[Milton-L] finding the bad in what you find good, installment 3

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Tue Apr 19 10:46:49 EDT 2016

Referring to the lead post by Greg, the new law, or Christian covenant of
grace, is indisputably present in the poem through the words "saint,"
"vested all in white" (Rev 6-7), "full sight of her in heaven." Indeed the
word "save" invokes the new law through the reader's resistance to its use
in this literal context. So really, there should be no doubt about
contrastive stress on "old."

The sonnet is quite metrical according to iambic practice from Sidney
forward. Line 6 is awkwardly metrical because the implied elision of
"th'Old" complicates the metrical figure xx//. In performance, most of us
would make it a triple offbeat (xxx//), which would be technically
unmetrical but sounds better.

The constraints of form cause poets to choose words they otherwise
wouldn't, which is a good thing. The word "save" is puzzling and perhaps
illogical, but it's a very, very interesting word in that particular spot.

On Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 8:37 PM, James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks, Carol -- that's an interesting possibility.
> Jim R
> On Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 8:32 PM, Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM <
> cbartonphd1 at verizon.net> wrote:
>> Thank you for having the courtesy to acknowledge my post, Jim.
>> I think Milton's reason for deviation from form is the depth of his pain,
>> in this instance--something he characteristically has difficulty
>> expressing.
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