[Milton-L] seasons in PL

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Wed Jan 6 13:22:02 EST 2010


Perhaps the God of PL would have endowed all the creatures at the creation
with the instincts and other qualities they will need to survive in the
fallen world. Otherwise he would have to make an inelegant editorial pass
through the whole roster after the weather turns bad. So the bears already
have thermally responsive fur, and the migratory birds are already
intelligent of seasons in that they will know what to do when the seasons
arrive. Meanwhile they are beautifully exercising their bird-natures by
taking long aerial hikes in formation. I don't think any further purpose is
required.

I love the word "wedging" in this passage. Interesting, too, that Milton
understands that the birds in formation are, in our lingo, "drafting"==
"with mutual wing / Easing their flight."

This topic is not as pedantic as might seem. We are testing PL in its sci-fi
aspect as a coherently imagined counter-reality.

Michael


On Wed, Jan 6, 2010 at 11:34 AM, Carol Barton <cbartonphd1 at verizon.net>wrote:

>
>  I wonder if we might not interpret the Book 7 "seasons" more loosely as
> the "seasons" of time, John*2? To do so, one has to take the line in
> context, I think: it's springtime, and the fish and birds are
> spawning/hatching, but they are intelligent of the short "seasons" (periods,
> from birth to death) of their lives, and the need to move on to the next
> phase. We visualize the birds "ranged in figure" (in typical arrowhead
> formation) flying south, because that's what we have, in our fallen world,
> seen. But that doesn't necesssarily mandate *seasonal* migration, in a
> prelapsarian Paradise. Maybe they just wanted to leave the berry patch for
> some grapes?
>
> Here is the context, courtesy of the Milton Reading Room:
>
>  Mean while the tepid<http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_7/notes.shtml#tepid>Caves, and Fens and
> shoares
> Thir Brood as numerous hatch, from the Egg that soon
> Bursting with kindly<http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_7/notes.shtml#kindly>rupture forth
> disclos'd
> Thir callow<http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_7/notes.shtml#callow>young, but
> featherd soon and fledge [ 420 ]
> They summ'd thir Penns<http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_7/notes.shtml#summ.dpens>,
> and soaring th' air sublime
> With clang<http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_7/notes.shtml#clang>
> despis'd the ground, under a cloud
> In prospect; there the Eagle and the Stork
> On Cliffs and Cedar tops thir Eyries build:
> Part loosly wing the Region, part more wise [ 425 ]
> In common, rang'd in figure wedge thir way<http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_7/notes.shtml#geese>
> ,
> Intelligent of seasons, and set forth
> Thir Aierie Caravan high over Sea's
> Flying, and over Lands with mutual wing
> Easing thir flight;
> Best to all,
>
> Carol Barton
>
>
>
>
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