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fromthe spot wherehe lands on his way up fromHell to a pointjust below Heaven's gate. Satan on the outside shell of the universe. and the "ten thousand Leagues" through which fools are blown from one place to the other are not accounted for.. Milton's further use of Plato is discussed by R. 1913). 62-73). 418 ff.118.' but the much more extensiveand siguse whichMiltonmakesof the Visionof Er. Rollins (Cambridge. 2.. . Satan's long journey. another World link'd in a golden Chain HungoremyRealm. 423-29]. Milton's astronomy(New York. and widespread. saying: createdworld. . [MODERN PHILOLOGY. from Save on thatsidewhich thewallofHeav'n distant farr somsmallreflection Though gaines air less vextwithtempest Of glimmering loud. as Republic. 1T. IN JOSEPHINE WATERS BENNETT ALL Plato the passagewhich mostpowerfully fired Milton's . Macrobius. 20-21. 3.58 on Tue. and appendix Nos. Milton and Plato (Princeton. Levinson. and Shakespeare. "Milton and Plato. 10 Dec 2013 13:38:02 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .MILTON'S USE OF THE VISION OF ER was the Visionof Er in the tenthbook of the poeticimagination a scenefrom it in theArcades(11.2 resemblance to the journeyof Er. [11. To thatside Heav'n from whence yourLegions fell . M. Orchard. 2 Orchard (pp. Agar traces Milton's frequent referencesto the music of the spheres to Plato (see pp. Y. 1935. For its currency see The paradise of dainty devices. B. pp. Chaucer. 37. but the idea was Pythagorean. [II. 35 and notes on pp. Hughes in his edition of Paradise lost (New York. Dark. 70-72.. 85-91.). xxiii) follows Orchard. 13. XLVI (1931). May. whichseems a boundless Continent and wild. No. in Paradise lost. Satan ascends to the solid outside shell of this world (III. E... nificant The journey of seemsto have escaped thenoticeofhis commentators.. 1004-6]. 1928).waste. 86-88) argues that these two points are very near each other. . 77-78. and Herbert Agar. bears a striking that Satan set out to discoverthe newly It will be remembered him to it. H. 206-7. ed. 22). It appears in Cicero's Somnium Scipionis. but in that case the darkness. Mr.He versified criticshave already noted." MLN. p. N. 1927).and that Chaos directed Nowlately Heavenand Earth.138. 1939] 351 This content downloaded from 65.
on thefourth dayafter. and whichtakes the place of thegoldenchain in the earlierdescription. Satan is standing at thefootofthe standing ladder which connects the universe with Heaven. on that "Backside of comingup fromHell. they couldsee from abovea lineoflight. the systemwas really Aristotelian.528]. See Francis R.andnowat foot lift thir OfHeav'nsascent they Feet. He looks down an openingin the concentric the through sphereswhichconstituted universeaccordingto the popular conceptionof the Ptolemaicsystem. 481-861. as a column. ii. chap. Milton's visualizationof the universefromthe spot whereSatan is is veryclearand definite.3and sees the earth.from whichit sets out withothersouls: he said thatthey cameto a placewhere and. AndthatCrystalline whose ballance Sphear weighs andthatfirst The Trepidation talkt.58 on Tue.352 JOSEPHINE WATERS BENNETT The fiend. It is by way of this passage that souls ascend from earthto heaven. lands at first the World" wherelater therewill be a Paradise of Fools. mentioned Satan. straight extending right thewhole heaven and through theearth. in colour through the resembling andpurer. . journey Er's soul. tillat lasta gleame turned thither-ward in haste Ofdawning light His travell'd 498-501]. positeside from darkGlobetheFiendfound Allthis as he pass'd.. . . 10 Dec 2013 13:38:02 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . [11. [11. a passage wide[1. findsitselfin a somewhere between heavenand earth. on the opHeaven and its light. Er as goingon a similar Plato describes to just sucha place.Astronomical in Renaissance England (Baltimore. AndnowSaintPeter at Heav'nsWicket seems with To waitthem hisKeys.on a plain "mysterious place" or meadow. Andlong he wanderd. . only brighter them to the day'sjourney brought 3 In the simplified formwhich Milton describes.118.138. temporarily from his separated body. steps. This gleam of lightshinesfromHeaven's gate and illuminates the stair which is now said to connect the outside surface of the golden universewithHeaven. through universe and sees upon whichhe has been traveling. another rainbow. 1937). when he arrivesat the looks down an openingin the shell of the foot of the stair. mov'd. Johnson. A passage downto th'Earth. thought This content downloaded from 65. . . He looks up golden the ladder and sees Heaven's gate at the top of it. the Planets and the Theypass seven. pass fixt.
interpreted system. F. Oxford. III.. quoted above. 210-17.. through eighth. 64) calls them"the nineenfolded thatMilton.. but the creation of the stars and heavens out of an "Ethereal quintessence" is Aristotelian. Fromthese from endsis extended thespindle ofNecessity.to Plato's eight. the guiding beam oflightnear the end of it. XXXV (1920). 10 Dec 2013 13:38:02 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . C.MILTON'S USE OF THE VISION OF ER 353 ofthelight. It is evidentfrom whathe sees thatEr. Just how Plato imagined the "whorls"to be shaped commentators do not but we from the in the Arcades where he agree.points out that the "passage wide" is through the pole.and on thelower Thisis pierced home which is driven thecenter ofthe bythespindle. on which all therevolutions thespheres] turn. Jowett. 7 Aristotle added a ninth sphere. alongwhichare arranged eight "whorls" likevessels which fitintoone another. This content downloaded from 65. Warner. in themidst of saw theendsofthechains place. Satan descendsthrough the opening in theshelloftheuniverse and on the sun for a chat with Uriel. The dialogues of Plato (3rd ed. or primum mobile. and at Heav'ns dore Look in " 6 The golden chain was a . classical tradition.and there.33-35." PMLA.4 From what followswe learn that these "whorls" perform the same function as the spheresof the Ptolemaicsystem. going back to Homer.138. passage (1. know. thewhorls showtheir edgeson the side all together form one continuous whorl.. and in At a vacation exercise. likeSatan."7 the whorls as thespheresoftheso-calledPtolemaic Plato.. but the one givenby Plato in the Timaeus.. the chainin the midstof the light. Milton says: "Such where the deep transportedmind may soare Above the wheeling poles. The universeas picturedin Milton's "Paradise lost" (New York.. Raphael descends on the "polar winds" (V.in hisreading of Sphears. 333. is on theoutside of theuniverse lookingdownintoit alongits axis. points out that the creation by an orderingof chaos is Platonic. they heaven let down above: .6 and the openingdown through the spheresto earth. pp. and still others were added later. 1004-6. 4 B.118. 1915).5 The longjourney.. 'E. upperside. "Milton and Plato's Timaeus. 50 ft. 1892). the course of the talk stops During Urieldescribes the creation oftheworldto him.s ' W.11. Baldwin. [of This spindleis theaxis oftheuniverse. at least in name. 269). but in the passage under discussion he converts it into Jacob's ladder.58 on Tue. Milton mentions it in II. The separation of chaos into the fourelements. and the reduction of the elements to order comes fromthe Timaeus. Uriel'screation story is not the one whichappearsin Genesis.are of similarity elements betweenMilton's conception and Plato's.
p. Eusebius (Evangelicae praeparationis. ii. sphere. Johnson (chap." SP. it may have been fromthe Timaeusthat he took his notionthat the universe was sursolid or such an idea was a current roundedby shell. This content downloaded from 65.scilicet astris non solum fixis. H.alongtheaxis. Loeb ed."'0 off. R.in the Timaeus.what he has to say of Limbo takes on * A. 10 Dec 2013 13:38:02 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Gilbert.118. ii) sketches the astronomical background of the idea. John Bostock and H. 444-47.).roundas from a lathe. Both Plato and Aristotlesay that all of chaos was used in the making of the universe.the standardcommentator on thispassage.' Milton's idea of a chaos outside of the shell of the universe is Lucretian or atomic. Leucippus. 1855]. and Empedocles for ideas about a wall. as some celebrated authors assert. rather than Platonic. 163 f." When one climbs over the edge ard up on the "back" it is brighterand more light than on earth and there are the houses of the trans. T. '12 ofthe universe Milton'swholementalpicture as a globesuspended from Heaven by a goldenchain-a globewhichis a shellenclosing the a classical "nineenfolded certain elements Sphears"-is one." says in Ficino.xv.138." and asserts that the figuresof the constellations are impressed on this globe and "its surface is not perfectlypolished like the eggs of birds. His locationof Heaven and Hell outwas not unprecedented..although in ancienttimes.9Plato says. and even with other people's trans1ations and with the Greek text. F. If we recognize that Miltonhad Plato's Visionof Er in mindwhen he described Satan's journey.although in the conception are peculiar.coelumex Adamante rursus. 10Jowett. III.and nothingwas leftover. Democritus. Lucian. and it seems probablethat both to his cosmological contributed conception. his commentary autem.and sees a passage through the traveler all the spheresto earthat the center. XX (1923).354 JOSEPHINE WATERS BENNETT Evidentlyboththe Timaeusand the Visionof Er werein Milton's mind whenhe wrotethis passage.58 on Tue. 659. Pliny (Natural history.. 452. making on Plato in Milton's day. discusses the medieval sources of this idea. gods. 3) says that the world is a perfectglobe. He speaks of "us who are in the interior. side of the universe and the chaos whichsuris borrowed from the atomists. "The outside shell of Milton's world.His indebtedness roundshis universe to Plato lies."Vertigium. 2.. 1532). This he the worldin theform finished the surface smoothall roundformanyreasons.alijsque materijs... not in thesefeatures.thatthe Creator"made of a globe. 11Ficino was the Jowett of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. but in the pictorialdevice of the the of on outside the universe to an openingthrough which journey looksdown. His commentary was printed both with his translation and separately. or solid boundary of the universe. 38.id est. says heaven "is bronze on the outside we learn from Homer. 42) cites Parmenides. 12Opera divini Platonis omnia (Basle.If so. Riley (London: Bohn.III. On sacrifices(Works.
since calld large The Paradise ofFools. 1929). This content downloaded from 65. 484-96]. Allthese aloft upwhirled oftheWorld farr off Flyo'rethebackside Intoa Limbo andbroad..MILTON'S USE OF THE VISION OF ER 355 universe: Meanwhile Globe uponthefirm opacous Ofthisround whose first convex divides World..'3 and its satire to Ariosto. and whentheycome to the outsideshellof the universe SaintPeter at Heav'nsWicket seems To waitthem with hisKeys. skie. The place is described as a vast. 1890)..theFiend Walk'd up and down .. 13 [III.. 418-26].They will rise through the passage openingthrough all of the spheresto earth. Satanalighted walks: a Globefarr off It seem'd.andnowat foot OfHeav'nsascent lift thir loe they Feet.118.whereChineses drive Milton's poetical works. To thisplace will come the souls of thosewho die in folly.. W. III. ed.waste. OfChaos inclement blustring round. 432 n. 73-86. Air. windyplain: Herewalk'dtheFiendat large in spacious field. under thefrown ofNight Dark. nowseems a boundless Continent andwild.. . 444 ff.58 on Tue. Let us turnback to Satan'sfirst arrival of the upon the sphere its name to medievaltheology.ed. 14 Orlando furioso.. Verity (Cambridge.'4 but the fresh outthatMilton's It has beenpointed Limbo owes significance.. [III. wassituated medieval on theborders Limbo ofHell. lightson the barrenplaines Of Sericana. [III. ... As when a Vultur onImausbred With SailsandWind thir canieWaggons light: So on thiswindie Sea ofLand... Masson (London. The luminous inferior enclos'd Orbs. 10 Dec 2013 13:38:02 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .. andever-threatning Starless storms expos'd.when A violent cross wind from either Coast Blowsthem transverse tenthousand Leagues awry Intothedevious . D.. See Paradise lost.andAriosto put hisParadise ofFoolsonthemoon. A. note on III. FromChaos andth'inroad ofDarkness old. 430-41].. while Milton's Limbo is located on the "backside" or bottom of thesolidoutside shelloftheuniverse.138. The idea of such a limbo is to be found in English literaturefromthe Middle English period onward. XXXIV.
andoveragainst them were Earth]. Nettleship. with theplanet.118.. The Platonic notion of a place of respite in the soul's journey from earth to heaven has an important place in ancient and medieval literature. But in earththrough an opening in a Milton. but it is just at this pointin theirascenttowardHeaven.. pearing in the orb of the moon. The accountoftheinhabitants ofLimbooccupiesthesame place in Milton's storyof the journeyas is occupiedby a description of the of purgatory inhabitants in the Visionof Er. 3."1 outofheaven This "mysterious betweenearth and place" is clearlysomewhere since souls come down to it from or up from Heaven earth. openings were neartogether..as in Plato.. Thenhebeheld at either one side the soulsdeparting of heavenand earthwhen opening on them. L. It is just sucha half-way as Milton describes the of as site Limbo. 331. Plato says that someof the souls comingup to the "mysterious place" reportof the punishment suffered fora longeror shorter time by those who have been their liveson earth.. whentheyhave debate. n... place He wouldnaturally reducePlato's fouropenings to two. Plutarch discussed it in his essay Of theface apMacrobius' elaborate commentary on Cicero's Dream enjoyed general currency.'" Heaven.e. notto be confused [i. 10 Dec 2013 13:38:02 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . souls riseup from from which some finish the ascent to while others do not.. unjustduring and he does not giveus a judgment scenesuch as Er describes. In the intermediate openings space there whocommanded were thejust. Miltondid notbelievein purgatory. III. Cicero imitated the Vision of Er in his Dream of Scipio. II. At least he is historicallycorrectin associating it with the Vision of Er.58 on Tue. hadbeengiven andat thetwoother sentence other openings souls. plain Heaven. judges bytheheavenly theunjust were bidden to hand.e. but most writerslocated the scene on the sphere of the moon and associated it with the Elysian fields.andinlikemanner wayontheright bythem descend andsawon wayontheleft bythelower hand. and This content downloaded from 65.. they in the heaven two other above. in his Philosophical lectures and remains. 361.138.windyplain to which souls come on theirjourneyfrom to the plain where Earth to Heaven bears considerable resemblance Er first arrivedafterhis soul lefthis body: He saidthat when hissoulleft thebody hewent ona journey with a great and that came to a at which there were two they mysterious company. But Milton seems to have been aware of the literaryancestry of Ariosto's idea. expresses Is Jowett. descending cleanand bright.356 JOSEPHINE WATERS BENNETT This great. outoftheearth some andworn with some ascending dusty travel. There were both medieval and Renaissance imitations. the belief that this meadow is outside of the cosmos (i. Ariosto selected this lunar site forhis Paradise of Fools. to ascend seated. the universe). place in theearth theplain where he had arrived. 16Plato's idea of the location of this place in the cosmic system is still a matter of R.sincehe did not believein the pre-existence and descentof souls to earth..
In the second scene.. at the spindle of he merely mentions the "ends of the chainsof Heaven let Necessity.visitedby Er with the medievalLimbo.'s Two important ofthe changesare made by Miltonin the structure Platonicvision. that Milton makes the judgmentof God fall upon fools. tothePlatonists.but he combineswhat is said of the openingsin the firstscene with the openingat the spindleof Necessityin Plato's second scene.. a passage wide. 1641)... Milton's accountof the occupantsof Limbo fillsthe same place in of Satan's journey as the judgmentand purgatory his description in Plato. In the first scene Plato mentions two openings"in the Heaven above" and two leading down to earth. He not onlyreducesthefouropenings to two. AndnowSaintPeter at Heav'ns Wicket seems To waitthem with hisKeys.MILTON'S USE OF THE VISION OF ER 357 belowand see theopening above (which theopening comeup through is the gate of Heaven).138. similis in aire ina former Hereattend souls which life hadmutual designatus].andnowat foot OfHeav'nsascent lift their they Feet. . downfrom above" and the view downthrough the "whorls. 388b.58 on Tue..'7 longest according Ficino linksthe "mysterious place." Milton combinesthe two imagesputting the "Gate of Heav'n" at the axis of the universe: Directagainst which op'ndfrom beneath. region a goodandan evilstate. anditscondition character it is between is between likelimboin theair [limbo it is described blissand misery.not onlyin name but also by the presence there of the souls of infants. This content downloaded from 65. 526-28]." or meadow. A passage down toth'Earth. II. restfora while.. whensuddenly theyare blownaway into Limbo. In makingthesubstitution Miltonmayhave been scenefills from Ficino's derived on this a suggestion commentary following passage in Plato.. 17Translated fromFicino's Opera omnia (Paris. 10 Dec 2013 13:38:02 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ..s Most medieval writersrelegated the souls of unbaptized infants to Limbo. acquaintance andinthenext eachother. [III. Ficino says: in which soulsascending and descending The meadow. Likewise insucha meadow reside recognize they thesouls.118. Just o'retheblissful seatofParadise. between the lower world and is in somemiddle the and in heavens. ofthose whodie ininfancy.
EVANSTON.the journeyof Satan follows very closelythe patternof the Vision of Er. The visionaryquality which and dreamis gonein Milton.138. clarified imagination.locatedat thepointwhereSatan first for arrived.358 JOSEPHINE WATERS BENNETT of openings. and the substitution of Except forthe consolidation the MiltonicLimbo.a plain or "meadow" Heaven and Hell. grandeur but gainsin scenicand dramaticeffect.58 on Tue. as because it seems to illustratethe workingsof his of the Visionof Er. this secondscene is lightedfromHeaven. below the "mysterious place" whereEr first arrived. as a clear-cutand definite patternin which every detail is fully visualized and logicallyworkedout. In keepsPlato's Er in therealmofmyth and a vast.The geography by the cosfrom Milton'smind emerges mologyof the Timaeusand of Aristotle.118. whichMiltonhas been shownto have derived to the bodyof material fromPlato. Both describe which is also between a journeyand a second scene whichinvolvesthe chain by whichthe universeis suspendedfromHeaven. spiritual significance betweenthe twojourneyshas been recognized. Once the similarity it seems naturalenoughthat Milton shoulduse as the model forhis imitatedclassicosmicjourneythe mostfamousand mostfrequently cal accountof such a journey. located somewhere Plato's purgatory. 10 Dec 2013 13:38:02 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and centersabout an openingwhichprovidesa view down through the concentric spheresto earthat the center. notso muchbecauseit adds considerably The parallelis interesting. Both beginwith an account of a plain wheresoulssojournbetweenHeaven and earth. ILLINOIS This content downloaded from 65. orderly whichloses in its place we have clarity.
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