[Milton-L] The Metaphysicals

Hannibal Hamlin hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
Sun Jan 3 16:35:26 EST 2016


Parker, in his biography, also suggests the influence of Donne in Milton's
sonnet-ish poem on Shakespeare. The conceit of poem/plays as monument is
more Horace, filtered through Shakespeare's own sonnets, but the final
lines do seem rather like Donne's "Elegy on the L.C." (alternately titled
"Sorrow"):

His children are his pictures, Oh they bee
Pictures of him dead, senselesse, cold as he,
Here needs no marble Tombe, since hee is gone,
He, and about him, his, are turn'd to stone.

This poem was not printed until 1635, but the consensus is that is was
written much earlier. Milton could have read it in manuscript. It was in
the Westmoreland MS., for instance, in the hand of Rowland Woodward.
Woodward, interestingly, was Henry Wotton's secretary in 1604-05, and
Wotton knew both Donne and Milton.

Hannibal



On Sun, Jan 3, 2016 at 4:03 PM, Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu>
wrote:

> I'm not sure between Greek and Latin, but I could be convinced.
>
> I do think it's really important though to take seriously Milton writing a
> poem for the Shakespeare second Folio.  It's quite surprising (and a great
> poem); his dedication to Shakespeare is also, of course, evident in
> *L'Allegro.*  Milton was early onto Shakespeare's status (probably
> following the lead of Jonson's amazing tribute in the First Folio), and
> it's interesting that he wanted to identify himself as a Shakespeare
> admirer (and founder of the "woodnotes wild" myth).  I'm still a bit
> puzzled as to how the unknown Milton got his poem into the second Folio,
> but I think family connections might be the answer.  Why he wanted to be
> there is perhaps more interesting.  Isn't it Milton's first appearance in
> print?  So he first appears as a partisan of an English writer.
>
> ------------------------------
> *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 1:32 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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-- 
Hannibal Hamlin
Professor of English
The Ohio State University
Author of *The Bible in Shakespeare*, now available through all good
bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at
http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199677610.do
164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
Columbus, OH 43210-1340
hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
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