‘In wintry solstice like the shorten'd light’: Scenes from Comus (2005)

Jeffrey Wainwright

in Acceptable Words

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780719067549
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781703359 | DOI:
‘In wintry solstice like the shorten'd light’: Scenes from Comus (2005)

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This chapter begins by presenting the first stanza of John Milton's ‘The Passion’, a poem he probably began and abandoned in 1630. The penultimate line, ‘In Wintry solstice like the shorten'd light’, recurs in Geoffrey Hill's Scenes from Comus, including in the very last lines of the work. Milton's lines also point to another major preoccupation of Hill's poem, music. Hill keeps his own music going towards ‘long out-living night’ when that of the young Milton fails, but his concern is not only with the endurance of his verse, here metaphorically cast as ‘music’. Scenes from Comus is first an occasional poem, written ‘for Hugh Wood on his 70th Birthday’. Wood is Hill's contemporary to the year and month.

Keywords: John Milton; The Passion; Scenes from Comus; Geoffrey Hill; music; Hugh Wood

Chapter.  4666 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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