[Milton-L] To Cyriack Skinner upon his Blindness

Enna Martina eoor at planet.nl
Sun Feb 24 06:27:13 EST 2013


Beautiful!

Enna Martina
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Salwa Khoddam" <skhoddam at cox.net>
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2013 6:57 PM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] To Cyriack Skinner upon his Blindness


> "birdes piping for pain of cold." The original has even more alliteration 
> spread over 2 lines: "With mony bryddez unblythe upon bare twyges,/ That 
> pitously there piped for pyne of the colde" (745-465). I don't think it is 
> "gooey." Reading it I feel cold and freezing. Besides, the image of the 
> birds is striking.
> Best,
>
> Salwa
>
>
> Salwa Khoddam PhD
> Professor of English Emerita
> Oklahoma City University
> skhoddam at cox.net
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Nancy Charlton" <nbcharlton at comcast.net>
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 5:18 PM
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] To Cyriack Skinner upon his Blindness
>
>
>> Dear Angelica et al.,
>>
>> I have followed this thread with great interest, as I am an aficionada of 
>> Old English as well as of Milton.  So it was with delight that I made my 
>> daily trek to Poetry Daily, and found this lovely meditation by Jacob 
>> Polley:
>>
>>  http://poems.com  (click on Today's Poem.)
>>
>> It is so easy to overdo alliteration, to have it slip from unifying to 
>> banal.  Coleridge's "five miles meandering in a mazy motion," to me has 
>> always sounded overdone. Perhaps it's the Latinisms and feminine endings 
>> of -ing, -y, =tion, but it just doesn't have the punch of "thaes 
>> ofereode, thises ealswa maeg."  And "ofereode," literally 'over-went', 
>> which seems more devastating than simply "passed." Somehow, this "brings 
>> the eternal note of sadness in" far more than the other.  It may not be a 
>> fair comparison, however, but this line from Sir Gawain comes to mind, 
>> the "birdes piping for pain of cold."  This may be a bit gooey, but in a 
>> different way from the Coleridge.  Milton's alliteration in "Cyriack" 
>> carries a restraint that keeps it from the overdoneness of these 
>> examples. Milton needs the consciousness of having fought for liberty 
>> perhaps more than Cyriack does and is not lacking in sympathy for one who 
>> fought a fight similar to his own.
>>
>> So I think Roy Flannagan has a point.
>>
>> Nancy Charlton
>>
>> P.S.   Some minor asides:  For a corking good story and a masterly 
>> appropriation of Old English/Icelandic/Norwegian, read Judith Lindbergh's 
>> 2006 novel "The Thrall's Tale."  It delivers a punch much akin to the 
>> ending of Downton Abbey, Season 3, just as heartbreaking and inevitable.
>>
>>
>>
>> On 2/19/2013 1:30 PM, Duran, Angelica A wrote:
>>> Dear all,
>>>
>>> This has indeed been helpful, especially but not only Christopher 
>>> Baker's
>>> reminder of the Biblical echo in the phrase. I do not consider
>>> trite-sounding  as a negative per se. This discussion reminds me of how
>>> much the trite-sounding conclusion of the Old English "Deor's Lament" 
>>> that
>>> I was memorizing for my PhD qualifying exams (_Beowulf_ to Billy 
>>> Collins,
>>> as we called it),"That too did pass; so shall this" (modern English
>>> translation) encouraged me, not just for the exams (!) but for all 
>>> facets
>>> of life, even as much as I acknowledged that it sounded trite, well-worn
>>> because so many of us have needed it or wanted it over the centuries.
>>>
>>> Adios,
>>> Angelica
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On 2/19/13 3:54 PM, "Salwa Khoddam" <skhoddam at cox.net> wrote:
>>>
>>>> Angelica,
>>>> I agree with those who think the tone of this passage that you quoted 
>>>> of
>>>> the
>>>> sonnet is heroic and the imagery of sailing onward sustains this tone. 
>>>> It
>>>> is
>>>> vivid as an image of life's journey and bearing up our "crosses." There
>>>> should not be too much focus on the one phrase "right onward." The
>>>> over-all
>>>> theme overrides whatever common usage it might suggest. I see no
>>>> triteness
>>>> of tone in it but more of a tone of heroism in  accepting what God's
>>>> commands and purposes are for us and forging ahead.
>>>> Thank you for this interesting and provocative question.
>>>> Best,
>>>> Salwa
>>>>
>>>> Salwa Khoddam PhD
>>>> Professor of English Emerita
>>>> Oklahoma City University
>>>> skhoddam at cox.net
>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>> From: "Duran, Angelica A" <duran0 at purdue.edu>
>>>> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 2:04 PM
>>>> Subject: [Milton-L] To Cyriack Skinner upon his Blindness
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> 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.
>>>>>
>>>>> 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/>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> 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>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> 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
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>>>>>
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>>>>>>
>>>>>>
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>>>>>
>>>>> _______________________________________________
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>>
>>
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