[Milton-L] Advent

Schwartz, Louis lschwart at richmond.edu
Tue Dec 9 15:41:06 EST 2008

I wanted to chime-in with my own brief Happy Birthday wish!  I'm moved to see that Milton's work and the occasion has moved so many to poetry of their own.

It's also gratifying and interesting to me that the "birth" part of the birthday should get us thinking about the physical facts of that morning 400 years ago.

As others have said, I'm very glad that that morning was a happy one, and that--as the author of the Gospel of John has Jesus put at 16:21--there was "joy that a child [was] born into the world" that day, rather than one of the all too common alternatives.  There is a good chance that this particular verse had a prominent place among the many things that no doubt went through Sarah Milton's mind and across the threshold of her lips that day.  In any case, an echo of it was among the first things that Milton thought to have Adam say to Eve after their reconciliation in Book 10 (in his second attempt to comfort her, lines 1048-53).   So it seems to have meant something to him.  I wonder if it was one of the things he often heard his mother say as she went about her charitable works in the neighborhood, works that I'm sure would have included visits to more than a few lying-in chambers (most of them, although probably not all of them, happy ones).


Louis Schwartz
Associate Professor of English
University of Richmond
Richmond, VA  23173
(804) 289-8315
lschwart at richmond.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Carl Bellinger
Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 1:52 PM
To: Milton-L
Cc: Diane McColley
Subject: Fw: [Milton-L] Advent

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Diane McColley
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 8:27 AM
> Subject: [Milton-L] Advent
> [   . . . when the head emerged,
> [   when the midwife eased the shoulders
> [   into this world: . . .

Dear Diane McColley,

 Your phrases prompt me to forward the attached nativity poem "Window One"
 [which I'm almost finished editing, I think].

 Happy Advent!
 (and happy Milton's Advent too)


P.S.  I'm also attaching a photo of "Window One," --a *very* early, French,
stained glass panel of the Nativity, which was removed a few centuries ago
when its cathedral [at Reims? or Amiens?] was being enlarged. It's a small
 panel, maybe 12 by 20 inches, once part of the great window at the end of a
 transept.  Somehow it made its way, with three companion panels, to a shed
 behind an Episcopal church in Massachusetts, where it was discovered in
 pieces, wrapped in newspaper[!].  The Curator at the Fogg Art Museum, I'm
 told, collapsed into a chair the moment he unwrapped it.

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