[Milton-L] the sociable spirit

JD Fleming jfleming at sfu.ca
Thu Feb 27 13:17:09 EST 2014

Dear all, 

Teaching PL 5 last week, I was struck more than ever by: 

"Down thither prone in flight 
He speeds, and through the vast Ethereal Skie 
Sailes between worlds and worlds, with steddie wing 
Now on the polar windes, then with quick Fann 
Winnows the buxom Air; till within soare 
Of Towring Eagles , to all the Fowles he seems 
A Phœnix , gaz'd by all, as that sole Bird 
When to enshrine his reliques in the Sun's 
Bright Temple, to Ægyptian Theb's he flies. 
At once on th' Eastern cliff of Paradise 
He lights, and to his proper shape returns 
A Seraph wingd; six wings he wore, to shade 
His lineaments Divine; the pair that clad 
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o're his brest 
With regal Ornament; the middle pair 
Girt like a Starrie Zone his waste, and round 
Skirted his loines and thighes with downie Gold 
And colours dipt in Heav'n; the third his feet 
Shaddowd from either heele with featherd maile 
Skie-tinctur'd grain. Like Maia's son he stood, 
And shook his Plumes, that Heav'nly fragrance filld 
The circuit wide." (PL 5.266-287) 

A stunning contrast, it seems to me, with this: 

"Therefore when he went to seek a man, he found Raphael that was an angel. 
But he knew him not." (Book of Tobit 5:4-5) 

To which our attention is drawn at PL 4.166-71 and (more importantly) 5.219-23. 

Thoughts? JDF 

J ames Dougal Fleming 
Associate Professor 
Department of English 
Simon Fraser University 

Burnaby -- British Columbia -- Canada. 

Upstairs was a room for travelers. ‘You know, I shall take it for the rest of my life,’ Vasili Ivanovich is reported to have said as soon as he had entered it. 
-- Vladimir Naboko v , " Cloud, Castle, Lake' 

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