[Milton-L] Apropos of nothing

Nancy Charlton charltonwordorder1 at gmail.com
Sat Apr 12 13:42:12 EDT 2014


My stars! I didn't mean to start a thread! 

The Christological symbolism of the pelican is widespread, but the summary here is useful. I'm particularly glad to have the Crashaw, as author and title escaped me and I could not look it up easily. Actually, the poem that came to mind with inevitable irreverence was this, with varying attributions:

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week,
But I'm damned if I see how the helican.

Nancy Charlton

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 12, 2014, at 9:52 AM, Hannibal Hamlin <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com> wrote:

> It's all over everywhere, in many churches (Southwark Cathedral for instance), and in the jewel that Elizabeth I wears in her famous Pelican Portrait. Whitney has an emblem featuring it, with the motto "Quod in te est, prome." I write about the pelican figure in The Bible in Shakespeare, since it crops up in Hamlet and King Lear. I'm not sure where the Christian interpretation originates, though it's a pretty natural development. The legend of the pelican's peculiar feeding habit appears in Isidore of Seville's Etymologies, though the story there is a little weirder (and less Christian). Isidore recounts the story that the pelican first kills its offspring, and then revives them with its own blood.
> 
> Hannibal 
> 
> 
> On Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 12:31 PM, Jameela Lares <jameela.lares at usm.edu> wrote:
>> Of course the pelican is an iconographic symbol for Christ.  Both the Corpus Christi Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge use it for their coats of arms.
>> 
>> Jameela Lares
>> Professor of English
>> The University of Southern Mississippi
>> 118 College Drive, #5037
>> Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
>> 601 266-4319 ofc
>> 601 266-5757 fax
>> ________________________________________
>> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Mario A. DiCesare [dicesare1 at mindspring.com]
>> Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2014 10:12 AM
>> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
>> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Apropos of nothing
>> 
>> I recall that when I was a boy attending Catholic school  the floor of our church featured a large mosaic of a pelican feeding greedy little pelicans with its blood.  The little guys just pecked happily away.  I don't now recall any emotional reaction to the sight, which was gory in a mild way, but I do recall that pelicans became interesting to me in various contexts, not the least of which sometime later was the line "Pie pellicane Jesu Domine" in Thomas Aquinas's wonderful hymn, "Adoro Te," which we sang often.  While it is hardly Milton's style, Crashaw no doubt knew the hymn.
>> 
>> Mario
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> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Hannibal Hamlin
> Associate Professor of English
> Author of The Bible in Shakespeare, now available through all good bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199677610.do
> Editor, Reformation
> The Ohio State University
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