[Milton-L] stripping my own back

J. Michael Gillum mgillum at ret.unca.edu
Thu Oct 24 16:20:34 EDT 2013


--Shoots invisible virtue even to [not "into"] the deep--

Milton must have intended these elisions:

--Shoots invis'ble virtue ev'n to the deep--

The metric scansion in this case has to be the same as the stress
scansion: /x/x/x/xx/
.

It does violate iambic norms by beginning with /x/x/ . Once you give in to
that, it is easily performed, and is metrical (=measured) in that it has
the expected five beats and ten (metric) syllables. You could say that it
is not iambic, or you could say that it is iambic at the far reaches of
unorthodoxy. Metrically savvy readers may stumble at first encounter, but
the five beats declare themselves unambiguously. It would be metrically
unacceptable to Johnson or Pope, but that doesn't make it a bad line. I
like it.


On Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 2:58 PM, Gregory Machacek <
Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:

>  No. You understand me perfectly, better than I understand myself. You
> have rightly fingered me as a finagler, an inveterate, unselfconscious,
> knee-jerk finagler.  Look the reason I'm castigating you all is that I'm
> trying to whip this out of myself.  I'm trying to gin myself up to be able
> to say, "No.  Shoots invisible virtue even into the deep is a bad line of
> blank verse.  I don't care if one can concoct a prosody that shows this
> doesn't technically violate the norms of five beat duple meter.  Your
> reader has to render it and won't be able to do so in an acoustically
> satisfactory way.  Surefooted as you are elsewhere, here you've misjudged."
> Mea non minora culpa.
>
>
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
>
>
> -----John K Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca> wrote: -----
>
>  =======================
>  To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>  From: John K Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca>
>  Date: 10/24/2013 12:43PM
>  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] scorn and rule one
>  =======================
>
>
> On 10/24/13, Gregory Machacek <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:
> >  [SNIP]  I've just demonstrated that Milton expects us to realize the
> episode is bad
> >
>
> Isn't that just more finagling? Apologies if I have missed your point,
> it's just that "expects us to" sounds like a backhanded compliment, when
> your intent (I had thought) was to deplore.
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