Introduction. Colasterion: A Reply to a Nameles Answer against The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce was published on or near March 4, 1645 in response to the anonymous tract, An Answer to the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. "Colasterion" is a Greek word that literally translates as "the place of punishment," and, as such, the reader should regard Colasterion as Milton's verbal thrashing of the anonymous answerer. He also takes opportunities here to upbraid several other men, co-champions with him in the cause against prelacy and in support of puritan reform of the Church of England. Milton had reason to believe that William Prynne, Herbert Palmer and Joseph Caryl were part of a "Champarty," or cabal, of erstwhile comrades in Parliament that directed the writing and production of the anonymous An Answer; Joseph Caryl's name as licenser appears in the tract along with a paragraph implicitly denouncing Milton's ideas on divorce as the work of an "unstaid minde." These men feared that Milton was taking reform too far in a radical and populist direction.

Colasterion and Tetrachordon appeared almost simultaneously. In Tetrachordon, Milton makes his case for changing canon law by marshalling detailed interpretations of the four chief places in the Bible that teach about marriage. In Colasterion, Milton answers the anonymous objections to his teaching on marriage and divorce point for point but always in the context of ridiculing the answerer as a fraudulent scholar, an embarrassingly poor lawyer, and a lower-class serving man with a mind in the gutter. Not only, alleges Milton, does he argue in bad faith and with faulty logic, but because he is not a gentleman, he simply cannot comprehend what Milton might mean by "fit conversation" in marriage; he always will think of it as carnal relations and nothing more.

The copytext for the Milton Reading Room edition of Colasterion is based on the reproduction of a copy in the British Library supplied online by Early English Books Online at (Wing (2nd ed.) / M2099 Thomason / E.271[11]).

from the Pulpit. James Egan identifies several sermons that attacked Milton's Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce: 1) Herbert Palmer's The Glasse of Gods Providence, preached to both houses of Parliament on 13 August 1644; 2) Daniel Featley's tract, The Dippers Dipt, which seems to refer to Milton's DDD by saying, "Witnesse a Tractate of Divorce, in which the bonds of marriage are let loose to inordinate lust, and putting away wives for many other causes besides that which our Saviour only approveth, namely, in case of Adultery" (B2); and 3) William Prynne's Twelve Considerable Serious Questions Touching Church Government of September 1644 (Egan 119).

that devout place. Milton probably refers to Parliament; Herbert Palmer's sermon, The Glasse of Gods Providence, was preached to both houses on 13 August 1644.

oracle. OED2: "to prophesy or proclaim as by divine inspiration or authority."

hap. Happenstance, chance, fortune.

Quæries. William Prynne's Twelve Considerable Serious Questions Touching Church Government. For more on William Prynne and his work, see the Encyclopedia Britannica article.

seek and finde not. See Isaiah 41:11-13. By this allusion Milton casts himself in the role of Israel, God's chosen people, whom the prophet Isaiah comforted with the words, "Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."

Anabaptistical. Anabaptists were a radical Puritan faction generally regarded as heretical. Milton's detractors suggested that his ideas concerning divorce resembled anabaptist and antinomina radicalism.

Antinomian. OED2: "Opposed to the obligatoriness of the moral law; of or pertaining to the antinomians."

Divorce at pleasure. See Prynne, Twelve Considerable Serious Questions page 7: "And whether such a governement as this [Independency] ought to be embraced, much lesse established among us (the sad effects wherof we have already experimentally [experientially] felt, by the late dangerous increase of many Anabaptisticall, Antinomian, hereticall, Atheisticall opinions, as of the soules mortality, divorce at pleasure, &c lately broached, preached, printed in this famous City, which I hope our grand Councell will speedily and carefully suppresse, and by our divisions betweene som of our Commanders refusing to be dependent or subordinat one to another;) I referre to the judgment of all such who have any sparkes of love to god, religion, their bleeding dying distracted native Country flaming in their brests, or any remainder of right reason residing in their braines."

suffer'd much and long. William Prynne, leader of the Puritan cause in Parliament, suffered imprisonment and even loss of his ears. Milton laments that one so dedicated to the cause Milton champions, the reform of the English church, should now line up in opposition to what Milton regards as the truth.

calumny. OED2: "False and malicious misrepresentation of the words or actions of others, calculated to injure their reputation; libellous detraction, slander."

national Law. Milton does not mean an English law, which forbade divorce on most grounds, but the "law of nations". See Thomas Ridley, A View of the Civile and Ecclesiasticall Law (1634), page 2: "The law of Nations is that which common reason hath established among men, and is observed alike in all Nations."

Subitanes. From OED2: "Sudden; rash." The word, now obsolete, was very rare; Milton appears to use it as a substantive adjective.

imploiments William Prynne served on the Parliamentary Commitee for Accounts, appointed in February, 1644, to monitor all uses of public funds.

gout. From OED2: "A specific constitutional disease occurring in paroxysms, usually hereditary and in male subjects; characterized by painful inflammation of the smaller joints, esp. that of the great toe, and the deposition of sodium urate in the form of chalk-stones; it often spreads to the larger joints and the internal organs."

dropsy. OED2: "A morbid condition characterized by the accumulation of watery fluid in the serous cavities or the connective tissue of the body."

a big margent. Many printed treatises and sermons of the period, Prynne's among them, used the margins to print scriptural references in support of arguments in the text.

Bonner. Edmund Bonner (about 1500-1569), bishop of London during the reign of Queen Mary, was believed to have aided her five-year effort to cleanse England of reformers by burning Protestants convicted of heresy.

An Answer to the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. An Answer to the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, the pamphlet Milton sets out to confute and ridicule here in Colasterion.

conceal'd not my name. Though Milton's intials, J.M., appeared printed on the title page of the second edition of The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (1644), his name appeared nowhere in the first edition (1643). It appears that the anonymous Answer was prepared using the first edition of DDD, even though it did not appear in print until after the second edition was available.

Licencers. Joseph Caryl (1602-1673) was at the time an official government Licenser of all books and pamphlets of divinity, one of twelve ministers named by the House of Commons (June 21, 1643) to that responsibilty. In the front of the anonymous Answer, Caryl printed not only notice of his license, but a little comment about the duty to preserve the "strength of the Mariage-bond . . . against . . . sad breaches and dangerous abuses" by "unstaid mindes and men given to change."

bewraies. OED2: "To reveal, expose, discover (unintentionally, and usually what it is intended to conceal); to betray the existence or presence of (something), or the true character of."

scor'd. Blamed.

Livery cloak. OED2: "A distinctive badge or suit worn by a servant or official, a member of a company, etc. In generalized use, the distinctive uniform style of dress worn by a person's servants." Milton characterizes the answerer as a servant.

Orthographies. OED2: "Correct or proper spelling; spelling according to accepted usage; the way in which words are conventionally written.

mechanic. That is, an unschooled preacher, many of whom, like John Bunyan in the next decade, wrote and published pamphlets on religious and political matters.

Canon Law. Ecclesiatical law, or the laws governing the Church of England in this case. Milton implies that English canon law concerning marriage and divorce is a holdover from Roman Catholic laws.

Clark. Clerk, as a law clerk.

the Popery of England. That is, England before the reformation.

that judicature. That is, the ecclesiastical laws and judicature of the Roman Catholic Church; the English Church after the 1530s was a reformed church, though Puritans like Milton regarded it as insufficiently reformed, particularly on points like marriage and divorce.

wind egg. An imperfect or unproductive egg, or perhaps even a rotten egg.

bin publisht the second time . The first edition of The Doctrine and Discpline of Divorce appeared on August 1, 1643. The second expanded edition was released in 1644.

canvasing. Shaking or buffetting. The meaning derives from the practice of tossing a person in a canvas sheet as a sport or a punishment.

Solliciter. OED2: "One who conducts, negotiates, or transacts matters on behalf of another or others; a representative, agent, or deputy." In this case, a lawyer.

Probationers. OED2: "A candidate for the ministry of a church; one licensed to preach but not yet ordained (esp. in Presbyterian and Methodist churches)".

legers. OED2: "an obsolete term for a Londoner who formerly bought coals of the country colliers at so much a sack, and made his chief profit by using smaller sacks, making pretence he was a country collier."

Bethesda. See John 5:2-4.

Champarty. OED2: "A combination for an evil purpose." Later Milton will refer to this group as a "Junto."

him. The licenser, Joseph Caryl.

his censure. The full text of Joseph Caryl's statement is as follows: "To preserve the strength of the mariage-bond and the Honour of that estate, against those sad breaches and dangerous abuses of it, which common discontents (on this side Adultery [for which divorce was allowed in England]) are likely to make in unstaid mindes and men given to change, by taking in or grounding themselves upon the opinion answered [that is, Milton's], and with good reason confuted in this Treatise [that is, the anonymous answerer's], I have approved the printing and publishing of it."

Imprimatur. OED2: "The formula (= `let it be printed'), signed by an official licenser of the press, authorizing the printing of a book." The Latin terms, "imprimatur" and "nihil obstat" were commonly used by the Inquisition when approving books for print.

Stale. Decoy.

thraldom. OED2: "Bondage, servitude."

salvo jure. An abbreviated form of the juridical expression, "salvo jure coronae," "to save the rights of the crown" and often cited in support of tyranny.

Edomitish freinds. See Job 2: 11 and following.

marry another, and another. Using a fairly elaborate version of a familiar analogy—a husband is to his wife as Christ is to the church and thus as a curate is to his congregation—Milton insinuates that to forsake one's duties as a curate to take on another parish or another ecclesiastical duty just to make more money (sometimes referred to as simony) is a kind of divorce if not a kind of bigamy or adultery. Joseph Caryl, the licenser to whom Milton addresses himself here, may have been guilty of such activities and motives.

your Atturney. That is, the anonymous author of the pamphlet.

Postern. OED2: "A back door; a private door; any door or gate distinct from the main entrance; a side way."

a better temper then Ajax. By alluding to Sophocles play, Ajax, Milton casts himself as the character Ajax who opens the play in a tableau of disgraceful madness. Out of his mind with envy, he is slaughtering the Greek army's livestock mistakenly believing that he is butchering Ulysses, his rival. For a detailed reading of this allusion, see Thomas H. Luxon, "Rough Trade: Milton as Ajax in 'The Place of Punishment.'"

hansel. OED2: "A first instalment of payment; earnest money; the first money taken by a trader in the morning, a luck-penny; anything given or taken as an omen, earnest, or pledge of what is to follow."

your major. That is, the major premise of a classically syllogistic argument. Syllogisms generally take the form of a major premise followed by a minor premise from which is deduced a conclusion.

opiniastrous. Since the OED2 cites this sentence as the only instance of this word in English, we must conclude that Milton coined it.

Deut. 24. 1. Deuteronomy 24 specifies the ancient Hebrew rules of divorce.

that place in St. Paul. In 1 Corinthians 7:10-15, Paul gives advice to those married to non-Christians, but he carefully stipulates that the advice is his and carries no docrtinal force.

Deut. 22. Deuteronomy 22:9-11 records laws against mixing certain things together.

the earth cannot bear. See Proverbs 30:21-23; Proverbs 21:9 and 19.

as Christ his Church. See Ephesians 5:22-33.

5 of Matthew 32. See Matthew 5:32.

curvett. Curvet, in OED2: "A leap of a horse in which the fore-legs are raised together and equally advanced, and the hind-legs raised with a spring before the fore-legs reach the ground. (Often used more or less vaguely of any leaping or frisking motion."

35. pag. of that book. That is, Milton's Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (1643), page 35, also found as chapter 16 of the second book.

St. Paul, 1 Cor. 7. See 1 Corinthians 7:28.

Tenures. Milton alludes to Les Tenures by Sir Thomas Littleton (died 1481), a fifteenth-century compilation in French of property law which was reprinted every few years between 1496 and 1640. Sir Edward Coke's famous The first part of the Institutes of the lawes of England. Or, A commentarie vpon Littleton (1628) is based upon Littleton's Tenures.

Fathers and Councels. "Fathers" refers to teachers in the early church; "councils" refers to ecclesiastical councils.

twelfth Council of Toledo? The Spanish Church held about eighteen councils in Toledo between the 5th and 7th centuries to discuss and determine ecclesiastical law. Toledo 12 was, as Milton implies, hardly memorable, and in any case it was a council of the medieval Roman Catholic church, not binding upon seventeenth-century English Protestants.

Toledo's. Since Toledo was famous for the manufacture of fine swords and blades of all kinds, a Toledo came to refer to any fine blade.

that Saxon Councel. The tenth canon of the Synod of Hertford (24 September 673) reads as follows: "Of marriages; that nothing be allowed but lawful wedlock; that none commit incest; no man quit his true wife, unless, as the gospel teaches, on account of fornication. And if any man shall put away his own wife, lawfully joined to him in matrimony, that he take no other, if he wishes to be a good Christian, but continue as he is, or else be reconciled to his own wife" (Bede, Ecclesiastical History of England, Translated by L.C. Jane [Fordham University's Medieval Sourcebook] book 4, chapter 5). The synod was called by Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury. An Answer (page 9) has the date wrong: "670."

revolted from his own Church. That is, if one considers the English church as independent of Rome in 673. It was convenient of some puritan reformers to imagine an ancient English church independent of Rome, but Milton's own History of Britain (1670, page 163) reports that Theodore was ordained Archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Vitalian.

Civil Law. Milton responds to An Answer's reference to the civil law codes: "Divers other authorities might be alledged as to this point rightly agreeing, as Greg. causa 29. qu[...]st. 7. cap. 19. So Zach. causa 29. quest. 2. cap. 2. So Instin Martyr Apol pro Christianis sub initio· Tertullian agrees lib. de Monogamia. As also the Confession of Saxony Artic. 18" (An Answer, page 9).

sad as any mallet. An especially heavy mallet, also known as a beetle, "used for driving wedges or pegs, ramming down paving stones, or for crushing, bruising, beating, flattening, or smoothing, in various industrial and domestic operations, and having various shapes according to the purpose for which it is used" (OED2). Sad also means heavy.

Justin Martyrs Apology. An Answer probably refers to Justin Martyr's First Apology, chapter 15. Milton refers to Justin Martyr's Second Apology, chapter 2 which he also cited in his exposition on 1 Corinthians in Tetrachordon.

Tertullian. See Milton's citation in Tetrachordon of Tertullian on the topic.

Erasmus. See Milton's citation in Tetrachordon of Erasmus on the topic.

text man. OED2: "One learned in scriptural texts, and apt at quoting them; also, An advocate of literal interpretation of the Bible." But Milton's use here also implies the sort of derision a humanist would feel towards a scholastic interpreter.

temperature. OED2: "Constitutional bent of mind; disposition," what we would today call "temperament."

Melancholy into Sanguin. Milton refers to the four humors or bodily fluids thought to regulate one's temperament and health: blood (sanguine), phlegm (Milton's "fleam"), choler (yellow bile) and melancholy (black bile). See the Britannica article.

Jer. 13. 23. See Jeremiah 13:23.

a Proverb. Proverbs 15:1.

Prov. 21. 9, 19. See Proverbs 21:9, 19.

the words of the institution it self. Milton regarded marriage as instituted by God when he first created Eve for Adam; see Genesis 2:18-24.

Austin spake it. See Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis (translated by John Hammond Taylor, S.J. Volume 2, page 75): "How much more agreeably could two male friends, rather than a man and a woman, enjoy companionship and conversation in a life shared together." Paraeus, In Genesin (Geneva 1614), cols 410-11, quotes the whole passage. Milton mentions this as a "crabbed opinion" of Augustine in Tetrachordon.

swainish. OED2: "Resembling or characteristic of a swain or rustic; rustic, boorish. Also, of the nature of a rustic lover or rustic love-making. Hence swainishness, boorishness."

tedious and drawling tale of burning. See An Answer, pages 12-13, where the anonymous author speaks of burning in lust six times in two pages. In Milton's Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (1644), Milton claims that the burning Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 7:9 refers not to lust but to "rationall burning" (DDD 1.4).

John a Nokes. OED2: "A fictitious name for one of the parties in a legal action (usually coupled with John-a-Stiles as the name of the other); hence sometimes used indefinitely for any individual person."

Atturneys Academy. Milton refers sneeringly to Thomas Powell's The attourneys academy, or, The manner and forme of proceeding practically, upon any Suite, Plaint or Action whatsoever, in any Court of Record whatsoever within this Kingdome (1623), a handbook for lawyers.

John Dory. Thomas Ravenscroft's Deuteromelia: or the seconde part of Musicks melodie, or melodius musicke (1609) includes the following song as the first in its collection of popular songs and catches:

AS it fell on a holy day,
and vpon an holy tide a,
Iohn Dory bought him an ambling Nag,
to Paris for to ride a.