Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Was Milton or MacLeish Ever Subject to Wordlessness in Their Youth?


I finally managed to access an early essay by Archibald MacLeish. I had tracked down the bibliographical details and was advised on whom to contact. Here are those details:
Archibald MacLeish, "John Milton," Hotchkiss Record Literary Supplement, Volume 17, Issue 1 (January 1910), 20-23.
On advice, I contacted the librarians at Hotchkiss School, the boarding school attended by MacLeish, and requested the essay on Milton. Here is the beginning:
A Knight there was, rode on a mighty horse along a highway, rough and tortuous; his head held high, his eyes fixed on a distant mount from whose fair summit came a gleam of white, as ever and anon he saw it through the barren hills that lay about. And oft he passed a traveler on the way, who laughed and mocked, and tempted him to turn from off the winding road into the summer-land of fields and vineyards that lay by. Yet did the Knight not turn, nor drop his glance, which searched the hilltops for the flash of white, pure marble in the sun. And now he passed through villages and towns, where dogs, and apish children followed at his heels and laughed. But still a light of visions touched his face, and raised him from the ranks those who mocked. But as he rode and seemed to near the goal he sought, a cry came to his ears from out a narrow glen, and leaping from his saddle to the earth, he ran and leaving horse and road, and vision and ambition, entered in the struggle . . .
Perhaps I'll continue typing this down tomorrow, but note for now the "narrow glen," which reminds me of the "ravine" in Dante. I also hear a distant echo of the Faerie Queen, and maybe even Pilgrim's Progress.

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