[Milton-L] Sacred symbols in late Renaissance poetry

Neil Forsyth neil.forsyth at unil.ch
Thu Jul 11 19:14:19 EDT 2013


Ha! Elephant and his lithe proboscis one of the best bits in the poem. Just came across this. As to the query about the dove, my MQ article entitled 'At the Sign of the Dove and the Serpent' is reprinted with adaptation in my The Satanic Epic. It mentions some of the complications recorded by these messages. A Hollywood producer has asked to make a movie of it, but that is just empty Hollywood blather. His message available for anyone who wants to laugh at it.

Best summer wishes to all

Neil Forsyth
neil.forsyth at unil.ch



On Jun 9, 2013, at 11:19 PM, john rumrich wrote:

> You know, I think I'd vote for the elephant. He intentionally uses his rather serpentine nose to provoke innocent mirth, revealing both versatile intelligence and sweet-natured energy devoted to augmenting pleasure.
> 
> 
> On Sun, Jun 9, 2013 at 2:06 PM, Dario Rivarossa <dario.rivarossa at gmail.com> wrote:
> >The dove _might_  be a worthy candidate.
> 
> Dear Matthew, this introduces a significant shift: the dove is the
> opposite of the serpent as its victim rather than its conqueror. That
> may well work, as Jesus triumphed exactly by dying, by letting the
> 'serpent' kill him.
> Does Milton mention the dove in Paradise Lost? In PL 11: 185-6 "the
> bird of Jove . . .  two birds of gayest plume before him drew." Ha, a
> Linnean slip. I had looked for this passage in the conviction that it
> dealt with a dove, probably because some parallel texts in literature
> do so, but it was not the case.
> 
> What about the Lamb, that/who shares several features with the dove
> and is more explicitly 'Christic'? Surely William Blake would choose a
> lamb, not an eagle, to represent Jesus. But Blake was not Milton.
> 
> An animal very often linked to paradise in Renaissance art was the
> deer, since it was believed to be (or is?) able to kill snakes, so it
> foreshadowed Redemption from immediately after the original sin: a
> truly Miltonian theological view, as such. But looks like only artists
> took the deer seriously as a candidate to the seat of Christ.
> 
> Back to the main subject, Jesus makes things more interesting by
> asking us to be like serpents _and_ like doves at the same time (Mt
> 10: 16).
> 
> :-)
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