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PRONOUNS, PERSONAL. Her for its in Shakespeare and Milton

Her is very often applied by Shakespeare to the mind and soul.

“Whose soul is that which takes her heavy leave?

“Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice.

So Rich. III. iii. 5. 28; Hamlet, ii. 2. 580.

“Our mind partakes
Her private actions to your secrecy.

So Montaigne, 117.

The former passage from Hamlet shows the reason of this. The soul, when personified, is regarded as feminine, like Psyche. The body of a woman is also thus personified in

“And made thy body bare
Of her two branches, those sweet ornaments.

Milton occasionally uses its; often her for its; seldom, if ever, his for its. “His form had not yet lost
All her original brightness.” MILTON, P. L. i. 592. In this, and some other passages, but not in all, Milton may have been influenced by the Latin use of the feminine gender. "Form" represents "forma," a feminine Latin noun.

Personification will explain

“That Tiber trembled underneath her banks.

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