[Milton-L] gastroMilton

Margaret Thickstun mthickst at hamilton.edu
Tue Apr 8 11:51:16 EDT 2014

Of course, prelapsarian animals procreate: it happens right off when God 
says "let there be fish and fowl"--they hatch and fledge and Milton 
can't decide which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Now, what I want to know is about angelic reproduction: after all, Satan 
disguises himself as a stripling Cherub:

And now a stripling Cherube 
he appeers,
Not of the prime, yet such as in his face
Youth smil'd Celestial.  (Book 3.636-38)

That suggests angels of different ages. They must come from somewhere. 
And I doubt Milton was nodding. He is a very gifted creative 
writer--when there are continuity errors, such as "conviction to the 
serpent none belongs". . . . Smash the serpent, he's aware of them and 
jumps up and down to tell you they aren't there.--Margie

On 4/8/14 11:35 AM, JD Fleming wrote:
> I think there are some very interesting problems about pre-lapsarian 
> animals that M has not quite dealt with (like those ragged areas of 
> unpainted panel in some of Michelangelo's works). What they eat is 
> one; procreation another. Several of my students this term have been 
> drawn to this passage:
> I was at first as other Beasts that graze
> The trodden Herb, of abject thoughts and low,
> As was my food, nor aught but food discern'd
> Or Sex, and apprehended nothing high:
> Till on a day roaving the field, I chanc'd
> A goodly Tree farr distant to behold
> Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mixt,
> Ruddie and Gold: I nearer drew to gaze;
> When from the boughes a savorie odour blow'n,
> Grateful to appetite, more pleas'd my sense,
> Then smell of sweetest Fenel or the Teats
> Of Ewe or Goat dropping with Milk at Eevn,
> Unsuckt of Lamb or Kid, that tend thir play.
> To satisfie the sharp desire I had
> Of tasting those fair Apples, I resolv'd
> Not to deferr; hunger and thirst at once,
> Powerful perswaders, quick'nd at the scent
> Of that alluring fruit, urg'd me so keene.
> (9.573-588)
> The serpent appears to be omnivorous, which is at least a helpful hint 
> for M's design: Maybe, we can think, prelapsarian beats just grazed on 
> plants (with the ungulates in 4, bedward ruminating). But then there 
> are those herd-teats, dripping with unsucked milk. A suggestion, if 
> not carnivorous, at least non-vegan. In the banquet of 5 there are 
> some "dulcet creams," but only pressed from "sweet kernels": no 
> husbandry here. And where does the milk come from--much less the kids? 
> Adam and Eve as yet have no children; do the animals? JDF

Margaret Thickstun
Jane Watson Irwin Professor of English
Hamilton College
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

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