[Milton-L] The Metaphysicals

john rumrich rumrich at austin.utexas.edu
Sun Jan 3 15:37:46 EST 2016


Alexander Gill Sr.'s grammar, and thus the curriculum at St Paul's school
when Milton attended, is notable for including a wide range of examples
from English poets.  This says nothing about Donne, Herbert, or Marvell.
But my guess is that Milton read a great deal of early modern English
poetry and, like Gill, was deeply committed to his native tongue and its
development.

John



On Sun, Jan 3, 2016 at 1:49 PM, Nigel Smith <nsmith at princeton.edu> wrote:

> Dear John, dear Richard,
>
> Happy new year!
>
> I begin to weigh in: I think there is a circumstantial case that Milton
> may have read 'An Horatian Ode', or had it read to him, perhaps soon after
> it was written.  I cannot put the evidence in front of you right now
> because I am away from my books until Tuesday, so I will look to write
> again as soon as I can.  Then I'll tell you in detail who Marvell may have
> showed his poems to.  Milton echoes/borrows Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson,
> Fletcher; all dramatists of course.  I find it perfectly believable that he
> read Herbert; everyone else did.
>
> Nonetheless my sense is that John's hunch about Milton's reading habits is
> in general terms correct.
>
> Best wishes, and more presently,
>
> Nigel.
> ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of John Hale [
> john.hale at otago.ac.nz]
> *Sent:* Sunday, January 03, 2016 2:32 PM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] The Metaphysicals
>
> Dear Richard and colleagues all:
>
> Thanks for suggesting this aspect of Herbert. A powerful suggestion.
>
> I hope indeed that Nigel or another can tell us who Marvell showed his
> poems in MS to.
>
> My reason for asking the question was a hunch that (a)Milton read Greek
> poems more than Latin ones, and more ancient than English ones, with
> Italian somewhere in between.
>
> BUT
>
> (b)he may have read more new poems, new to him, before 1645 than
> afterwards. He read or heard his known favourite authors lifelong, yet none
> of those named is in English,
>
> SO
>
> (c)his ear for poetry and taste for it will have been continuously formed
> from ancient poets, ergo among other things, no place for rhyme.
>
> But these are speculations: I was wondering if I had missed harder
> evidence about his reading of English poets–what and when.
>
> I hope to hear more about the whole thing, in those quiet days of repose
> or reflection before MLA.
>
> Thanks again​
> John Hale
> ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> on behalf of Richard A. Strier <
> rastrier at uchicago.edu>
> *Sent:* Monday, 4 January 2016 8:07 a.m.
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] The Metaphysicals
>
> I have no direct evidence on this to cite, as we do on Milton reading
> Shakespeare.  Certainly he knew Marvell, but I don't know whether Marvell
> would have shared his lyrics.  Nigel Smith should weigh in on this.
>
> I do, however, think that I can make a plausible case that Milton read
> Herbert.  Milton's great sonnet on his blindness seems to me to rely on
> imagining a divine response to his own "murmurings" that is one of
> Herbert's most identifiable poetic strategies.  I am not saying that this
> is iron-clad, but I think that it does establish a possibility --
> especially given the extreme popularity of *The Temple *and that the
> poems therein were read and imitated by writers from all over the religious
> spectrum, right to left.
>
>
> ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of John Hale [
> john.hale at otago.ac.nz]
> *Sent:* Saturday, January 02, 2016 6:29 PM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* [Milton-L] The Metaphysicals
>
> Dear Colleagues:
>
> What evidence is there that Milton had read the poems of Donne, Herbert,
> and Vaughan? Or those of Marvell?
>
> Happy and productive 2016 to each and all.
>
>
> John Hale
> ------------------------------
>
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