[Milton-L] Apples

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Fri Jul 25 09:48:46 EDT 2008

Since Nancy Charlton mentioned roses, I¹ll plug my very short article on the
roses of Paradise in ANQ, Winter, 2007, available online through many
academic libraries. Milton¹s references to roses are beautifully patterned
and culminate in the withering of Adam¹s garland.


On 7/25/08 2:05 AM, "Nancy Charlton" <pastorale55 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Salwa makes an interesting point: Milton, in either the Poet's or the
> Narrator's voice, does not make use of the word "apple." Satan, rather, does
> indeed use it to "trivialize" it--to use Salwa's term. Indeed, this sentence
> excerpted from Satan's rather frantic exhortation in Book X, makes the only
> use of the word "apple" in all of PL that I can find:
> Him by fraud I have seduced        485
> From his Creator, and, the more to increase
> Your wonder, with an apple!
> He goes on, with a sneer:
> He [the Father], thereat
> Offended‹worth your laughter!‹hath given up
> Both his beloved Man and all his World
> To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,        490
> Without our hazard, labour, or alarm,
> To range in, and to dwell, and over Man
> To rule, as over all he should have ruled.
> I remembered today as I was performing some necessary garden clean-up and
> found a rose that was trying to develop a fruit (it isn't the kind of rose
> that has edible hips) that apples are in the same taxonomic family as roses.
> Just prior to the "apple" sentence, Satan refers to the "fraud" of his
> seduction. The fruit, not the flower, is the important concept here, perhaps.
> The Son is the fruition of God's creating and is often symbolized by the rose.
> Milton mostly uses "rose" as the past tense of "rise," but in the opening of
> Book III singles out "sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose" as specific
> deprivations of his blindness:
>  Thus with the year
> Seasons return; but not to me returns
> Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
> Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer¹s rose,
> Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
> He doesn't mention fruit, but it seems to me that there is some significance
> in PL in the fact that it was an apple, when it could just as well have been a
> pear or strawberry or a sexy bunch of grapes. But it was the fruit of autumn,
> of ripeness, by which Adam and Eve were defrauded.
> I'm not sure just where this is going, but in the invocation to "holy Light"
> (III.i) the poet feels that the fruition of his life is the making of this
> poem, and thus it well may be that the apple, that oversized rose hip, is the
> appropriate pome.
> In PR II.337f. Satan conjures "a table richly spread in regal mode" for Jesus,
> of which the Narrator exclaims "Alas! How simple to these cates compared,/ Was
> that crude apple that diverted Eve!" No other mention of "apple" is made in
> the poems, but in the Areopagitica Milton makes a passing reference: "It was
> from out the rind of one apple tasted, that the knowledge of good and evil . .
> . leaped forth into the world." The "rind"! Not even the meat! No wonder the
> "table richly spread" goes poof! when Jesus doesn't bite.
> Thank you for raising this question. If I hadn't been out with the shears and
> loppers today I'd probably never given it a second thought.
> Nancy Charlton
> ------------------------
> Nancy Charlton
> http://groups.google.com/group/paradiselostdaily
> When it's apple blossom time
> In Orange, New Jersey,
> We'll make a peach of a pair!
> --- On Thu, 7/24/08, Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> From: Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com>
>> Subject: [Milton-L] Apples
>> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>> Date: Thursday, July 24, 2008, 4:24 PM
>> Salwa and other Milton-Listers,  Can you direct me to what has been written
>> on this issue of apples in Paradise Lost (or Milton generally)?  Jeffery
>> Hodges   Salwa Khoddam skhoddam at cox.net
>> <mailto:milton-l%40lists.richmond.edu?Subject=%5BMilton-L%5D%20Abdiel&amp;In-
>> Reply-To=> 
>> Tue Jun 24 21:30:47 EDT 2008
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>> Jeffery,
>> I don't think Milton uses the word "apple" in PL.  Satan uses the term  in
>> order to trivialize it.  N'est pas?
>> Salwa Khoddam
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