[Milton-L] Milton-L Digest, Vol 82, Issue 24
jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Sep 18 11:46:24 EDT 2013
What I usually hear when I read this line is:
"of MANS FIRST DISoBEdience AND the FRUIT"
So that "first" takes a stress somewhere in between "MANS" and "of." I'd
normally register it as unstressed because it has a lower relative stress,
but that's not quite right. It would be easier for me to say it takes a
full stress rather than is completely unstressed. "AND," later in the
line, is being promoted only by its position between two unstressed
syllables in a generally iambic line, so isn't stressed as much as "MANS"
but still takes a stress. The preponderance of stresses in general slows
down the line and gives it a sense of majesty.
I think I agree with Michael Gillum contra Wimsatt here: what we hear when
we read takes priority over the rules of the verse. What's "illegal"
doesn't matter more than what's written and how it sounds, which of course
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