[Milton-L] The TeaM: ER

Dario Rivarossa dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
Wed Feb 16 01:22:50 EST 2011

Domani è tinto di pallor di morte,
Con occhi ne la fronte oscuri e cavi,
O con le membra debili e tremanti
Preme odiose piume, e ferve e langue
Con interrotte voci a pena intese.

_____Torquato Tasso, Il Mondo Creato 3.990-994

Tomorrow he will be death-pale,
Dark, sunken the eyes under his forehead,
Or with weak, trembling limbs
He’ll hate the pillows [*], feverish, languishing,
His broken voice being hardly heard.

[*] literally: “feathers”

There’re some implicit quotations from Dante, Purgatorio 6.150 and
23.22, but this kind of hospital-horror imagery will enjoy its “boom”
in Europe some decades later than MC, because of the plagues. See much
Baroque art, as well as the masterpiece among Italian novels, “I
Promessi Sposi” (The Betrothed) by Alessandro Manzoni, written in the
19th century but set in the 17th century. In the 18th century St.
Alfonso Maria de’ Liguori will publish the “Apparecchio alla morte”
(Preparation to death) which will strongly influence the popular piety
in Italy until the first half of the 20th century.

Milton was not less than them: “A lazar-house it seemed, wherein were
laid / Numbers of all diseased, all maladies…” (PL 11.479 ff). And,
rather than a specific plague, he had human condition in his mind.

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