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Hydra (Idaho, United States) (search for this): chapter 4
nearly four pages with an analysis of the vowel sounds, in which, as if to demonstrate the futility of such attempts so long as men's ears differ, he tells us that the short a sound is the same in man and Darby, the short o sound in God and does, and what he calls the long o sound in broad and wrath. Speaking of the apostrophe, Mr. Masson tells us that it is sometimes inserted, not as a possessive mark at all, but merely as a plural mark: hero's for heroes, myrtle's for myrtles, Gorgons and Hydra's, etc. Now, in books printed about the time of Milton's the apostrophe was put in almost at random, and in all the cases cited is a misprint, except in the first, where it serves to indicate that the pronunciation was not heroes as it had formerly been. That you may tell heroes, when you come To banquet with your wife. Chapman's Odyssey, VIII. 336, 337. In the facsimile of the sonnet to Fairfax I find Thy firm unshak'n vertue ever brings, which shows how much faith we need give t
Bashan (South Carolina, United States) (search for this): chapter 4
dex to back him Mr. Masson could safely say this.] The same delicacy of ear is even more apparent in his management of the sh sound. He has it often, of course; but it may be noted that he rejects it in his verse when he can. He writes Basan for Bashan, Sittim for Shittim, Silo for Shiloh, Asdod for Ashdod. Still more, however, does he seem to have been wary of the compound sound ch as in church. Of his sensitiveness to this sound in excess there is a curious proof in his prose pamphlet entitle with his teach each! Generalizations are always risky, but when extemporized from a single hint they are maliciously so. Surely it needed no great sensitiveness of ear to be set on edge by Hall's echo of teach each. Did Milton reject the h from Bashan and the rest because he disliked the sound of sh, or because he had found it already rejected by the Vulgate and by some of the earlier translators of the Bible into English? Oddly enough, Milton uses words beginning with sh seven hundred and fi
the Preface to the second volume that Mr. Masson himself has an uneasy consciousness that something is wrong, and that Milton ought somehow to be more than a mere incident of his own biography. He tells us that, whatever may be thought by a hasty person looking in on the subject from the outside, no one can study the life of Milton as it ought to be studied without being obliged to study extensively and intimately the contemporary history of England, and even incidentally of Scotland and Ireland too. . . . . Thus on the very compulsion, or at least the suasion, of the biography, a history grew on my hands. It was not in human nature to confine the historical inquiries, once they were in progress, within the precise limits of their demonstrable bearing on the biography, even had it been possible to determine these limits beforehand; and so the history assumed a co-ordinate importance with me, was pursued often for its own sake, and became, though always with a sense of organic rela
New England (United States) (search for this): chapter 4
ter of the winds and currents we have already encountered, and the eddies that may at any time slip us back to the reformation in Scotland or the settlement of New England; when we consider, moreover, that Milton's life overlapped the grand siecle of French literature, with its irresistible temptations to digression and homily forould never have looked on at the pike-exercise without learning what ported meant. But, be this as it may, I will venture to assert that there was not a boy in New England, forty years ago, who did not know more of the manual than is implied in Milton's use of these terms. Mr. Masson's object in proving Milton to have been a proexample in his predecessors or contemporaries. Even highth, which is thought peculiarly Miltonic, is common (in Hakluyt, for example), and still often heard in New England. Mr. Masson gives an odd reason for Milton's preference of it as indicating more correctly the formation of the word by the addition of the suffix th to the adj
Teneriffe (North Carolina, United States) (search for this): chapter 4
vived are emotional, not argumentative, or they have lived in virtue of their figurative beauty, not their weight of thought. Milton's power lay in dilation. Touched by him, the simplest image, the most obvious thought, Dilated stood Like Teneriffe or Atlas . . . . . . . . nor wanted in his grasp What seemed both spear and shield. But the thin stiletto of Macchiavelli is a more effective weapon than these fantastic arms of his. He had not the secret of compression that properly belongs tor's fondness for dilatation as respects thoughts and images. In Milton it extends to the language also, and often to the single words of which a period is composed. He loved phrases of towering port, in which every member dilated stands like Teneriffe or Atlas. In those poems and passages that stamp him great, the verses do not dance interweaving to soft Lydian airs, but march rather with resounding tread and clang of martial music. It is true that he is cunning in alliterations, so scatte
Scotland (United Kingdom) (search for this): chapter 4
y which to make a rough reckoning of how soon we are likely to see land. But when we recollect the baffling character of the winds and currents we have already encountered, and the eddies that may at any time slip us back to the reformation in Scotland or the settlement of New England; when we consider, moreover, that Milton's life overlapped the grand siecle of French literature, with its irresistible temptations to digression and homily for a man of Mr. Masson's temperament, we may be pardont by a hasty person looking in on the subject from the outside, no one can study the life of Milton as it ought to be studied without being obliged to study extensively and intimately the contemporary history of England, and even incidentally of Scotland and Ireland too. . . . . Thus on the very compulsion, or at least the suasion, of the biography, a history grew on my hands. It was not in human nature to confine the historical inquiries, once they were in progress, within the precise limits o
Milton, Mass. (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): chapter 4
1638-1643. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. 1871. 8vo. pp. XII, 608. The Poetical Works of John Milton, edited, with Introduction, Notes, and an Essay on Milton's English, by David Masson, M. A., Ll. D., Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in the University of Edinburgh. 3 vols. 8vo. Macmillan & Co. 1874. if ting Milton to his thirty-fifth year, and an interval of eleven years stretches between the dates of the first and second instalments of his published labors. As Milton's literary life properly begins at twenty-one, with the Ode on the Nativity, and as by far the more important part of it lies between the year at which we are arry encountered, and the eddies that may at any time slip us back to the reformation in Scotland or the settlement of New England; when we consider, moreover, that Milton's life overlapped the grand siecle of French literature, with its irresistible temptations to digression and homily for a man of Mr. Masson's temperament, we may
Islington (United Kingdom) (search for this): chapter 4
ittle Robertsonian at best, naturally grows worse when forced to condescend to every-day matters. He can no more dismount and walk than the man in armor on a Lord Mayor's day. It [Aldersgate Street] stretches away northwards a full fourth of a mile as one continuous thoroughfare, until, crossed by Long Lane and the Barbican, it parts with the name of Aldersgate Street, and, under the new names of Goswell Street and Goswell Road, completes its tendency towards the suburbs and fields about Islington. What a noble work might not the Directory be if composed on this scale! The imagination even of an alderman might well be lost in that full quarter of a mile of continuous thoroughfare. Mr. Masson is very great in these passages of civic grandeur; but he is more surprising, on the whole, where he has an image to deal with. Speaking of Milton's two-handed engine in Lycidas, he says: May not Milton, whatever else he meant, have meant a coming English Parliament with its two Houses? Wha
St. John (Canada) (search for this): chapter 4
in the processes of his investigation, instead of giving us the sifted results in their bearing on the life and character of his subject, whether for help or hindrance. We are blinded with the dust of old papers ransacked by Mr. Masson to find out that they have no relation whatever to his hero. He had been wise if he had kept constantly in view what Milton himself says of those who gathered up personal traditions concerning the Apostles: With less fervency was studied what Saint Paul or Saint John had written than was listened to one that could say, Here he taught, here he stood, this was his stature, and thus he went habited; and 0, happy this house that harbored him, and that cold stone whereon he rested, this village where he wrought such a miracle. . . . . Thus while all their thoughts were poured out upon circumstances and the gazing after such men as had sat at table with the Apostles, . . . . by this means they lost their time and truanted on the fundamental grounds of saving
St. Paul (Minnesota, United States) (search for this): chapter 4
long with him in the processes of his investigation, instead of giving us the sifted results in their bearing on the life and character of his subject, whether for help or hindrance. We are blinded with the dust of old papers ransacked by Mr. Masson to find out that they have no relation whatever to his hero. He had been wise if he had kept constantly in view what Milton himself says of those who gathered up personal traditions concerning the Apostles: With less fervency was studied what Saint Paul or Saint John had written than was listened to one that could say, Here he taught, here he stood, this was his stature, and thus he went habited; and 0, happy this house that harbored him, and that cold stone whereon he rested, this village where he wrought such a miracle. . . . . Thus while all their thoughts were poured out upon circumstances and the gazing after such men as had sat at table with the Apostles, . . . . by this means they lost their time and truanted on the fundamental gro
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