[Milton-L] Apropos of nothing

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Sat Apr 12 15:56:29 EDT 2014


There is nothing bookish in Milton's description of the shoals of little
fish in Book 8. It is a rich memory of something intently observed.

Apropos of pelicans--I was fishing in Pensacola Bay last December. There
were schools of redfish--great golden brutes--following baitfish around in
deep water. The pelicans somehow knew where they were and would paddle
around on the surface nearby. Then when the redfish drove a school of bait
to the surface, the pelicans would recognize immediately and flap over to
the spot and stuff themselves. So perhaps they are actually a type of the
private equity CEO instead.


On Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 3:04 PM, Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM <
cbartonphd1 at verizon.net> wrote:

>  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 <hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>
> *Sent:* Saturday, April 12, 2014 12:52 PM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> *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 <601%20266-4319> ofc
>> 601 266-5757 <601%20266-5757> 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
> 164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
> Columbus, OH 43210-1340
> hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
> hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
>
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