[Milton-L] The Metaphysicals

Stephen B Dobranski sbdobranski at gsu.edu
Mon Jan 4 08:49:34 EST 2016


Good point, Richard—and one addendum: while “On Shakespeare” is sometimes cited as Milton’s first printed poem, it is instead Milton’s first printed poem in English. In a letter to Alexander Gil dated 2 July 1628, Milton enclosed a printed copy of another, earlier poem: the customary commencement verses that a fellow of his college had asked him to write (“Hæc quidem Typis donata ad te misi”). The verses to which Milton refers may be Naturam non Pati Senium, but unfortunately the copy he sent Gil has not survived, which suggests that, like the single surviving copy of the separately published Epitaphium, the print-run of both texts was extremely small.

Happy new year to all,
Stephen

From: <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>> on behalf of "rastrier at uchicago.edu<mailto:rastrier at uchicago.edu>" <rastrier at uchicago.edu<mailto:rastrier at uchicago.edu>>
Reply-To: "milton-l at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>>
Date: Sunday, January 3, 2016 at 4:03 PM
To: "milton-l at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] The Metaphysicals

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.

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From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>] on behalf of John Hale [john.hale at otago.ac.nz<mailto: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
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From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>> on behalf of Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu<mailto: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.


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From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>] on behalf of John Hale [john.hale at otago.ac.nz<mailto: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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