[Milton-L] The TeaM: Angels (ch. 1)

Dario Rivarossa dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
Wed Apr 13 01:50:37 EDT 2011

In Part 4, on the fourth day of Genesis, a very long section, vv.
615-784, describes the different services of the angels after the
creation of the stars.
Four # will be devoted to the subject, choosing the sides of it that
more closely recall PL.

Parte fu messa a raggirar nel corso,
Non faticoso e non costretto a forza,
Quelle sublimi sue lucenti rote;
E parte ancor fin dal principio eterno
A la difesa de le genti umane
Fur destinate da quel Re supremo,
E poi devean, quai messaggier volanti,
Far manifesto il suo voler in terra,
Portando e riportando or grazie, or preghi:
Grazie divine ognor veloci e pronte,
E preghi umani spesso e lenti e tardi.
Altri mai sempre al suo servizio intenti
Stanno fidi ministri appresso e ’ntorno,
E sembran quasi innumerabil prole.

_____Torquato Tasso, Il Mondo Creato 4.635-648

Part, they were sent to move the orbits
– Not a tiring charge, nor forced –
Of those sublime, shining circles of His;
Part from the very eternal beginning
To protect the human peoples
Were appointed by the supreme King,
And, flying messengers, they would have
To make his will known on Earth,
Bringing to and fro now grace, now prayers:
Divine grace always fast and quick,
Human prayers often slow and late.
Others, always over his service busy,
Stay as faithful servants by and around,
They look like numberless children.

Tasso’s Angelology is situated right midway between Dante’s and
Milton’s. It is the bridge connecting the former’s Medieval theology
and the latter’s “sci-fi” biological creatures.
In common with Dante, Tasso shares the Aristotelian doctrine of angels
as the pure intellects who move the planets.
He however, both in the Gerusalemme Liberata and in MC, shifts towards
Milton insofar as he describes the angels as God’s singing “children”
and soldiers of light; not impersonal beings like in the Divine
Comedy, but powerful, showy warriors.
Fine and refined the image of Gabriel in Gerusalemme Liberata 1.13-14.

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