[Milton-L] How many angels are needed to chase one devil?

Dario Rivarossa ilTassista dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
Sat Jun 4 05:56:21 EDT 2016


Please see below a partially free translation from Dante, Purgatorio
8. The episode has some basic links with Milton, not only because of
the general subject and setting but because the two -- precisely two,
not less, not more -- angels chasing the Tempter away probably
inspired PL 4, though Satan appears in a toad-like shape in this case.
In both cases, moreover, the angels perform a military duty.

In the translation, the verb "handed" hints at the Medieval and
Renaissance representations of the episode. Milton brilliantly skipped
the problem by having Satan "hand" the fruit to Eve not in the Serpent
scene but in advance, in a dream in which he appears as an angel.


_Postcard from Eden_

Where no wall
defends the dale
a snake sneaked
maybe the same
who handed Hawwah
the poisonous pome.
On weeds 'n' flowers
the ominous ophidian
came closer while
looking periscope-like
and licking her livery.
Having not seen how
I cannot recount
how the heavenly
peregrins proceeded
I anyway paid attention
to the blurs of both.
Sensing the atmosphere
perturbed by their
green-yellow wings
the reptilian retreated,
the angels nosed up
back to the Base.

-- 
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