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Posthumous LoveEros and the Afterlife in Renaissance England$
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Ramie Targoff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226789590

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226110462.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 25 February 2021

Limit Cases

Limit Cases

Henry King and John Milton

(p.193) Conclusion Limit Cases
Posthumous Love

Ramie Targoff

University of Chicago Press

This book concludes with a consideration of two seventeenth-century poems that at first glance seem to be exceptions to its general argument: Henry King’s “An Exequy to his Matchlesse never to be forgotten Freind,” and John Milton’s “Methought I saw my late espoused Saint.” Both of these poems rehearse the longing of a grieving husband to be reunited with his deceased wife. Under careful consideration, however, the poems reveal a deep and complex affinity with the prior hundred or so years of English poetry that denied posthumous love. In both cases, the prospect of a heavenly reunion occurs early in the poem, only to be overwhelmed by more pressing—and more corporeal—desires. In their respective struggles to locate an alternative to death as an absolute parting, King and Milton ultimately affirm the central features of the tradition that preceded them.

Keywords:   Henry King, John Milton, posthumous love, grief, heavenly reunion

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