[Milton-L] Punctuation in 4.751-52

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Wed Oct 10 14:45:55 EDT 2012


In modern punctuation, I think you would either bracket "in Paradise" with
two commas or use neither. It seems to be a parenthetical expression.
Outside of Paradise, marital sex is not the *sole* propriety, the only
thing that is proper to ("property of," sort of) a particular person or
partnership.

On Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 12:24 PM, Feisal Mohamed <f.mohamed00 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> Editors seem to be divided on where to place commas in these lines.
> The majority consensus (Leonard, Kerrigan et al., Lewalski, Fowler,
> Flannagan) seems to be the following:
>
> Of human offspring, sole propriety,
> In Paradise of all things common else.
>
> Hughes had dropped the comma at the end of 751:
>
> Of human offspring, sole propriety
> In Paradise of all things common else.
>
> This matches, I think the sense--'in paradise' modifies
> 'propriety'--and the sound--the lines seem to me enjambed.  But it
> creates an overly long stretch without a pause.  So after a quick scan
> of my bookshelf, I think that Teskey is the editor who gets it exactly
> right:
>
> Of human offspring, sole propriety
> In Paradise, of all things common else.
>
> Are there reasons why this would not be the best alternative?
>
> Curious,
> Feisal
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