[Milton-L] The Metaphysicals

Brendan Prawdzik brendanprawdzik at gmail.com
Sun Jan 3 22:30:02 EST 2016


Dear all,

It seems hard to believe that Milton and Marvell would not have shared some
of each other's poetry (of course much of Milton's was in print by 1645)
while both working in the office of John Thurloe during the Protectorate.
It seems plausible that Milton's repeated request to get Marvell on board
owes something to the latter's exquisite, multivalent, and politically
resonant verse, supposing Milton encountered it.  Of course, we face the
burden of needing to would tease out a compelling constellation of echoes,
and yes, Nigel Smith would be most helpful here.

I would argue that Marvell's "On Mr. Milton's *Paradise Lost*" and *The
Rehearsall Transpros'd* pts. 1 & 2 hint at collaborative minds if not
actual collaboration (with some brotherly -- prosodic and religious --
differences).  But I would argue that at a later time.

To a much greater extent, I am convinced that Milton draws upon Marvell's
"The First Anniversary of the Government under O.C." in more than one
place.  Of particular interest are echoes, in Milton's lines on the
construction of Pandemonium, of Marvell's lines on Cromwell-as-Amphion
building the "Fabrick" of state.  These passages specifically:

    *The Commonwealth then first together came,*
*And each one enter'd in the willing Frame;*
All other Matter yields, and may be rul'd;
But who the Minds of stubborn Men can build?
No Quarry bears a Stone so hardly wrought,
Nor with such labour from its Center brought;
None to be sunk in the Foundation bends,
*Each in the House* the highest Place contends,
And each *the Hand *that lays him will direct,
*And some fall back upon the Architect;*
Yet all compos'd by his attractive Song,

*Into the Animated City throng. *
Marvell, "First Anniversary," 75-86




*The hasty multitudeAdmiring enter'd, and the work some praiseAnd some the
Architect: his hand was known*
In Heav'n by many a Towred structure high ...
...
A solemn Councel [was proclaimed] forthwith to be held [
At Pandæmonium, the high Capital
Of Satan and his *Peers*: thir summons call'd
>From every Band and squared Regiment
By place or choice the worthiest; they anon
With hunderds and with thousands trooping came
Attended: *all access was throng'd * ...

Milton, *Paradise Lost*, 730-62.

Of course, the political senses of the passages differ, and their
relationships are complex.  I discuss the state-building metaphors in these
poems to limited extent in Brendan M. Prawdzik, “State-Building in
Harrington’s *Oceana* and Milton’s *Paradise Lost*, I-II,” *Notes & Queries*
61.3 (2014): 383-87.

Best wishes for the New Year,

Brendan





On Sun, Jan 3, 2016 at 9:41 PM, Schwartz, Louis <lschwart at richmond.edu>
wrote:

> ​On the question of Milton's reading of other English contemporary poets:
>  I make a case in chapter 5 of *Milton and Maternal Mortality*​ for his
> having read and engaged with Michael Drayton's 1627 volume, *The Battaile
> of **Agincourt**.  *The argument mostly concerns the final poem in the
> volume's final section, but there are possible echoes of some others, too.
>
>
> Louis
>
>
> ======================
> Louis Schwartz
> Professor of English
> Chair, Department of English
> University of Richmond
> Richmond, VA  23173
> (804) 289-8315
> lschwart at richmond.edu
> ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> on behalf of John K Leonard <
> jleonard at uwo.ca>
> *Sent:* Sunday, January 3, 2016 4:44 PM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] The Metaphysicals
>
> As a schoolboy at St. Paul's Milton would likely have heard Donne preach.
> This proves nothing about the poetry of course, but I have sometimes
> wondered whether Satan's question "who enclosed knowledge in this tree?"
> might owe something to Donne's Elegy 6 ("I planted knowledge and life's
> tree in thee"), even though Donne's line has a bawdy innuendo not present
> in Satan's. I have also wondered whether Moloch's lines about turning God's
> "engine" against God might owe something to Herbert's 'Prayer I' where
> prayer is figured as an 'engine' that can be turned against God.
>
> Happy New Year to all,
>
> John
>
> On 01/03/16, *"Maggie Kilgour, Prof." *<maggie.kilgour at mcgill.ca> wrote:
>
> Dear John and all – if you’re interested in contemporary “metaphysicals”
> more broadly, don’t forget the too often forgotten but then popular Cowley,
> whom Dr Johnson claims was one of Milton’s favourite writers (and the only
> contemporary one mentioned). It’s in the “Life of Cowley” too that Johnson
>  creates the category of the “metaphysical”  poets.  Cowley’s   influence
> and example, as well as his work, deserves more consideration in general –
> especially *Davideis* (which suggests that, while I think you are
> generally right, Milton kept up with *some *new English works after
> 1645.  Of course, Cowley’s classicism may have been part of the attraction.)
>
> Happy New Year!
>
> Maggie
>
>
> On 16-01-03 2:32 PM, "John Hale" <john.hale at otago.ac.nz
> <https://iwc.uwo.ca/iwc_static/layout/john.hale@otago.ac.nz>> wrote:
>
> 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
> <https://iwc.uwo.ca/iwc_static/layout/milton-l-bounces@lists.richmond.edu>
> <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> <https://iwc.uwo.ca/iwc_static/layout/milton-l-bounces@lists.richmond.edu>>
> on behalf of Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu
> <https://iwc.uwo.ca/iwc_static/layout/rastrier@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
> <https://iwc.uwo.ca/iwc_static/layout/milton-l-bounces@lists.richmond.edu>
> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> <https://iwc.uwo.ca/iwc_static/layout/milton-l-bounces@lists.richmond.edu>]
> on behalf of John Hale [john.hale at otago.ac.nz
> <https://iwc.uwo.ca/iwc_static/layout/john.hale@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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-- 
Dr. Brendan Prawdzik


BA Rutgers University, 2001
PhD The University of California, Berkeley, 2009
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