[Milton-L] "knew not eating death"

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Mon Aug 2 18:02:48 EDT 2010


Richard, both are normal metrical patterns, but are "sayCHATE" and "joCUND"
normal stress patterns? The initial stress of "jocund" is very well
established by its use in verse lines. It seems that *satiate* as a past
participle would follow the pattern of the present and simple past verbs,
which have primary stress on the first syllable and secondary stress on the
third. I think we should follow normal stress contours where they conform to
established metrical norms. Sometimes, of course, an apparent metrical
anomaly suggests that the author used a different stress contour than we do;
then we should look for confirmation in other verse lines. One possibility
here might be a pronunciation modeled after *satiety*, "saTYat." But as I
write that, it feels like I'm straining to say something interesting. Stress
on the first syllable is good English and good meter.

Michael

On Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 11:36 AM, richard strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu>wrote:

> 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
> >>>________________
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