[Milton-L] Eurydice, yes, but also Creusa

Hugh M. RICHMOND hmr at berkeley.edu
Tue Apr 19 15:35:06 EDT 2016

It seems we have progressed from calling Milton’s Sonnet 33 a
badly-written, even poor poem, to seeing its place as a modern climax to a
series of great tragic moments in Western literature. This is what I meant
in saying negative criticism is often salutary – in eliciting corrective

On Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 12:13 PM, Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu>

> Excellent points, John.  Really helps with the emotional timbre of the
> thing.  All those passages are heartbreaking.
> RS
> ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu] on
> behalf of John K Leonard [jleonard at uwo.ca]
> *Sent:* Tuesday, April 19, 2016 2:01 PM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* [Milton-L] Eurydice, yes, but also Creusa
> Orpheus, yes, but also all those moments in classical epic where a hero
> tries in vain to embrace the shade of a loved one. Some memorable
> instances: Achilles and the shade of Patroclus, who appears to him in a
> dream (Il. 23.99-107), Odysseus and the shade of his mother (Od. 11.204-9)
> and Aeneas and the shade of his father (Aen. 6.700-2). Closest to Milton's
> sonnet is Aeneas and the shade of Creusa (Aen. 2.789-95). Closest both
> because it is a husband and the shade of his wife, and because Aeneas tries
> to embrace her three times ("Love, sweetness, goodness") only to be triply
> disappointed ("I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night") as she
> slips from his hands "like light winds or most like a winged dream":
> ter conatus ibi collo dare bracchia circum;
> ter frustra comprensa manus effugit imago,
> par levibus ventis volucrique simillima somno. (2.792-4)
> On 04/19/16, *Michael Gillum *<mgillum at unca.edu> wrote:
> Is Orpheus in sonnet 23, line 14? For me, he wasn't until I read a
> suggestion that he is, so now for me he is in there, vaguely, in an implied
> comparison.
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