hskulsky at email.smith.edu
Sun Jul 27 09:50:28 EDT 2008
"I was told once that Marvell sort of conflated apples and melons, in part because the Greek used a word for melon."
In appropriate contexts the cognate words for apple in Latin and Greek ("malum" and "melon" ["malon"] respectively) denote tree-fruit in general. Cp. It. "pomo" and Fr. "pomme," which in appropriate contexts can denote apple-like fruit in general, whether or not the fruit grows on trees.
By the way, literate Renaissance users of Lat. "malum" = "apple" are unlikely to commit the monkish gaffe of punning on "malum" = "evil" in poems, because "a" represents a distinct vowel sound in each case.
More information about the Milton-L