[Milton-L] humble ode

Harold Skulsky hskulsky at smith.edu
Fri Dec 24 19:49:04 EST 2010



(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?
My guess would be no; the double meaning in question is peculiar to English "on." 
 
(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)?
Yes. 
 
(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  
Bethlehem.
Yes -- though the real favorite to win the contest of music offerings is Urania (Heavenly Muse), the source of the prophetic inspiration that qualifies M to be the champion of the Divine Order, and sing with the angels. On the other side, the Magi's Muse is the Natural Order (they are natural magicians from the East). 
The rivalry of Muses is friendly of course; in the ensuing Christmas "symphony," the deep organ of nature sings bass to the angels' treble, to make up the full "consort" of creation. 



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