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[279] 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.1 In the ‘possessive singular of nouns already ending in sMr. Masson tells us, ‘Milton's general practice is not to double the s; thus, Nereus wrinkled look, Glaucus spell. The necessities of metre would naturally constrain to such forms. In a possessive followed by the word sake or the word side, dislike to [of] the double sibilant makes us sometimes drop the inflection. In addition to ‘for righteousness' sake’ such phrases as ‘for thy name sake’ and ‘for mercy sake,’ are allowed to pass; bedside is normal and riverside nearly so.’ The necessities of metre need not be taken into account with a poet like Milton, who never was fairly in his element till he got off the soundings of prose and felt the long swell of his verse under him like a steed that knows his rider. But does the dislike of the double sibilant account for the dropping of the s in these cases? Is it not far rather the presence of the s already in the sound satisfying an ear accustomed to the English slovenliness in the pronunciation of double consonants? It was this which led to such forms as conscience sake and on justice side, and which beguiled Ben Jonson and Dryden into thinking, the one that noise and the other that corps was a plural.2 What does Mr. Masson say

1

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 to the apostrophe.

2 Mr. Masson might have cited a good example of this from Drummond, whom (as a Scotsman) he is fond of quoting for an authority in English,—

Sleep, Silencea child, sweet father of soft rest.

The survival of Horse for horses is another example. So by a reverse process pult and shay have been vulgarly deduced from the supposed plurals pulse and chaise.

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