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

Benjamin (Ben) Moran bamoran at crimson.ua.edu
Sun Sep 15 16:12:48 EDT 2013

I may have misread Professor Strier's email, but I didn't think he was
placing a stress on 'of,' but simply capitalizing the first letter of the
line/sentence.  I'm not sure I've ever read 'Of' as an accented beat, but
I'd be interested in hearing if anyone else has.

I've followed this thread with great interest.  Over the course of the last
day or so, a couple of questions have come to mind, and I hope you'll
excuse a graduate student's ignorance if they're silly: were there any
early modern theories in place that suggested that metrical substitutions
carried particular significance?  Or were substitutions looked at as
acceptable (but insignificant) deviances from a standard model?  I know
that there was a good deal of substitution in Latin dactylic hexameter
(except, for the most part, on the fifth foot), but I have no clue what
people believed in the early modern period.  These questions come up as I
recall a passage from PL where the meter falls to pieces for half a dozen
lines or so; I remember this being somehow connected to the sense of the
narrative description (I don't believe it was a speech).  If anyone on the
list could give direction on this matter, I'd appreciate it.


Ben Moran
The University of Alabama

On Sun, Sep 15, 2013 at 2:46 PM, James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

> I know very little about Early Modern poetics to be sure -- so I very much
> appreciate your responses -- but even reading line 1 today, I would say
> that "first" could reasonably be demoted because a stressed syllable
> precedes and follows it. That particular case is both performance and
> convention, I would say. I like Richard's stress on "Of" because it's the
> opening word of an epic, so that applies even more pressure to demote
> "first."
> The word "society" was only brought up in a hypothetical example of yours,
> was it not? In that case I trust your statement about EM convention and
> practice -- thank you.
> Jim R
> On Sun, Sep 15, 2013 at 3:35 PM, J. Michael Gillum <mgillum at ret.unca.edu>wrote:
>> James--the issue I addressed with Richard could be framed in terms of
>> metrical convention. Did Milton think iambic verse conventions allowed a
>> beat to be realized in the third syllable position in the pattern x//xx? Or
>> did conventions of performance require that the natural stress on the word
>> "first" be overridden and the beat realized on "dis-"?
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