I didn't post yesterday since I was away from computer, but I had intended to post birthday greetings to John Milton on the occasion of his 400th 'anniversaire' . . . as I had earlier told the Milton List scholars:
In case anyone wants to join me, I'll be lifting a glass of Argentine Malbec-Bonarda to Milton this coming Tuesday evening around 6:00 p.m. at my apartment in Seoul, South Korea.Cynthia A. Gilliatt, a Milton expert at James Madison University, seemed willing:
That's Seoul Time, so if you're joining me from a distance, be sure to adjust your celebration accordingly.
"Better to rain in hell than hail in heaven."- Juhn Miltun
"Hail, yes!"Her response triggered a long-forgotten memory:
Thank you, Cynthia. On my Tuesday and your Monday, let us join in a traditional wassail for Milton . . . or Miltun . . . and for each other.Which reminded Cynthia of similar memories:
As an aside, your message has recalled to me my first encounter with classical studies. I was perhaps 9 or 10 and had just discovered that the iron frame of my bed could serve as an antenna for radio waves. I had a radio that needed only to be attached to the iron bedstead with an alligator clip, and without benefit of battery, I could listen endlessly to stations all over the South . . . and to WLS, Chicago.
One of the Southern stations had a comedian presenting a skit from ancient Rome:
Caesar greeting Brutus: "Hail, Brutus."
Brutus responding: "Hail, yes!"
Thus did your response bring back old memories of me lying on my bed above a dirt floor in my grandma's Arkansas Ozark basement...
Thanks for the memory.
Cool. I used to listen to far-off am stations at night and deeply yearned to own a short-wave radio, so that I could listen all over the world. I now can, with a radio I got from LLBean -- mostly those furriners speak in languages I can't even identify!Even a polyglot Milton would be lost in such a thicket of languages. I don't know if Cynthia lifted a glass with me. Probably not, for I was a bit late. My family and I didn't return to Seoul until past 10:00 in the evening, so I missed that 6 o'clock appointment.
But I didn't forget Milton. After putting the children to bed, I carefully poured a tiny amount of that Argentine Malbec-Bonarda into two glasses and drank with Sun-Ae to a death and a birth -- her father's and John Milton's, respectively.
Thanks to all who posted condolences, and since the date is still December 9th in the States and other places on the 'yesterday' side of the International Date Line, then some of you readers who catch this message in time can also still raise a glass to Milton.
And perhaps to my father-in-law, Mr. Hwang Yong Taek, as well.