Reference to Context:
Enow of such as, for their bellies' sakes; Creep and intrude, and climb into the fold,
The above lines are taken from poem ‘Lycidas’ written and composed by John Milton.
John Milton, an English poet born on 9 December, 1608 is the poet of steadfast will and purpose. His works reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self determination, and urgent issues and political turbulence of his day. Lycidas is an elegy that Milton created in 1637 to lament the death of his friend Edward King.
King had been Milton’s friend at Cambridge and got drowned due to sinking of his ship. The poem has been created in a reflective mood. The rhyme scheme of the poem shows no regularity. Milton follows the ancient Greek tradition of remembering a loved one through a pastoral poem by creating this poem.
In the earlier stanza the speaker has introduced us to “the pilot of the Galilean lake” which refers to none other than Saint Peter, who is one of Jesus start disciple. In these lines Peter seems to be saying to the speaker, “How well could I have saved for you, young shepherd. Enough of those guys who break into the fold only to eat ("for their bellies' sake")”. In other words, Peter is not a fan of self-interested people, who find fame and belonging only for the sake of material gain.
Based on Milton's note at the beginning of the poem, which claims that the poem will also "foretell the ruin of our corrupted clergy," it is clear that the bad shepherds St. Peter goes on to detail refer to bad religious leaders who don't care about their "flocks," and care more about fattening their bellies. In these lines, the speaker makes a biblical allusion, rather than a classical one. It marks a shift in the poem from pagan references to Christian ones.
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