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  1. #1
    vanveen is offline Newbie
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    Default Don't understand a passage in Milton

    I am puzzled by the following passage in John Milton's masque Comus – maybe someone here could help me understand it:

    Enjoy your deer Wit, and gay Rhetorick
    That hath so well been taught her dazling fence,
    Thou art not fit to hear thy self convinc't;
    Yet should I try, the uncontrouled worth
    Of this pure cause would kindle my rap't spirits
    To such a flame of sacred vehemence,
    That dumb things would be mov'd to sympathize.

    (This is the Lady, the protagonist of masque, warding off Comus's attempts to seduce her).


    I don't understand what "the uncontrouled worth of this pure cause" means in the context and what the verb "try" refers to. Should she try – what?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Don't understand a passage in Milton

    Quote Originally Posted by vanveen View Post
    I am puzzled by the following passage in John Milton's masque Comus – maybe someone here could help me understand it:

    Enjoy your deer Wit, and gay Rhetorick
    That hath so well been taught her dazling fence,
    Thou art not fit to hear thy self convinc't;
    Yet should I try, the uncontrouled worth
    Of this pure cause would kindle my rap't spirits
    To such a flame of sacred vehemence,
    That dumb things would be mov'd to sympathize.

    (This is the Lady, the protagonist of masque, warding off Comus's attempts to seduce her).


    I don't understand what "the uncontrouled worth of this pure cause" means in the context and what the verb "try" refers to. Should she try – what?

    Thank you in advance.
    Are you studying 17th century English? (Are there many native speakers of Afan in Scotland?)

  3. #3
    vanveen is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Don't understand a passage in Milton

    Yes, I am. Do you have an answer to my question?

  4. #4
    bhaisahab's Avatar
    bhaisahab is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Don't understand a passage in Milton

    Quote Originally Posted by vanveen View Post
    Yes, I am. Do you have an answer to my question?
    Do you have an answer to mine? (Is it, perhaps, Austria rather than Scotland?)

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Don't understand a passage in Milton

    I think you'll have to wait for someone who's studied Milton - that's not me! I could have a stab at it but I could get it totally wrong and that wouldn't help you at all. There's not much call for 17th century English these days. I'm sure it's very interesting to study it out of curiosity or for your own interest, but it won't be any use to you when speaking or writing modern English.

    I was also intrigued by your profile. I wasn't aware that Afan Oromo was a language native to Scotland. I now notice that in the meantime, you have changed your profile home country and current location to Aaland. We expect our users to give honest information on their profiles.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Don't understand a passage in Milton

    The key phrase is 'her dazzling fence'. I'm not a Milton scholar either, though I studied Paradise Lost at school. But I suspect that this phrase is about
    dazzling displays of sword-fighting rather than wooden boundaries. 'Don't be distracted by her dazzling feints' (sic 'fEints' not 'fAints'). Wit and Rhetoric[k] are personifications.

    b

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