The redemptive vision of Lycidas depends upon the imaginative qualities implicit in the pastoral speaker, Milton's “uncouth swain.” The swain's youth indicates his ingenuous and reductive point of view. The theme of youthful friendship explores the origins of his Orphic sensibility and prophetic vision. While tracing his growth into the roles of poet and prophet, his style through its range and variety reflects the evolution of pastoral into a comprehensive and encyclopedic form. The swain's voice unifies the diverse modes of pastoral by translating the images of naturalistic and libertine pastoral into the symbols of Christian pastoral, and by employing a principle of inverse reduction, as defined by J. C. Scaliger. The unity of his style expresses itself as an orderly continuum of stylistic levels within a single stylistic mode, as illustrated by Scaliger's analysis of the low, middle, and high styles within the florid mode. This unity of the swain's style, voice, and vision within a comprehensive form of pastoral provides a structural and stylistic model, as well as a thematic paradigm, for the speakers of Milton's epics.

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