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

Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Thu Apr 21 13:39:30 EDT 2016


I agree with John. The Bringer is either God/Christ or the dream itself.

Best to all,

Carol Barton


From: John K Leonard 
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2016 1:09 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List 
Subject: [Milton-L] "Is there a bringer, as you imagine the scene?"


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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