[Milton-L] humble ode

smb at unlserve.unl.edu smb at unlserve.unl.edu
Sun Dec 26 18:57:35 EST 2010

The essay to which Jameela kindly referred is "Preventing Wizards: The  
Magi in Milton's Nativity Ode," *Journal of English and Germanic  
Philology* 96.1 (January 1997): 42-57.  Part of the argument is indeed  
that Milton's "Hymn" must arrive before the Magi as a part of salvific  
decorum: knowledgeable, if sometimes simple, faith should take  
precedence over (and before) ignorant, if sometimes learned, inquiry.

Chris Grose, by the way, shepherded that memorable UCLA seminar.

With every good wish for the new year,


Stephen M. Buhler
Aaron Douglas Professor of English
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
sbuhler1 at unl.edu

Quoting Jameela Lares <Jameela.Lares at usm.edu>:

> Further to Harold's answer to #3, George Herbert said in one of his   
> Easter poems, "All music is but three parts vied and multiplied."
> I don't now recall the argument in Steve Buhler's article about the   
> "star-led wizards," but I remember being the the graduate seminar at  
>  UCLA some twenty-five years ago where he first got the idea.
> I am up already, "while the Heav'n by the Suns team untrod, / Hath   
> took no print of the approching light," and I wish you all a Merry   
> Christmas.
> Jameela Lares
> Professor of English
> The University of Southern Mississippi
> 118 College Drive, #5037
> Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
> 601 266-4319 ofc
> 601 266-5757 fax
> ________________________________________
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu   
> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Harold Skulsky   
> [hskulsky at smith.edu]
> Sent: Friday, December 24, 2010 6:49   
> PMhttps://golden.usm.edu/owa/?ae=PreFormAction&t=IPM.Note&a=Reply&id=RgAAAADD7peR1YjnQaM91f2WpdUjBwCKkHT8X%2fqpTb3VSBhCdYwhAACMNRw9AABKWTtXwqGpSLBIkcW48PJrAAgXPgujAAAJ#
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] humble ode
> (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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