[Milton-L] "Is there a bringer, as you imagine the scene?"

John K Leonard jleonard at uwo.ca
Thu Apr 21 13:09:33 EDT 2016


Abstract as in a trance, methought I saw,Though sleeping... 
She disappeared, and left me dark; I waked
To find her, or for ever to deplore
Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure:
When, out of hope, behold her not far off,
Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned
With what all earth and heaven could bestow
To make her amiable; on she came,Led by her heavenly maker, though unseen
And guided by his voice, nor uninimformed
Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites;
Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye,
In every gesture dignity and love. (PL VIII 462f)


Yes, there is a bringer, "though unseen".


John Leonard


On 04/21/16, Gregory Machacek  <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:
> 
> For installment #4, I’m going to ask a fairly simple
> question. (The only complexity will come from being clear about what I’m not
> asking). 
>  
> In preparation for that question, would you be willing to
> take a moment to call to mind the entirety of the dream Milton reports--maybe
> as a little cinematic sequence--as you find the poem encourages you to imagine
> that dream?
>  
>  [Short pause, for those who are willing to play along, to run
> through such a cinematic.]
>  
> In your little movie of this dream, is the dream image of the
> late-espoused saint “brought” to Milton, or does that image simply “come” to
> Milton? (The poem says two different things.)
> And if the dream image is “brought,” whom
> do you imagine as the agent of that bringing and how do you picture that agent?
>  
> To be clear, I am not, if you imagine the image as simply
> “coming,” asking you to supply who probably
> ought to be considered the agent of the bringing. We can address that as a separate question in
> a moment. I’m just asking you to say whether,
> for you, the dream image “comes” on her own—the way dream images can simply appear—or whether there’s any
> kind of third character (or force?), besides Milton himself and the saint, who,
> analogously with Jove’s great son in the Alcestis-Admetus story, “brings” the
> saint.
>  
> Also to be clear: Although
> there may be a little inconsistency here, and although I do plan present a version of this inconsistency as a fault of the poem, do please know that I am not expecting this
> dream to be more logically rigorous than dreams in fact are: brought? came? I don’t
> know; it’s a dream; she was there. For
> now, I really am just asking how much that “brought” figures in anyone’s actual
> envisioning of Milton’s dream. I ask
> because no one, in recounting his or her experience with this poem, has yet
> mentioned a bringer as a distinct element of the dream Milton recounts, even
> though we are told flatly, and very first thing in the poem: “Methought I saw my late-espoused Saint
> brought to me.”
>  
> Is there a bringer, as you imagine the scene?
> 
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
>  
> 
> 
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