[Milton-L] An antidote . . .
John K Leonard
jleonard at uwo.ca
Thu Apr 17 15:11:46 EDT 2014
Excellent point by Louis below. It might also be relevant that "seal" was a common early modern pun for sexual penetration (Donne uses it frequently). Much more plausible than the other pun that has so distracted us.
On 04/17/14, "Schwartz, Louis" <lschwart at richmond.edu> wrote
For me the key and most poetically brilliant touch—and it happens to come right before we’re told that the force of the “fallacious Fruit” with its “exhilerating vapor bland” is “exhal’d” out of the bodies of Adam and Eve—is the way that Milton has the narrator call Adam’s and Eve’s taking their “fill of Love and Loves disport” both the “seal” of “thir mutual guilt” and “The solace of thir sin [italics mine].” “Seal” and “solace.” A pact, a union, a broken union, a consolation, isolation, impression; “seis’d” and taken largely, nothing loath. Sole alas, unsavory of itself, but also soul, associate soul, one heart one flesh one soul. It’s a striking bit of overdetermination (it starts with the more conventional “seal” of guilt and then branches off unchecked from the addition of “solace”—and the further roving is supported by a series of puns and echoes).
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