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

Warren Prestidge warrenprestidge at xtra.co.nz
Tue Apr 19 17:46:32 EDT 2016


Dear All
It seems to me that the word "save" is a poignant allusive reference to the tragedy of Milton's wife's death, which also serves as a muted protest against its apparent unfairness: Even the Old Law provided for the salvation of a woman who had given birth (by the ritual of purification) - and yet Milton's wife was not saved from death, not spared in this life - and although certainly the vision described in this great sonnet provides added assurance that she has been ultimately saved (as the New Law provides), nevertheless the burden of loss and separation in this life remains, which is, after all, the primary emphasis of the poem as a whole.
I have really this thread.
ThanksWarren 

    On Wednesday, 20 April 2016 2:48 AM, Michael Gillum <mgillum at unca.edu> wrote:
 

 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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