Classics/Poetry/Milton_Lost/Milton_LostC5P2.htm
> 
> -Carl 
> 
> 
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