Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Lyric ApocalypseMilton, Marvell, and the Nature of Events$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Ryan Netzley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823263479

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823263479.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

What Happens in Lycidas?

What Happens in Lycidas?

Apocalypse, Possibility, and Events in Milton’s Pastoral Elegy

(p.112) Chapter Three What Happens in Lycidas?
Lyric Apocalypse

Ryan Netzley

Fordham University Press

Milton’s Lycidas depicts a potentiality that does not tend toward actualization. In an occasional elegy purportedly all about the poet’s final response to a friend’s death, Milton outlines a possibility that is free from the directive interventions of not only bossy prelates and hireling wolves but also authoritative speakers like Saint Peter, Apollo, the author himself, and even God. The poem’s famed evocation of apocalyptic justice for greedy prelates—the two-handed engine that threatens to strike once and no more—also shows, paradoxically, the limitations inherent in conceiving of the apocalypse as a final justice or fulfillment. By disavowing the imperatives to perfection and productivity within both teleology and typology, Lycidas attempts to advance an antinomian understanding of liberty, one that would no longer consider autonomy or self-regulation the pinnacle of freedom. As a result, the new revelation that the poem’s final line promises—“To morrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new”—does not amount to the actualization of a positive program or lurking potential, precisely because such an understanding always devalues possibility, treating it as an unreality until it appears inside the very real world it hopes to change.

Keywords:   antinomianism, freedom, Milton, John, occasion, pastoral, possibility, typology

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .