[Milton-L] "knew not eating death"

richard strier rastrier at uchicago.edu
Mon Aug 2 11:36:49 EDT 2010


Well, what I think we have here is a rather familiar case of metrical ambiguity.  
The line, it seems to me, can be intelligibly seen as (and "seeing as" seems to me 
the key to scansion) either perfectly regular iambic (with the suppressed extra 
syllable of "satiate" pushing in that direction, as does, perhaps, seeing the word 
as in the past tense), or, as John and Michael suggest, as a trochaic substitution 
(quite normal after a caesura -- "To BE or NOT to BE // THAt is the QUEStion."  
Actually, I think the same ambiguity attends "jocund."   

But, for me, the important point is that these are both perfectly normal metrical 
possibilities, and that they are the only plausible ways of seeing the line in 
metrical terms.  I think that one can scan either way, to taste here (not eating 
death, eating poetry), and that there is no point in going to the wall for either 
scansion, since, as I said, I believe the ambiguity to be there and to be quite 
familiar in metrical contexts.  The point, to repeat, is that both scansions of the 
line show it to be a perfectly normal and recognizable line of English verse (as 
opposed to its much-discussed [by us] and dubious syntax).

---- Original message ----
>Date: Mon, 02 Aug 2010 10:47:20 -0400
>From: John Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca>  
>Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "knew not eating death"  
>To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>
>I often find myself agreeing with Richard Strier, but I cannot agree with 
>him this time.  That "YATE" grates.  The accent is surely on the first 
>syllable, just as it is with "jocund" in the next line.  A rare inversion 
>for that place in the line, but not unprecedented in PL; see 4.731--a 
>"trochee" in the penultimate "foot" that moved Johnson (who used the terms 
>"trochee" and "foot") to accuse Milton of having Midas' ears.  Here in book 
>nine the double inversion (SATiate JOCund) has dramatic effect.  The strong 
>caesura after "Death" reinforces my sense that "Satiate" should be stressed 
>on the first syllable, not the second.
>
>John Leonard
>
>
>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: "richard strier" <rastrier at uchicago.edu>
>To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>Sent: Monday, August 02, 2010 10:25 AM
>Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "knew not eating death"
>
>
>> "And KNEW not EATing DEATH // Sate [or sache] YATE at LENGTH."
>>
>> Treating "satiate" as di- rather than tri- clears it all up.  Perfect 
>> iambic.
>>
>>
>>
>> ---- Original message ----
>>>Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2010 21:48:17 -0700 (PDT)
>>>From: Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com>
>>>Subject: [Milton-L] "knew not eating death"
>>>To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>>>
>>>   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
>>>________________
>>>_______________________________________________
>>>Milton-L mailing list
>>>Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>>>Manage your list membership and access list archives at
>> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>>>
>>>Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Milton-L mailing list
>> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>> Manage your list membership and access list archives at 
>> http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>>
>> Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/
>> 
>
>_______________________________________________
>Milton-L mailing list
>Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
>Manage your list membership and access list archives at 
http://lists.richmond.edu/mailman/listinfo/milton-l
>
>Milton-L web site: http://johnmilton.org/



More information about the Milton-L mailing list