[Milton-L] Apropos of nothing

Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Sat Apr 12 15:04:29 EDT 2014


If I recall correctly, the Royalists appropriated the pelican imagery to symbolize Charles I post-execution. An account of the early mythology surrounding pelicans and its evolution into an analogy of Christ can be found at http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0682.html

Best to all,

Carol Barton


From: Hannibal Hamlin 
Sent: Saturday, April 12, 2014 12:52 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Apropos of nothing


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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Columbus, OH 43210-1340
hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com


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