[Milton-L] Milton's Cosmos and Universe

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 20 16:21:29 EST 2010


Jim, that's a possible reading, but even if so, individual atoms are being given birth (i.e., embryon atoms) by specific qualities.


But another possible reading is the one that I had in mind based on traditional understanding of the four elements, i.e., that pairs of qualities characterize each element (e.g., "earth" is "cold" and "dry"). I take Milton to be combining the atomists with the Aristotelians (and perhaps the Platonists), such that the atoms are composed of combined qualities. I understand the passage cited from Milton to mean that the qualities are in conflict -- hot against cold, moist against dry -- and so are the atoms that are given birth when some quality masters others in the conflict and combines with others to form temporary atoms that also are in conflict (a conflict perhaps due to contradictory qualities dominating in different atoms?).


Jeffery Hodges




________________________________
From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Thu, January 21, 2010 6:05:10 AM
Subject: Re: Re: [Milton-L] Milton's Cosmos and Universe

Jeffery --

Doesn't the syntax require that the "embryon Atoms" be properties of the "four Champions fierce" rather than the other way around?  I read the line the following way:

Four fierce champions (hot, cold, moist, dry) bring to battle their embryon atoms as they strive for mastery.

The implication seems to be, then, that there are hot, cold, moist, and dry atoms, rather than individual atoms possessing all of these properties at once.

Jim R


On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 3:35 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges  
For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four Champions fierce
>Strive here for Maistrie, and to Battel bring
>Thir embryon Atoms; (PL 2.898-900)
>
>
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