Saturday, April 30, 2005

Ioannis Miltonis: His Latin Prose and Poetry

It is not easy, as I said to identify from existing anthologies which of Milton's works were written in Latin, which in English, and who provided the translations. A bit of detective work shows that of a standard 4 volume set of Milton's poetry one volume being commentary, about half of the last volume is in Latin, Greek, and Italian, the whole corpus having been moved to the end where it will least offend the non-Latinate, a sort of Apocryphal Appendix, as it were, of literature that never should have happened. Thus, we have about one-sixth of Milton's poetry is in Latin or related languages, non-English. Most of this is poetry composed from age 17 (eight years into his Latin education) to age 25, when he attained the Bachelor's degree at Christ College.

From this short list, we learn that Milton was in the habit of writing a few hundred lines of elegaic Latin verse each year, a practice he only gave up at the Rebellion.

  • 1625, Age 17

    Carmina Elegiaca 20vv. + 8vv.
  • 1626

    Elegy I, 92 vv.

    In Obitum Procancellarii Medici, 48vv.

    Elegy II, 24vv.

    In proditionem Bombardicam, 8vv.; In eandem, 10vv.; in eandem, 12vv. + 4vv. + 4vv.

    In Quintem Novembris, 226vv.

    Elegy III, 68vv.

    Elegy IV, 126vv.
  • 1627

    In obitum praesulis eliensis, 68vv.
  • 1628

    At a Vacation Exercise in the College, part Latin, Part English (lat. lost?)

    Naturam Non Pati Senium, 69vv.
  • 1629

    Elegy V, 140vv.

    Elegy VI, 90vv.
  • 1630

    De Idea Platonica qemadmodum Aristoteles Intellexit, 39vv.

    Elegy VII, 102+10vv.
  • 1637

    Ad Patrem, 250vv.
  • 1639

    Ad Salsillum, 41vv.

    Mansus, 100vv.

    Ad Leonoram Romae Canentem, 10vv. + 12vv.+8vv.
  • 1640

    Epitaphium Damonis, 119vv.
  • 1645 (Greek inscription on his likeness)

    In effigiei eius sculptorem
  • 1647

    Ad Ioannem Rousium, 87vv.

The bulk of these are given at the Dartmouth site, as enumerated here:

Milton's Latin prose is here enumerated, so far as I know it:

  • His Prolusions (Academic exercises from college, published two years before his death), which are often not identified as translations in the anthologies, but are.
  • Joannis Miltoni Angli Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio Secunda (1654), which is a
    reply to Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Caelum adversus Parricidas Anglicanos (1652)
    anon. at the time, Peter du Moulin known at Restoration
    , supplied in tr. by Robert Fellows, 1806.
  • Defensio secunda
  • Defensio tertia
  • The posthumous Treatise on The Christian Doctrine (tr., but this is not mentioned except in Preface)

In addition to these works, two others that are relevant to Anglo-Latin tradition, are his revision of Lily's Grammar already alluded to, and his Dialectica (Latin certainly but given in English in the Columbia complete works--is the translation even Milton's?). From the above list, we see that his Latin essentially went underground at the Rebellion, except when responding to the Anglo-Latin minority, in relation to education, or works composed in the 1640s but not later released. Thus, we demonstrate the dimensions of the English revolution over bilingualism, as perhaps in a future post we will show Milton's active role in it. It is interesting to see how far the Puritans went, from the time of Massachussetts governor John Winthrop's father Adam, who, though a Puritan, was not a separatist, whose library was half composed of half Latin books, to the bellicose English-only stance that would slowly emerge as a prominent characteristic of the Puritan, the Whig, the Covenanter, some (less conservative) Federalists, the Protestant, and ultimately the Liberals and Conservatives who look back to the "English Liberty" tradition of Milton.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Anglo-Latinity: Why Milton?

It is not easy to tell, from the standard anthology of Milton--the one book with the most prose the individual is likely to own--which is John Milton / Complete Poems and Major Prose, edited by Merritt Y. Hughes and published in 1957--which of Milton's works are in Latin. One has to read carefully. For example, the preface clearly indicates that The Christian Doctrine is not Milton's prose, but the translation of by Bishop Sumner, dating from happier times in 1825 when persons could be found able to read Milton in the original. The student assigned to read it at page 900 will merely learn that Sumner's notes have been removed--naturally, they must contain references to the original language. Unless instructed orally by his teacher (who himself may not know) the hapless student may walk away with the impression that John Milton--the man whose name is after all advertised as the author of the "prose" on the book--wrote the prose he is being assigned, and that furthermore he wrote it in English. The existence of Anglo-Latinity, as a forbidden knowledge, is quite down the memory hole of modern socialist post-Roosevelt "academic" "Education", you see.

Let us amplify: the literate tradition of England, Wales, Scotland, and America is bilingual, and the more educated parts of that tradition must therefore be read in translation by the non-Latinate. Since this fact is irksome, academic teachers go to great lengths to spare their students the humiliation of reading "their own" tradition in translation, not stopping short of substituting a translation for the original without comment. (How embarassing! You don't know your own language?! Heaven forbid we should subject you reproach at our august Collegium. Let's just pretend Milton wrote English instead. And if he didn't, those parts are uninteresting hence not assigned).

Thus, the lie can be perpetuated that the non-Latinate are in fact educated and initiated into the "canon" of Elizabethan and Jacobean texts--that is, literate in their own tongue, by the simple expedient of suppressing what they can't in fact read. More specifically, those ethnic cleansers who disposessed the Anglo-Latin speakers from political and academic offices in the first place, but appropriated in the name of "educational conservatism" the patina of "education", going so far as to claim that a "national re-nascence" had happened, a substatial part of which was in a language they themselves don't speak, and the remainder written in English by the bilingual.

From the Anglo-Latin perspective, it is debatable whether England ever recovered from her Reformation, and quite certain that whatever recovery their was in the literate sense was destroyed by 1649, as also on the continent of Europe by 1648, and in America by 1651/2 (0.S.). The post-Reformation world was one in which French was the lingua franca, a world too barbarian to ever again recover Latinate education in full numbers, so that Latin became, increasingly as the years went by, a pretty ornament for a clueless barbarian to wear on his sleeve, as a reminder of the culture he had destroyed--we call such trophyism "Conservative", Latin for being slaves together. There is no mystery about what happened. The Latinate were forced, bit by bit, into the underground of proscribed ethnicity. Roman Catholics, Non-Jurors, Jacobites, Tories, Loyalists, Legitimists--step by step their numbers were thinned from the mainstream, and given to share the marginal existence of the Welshman, the Gael, the Cherokee, or the southern ex-slave owner.

If the lie that the English National Tradition[tm] was "English Only" were foisted upon any other people or language, we would see at once the charade. We do all this without the least consciousness that in substituting one language for another, that is changing the bilingualism of this people here for monolingualism of that other people over there, that we have on our hands an ethnic and linguistic revolution, or an enduring opposition, comparable to mistaking the Serbs for the Croats. One language divided by two cultures. Are Serbs and Croats one single "ethnicity"? What about our Catholic-leaning, High Church, Cavalier, Tory, non-Juring, Jacobite Anglo-Latins vs. those Protestant, Whig, Anglo-spheric Americans? You decide.

We puzzle, if we are Gertrude Himmelfarb, over why there should be a Croatian gesellschaft and a Serbian gemeinschaft side by side in our American culture, despite the same language, as if there is some deep paradox about our society other than "hey, you took my stuff, dude. Ouch. That hurts" and the lingering resentment of the Educated and disposessed for the new Barbarian overlord. We marvel at the kulturkampf between Red States and Blue States, when we know so little about so-called "us" that we cannot frame even the simplest explanations for our political divisions. Or we might puzzle, if we are a liberal grammarian, over the existence of a "proscriptive" (i.e. Latinate) and "descriptive" (i.e. English-dominant) grammatical tradition. Such dualities, or bifurcations, in our culture, merely reflect the early stress signs of repressing our Anglo-Latinity. The repressed ethnic and linguistic tradition haunts our dreams and we know not why!

It would help, to end my long digression on the Whyness of Milton, to return at least to the point of bifurcation, where a man could be raised in one tradition, yet serve, Quisling-fashion, another. Then, perhaps, the nature of the occupation that Kipling so rightly placed in 1642, at Naseby, would become clear to us. Anglo-sphere-Schmanglo-schphere. First, Saxon dog, prove to me you have fair title to the culture you claim! Tell me first the story of how you got to be in charge of liberal democracy, and what you did with the Latin!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Beginner: North and Hillard, Exercise C.

Apposition, Composite Subject

  • 1. Romulus, son of Mars, was the first king of the Romans.

  • 2. Obey the king, the father of his country.

  • 3. You and your brother will be killed by the enemy.

  • 4. Caius and I are well.

  • 5. The youths were killed by their father, Brutus.

  • 6. You and I and our friends will set out.

  • 7. The king and queen are dear to all of the citizens.

  • 8. By good laws Numa, the second king of Rome, benefited his country.

  • 9. Both men and women were killed by the solidiers.

  • 10. All of us love life, the greatest gift of the gods.

  • 11. The king lost his kingdom and his riches, the things most pleasant to him.

  • 12. Citizens, obey me, your king.

  • 13. Neither the king nor his sons will be killed.

  • 14. The king and his son Caius have been killed.

  • 15. He and I will go away.

  • 16. Give the letter to me, your king.

  • 17. She and her borther have been sent home.

  • 18. His father, the king of Italy, has sent him.

  • 19. I have come to you, my own brother.

  • 20. Both the men and the women are good citizens.