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Acceptable WordsEssays on the Poetry of Geoffrey Hill$
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Jeffrey Wainwright

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780719067549

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719067549.001.0001

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

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

(p.124) 10 ‘In wintry solstice like the shorten'd light’: Scenes from Comus (2005)
Acceptable Words

Jeffrey Wainwright

Manchester University Press

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

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