[Milton-L] "then" not "[then]"

J. Michael Gillum mgillum at ret.unca.edu
Sun Sep 15 11:39:12 EDT 2013


Syllable count is the most salient feature in early modern English metric
theory. Sidney names the meters as "our line of ten syllables," "our line
of eleven syllables" etc. Many writers did not have a clear conceptual
grasp (as opposed to a functional grasp) of metrical accent, but anybody
can count syllables, as Pope complains. It is overwhelmingly probable that
the printer dropped a word when setting the "they then" line first edition
and that Milton would have chosen to correct it in an epic (as opposed to
dramatic) text. So I agree with John that we should not consider this to be
an emendation.

As to the supposed twelve-syllable lines-- "Ta dum ta dum ta dum ta dum
society" would be a hexameter in a hexameter context, or a pentameter in a
pentameter context. The last syllable would be (or count as) a weak sixth
beat in the hexameter, or a doesn't-count extra offbeat (feminine ending)
in the pentameter. "Society" would count as four syllables in the hexameter
and three syllables in the pentameter, by actual or theoretical elision of
I and E. In the context of PL, the line is a pentameter. Obviously, the
"satiety" line is the same case.


On Sun, Sep 15, 2013 at 10:57 AM, Nancy Charlton <
charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Yes, that is certainly possible. I have no access to the 1667, so assumed
> that [then] in brackets was an emendation. If it looks like a duck...
>
> Nancy Charlton
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On Sep 15, 2013, at 6:37 AM, John K Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca> wrote:
>
> Emendation? It is true that "then" in 10.827 does not appear in the first
> edition (1667), but it does appear in the second (1674), so a case can be
> made for seeing it as Milton's correction of a printer's error rather than
> a Bentleyan emendation of an expressive omission.
>
> John Leonard
>
> On 09/15/13, *Nancy Charlton *<charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com> wrote:**
>
>     I was thinking the same thing, except I would liken it to a
> quarter-rest in music, with perhaps a fermata on "me". This to me has
> better rhetorical logic, particularly if the line is left stark without the
> emendation "then."
>
> Nancy Charlton
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> On Sep 14, 2013, at 8:32 PM, "Salwa Khoddam" <skhoddam at cox.net> wrote:
>
>  But how can these nine-syllable lines be scanned as unmetrical?? If we
> include pauses when they are spoken, it seems to me they scan quite
> regularly. For instance, a pause after the question mark in this line
> (10.827).
> Salwa
> Salwa Khoddam PhD
> Professor of English Emerita
> Oklahoma City University
> skhoddam at cox.net
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Gregory Machacek <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu>
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> *Sent:* Saturday, September 14, 2013 5:32 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Query on scansion
>
> With me? How can they [then] acquitted stand (10.827)
>
>
>
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
>
>
> -----milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu wrote: -----
> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> From: JCarl Bellinger **
> Sent by: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> Date: 09/14/2013 04:12PM
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Query on scansion
>
> I don't recall who made the observation but a line of just nine syllables,
> a truncated line, appears just where Eve suggests to Adam they might choose
> to remain childless in order to limit to their own persons the Woe
> otherwise destined now for all generations of their progeny.
>
> Perhaps someone could locate the line (I'm away from my desk at the
> moment)...
> I think that not a few editions of PL have rejected the nine syllable line
> as unmetrical, which it most certainly is, and have replaced it with a line
> that will scan.
> -Carl
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