[Milton-L] humble ode

John Hale john.hale at stonebow.otago.ac.nz
Fri Dec 24 14:56:36 EST 2010

Christmas Day has begun out here, so I offer early greetings to all,  
and the suggestion to dig out Milton's "humble ode". For "This is the  
month, and this the happy morn" etc.
     I have three questions about the poem:
(1) Is there a name for a poem which puns in its title by such a word  
as Milton's "On" the Morning, where "on" is both occasion and subject?
(2) At line 24 of the intro do others (reading slowly as I do)  
speculate that, having somehow "seen" the "star-led wizards hasting"  
their way to Bethlehem (line 22-3), he is telling himself to go there  
even more quickly and beat them to the finish-line (because at the  
least he's got the twelve days of Christmas in which to do it)?
(3) Reading slowly, and not charging on into the ode proper, are we  
given the conceited vision of parties converging on the manger, the  
three plus camels and things from the east guided by a star and J. M.  
all by himself but knowing more than  they do, to make a beeline to  

This is a frisky but reflective reading because that's Milton's own mood?

What doth the team think?


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