[Milton-L] "knew not eating death"

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Mon Aug 2 10:15:06 EDT 2010


John Creaser is the leading metrical analyst, but to understand him you
might need to absorb one of Derek Attridge's books.

"And knew not eating death: Satiate at length"

The line has six natural stresses: knew, not, eat, death, sa-, and length.
It has five metrical accents: knew, eat, death, sa-, and length. "Not" is a
stressed offbeat according to my metrical theory (and Creaser's), while
"-tiate" counts as one syllable for metrical pruposes, the elision being
enabled by adjacent vowels. "Satiate" is a metrical inversion. This is all
in accordance with the tradition of iambic pentameter since, say, Spenser.
Milton's versification in PL is orthodox except for the unusual frequency of
strong enjambment and non-medial cesura. Maybe 1% of lines transgress
traditional boundaries (what Spenser allowed).

Michael

On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 12:48 AM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <
jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:

> How would one scan this line (*PL* 9.792):
>
>
>
> "And knew not eating death: Satiate at length"
>
>
>
> Is the scanning significantly different from its context (*PL* 9.791-4):
>
>
>
> Greedily she ingorg'd without restraint,
> And knew not eating Death: Satiate at length,
> And hight'nd as with Wine, jocond and boon,
> Thus to her self she pleasingly began.
>
>
>
> Where could I find a metrical analysis of PL?
>
>
>
> Jeffery Hodges
>
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