[Milton-L] Milton-L Digest, Vol 75, Issue 14

Roy Flannagan royflannagan at gmail.com
Tue Feb 19 17:10:00 EST 2013


I am going to be heretical here and damn myself as an editor, but I think
the poem to Cyriack Skinner is something of a mess as a poem, with forced
rhyme, forced awkward rhythm, and forced alliteration.

What Angelica cites, just that bit, shows Milton fitting in extra
syllables, unmixing a metaphor, clunking his alliteration and assonance and
consonance.  He just doesn't build a very convincing or interesting poem.
 In the changes we know about, he was rejecting the really bad for the only
partly awful.

Compared to his clunker to Cyriack, his lovely poem to the dream of his
dead wife is so much more convincing and even beautiful.

I know that I will be flogged for irreverence, but whatthehell, I am old
and inconsequential.

Roy F

On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM, <milton-l-request at lists.richmond.edu>wrote:

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>    1. To Cyriack Skinner upon his Blindness (Duran, Angelica A)
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>
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Message: 1
> Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2013 16:06:52 +0000
> From: "Duran, Angelica A" <duran0 at purdue.edu>
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Subject: [Milton-L] To Cyriack Skinner upon his Blindness
> Message-ID:
>         <7C993DDCF2FEB049AB4A66D42A5FE1B801EEB6A8 at WPVEXCMBX07.purdue.lcl>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
>
> 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.
>
> Adios,
> Angelica Duran
> Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature
> Director, Religious Studies
> Purdue University
> 500 Oval Drive - Heavilon Hall
> West Lafayette, Indiana 47907
> U.S.A.
> (765) 496-3957
> <duran0 at purdue.edu>
> <http://www.cla.purdue.edu/complit/directory/?personid=80>
> <http://www.cla.purdue.edu/religious-studies/>
>
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