Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Another Pun in Paradise Lost? Probably not.

The Grieslie King?
Tartini's Dream (1824)
by Louis-Léopold Boilly

Consider the unfallen angels' search for Satan in this passage of Book 4, Paradise Lost, borrowed from Dartmouth's Milton Reading Room:
[The band of angels went quickly from their consultation,]
In search of whom they sought: him there they found
Squat like a Toad, close at the eare of Eve; [ 800 ]
Assaying by his Devilish art to reach
The Organs of her Fancie, and with them forge
Illusions as he list, Phantasms and Dreams,
Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
Th' animal spirits that from pure blood arise [ 805 ]
Like gentle breaths from Rivers pure, thence raise
At least distemperd, discontented thoughts,
Vaine hopes, vaine aimes, inordinate desires
Blown up with high conceits ingendring pride.
What I wish to ask - though I much doubt the actual possibility - is whether or not the "Toad" of line 800 might possibility be a pun on the German word "Tod," for "Tod" means death, and death is a thing that Satan brought into the world?

But I won't press this suggestion very far, as I doubt there is a pun. This query does, however, raise another question, a necessary one, namely, how do we recognize a genuine pun?



At 4:08 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Good question. "Eye of the be holder", maybe? Does Milton pun on other German words in the poem? Has someone endeavored to produce a list of puns from PL?

And--gosh--those are gorgeous lines...

At 5:48 AM, Anonymous Bienvenido Bones Banez, Jr. said...

Toad is representing the "The Art of Lies from the Tree of Knowledge that what is good and bad" and you are right point of view, and Tod means death! And that is how Satan the Devil can enjoy his life in the world Paradise Lost to the Great Tribulation. *Bones*

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I guess the finding of puns is not an exact science.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Bones.

Jeffery Hodges

* * *


Post a Comment

<< Home