(85.) In Milton (35/39:54-60, E 136) the herb Wild Thyme (a pun: wild time) is distinguished as a "mighty Demon," though in the corporeal universe this wild flower appears "only as a small Root creeping in grass," an ironic allusion to Milton's Comus (619-41), which addresses "every virtuous plant and healing herb," where a "small unsightly root" (my emphasis) is identified as "Haemony
" (Milton's emphasis), a plant that protected one from "all [lustful] enchantments." James George Frazer in Balder the Beautiful (New York: Macmillan, 1951), 55, records that during the Middle Ages Thyme (also known as St.
In "Discourse for Stanley Rosen," he advises himself not to wreck a good phrase for the sake of clear sense and that the phrase should be granted "its dark places, the fabled burden" In The Orchards of Syon IX, he invokes Milton's power of invention with the word "haemony
," "from some remote / and gracious fable." Finally, fables are how we make sense of the world through language.
In his famous and much discussed essay, 'Interpreting the Variorum', Stanley Fish observed that, though many interpretative problems had been resolved in the Variorum Milton, some cruxes (Haemony
in Comus, the 'two-handed engine' in Lycidas) clearly had generated a great many possible interpretations, each of them 'supported by wholly convincing evidence'. Fish argued that evidence 'brought to bear in the course of [.