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Miltonic Echoes: Fallen and Unfallen Resonances in Paradise Lost

Échos miltoniens : résonances édéniques et résonances déchues dans Paradise Lost
Philip Hardie


Paradise Lost est l’un des derniers poèmes d’une tradition qui, à la Renaissance, exploite l’écho de façon à la fois formelle et thématique. Milton renvoie en particulier à des passages très connus sur l’écho chez les poètes antiques Lucrèce, Virgile et Ovide. Au sein de cette lignée, Virgile reprend les enjeux soulevés par Lucrèce, avant qu’Ovide ne vienne se confronter à ses deux prédécesseurs pour élaborer l’épisode de Narcisse et Écho (livre III des Métamorphoses), dans lequel il associe subtilement des reflets sonores et optiques. Cette association sera déterminante pour Milton dans sa façon de s’approprier le traitement de l’écho : dans Paradise Lost, l’écho et le reflet collaborent pour exprimer les relations productives au sein du monde d’avant la Chute, mais aussi pour traduire les relations perverties du monde déchu.

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1This essay builds on the penetrating discussions of echo in Milton by John Hollander and Joseph Loewenstein (Hollander 1981; Loewenstein 1984), with particular reference to Paradise Lost. My focus will be on the role played in Milton’s plot of innocence, guilt, and redemption by allusion to the handling of echo by classical Latin poets, Lucretius, Virgil and Ovid. I will stray beyond aural echo to visual reflection, as I explore the workings of echo in Paradise Lost in their relationship with the reflections, both in malam partem and in bonam partem, of Narcissus that articulate the plot of Milton’s major epic.

2Milton’s dealings with echo come at the end of a Renaissance tradition that goes back to the late fifteenth century, and which flourishes in the sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth centuries in shorter poetic forms—epigram, lyric, pastoral—and in longer dramatic forms, notably Guarini’s fashion-setting Il pastor fido (c.1580-1585, first published 1590), and the English court masque. After the mid-seventeenth century the formal echo-device (Colby 1920) goes out of fashion, and becomes the subject of ridicule, parodied, for example, in Samuel Butler’s Hudibras (1663: Part I, Canto iii, dialogue between Orsin and Echo), and disparaged as “False Wit” by Joseph Addison, that arbiter of eighteenth-century taste (Spectator n°59). Elbridge Colby notes in his survey of The Echo-device in Literature (1920, 49) “[…] it may be rather broadly stated that the use of the echo-device was discontinued in England after the Restoration”.

3This is not, of course, the death of echo, whose nature it is to remain an undying voice even when her body dwindles away. Nevertheless, the Romantic, Victorian, and modern echoes which formed the subject-matter of most of the panels at the Amiens conference seem to mark largely fresh starts in the history of echo, even if these are not deaf to the resonances of the earlier tradition that continue to sound. Milton himself stages a criticism of the echoic conventions of the Jacobean and Stuart masque in the Lady’s echo song in Comus.

4In Paradise Lost Milton looks back over the earlier Renaissance lineage of echo. Milton also looks back to the major sources of echo in ancient Roman poetry, Lucretius’ De rerum natura, Virgil’s Eclogues, and Ovid’s narrative of Echo and Narcissus in Metamorphoses 3. But Milton looks even further back in time. As well as a literary history of echo, Milton also inscribes in Paradise Lost an absolute history of echo, in an epic which narrates a universal history prima ab origine mundi, and indeed from before the origins of the world in which we live. The sounds that are generated by the voices of spirit, man and nature in Paradise Lost are the source of the echoes that have reverberated through the centuries ever since. They find sounding-boards in the texts of classical antiquity, before continuing their reverberations down to the time of Milton and beyond. In this matter, as elsewhere, Milton audaciously reverses the direction of literary history and of allusivity. The point is well made by John Hollander, with reference to the Morning Hymn sung by Adam and Eve at Paradise Lost 5, 153-208 (Hollander 1981, 37-41). Hollander discerns the appearance of what he calls the “Original Refrain”, a figure of echoing repetition, in the repeated occurrence, in Adam and Eve’s address to the works of God that sound his praise, of the formula, in the second half of the line, of (verb) + “his praise”: “Vary to our great maker still new praise” (184), “Rising or falling still advance his praise” (191), “Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise” (196), “Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise” (199), “Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise” (204). As Hollander also notes, in the Morning Hymn echo is present in other forms than that of the repetitions of refrain. The sun, “of this great world both eye and soul” (171), is called upon to “sound his praise”; the lesser heavenly bodies, moon and the “five other wandering fires” are called upon to “resound / His praise, who out of darkness called up light” (178-179). And, Hollander further notes, this aural imaging of the sun’s praise mirrors the visual reflection of the sun’s light by the moon and planets. This pairing of the reflections of sound and vision is a common one, encouraged in Latin by the fact that the word imago denotes both visual image and sonic echo. This linguistic fact expedites Ovid’s pairing of the two stories of Echo and Narcissus in Metamorphoses 3, in an episode the two halves of which echo, or reflect, each other in multifarious and complex ways. Milton responds to this Ovidian twinning in his own interweaving of the theme of echo with the Narcissistic subplot of Paradise Lost (on which see further below).

5At the end of the Morning Hymn Adam and Eve bring the praise of God’s creation within their own echoing landscape. They call on all creatures that fly, swim or walk—inhabitants of sky, water and land—to praise their maker, and they also call on all creatures to:

  • 1 Are we to take it that the first person singular now refers to Adam alone? But it is a plural again (...)

Witness if I1 be silent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise. (5, 202-204)

  • 2 Psalm 148: “Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Pra (...)

6The Morning Hymn is intensely intertextual, as documented by Alistair Fowler in his commentary on 5, 153-208: “The morning hymn closely imitates Psalm 1482 and the ‘Song of the Three Children’, added in [the Septuagint] after Daniel 3:23 […] and used in Christian worship as the Canticle Benedicite, omnia opera […] Also echoing Psalm 19 (‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handywork’) […]”. But in Eden Adam and Eve’s utterance is one of “fit strains […] unmeditated”, the product of the “prompt eloquence [that] [f]lowed from their lips” (148-150). The Hymn can owe no literary debt, since literature has not yet been invented. Milton thereby reverses the direction of allusion, since it is in fact the Psalms that echo unfallen mankind’s song of praise in Eden. The Morning Hymn creates pastoral echo long before Theocritus and Virgil. Adam and Eve emulate not biblical and classical authors, but the singers closest to the throne of God, the angels who “with songs / And choral symphonies, day without night, / Circle his throne rejoicing” (5, 161-163). The songs of praise of all creatures, from the angels to God’s lowest works and including the two first human beings, are a response to the “glorious works” of God, an echo, one might say, of those works themselves. Here one may be reminded of Francis Bacon’s allegory of the marriage of Pan and Echo as the faithful rendering in words of the world, speech which Bacon identifies with philosophy, in The Wisdom of the Ancients, chapter 6 “Pan: or Nature”:

Lastly, it is not to be wondered at that no amours are attributed to Pan, except his marriage with Echo. For the world enjoys itself and in itself all things that are. Now he that is in love wants something, and where there is abundance of everything want can have no place. The world therefore can have no loves, nor any want (being content with itself) unless it be of discourse. Such is the nymph Echo, or, if it be of the more exact and measured kind, Syringa. And it is excellently provided that of all discourses or voices Echo alone should be chosen for the world’s wife. For that is in fact the true philosophy which echoes most faithfully the voice of the world itself, and is written as it were from the world’s own dictation; being indeed nothing else than the image and reflexion of it, which it only repeats and echoes, but adds nothing of its own. (Spedding, Ellis, Heath, 71-714, transl. James Spedding)

7The Garden of Eden is the archetypal and original pastoral locus amoenus. As Barbara Lewalski puts it in her study of the variety of generic forms in Paradise Lost, “Pastoral is the dominant mode for the portrayal of Eden and the life of prelapsarian Adam and Eve” (Lewalsky 1985, 173). I turn now to some consideration of the role of echo in pastoral poetry, above all in Virgil’s Eclogues, and of Milton’s relationship to the Virgilian tradition.

  • 3 On supplication in Paradise Lost see Whittington 2016, chapter 5 “‘Thy humiliation shall exalt’. Hi (...)
  • 4praesens deus” is a quasi-technical term for the epiphany of a god. Adam laments that expulsion fr (...)

8When we see Adam and Eve offering up their Morning Hymn in Paradise Lost 5, a few days after they were created, they enjoy the happiness and security of Tityrus, the archetypal happy shepherd in Virgil’s first Eclogue. But theirs is a security that is not dependent on overcoming a prior threat to their pastoral existence, as is the case for Tityrus, who has avoided the confiscation of his land by visiting a “divine” young man in Rome. Adam and Eve will, in the course of the poem, go into exile from their blessed and idyllic existence, like Meliboeus, the unhappy interlocutor of Tityrus in Eclogue 1, but this they will suffer as a result of an action of their own free will. Unlike Tityrus they have not had to petition their lord for the right to continue living in a state that is the free gift of God. Their praise of God is freely given as a spontaneous expression of gratitude. “Lowly they bowed adoring” (5, 144), as they begin the Morning Hymn—but this is not a servile bowing and scraping.3 This is the humiliation that exalts. The praise contained in the Morning Hymn corresponds to the hyperbolical praise by Tityrus in Eclogue 1 of the young man in Rome (almost certainly Octavian) who granted him the right to continue as a herdsman on his small plot of land. Tityrus calls him a god, 6-7: “deus nobis haec otia fecit. / namque erit ille mihi semper deus” (“A god granted me this tranquility: for he will always be a god to me”). [D]eus is repeated—echoed—, and that repetition is itself an echo of Lucretius’ acclamation of his philosophical hero Epicurus as a god, De rerum natura 5, 8: “deus ille fuit, deus…” (“he was a god, a god”—see further below). In Eclogue 1 Tityrus offers his “god” extravagant sacrifice (43), and speaks of gods who appear in epiphany, “nec tam praesentis alibi cognoscere diuos [licebat]” (41) (“nowhere else was it possible to know gods who were so present”), but present in the city, not in an Edenic countryside.4

9The model of Tityrus in the first Eclogue is signaled in the last lines, already quoted, of the Morning Hymn, before the concluding invocation (“Hail universal lord […]”), when Adam calls on creation to witness his own contribution to the praise of the creator:

Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise. (5, 202-204)

  • 5 Cf. Propertius 1, 19, 19-22: “uos eritis testes, si quos habet arbor amores, / fagus et Arcadio pin (...)
  • 6 Note that the chiastic repetition of “deus” comes immediately after Meliboeus’ account of Tityrus t (...)

10The notion of teaching the non-human elements of the pastoral world to echo the pastoral singer’s voice introduces the first occurrence of echo in Virgil’s Eclogues, in the words with which Meliboeus contrasts his own fate of exile from his fields with the situation of Tityrus: “Tu, Tityre, lentus in umbra / formosam resonare doces Amaryllida siluas” (4-5) (“You, Tityrus, at ease beneath the shade teach the woods to resound ‘fair Amaryllis’”).5 To “teach” the woods to resound, or echo, elevates the pathetic fallacy to the status of actual sentience, and converts the sympathy between man and nature into communication.6

11The last feature of the pastoral landscape “made vocal […] and taught [its maker’s] praise” according to Adam is “fresh shade”. The idea that hills and valleys can echo, or that running water has a voice, is familiar enough, but a shade? This may prompt us to a consideration of shade or shadow as itself a form of reduplication, parallel to the reduplications of vocal echo or visual mirroring. A shadow is the absence of light, but it is a sign of the presence of an object or person, whose shape it reduplicates, or echoes, in outline. I will speak later of echoes and reflections in Lucretius, but here I will note that Lucretius’ discussion of vision in De rerum natura 4 includes a passage on why it is that our shadows seem to follow us, creating the appearance of sentient beings, doubles that purposefully imitate our actions: “umbra uidetur item nobis in sole moueri / et uestigia nostra sequi gestumque imitari” (4, 364-365) (“Our own shadow also appears to move in the sun, and to follow our footsteps, imitating our gestures”). This is one of the Lucretian passages out of which Ovid generates his narrative of Narcissus, who is entrapped when he sees his shadow in the pool: to this too I will come later (Hardie 2002, 153). Virgil’s Tityrus reclines in a shadow that is a double of the shape of the tree that rises above him, and in this shade he teaches the trees to create doubles, echoes, of his praise of Amaryllis.

  • 7 See Desport 1952; Damon 1961; Boyle 1977; Breed 2006; Fitzgerald 2016.
  • 8 On the contrast between presence in Eclogue 1 and absence in Eclogue 2 see Hardie 2002, 123-128.

12Echo and resonance—as well as shade—are almost defining features of the Virgilian pastoral, in a way that is not the case with Theocritean bucolic.7 As William Fitzgerald says in a recent essay on the “sonic environment” in the Eclogues, “[…] the main characteristic of pastoral’s proper locale is echo” (Fitzgerald 2016, paragraph 6). In the first Eclogue echo is introduced as a sign of plenitude and presence in the pastoral world. Tityrus is in the presence of Amaryllis (“postquam nos Amaryllis habet [1, 30] [“after Amaryllis possessed me”]), and that presence is voiced by the woods, which themselves contain the phonic presence of the girl’s name (Amaryllida siluas).8 By contrast in Eclogue 2 the boy Alexis is absent from his lover Corydon, and the song of complaint and wooing forced out of Corydon by his erotic obsession seems to call forth no echoes from the mountains and woods: his singing is an “empty pursuit”, “ibi haec incondita solus / montibus et siluis studio iactabat inani” (4-5) (“There [in the beech woods] alone in an empty pursuit he used to fling these artless strains to the mountains and woods)”. The bushes do resound, but to the harsh music of cicadas which accompanies Corydon’s song, in a manner that does not suggest the sympathy of once-human songsters who have wasted away into cicadas, “at mecum raucis, tua dum uestigia lustro, / sole sub ardenti resonant arbusta cicadis” (12-13) (“But as I track your footprints, the copses under the burning sun echo my voice with that of the shrill cicadas)”. This is not the consoling and comforting pastoral echo in umbra. The kind of response for which Corydon is looking from the mountains and woods is realized by the Eclogues-poet in the final poem as he sings of the solliciti amores (“troubled loves”) of his friend the love elegist Gallus, “non canimus surdis, respondent omnia siluae (Eclogues, 10, 8) (“We sing to no deaf ears; the woods echo every note)”. But it does not appear that Gallus’ own songs evoke an answering echo from the woods and rocks, which mourn for the “dying” poet himself, but cannot echoically celebrate the presence of Lycoris, who is separated from Gallus in an Alpine version of exile, far from her fatherland, “tu procul a patria…” (46 ff.). Gallus can only make Lycoris present in Arcadia through the device of writing his amores (“loves”, or “Loves”, the title of Gallus’ love elegies) on the bark of trees, where they will grow as the trees grow, but only as texts, not as the real presence of the beloved, “crescent illae, crescetis amores (54) (“The trees will grow, and you, loves, will grow”). “The immediate presence of […] a voice can only be mimicked by silent inscription” (Hardie 2002, 124).

  • 9ad sidera” in the Eclogues: 5, 43; 5, 62; 6, 84; 9, 29 “cantantes sublime ferent ad sidera cycni”.
  • 10iacto” is the verb used of Corydon’s futile and unanswered singing at Eclogues 2, 5.

13Pastoral echo sounds out in its most expansive forms in the central poems of the Eclogues book, bursting the narrow bounds of the pastoral world, and linking the world of men to the world of gods. In the paired songs of Eclogue 5, Mopsus sings of nature’s lament for Daphnis, and attempts to elevate the dead Daphnis to the stars in fame, fama (but only in fame),“Daphnis ego in siluis, hinc usque ad sidera notus” (“Daphnis was I amid the woods, known from here even to the stars”) (the epitaph for Daphnis, 43). In Menalcas’ song on the resurrection and apotheosis of Daphnis, the “real” Daphnis is raised in person to the skies, accompanied by the large-scale vocalization of nature, “ipsi laetitia uoces ad sidera9 iactant / intonsi montes; ipsae iam carmina rupes, / ipsa sonant arbusta: “deus, deus ille, Menalca!” (62-64) (“The mountains themselves, with woods unshorn, joyfully fling their voices star-ward; the rocks themselves, the groves themselves ring out the song: ‘A god is he, a god, Menalcas!’”),10 echoing the repeated deus of Tityrus’ thanksgiving to the divine young man in Eclogue 1. In Eclogue 6 it is divinely originated song that links earth and heaven through echo, omnia, quae Phoebo quondam meditante beatus / audiit Eurotas iussitque ediscere lauros, / ille canit, pulsae referunt ad sidera ualles (82-84) (“All the songs that of old Phoebus rehearsed, while happy Eurotas listened and bade his laurels learn by heart—these Silenus sings. The re-echoing valleys fling them again to the stars…”).

14If Adam and Eve are like Tityrus in Eclogue 1 in teaching their local landscape—hill, valley, fountain, fresh shade—to praise God, the full vertical range of the echoing praise of God that fills the Morning Hymn from angels, sun and moon, to the valleys is comparable, rather, to the echoes that fill the space between earth and stars in the climactic resoundings of Eclogues 5 and 6.

15In Virgilian pastoral the natural world responds vocally to the joys of humans. Part of the desolation of the Fall is that the same landscape that previously echoed to Adam and Eve’s songs of praise now resounds to very different utterances. Adam laments, Paradise Lost 10, 860-862: “O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales and bowers, / With other echo late I taught your shades / To answer, and resound far other song”. Adam’s words echo his own earlier words in a time of bliss, both the Morning Hymn: “Witness if I be silent, morn or even, / To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade, / Made vocal by my song” (5, 202-204); and the words addressed to his surroundings by Adam when he first woke into being (Adam to Raphael): “Thou sun, said I, fair light, / And thou enlightened earth, so fresh and gay, / Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains, / And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell, / Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here?” (8, 273-277). Adam’s instinctive first reaction had been to address the light of the world that he sees around him (“fair light, / And thou enlightened earth”). But in prelapsarian Eden pastoral shades are innocent and refreshing, and Adam takes in both shade and sunlight in his first gaze on the new world: “about me round I saw / Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains” (8, 261-262) (lines echoed in Adam’s own address to the world around him at 275). Receiving no answer from the natural world to the question of how he comes to exist, Adam then falls asleep “On a green shady bank profuse of flowers” (8, 286). This is the sleep in which he has a vision of God which supplies him with the answer to this question.

16After the Fall it is not just the echoes that change; shade itself takes on dark overtones. Adam’s nostalgic address to the shades of the pastoral landscape form part of his loud laments in the night following the Fall, a night “not now, as ere man fell, / Wholesome and cool, and mild, but with black air / Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom …” (10, 846-848). In book 9, immediately after the Fall, Adam had wished that he might hide from the “blaze / Insufferably bright” (9, 1083-1084) of heavenly shapes, “in some glade / Obscured, where highest woods impenetrable / To star or sunlight, spread their umbrage broad / And brown as evening” (1085-1088). This “darkening” of shadow also frames Virgil’s Eclogues in a ring-composition whereby the positive umbra in which Tityrus reclines in Eclogue 1, “tu, Tityre, lentus in umbra” (4), is echoed in negative mode at the end of the tenth Eclogue, “surgamus: solet esse grauis cantantibus umbra, / iuniperi grauis umbra; nocent et frugibus umbrae” (75-76) (“Let us arise. The shade is oft harmful to singers—harmful the juniper’s shade; the shades also hurt the crops”)—with a threefold, echoing, repetition of umbra.

17Adam’s “With other echo late I taught your shades” echoes the first instance of “teaching echo” in Adam and Eve’s Morning Hymn (“Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise” [5, 204]). There is perhaps a further inter-textual echo of the two instances of the “teaching nature” conceit in Spenser’s June eclogue, in a before and after of happiness and sadness. At 49-56, Hobbinoll remembers his delight in listening to Colin’s rymes and roundelays, “Whose Echo made the neyghbour groues to ring, / And taught the byrds, which in the lower spring / Did shroude in shady leaues from sonny rayes, / Frame to thy songe their chereful cheriping”. But, now that Tityrus is dead, Colin can utter only “piteous plaints”, and lament his own lack of poetic ability: “But if on me some little drops would flowe, / Of that the spring was in his [Tityrus’] learned hedde, / I soone would learne these woods, to wayle my woe, / And teache the trees, their trickling teares to shedde” (93-96).

  • 11 Drawing on Hardie 2009, chapter 1 “Cultural and Historical Narratives in Virgil’s Eclogues and Lucr (...)

18The poetic presence that intervenes between the bucolic of Theocritus and the pastoral of Virgil, and whose shadow falls across the Eclogues book is Lucretius. The obsession with echoes and resonances that is so distinctive a feature of the world of the Eclogues, in contrast to Theocritus, cannot be understood without reference to Lucretius. The echoic and resonant presences of Virgil’s pastoral world are a response to Lucretius’ attempt to drain the world of any real presences other than those of atomic materialism.11 We have already seen an example of this in Lucretius’ demonstration that the imitative nature of shadows does not betoken intentionality.

  • 12 See Breed 2000, 3-20; Hardie 2009a, 18. Lucretius uses “sub tegmine (caeli)” at De rerum natura 2, (...)

19Allusion to the De rerum natura begins in the very first line of the Eclogues: “recubans sub tegmine fagi” (“reclining under the covering of a beech tree”) recycles Lucretian vocabulary to produce the archetypal picture of the shepherd reclining at his ease.12 When Meliboeus says that Tityrus “teaches” the woods how to echo “formosa Amaryllis”, he inverts Lucretius’ account of the origins of music, in which it is nature who first “teaches” mankind, “et zephyri, caua per calamorum, sibila primum, / agrestis docuere cauas inflare cicutas” (5, 1382-1383) (“And the whistlings of the zephyrs through the hollows of reeds first taught peasants to blow into hollow stalks”). There is here a light personification of the Zephyrs, but this is a fleeting mythologization in a history of civilization that is otherwise conducted through a strictly materialist account of mankind’s empirical interactions with the natural world, and it will not deceive Lucretius’ experienced reader.

  • 13 Wills 1996, 61, with n. 32. Kronenberg 2016 argues that the deified Daphnis of Eclogue 5 is an alle (...)

20The Epicurean world is one devoid of the presence of the gods. If the gods do exist, they spend their time in a state of unconcerned bliss in the intermundia, the spaces between the plural worlds. Yet there is a god in Lucretius’ world, and that god is Epicurus himself, as we are told at the beginning of book 5: “nam si, ut ipsa petit maiestas cognita rerum, / dicendum est, deus ille fuit, deus, inclute Memmi […] (7-8) (“For if we must speak as the acknowledged grandeur of the things itself demands, a god he was, a god, most noble Memmius […]”). But this is only a manner of speaking, honouring the great services rendered to mankind by Epicurus; elsewhere the fact that even Epicurus has died forms part of a consolation in the course of the attack on the fear of death (3, 1042-1044). The repeated “deus … deus” is echoed by Virgil firstly in Tityrus’ praise of his benefactor in Eclogue 1 (6-7, cited above), where one might suspect the hyperbole of gratitude, and, secondly, in the proclamation, in Virgil’s fifth Eclogue, of the “real” apotheosis of Daphnis, who has died but been resurrected as a god. The intertextual echo of the Lucretian germination is now transformed into the echoing of the animate pastoral landscape of Eclogue (5, 62-64, cited above) “ipsi laetitia uoces ad sidera iactant, / intonsi montes; ipsae iam carmina rupes, / ipsa sonant arbusta: ‘deus, deus ille, Menalca!’”. In origin this kind of repetition is associated with religious ritual and the revelation of a god:13 in Eclogue 5 ritual repetition becomes pastoral echo, but an echo that reveals a numinous presence in the pastoral world, a presence absent from the world of Lucretius.

21A recurrent tactic of Lucretius is to conjure up a world of supernatural presence and enchantment, only to reduce it to an epiphenomenal illusion superimposed on the interactions of atoms moving in a void, which are the only reality in the Epicurean universe. This, ultimately, is the purpose of the spellbinding hymn to Venus that opens the De rerum natura. Lucretius does something similar with his images of the pastoral world, images which may well draw on pre-Virgilian pastoral poetry. The ease and contentment of the simple life in the countryside form a powerful image of Epicurean ataraxia and uoluptas. Thus at the beginning of the second book the discontents of the life of luxury in the city are contrasted with the picture of country-folk reclining on the soft grass by a stream of water under the branches of a tall tree, needing only modest resources to satisfy their natural desires and enjoy a physical well-being, especially in the season when the grass is scattered with spring flowers (2, 29-33). So far this could be Tityrus in the opening lines of the first Eclogue, reclining in the shade of a beech tree, in a landscape of cool rivers and fountains. The image from the opening of De rerum natura 2 recurs in the passage in book 5 on the invention of music through imitation of the sounds of birdsong and of the wind whistling in the rushes, a time of rustic merrymaking and music-making (5, 1379-1407): “agrestis enim tum musa uigebat” (1398) (“for then the rustic muse was in its prime”). This is the line from which Virgil takes the phrase “agrestis musa” in the programmatic statement of pastoral intent at the beginning of the second half of the Eclogues book, “agrestem tenui meditabor harundine Musam” (6, 8) (“I will practice the rustic muse on my slender reed)”. Lucretius comments on the novelty and wonder of this primitive music-making: the rustics laugh and guffaw, “omnia quod noua tum magis haec et mira uigebant” (1404) (“because at that time all things had the power of novelty and wonder”). Later ages have become jaded and lost that innocent delight in a rustic music at the moment of its invention.

22Very different is the supernatural air of wonder and novelty that hangs over the Virgilian pastoral world: this is an Orphic magic. By the end of Eclogue 6 Tityrus’ humble “agrestis musa” has been transformed into an echoing cosmos of song, as we learn that the Song of Silenus has its origin in the compositions of Apollo himself, and that Apollo’s and Silenus’ singing has been further relayed by the trees and valleys of the pastoral landscape, “omnia, quae Phoebo quondam meditante beatus, / audiit Eurotas iussitque ediscere lauros, / ille canit, pulsae referunt ad sidera ualles” (82-84) (“All the songs that of old Phoebus rehearsed, while happy Eurotas listened and bade his laurels learn by heart—these Silenus sings. The re-echoing valleys fling them again to the stars…”). “[M]editante” picks up line 8 “agrestem tenui meditabor harundine Musam”, with Tityrus as subject, and that line in turn picks up the first use of what becomes the word for pastoral composition, in Meliboeus’ address to Tityrus at Eclogues 1, 2 “siluestrem tenui Musam meditaris auena” (“you practice the woodland muse on your slender oaten reed” – cf. Milton’s “strictly meditate the thankless Muse”, Lycidas 66). And as Tityrus in Eclogue 1 “teaches” the woods to echo “beautiful Amaryllis”, so the river Eurotas “teaches” the laurels the song that it has heard Apollo sing, with the implication that the laurels echoically repeat the song. In connection with Apollo, Eurotas and laurels both hint at a miraculously animated landscape: the river Eurotas in Sparta is the location for the tragic tale of Hyacinthus (Ovid, Metamorphoses, 10, 169), the boy beloved of Apollo and accidentally killed by a discus; the blood of Hyacinthus’ dead body is then transformed into the hyacinth flower. The laurel-tree is the arboreal metamorphosis of another of Apollo’s loves, Daphne. In one version Apollo tried unsuccessfully to win Daphne with his singing (Nonnus, Dionysiaka, 15, 310-311). Andrea Cucchiarelli notes (on Eclogues, 6, 83) “in the form of silva [Daphne transformed into a tree] cannot help but conform to the bucolic law of ‘resonance’” (Cucchiarelli 2012).

  • 14 See Fowler 2002, 400 on the contrast between the “gentle pastoral” of Lucretius’ first analogy, of (...)

23Virgil uses Lucretian language to describe the supernatural echoes at the end of Eclogue 6. With line 84 “pulsae referunt ad sidera ualles” reminiscent of De rerum natura, “clamoreque montes, / icti reiectant uoces ad sidera mundi” (2, 327-328) [“struck by the shouts the mountains throw back the voices to the stars of the heavens”] (cf. “fulgor ibi ad caelum se tollit” [325] [“the brightness there raises itself to the sky”]). This is in the context of an elaborate Lucretian analogy for the proposition that the atoms are in constant motion, but at a microscopic level below the reach of human sense: just so the busy movement, shouts and flashing armour of legions on manœuvre seen from a high mountain give the impression of a stationary brightness.14

24Lucretius is relentless in giving a strictly atomistic explanation of the phenomenon of echo in book 4 (568-594), in a passage which culminates in one of Lucretius’ most colourful exercises in demythologization:

quae bene cum uideas, rationem reddere possis
tute tibi atque aliis, quo pacto per loca sola
saxa paris formas uerborum ex ordine reddant.
palantis comites cum montis inter opacos
quaerimus et magna dispersos uoce ciemus.
sex etiam aut septem loca uidi reddere uocis,
unam cum iaceres: ita colles collibus ipsi
uerba repulsantes iterabant docta referri.
haec loca capripedes satyros nymphasque tenere
finitimi fingunt et faunos esse loquuntur,
quorum noctiuago strepitu ludoque iocanti
adfirmant uulgo taciturna silentia rumpi
chordarumque sonos fieri dulcisque querellas,
tibia quas fundit digitis pulsata canentum,
et genus agricolum late sentiscere, cum Pan
pinea semiferi capitis uelamina quassans
unco saepe labro calamos percurrit hiantis,
fistula siluestrem ne cesset fundere musam.
cetera de genere hoc monstra ac portenta loquuntur,
ne loca deserta ab diuis quoque forte putentur
sola tenere. ideo iactant miracula dictis
aut aliqua ratione alia ducuntur, ut omne
humanum genus est auidum nimis auricularum. (572-594)

When you fully perceive all this, you may explain to yourself and others how it is that in lonely spots rocks give back in regular succession forms of words like to those sent forth, as we seek our comrades straying about among the darkened hills and with loud voice call upon them scattered abroad. I have seen places give back as many as six or seven voices, when you sent forth one: in this way the hills themselves dash back on hills and repeat the words thus trained to come back. These spots the people round fancy that the goat-footed satyrs and nymphs inhabit, and tell that they are the fauns by whose night-pervading noise and sportive play, as they declare, the still silence is broken and sounds produced of stringed instruments and sweet plaintive melodies, such as the pipe pours forth when beaten by the fingers of the players; the country-people hearing far and wide, when Pan shaking the piny covering of his half-beast head often runs his curved lip over the gaping reeds, making the pipe ceaselessly pour forth its woodland song. Other such prodigies and marvels they tell of, lest they be thought to inhabit lonely places, abandoned even by the gods. For this reason they boast of such wonders in their stories, or are led on by some other reason, since the whole race of man is all too greedy for listening ears. (transl. Munro, adapted)

25This is the pastoral landscape remythologized by Virgil whose Eclogues are populated by Pan, satyrs, nymphs, Faunus, real inhabitants of the pastoral world (real, of course, within the fiction). For Milton, too, echoes in the landscape of Eden are the signs of real presences, but of more exalted supernatural creatures, angels or demons who form part of the chorus of praise of God that is the subject of the Morning Hymn sung by Adam and Eve in book 5. In the previous book, as Adam and Eve get ready to go to bed for the night, Eve asks Adam why the stars shine all night when everyone is asleep and there is no-one to admire the glorious sight of the stars. Adam explains that the stars shed down their influence to temper or nourish things on earth; moreover, Adam says, there are beings to look at the stars when humans sleep (see Hardie 2009, 269-270):

These then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
Shine not in vain, nor think, though men were none,
That heaven would want spectators, God want praise;
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep:
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night: how often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to others note
Singing their great creator: oft in bands
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonic number joined, their songs
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to heaven. (4, 674-688)

26“Echoing hill or thicket” (681) reminds us that in Eden we are in a pastoral landscape, and the Lucretian allusion is assured by the echo in “echoing hill” of “colles collibus […] uerba repulsantes”, and in “celestial voices to the midnight air” of “noctiuago strepitu”. These “spiritual creatures” are superior to the sporting satyrs, nymphs and fauns, the product of the fond imagination of Lucretius’ countryfolk. Milton concurs with Lucretius’ dismissal of those mythological inhabitants of the countryside as mere fictions in the description, a few lines later, of Adam and Eve’s innocent Bower of Bliss: “In shady bower / More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned, / Pan or Silvanus never slept, nor Nymph, / Nor Faunus haunted” (705-708). With “feigned” compare De rerum natura (4, 581) “fingunt”, referring to the fictions that Lucretius is concerned to disprove. But Milton also looks to a standard allegorization of the music of Pan’s pipes as the harmony of the spheres.

27The real presences of these spiritual creatures join heaven and earth: theirs are celestial voices, accompanied by heavenly instruments, and they elicit a response in the minds of Adam and Eve, whose thoughts they lift to heaven. There is another kind of echoing going on here, when the spiritual beings sing not solo, but “responsive each to other’s note” (683), echoing each other in antiphony. Alastair Fowler notes that “[The fifth-century church historian] Socrates Scholasticus tells of [St] Ignatius’s ‘vision of angels praising the Holy Trinity in responsive hymns’, the source of antiphony (Ecclesiasticae Historiae Autores, Paris, 1544, fol. 258v)” (Fowler 2007 on Paradise Lost, 4, 682-683). Antiphony in the human world is thus an echo of, a response to, the responsions of the singing of the spiritual creatures.

  • 15 dumus occurs in pastoral contexts at Virgil, Eclogues, 1, 75-76: “non ego uos posthac uiridi proiec (...)
  • 16 On Virgil’s remythologization of Lucretian intertexts in the description of the site of Rome, see H (...)

28Fowler also refers to the description at the beginning of Hesiod’s Theogony (35-52) of the Muses singing hymns to Zeus, with the result that “the summit of snowy Olympus and the houses of the immortals resound (ἠχεῖ)” (42-43). The parallel is not, to my mind, all that close. But Milton may allude to another passage that associates the supreme pagan god, Zeus or Jupiter, with a pastoral landscape, Evander’s description to Aeneas, at Aeneid 8, 347-354, of the numinous Capitoline hill, inhabited, so Evander’s Arcadians believe, by Jupiter. In Virgil’s day the Capitol was the site of gilded temples, but in Evander’s time the hill was “siluestribus horrida dumis (“shaggy with wild thickets”—cf. Milton’s “echoing hill or thicket”).15 Evander’s Arcadians think that they hear the sound of Jupiter shaking the aegis, (“cum saepe nigrantem / aegida concuteret” [353-354]).16 The temple of Capitoline Jupiter was the main temple on the Capitol, but Augustus also dedicated a temple of Jupiter Tonans, Jupiter the Thunderer, on the hill.

  • 17 See Heerink 2015, 8, with nn. 37, 38. In Antoninus Liberalis 26,4 the nymphs transform Hylas into a (...)
  • 18 Also echoing Eclogues 3, 78-79 “Phyllida amo ante alias; nam me discedere fleuit / et longum ‘formo (...)

29The echoes in Lucretius’ mountainous landscape are produced by the voices of those who shout out in search of their companions who have gone astray in the deserted countryside (De rerum natura 4, 575-576), like Hercules in search of his boyfriend Hylas, after he has disappeared into the pool into which the nymphs have dragged the beautiful boy, or like hunters who have been separated from their companions. Ovid’s Narcissus is a hunter whose adventures arise as he wanders in deserted places: the nymph Echo catches sight of him “wandering through the countryside off the path”, “per deuia rura uagantem” (Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3, 370), and he is “fatigued by hunting and the heat” (“studio uenandi lassus et aestu”, 413) when he arrives at the pool which will be as fatal for him as was the pool to which Hylas strayed. The futile cries of his fellow-sailors searching for Hylas are the occasion for one of Virgil’s most striking echoic effects: “his adiungit, Hylan nautae quo fonte relictum / clamassent, ut litus ‘Hylā, Hylă’ omne sonaret” (Eclogue 6, 43-44) (“To these he joined the song of which spring Hylas had been abandoned at, when the sailors shouted out for him, so that the whole shore sounded out ‘Hylas, Hylas’”). Within Silenus’ echoing song, the prosodic variation in Hylā, Hylă captures the effect of echo returning as a diminished version of the original shout, and the fading away of the second syllable into silence reflects the fact that these echoes in a landscape cannot conjure up presence: Hylas has been lost. It is the shore that resounds, but this is also an echo in a wood, or of a wood, since the vocative Hyla is a Doric form of ὕλη “wood”, silua in Latin; ὕλη was an ancient etymology of the name Hylas.17 The echoing Hylā, Hylă in Eclogue 6 is echoed in the last words of Ovid’s Echo as she echoes Narcissus’ dying farewell to his own reflection: “dictoque ‘ualē’ ‘ualĕ’ inquit et Echo (Metamorphoses, 3, 501) (“and as he said ‘farewell’, Echo also said “farewell’”).18

  • 19 Hardie, 2009, 270-273 (with further references); Kilgour 2012, chapter 3 “Reflections of Narcissus” (...)

30What does all this have to do with Milton? As I have shown elsewhere, Ovid’s paired—mirroring, or echoing—stories of Echo and Narcissus, aural and visual reflections, can be read as mythological narratives generated out of Lucretian scientific discussions of the sensory illusions, both aural and ocular, produced by false judgements based on atomic simulacra (Hardie 2002, 150-165). We have seen Milton’s use of Lucretius on echo. Ovid’s Narcissus episode is a central text for Milton’s constructions of subjectivity and interpersonal relationships. Milton’s extensive reworking of the Ovidian Narcissus in Eve’s account of her first coming to consciousness and her experience with the reflection of herself in the pool (Paradise Lost 4, 440-491) is well known.19 Eve’s captivation with her own image would lead to a doomed and sterile form of narcissism, disastrously sterile since it would foreclose the possibility of any future generations of mankind. Eve is saved from this fate by a disembodied voice in the landscape of shade, flowers and water, a voice that is not an echo but, it would appear, the voice of God. The voice tells Eve that she should follow to the soft embraces of him “Whose image thou art”, Adam. Eve is not just in the image of Adam, she is formed of his substance, as Adam tells her:

Whom fly’st thou? Whom thou fly’st, of him thou art,
His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart
Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth an individual solace dear;
Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim
My other half. (482-488)

31Eve is an alter ego of Adam, his image, but possessing her own substantial existence, an “individual” both in the now obsolete sense of “indivisible” (Oxford English Dictionary 1, in early use frequently with reference to the Trinity) and “inseparable” (OED 2), and in the sense “existing as a separate indivisible entity” (OED 4). This is a positive and productive kind of narcissism, that will lead to plentiful progeny: as the voice says, “him thou shall enjoy / Inseparably thine, to him shall bear / Multitudes like thyself” (472-474).

  • 20 Green (2009, 61) takes the Miltonic lines as alluding to Metamorphoses, 1, 514-515, “nescis, temera (...)

32There is a trace of the interaction, or rather non-interaction of Ovid’s Echo and Narcissus in Adam’s question to Eve when her first reaction on seeing Adam is to turn back. Adam instantly gives his own echoing answer, “Whom fly’st thou? Whom thou fly’st, of him thou art, / His flesh, his bone […]” (482-483). This question and answer echoes one of Echo’s responses to Narcissus in his own words, “‘quid inquit / ‘me fugis? et totidem quot dixit uerba recepit” (Ovid, Metamorphoses 3, 383-384) (“Why do you flee me?”, he said, and received in return as many words as he had spoken”).20 But the Ovidian echo only serves to point up Milton’s radical revision of his source.

  • 21 See also 3, 384-386; 6, 680-682; 7, 196; 10, 63-67.

33The good narcissism that characterizes the prelapsarian relationship of Adam and Eve is one of the signs that man is made in the image of God. Within the Trinity the Son is in the image of the Father: “The radiant image of his glory sat, / His only Son” (Paradise Lost 3, 63-64); “Beyond compare the Son of God was seen, / Most glorious, in him all his Father shone / Substantially expressed” (3, 138-140, based on Hebrews 1:3).21 God is “the Ultimate and Original Narcissist. God gazes eternally upon His Image, loving Himself, yet His self-love implies perfect knowledge”, in the words of R. McMahon in an article on “Satan as infernal Narcissus in Dante’s Commedia (McMahon 1991, 82).

  • 22 Hume in his 1695 commentary on Paradise Lost compares Virgil, Aeneid, 2, 52-53 “uteroque recusso / (...)
  • 23 See Hardie (2009b, 126) for the reflection of Narcissus in Ovid’s Scylla. Scylla tries to flee from (...)

34This is in contrast to the perverted and death-bringing incest and narcissism that defines the relationships within the nuclear family of Satan. Satan is the parthenogenetic father of his daughter Sin, in whom Satan his “perfect image viewing, / Becam[e] enamoured” (2, 764-765), and, as a result, engendered on his own daughter his son Death (Paradise Lost 2, 746-814). In the procreation of Death, the Ovidian plot of Narcissus is paired, as in Ovid, with the generation of echo, the original echo, indeed, since this event predates the creation of the world with its resounding songs of praise to its maker: (Sin speaks) “I fled and cried out Death; / Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed, / From all her caves, and back resounded Death.22 / I fled, but he pursued […]” (Paradise Lost 2, 787-790). Here too a verb of fleeing or flying is doubled, and here too in a chiastic ordering (“I fled and cried out Death […] back resounded Death. / I fled”), as in the words of Adam that persuade Eve not to flee, “Whom fly’st thou? Whom thou fly’st […]” Sin flees from Death but is unable to escape, like Ovid’s Scylla unable to flee from the monstrous dogs that kennel in her loins, dogs whose doubles Death will engender on Sin once he has overtaken her, “in embraces forcible and foul” (793).23

  • 24 Cf. Spenser’s pageant of Mutabilitie, in which the last personification is that of Death, in the “M (...)
  • 25 Patrick points to the “artful parallels” between the person and history of Sin, and the narrative o (...)

35At this point in the narrative Death exists, in some sense, but as an empty personification of nothing, because no living being has yet died a death with a small “d”. Death is “nothing” in another sense, in that it is an annihilation of life.24 It is only with the Fall of Adam and Eve that real death enters the world: Paradise Lost is the story of “that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste, / Brought death into the world, and all our woe” (1, 2-3). When we reach that point there is an echo, twice over, of that original trembling and sighing of Hell, as Nature responds sympathetically to events in the human world. When Eve eats the apple, “Earth felt the wound, and nature from her seat, / Sighing through all her works gave signs of woe, / That all was lost” (9, 782-784). This is echoed when Adam is persuaded by Eve to eat the apple, “Earth trembled from her entrails, as again, / In pangs, and nature gave a second groan …” (9, 1000-1001).25 Here again an echoic effect is combined with a narrative of perverted narcissism. Adam’s self-identifying love for Eve was a constructive aspect of the couple’s relationship when Eve had been called from the pool to join him, but in agreeing to eat the apple, Adam has been tempted to overvalue the closeness of his relationship to Eve (Hardie 2015, 217).

36Milton echoes his classical models, Lucretius, Virgil, Ovid, in his use of echo as an intertextual marker, an acknowledgement of his own place in a long literary history. But Milton goes beyond intertextuality in constructing a narrative that locates an origin of echo before literature, in the grand events of God’s creation of the world and Satan’s counter-creation of a world of sin. More than the classical epics, Paradise Lost is an epic about relationships and presences, and echo, together with echo’s visual brother, reflection, is used by Milton to explore both the good relationships, between man and man and between man and nature, and man and God, that lead to a harmonious co-existence that enjoys the presence of the other, and the bad relationships that lead to alienation and absence.

  • 26 With the deictics “here … here … here …”, compare Virgil’s account of the Trojan sightseeing visit (...)

37By way of coda I look briefly at a post-Miltonic engagement with Virgilian echoes that also bears traces of the Miltonic reworking of the Latin poets’ engagement with echo. In his meditative poem on The Ruins of Rome (1740) John Dyer signals his debt to Virgil by paying the ancient poet a visit, when he mounts the Esquiline hill to see “Maro’s humble tenement” (369-391). It is only in “fancy” that Dyer can enjoy the presence of Virgil, conjured up through the associations of the place itself: “Here flowed his fountain; here his laurels grew; / Here oft the meek good man, the lofty bard, / Framed the celestial song, or social walked / With Horace, and the ruler of the world” (378-381)26. Yet that lost antique pastoral world is somehow present in the quasi-paradisal quality of the landscape in the present day, where “the gourd and olive brown / Weave the light roof: the gourd and olive fan / Their am’rous foliage, mingling with the vine, / Who drops her purple clusters through the green” (373-376), somewhat reminiscent of Milton’s description of the lost Eden in Paradise Lost 4. Dyer is not, however, completely in sympathy with Virgil the poet of Augustan empire. With the repeated deus of Virgil’s first Eclogue (6-7) we found ourselves at the very beginning of the history of Roman imperial panegyric. Towards the end of the The Ruins of Rome Dyer uses the example of the tyrannical emperors of ancient Rome to call his fellow-Britons to an awareness of the need jealously to guard their liberty (a rallying call entirely in the spirit of Milton):

O Britons, O my countrymen, beware,
Gird, gird your hearts; the Romans once were free,
Were brave, were virtuous. – Tyranny howe’er
Deign’d to walk forth awhile in pageant state,
And with licentious pleasures fed the rout,
The thoughtless many: to the wanton sound
Of fifes and drums they danc’d, or in the shade
Sung Cæsar, great and terrible in war,
Immortal Cæsar! lo, a God, a God,
He cleaves the yielding skies! Cæsar meanwhile
Gathers the ocean pebbles; or the gnat
Enrag’d pursues; or at his lonely meal
Starves a wide province; tastes, dislikes, and flings
To dogs and sycophants: a God, a God!
The flow’ry shades and shrines obscene return. (511-525)

38Here the reduplication “a God, a God” serves the satirical purpose of exposing the pretensions to divinity of deranged mortals. “A God, a God” is repeated in a version of the pastoral echo, but a pastoral landscape tainted by the “obscenity” of paganism and, more specifically, pagan ruler-cult (“The flow’ry shades and shrines obscene”: Dyer looks in particular to Eclogue 5, 63-66). The echoes of present-day eighteenth-century Rome are more innocent, at once melancholy and consoling:

And the rough reliques of Carinæ’s street,
Where now the shepherd to his nibbling sheep
Sits piping with his oaten reed; as erst
There pip’d the shepherd to his nibbling sheep,
When th’ humble roof Anchises’ son explor’d
Of good Evander, wealth-despising king,
Amid the thickets … (325-331)

39In the eighteenth century the echoing hills of Rome have reverted to the pastoral landscape that Aeneas found when he visited the rustic settlement of the Arcadian king Evander on the site of Rome in Aeneid 8. The chiastic repetition “Where now the shepherd to his nibbling sheep / Sits piping … as erst / There pip’d the shepherd to his nibbling sheep” conjures up the echoing landscape of Virgil’s Eclogues, and also points to the echo across the centuries, whereby the eighteenth-century tourist finds in the sheep- and cattle-grazed ruins of contemporary Rome, where the imperial fora had become the “Campo Vaccino”, “the field of cows”, a return to the city’s pastoral origins.

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1 Are we to take it that the first person singular now refers to Adam alone? But it is a plural again at 209 “So prayed they innocent …”

2 Psalm 148: “Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. […] Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord …”

3 On supplication in Paradise Lost see Whittington 2016, chapter 5 “‘Thy humiliation shall exalt’. Hierarchy and reconciliation in Milton’s Paradise Lost”.

4praesens deus” is a quasi-technical term for the epiphany of a god. Adam laments that expulsion from Eden will deprive him of the “presence divine” of God at Paradise Lost (11, 315-333). With the “grateful altars […] of grassy turf” (11, 323-324) that Adam says he would raise to God in Eden, cf. the altars raised to his god by Tityrus (Eclogues 1, 43) and to Daphnis by Menalcas (Eclogues 5, 65-66).

5 Cf. Propertius 1, 19, 19-22: “uos eritis testes, si quos habet arbor amores, / fagus et Arcadio pinus amica deo. / a quotiens tenera resonant mea uerba sub umbra, / scribitur et uestris Cynthia corticibus” (“You will be witnesses, if there is a tree that has any experiences of love, pastoral beech, and pine, mistress of the Arcadian god. Ah, how often my words resound beneath the soft shade, and Cynthia is written in your bark)”. This combines the echo of Eclogue 1 with the tree-inscribing of Eclogue 10, 53-54. But echo starts sounding in Eclogue 1 even before Meliboeus speaks of Tityrus’ lessons to the woods, in the anaphora of 3-4 “nos patriae finis et dulcia linquimus arua. / nos patriam fugimus” (“We are leaving our fatherland’s boundaries and sweet fields, we flee from our fatherland”).

6 Note that the chiastic repetition of “deus” comes immediately after Meliboeus’ account of Tityrus teaching the woods to echo “beautiful Amaryllis”. Tityrus, we might say, has caught the habit of echoing.

7 See Desport 1952; Damon 1961; Boyle 1977; Breed 2006; Fitzgerald 2016.

8 On the contrast between presence in Eclogue 1 and absence in Eclogue 2 see Hardie 2002, 123-128.

9ad sidera” in the Eclogues: 5, 43; 5, 62; 6, 84; 9, 29 “cantantes sublime ferent ad sidera cycni”.

10iacto” is the verb used of Corydon’s futile and unanswered singing at Eclogues 2, 5.

11 Drawing on Hardie 2009, chapter 1 “Cultural and Historical Narratives in Virgil’s Eclogues and Lucretius”; chapter 8 “The Presence of Lucretius in Paradise Lost”.

12 See Breed 2000, 3-20; Hardie 2009a, 18. Lucretius uses “sub tegmine (caeli)” at De rerum natura 2, 663; 5, 1016; with “recubans”, cf. the programmatic image of Mars lying at his ease in the lap of Venus at De rerum natura 1, 38: “hunc tu, diua, tuo recubantem corpore sancto”.

13 Wills 1996, 61, with n. 32. Kronenberg 2016 argues that the deified Daphnis of Eclogue 5 is an allegory of Lucretius, not of Julius Caesar (as commonly understood).

14 See Fowler 2002, 400 on the contrast between the “gentle pastoral” of Lucretius’ first analogy, of sheep grazing seen from a distance (317-322) and the epic language and hyperbole of the scene of legionary manœuvres (323-332), a contrast replicated in the contrast between the humble beginning of Eclogue 6 and the sky-reaching echoes of its conclusion. The language of Lucretius (De rerum natura, 5, 325) is also echoed at Eclogue 5, 62-63, “ipsi laetitia uoces ad sidera iactant / intonsi montes”, a shared Lucretian intertextuality that draws still closer the sky-reaching echoes of Eclogues 5 and 6.

15 dumus occurs in pastoral contexts at Virgil, Eclogues, 1, 75-76: “non ego uos posthac uiridi proiectus in antro / dumosa pendere procul de rupe uidebo”; Georgics, 3, 314-315: “pascuntur uero siluas et summa Lycaei / horrentisque rubos et amantis ardua dumos”.

16 On Virgil’s remythologization of Lucretian intertexts in the description of the site of Rome, see Hardie 1986, 218.

17 See Heerink 2015, 8, with nn. 37, 38. In Antoninus Liberalis 26,4 the nymphs transform Hylas into an echo, to conceal him from Herakles.

18 Also echoing Eclogues 3, 78-79 “Phyllida amo ante alias; nam me discedere fleuit / et longum ‘formose, uale, uale’, inquit, ‘Iolla’”. See Barchiesi 2007 ad Met. 3, 501. Iolla echoes both uale and Hyla.

19 Hardie, 2009, 270-273 (with further references); Kilgour 2012, chapter 3 “Reflections of Narcissus”; Hardie 2015.

20 Green (2009, 61) takes the Miltonic lines as alluding to Metamorphoses, 1, 514-515, “nescis, temeraria, nescis / quem fugias, ideoque fugis” (“You do not know, foolish girl, you do not know whom you flee, and that is the reason you flee”); but I would prefer to keep both the Ovidian intertexts in play, and point to the narcissistic intratextuality within the Metamorphoses of the Apollo and Daphne, and Echo and Narcissus episodes. In Hardie (2015, 207-208), I also discuss the further echoes in the Ovidian passages of the mirroring questions of Dido to Aeneas and Aeneas to Dido, Aeneid: “mene fugis?” (4, 34), “quem fugis?” (6, 466) (see “quem fugis?” (5, 742), Aeneas to Anchises). Verbart notes that Adam’s first words to Eve are echoed in Aeneas’ last words to Dido (Verbart 1997, 111-112).

21 See also 3, 384-386; 6, 680-682; 7, 196; 10, 63-67.

22 Hume in his 1695 commentary on Paradise Lost compares Virgil, Aeneid, 2, 52-53 “uteroque recusso / insonuere cauae gemitumque dedere cauernae” (“the creature’s womb quivered and the hollow caverns boomed and groaned”) with the Wooden Horse, a bearer of death and an image of perverted maternity. The Miltonic echo is itself echoed at the beginning of Tennyson’s Maud, I.i: “I hate the dreadful hollow behind the little wood, / Its lips in the field above are dabbled with blood-red heath, / The red-ribb’d ledges drip with a silent horror of blood, / And Echo there, whatever is ask’d her, answers ‘Death’”.

23 See Hardie (2009b, 126) for the reflection of Narcissus in Ovid’s Scylla. Scylla tries to flee from herself, from the barking dogs into which her lower parts have been transformed, but cannot: “refugitque abigitque timetque, / ora proterua canum. sed quos fugit attrahit una” (Metamorphoses, 14, 62-63) (“she shuns and drives away and is in fear of the mouths of the shameless dogs, but as she flees them she drags them with herself).”

24 Cf. Spenser’s pageant of Mutabilitie, in which the last personification is that of Death, in the “Mutabilitie Cantos” of The Faerie Queene, VII, vii, 46: “And after all came Life, and lastly Death; / Death with most grim and griesly visage seene, / Yet is he nought but parting of the breath; / Ne ought to see, but like a shade to weene, / Vnbodied, vnsoul’d, vnheard, vnseene.”

25 Patrick points to the “artful parallels” between the person and history of Sin, and the narrative of the Fall at Paradise Lost, 9, 1011-1063 (Patrick 1956, 386).

26 With the deictics “here … here … here …”, compare Virgil’s account of the Trojan sightseeing visit to the camp of the Greeks, now abandoned for good (as the Trojans mistakenly believe), in Aeneid: “hic Dolopum manus, hic saeuus tendebat Achilles; / classibus hic locus, hic acie certare solebant” (2, 29-30).

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Philip Hardie, « Miltonic Echoes: Fallen and Unfallen Resonances in Paradise Lost », Polysèmes [En ligne], 20 | 2018, mis en ligne le 19 décembre 2018, consulté le 16 janvier 2019. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/polysemes.4381

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Philip Hardie

Philip Hardie holds degrees from the universities of Oxford, London and Cambridge. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, and Honorary Professor of Latin in the University of Cambridge. He was formerly (2002-2006) Corpus Christi Professor of the Latin Language and Literature, University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Academia Europaea, and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Thessaloniki, and was the recipient of the Premio Internazionale Virgilio (Mantova) in 2012. He was the Sather Professor at the University of California at Berkeley in Spring 2016. He is the author of Virgil’s Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium (OUP, 1986); The Epic Successors of Virgil (CUP, 1993); Virgil Aeneid 9 (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics, CUP, 1994); Ovid’s Poetics of Illusion (CUP, 2002); Lucretian Receptions: History, The Sublime, Knowledge (CUP, 2009); Rumour and Renown: Representations of Fama in Western Literature (CUP, 2012); The Last Trojan Hero: A Cultural History of Virgil’s Aeneid (IB Tauris 2014; Ovidio Metamorfosi vol. 6 Libri XIII-XV (Fondazione Valla 2015). He is editor of The Cambridge Companion to Ovid (2002), co-editor (with Stuart Gillespie) of The Cambridge Companion to Lucretius (2007), and co-editor (with Patrick Cheney) of The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature vol. 2: 1558-1660 (OUP, 2015). He is also the author of numerous articles and essays on Latin poetry and its post-antique reception.

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