[Milton-L] Milton's Cosmos and Universe

Harold Skulsky hskulsky at smith.edu
Wed Jan 20 22:22:06 EST 2010

In the wars of Chaos we have the opposing generals (four champions fierce) and their respective armies (the embryon atoms). The generals are characterized by temperature and degree of moisture, the armies are divided into clans distinguished in weight, shape, and velocity. No causal connection is drawn between the qualities of the generals and those of their troops, nor does the narrator say that the generals give birth to their troops; Milton knows better than to stoop to absurdity. Least of all does the narrator say or imply that the clan characteristics are unstable. Even if he did, qualities are to what they qualify as form is to matter. Unstable forms are still forms.  The same principle applies to the dominance momentarily enjoyed by each of the generals; momentary dominance is still dominance, a vicious circle is still a circle, just as unstable form is still form. The point is that M has not abandoned the axiom of divine omnipresence; like every other place in the totality of things, Chaos exists only because God fills it, and to that extent it is benign.

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