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"No Death!": Rewriting The Protestant Elegy In Milton's Early Poems

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Chapter Summary

One of the most important places to look for the continuation of the Miltonic passion begun by "The Passion" is in his early elegies, especially "Lycidas". One need to understand how John Milton views death if one hope to unravel his handling of the death of Jesus. Milton's early poems participate in a culture of Protestant elegies and epitaphs that substitute printed verse for physical monuments to the dead. Justa Edouardo King Naufrago, is one of many post-Reformation memorial volumes of poetry that testify to the importance of textual practices of remembering the dead. The first English poem in Justa Edouardo opens with the stunning apostrophe "No Death! I'le not examine Gods decree, / Nor question providence, in chiding thee". These lines already hint at a connection to "Lycidas," which similarly grapples with the temptation to anger and doubt in the face of grief, a standard elegiac convention.

Keywords: John Milton; Justa Edouardo King Naufrago; passion poems; Protestant elegy



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