[Milton-L] To Cyriack Skinner upon his Blindness

Duran, Angelica A duran0 at purdue.edu
Tue Feb 19 15:04:06 EST 2013

Dear Jameela et al,

Just a self-justification (!): my initial posting had the subject heading
"[Milton-L] To Cyriack Skinner upon his Blindness" which I include again
as the subject heading of this posting. I agree though with the
helpfulness of clear subject headings. That said, I apologize for the typo
in the quotation of Milton's lovely poem.

Angelica Duran
Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature
Director, Religious Studies
Purdue University
500 Oval Drive - Heavilon Hall
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907
(765) 496-3957
<duran0 at purdue.edu>

On 2/19/13 2:47 PM, "Jameela Lares" <Jameela.Lares at usm.edu> wrote:

>Might I humbly request that anyone posting to this list use a more
>descriptive subject line than "Milton-L Digest"?
>Jameela Lares
>Professor of English
>The University of Southern Mississippi
>118 College Drive, #5037
>Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
>601 266-4319 ofc
>601 266-5757 fax
>From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
>[milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of John Leonard
>[jleonard at uwo.ca]
>Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 12:14 PM
>To: John Milton Discussion List
>Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Milton-L Digest, Vol 75, Issue 14
>I can hear nothing trite in 'bear up and steer / Right onward'.  I can
>see that 'uphillward' might convey that impression (especially after the
>nautical imagery in 'bear up' and 'steer'), but Jim is surely right on
>when he says 'Right onward' is 'heroic in the face of adversity'. Both
>the language and imagery (sailing against a head wind) look forward to
>Satan's journey through Hell and Chaos, when he is likened to a merchant
>fleet 'Close sailing from Bengala' as it plies 'Stemming nightly toward
>the pole'. ('Close' and 'stemming' are also nautical terms.) 'Bear up'
>also plays on the senses 'uphold principles' and 'keep up courage' (OED
>21), ideas that Milton took seriously.
>John Leonard
>On 19/02/2013 12:39 PM, James Rovira wrote:
>I read the tone as heroic in the face of adversity, Milton believing that
>he suffered a loss of eyesight because of his defense of liberty in
>England.  I don't mean to argue that "steer / Right onward" might sound
>trite, but it could be that he hoped the serious tone of the poem up
>until that point would carry that construction through as well, and that
>the reference to his "noble task" would elevate it afterwards.  He also
>seems to consider the fame he won for his engagement of this noble task
>as compensation for his loss of eyesight.
>So I would say that the "still bear up and steer / Right onward" is not
>later to be rejected, but is supported by the rest of the poem, while the
>previous clause beginning with "Yet I argue not..." is the idea to be
>rejected: that Milton might argue with God about his loss of eyesight.
>He seems to be positioning himself as facing the temptations of Job here
>and coming out on top.
>Jim R
>On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 12:28 PM, Christopher Baker
><christopher.baker at armstrong.edu<mailto:christopher.baker at armstrong.edu>>
>Dear scholars,
>I have read every article and chapter on "To Cyriack Skinner upon his
>Blindness" that I could get my hands on and am working through the tone
>of lines 6-9:
>Yet I argue not
>Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
>Of heart of hope; but sill bear up and steer
>Right onward. What supports me dost thou ask?
>Many editors note the revisions to the poem, including replacing
>"Uphillward" with "Right onward." In addition to more clearly initiating
>the sense of traveling/sailing  that other elements of the poem produce,
>"Right onward" sounds to me as purposefully trite, more along the lines
>of Milton's reference to the "fatal and perfidious bark" in "Lycidas," a
>trite explanation called in to be ultimately rejected. I see the four
>aspirated "h" sounds in the first halves of lines 7 and 8 as contributing
>to that tone.
>What are your thoughts? Many thanks.
>Angelica Duran
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