Nothing to blog home about.


Lycidas
Monday June 30th 2008, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

One of the most interesting aspects of Milton’s poetry to me is the vast amount of allusions that occur in each.  Though his poetry often has a religious context, it filled with constant references to greek and roman mythology and consistently reminds me of other writers (though perhaps it is the other writers that are influenced by Milton rather than the other way around).  I will always remember how on my first day of Creative Writing almost two years ago Professor Rochelle told the class, “the two most important books that you will ever read are the Bible and Edith Hamilton’s Greek Mythology”.  I feel like this statement is manifested completely in reading works by Milton which constantly reference both.  One part of the elegy that particularly intrigued me is, “Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep Closed o’er the head of your loved Lycidas?” For some reason that line stood out to me and holds a sort of heartbreaking quality.  Often when a person loses a loved one, they question their god or higher being, sometimes bargaining or begging to know “why?”.  Throughout Lycidas it seems as though Milton does the same, though instead of questioning the God he believes in, he questions instead the mythical gods and creatures.  There is a certain sort of exasperation in that line, and by asking the nymphs why they didn’t stop the drowning, Milton shows that because he cannot change the past or explain why this accident happened, he must turn to mythical creatures to ease his sadness.  Something about that one question feels like a sort of overwhelming cry.




I think having to read Hamilton’s “Mythology” was the best thing I got out of high school English. Once I was in on all those stories, it started being like authors were talking to me in a code, or secret language. I understood allusions and that made reading very, very cool.

I also agree that there are some really intensely emotional moments in Lycidas, the questioning of the nymphs included. I was also really hit hard by the “Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime.” I feel like it’s rare to have so frank a statement in poetry… it just sort of hits you, the inalterable truth of it all. He. Is. Dead. That sort of thing. I also found it very moving at the end, when he comes back to thinking about Lycidas the person (rather than the poetic inspiration). The images of where his body might be are absolutely heartbreaking… It reminds me of the Thomas Hardy poem “Drummer Hodge.” The drummer dies at war in Africa and his body comes to rest in some unknown, unmarked place. It sounds so lonely, especially for someone so young and so full of promise.

Anyway. As a last note, I like the presentation of your blog.

Comment by madelinekelly 06.30.08 @ 1:31 pm

[…] Original post by hermes […]

Pingback by Comic Romance » Blog Archive » Lycidas 06.30.08 @ 3:01 pm

The allusions in Milton can get kind of overwhelming–but in a good way! I think it helps that he always presents them so beautifully, and whole in their own right. Instead of simply slipping in a namedrop as a wink to the reader, Milton recreates these moments in their own right and in his own language, so that even if the whole story isn’t told, we have a complete image. I have to say, I like the way he does it.

Comment by rachel 06.30.08 @ 7:51 pm