to affirm that there is not a single variety of spelling or accent to be found in Milton
which is without example in his predecessors or contemporaries.
, 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 adjective high
Is an adjective, then, at the base of growth, earth, birth, truth
, and other words of this kind?
made a better guess than this.
If Mr. Masson
be right in supposing that a peculiar meaning is implied in the spelling bearth
, IX. 624), which he interprets as ‘collective produce,’ though in the only other instance where it occurs it is neither more nor less than birth
, it should seem that Milton
had hit upon Horne Tooke
But it is really solemn trifling to lay any stress on the spelling of the original editions, after having admitted, as Mr. Masson
has honestly done, that in all likelihood Milton
had nothing to do with it. And yet he cannot refrain.
On the word voutsafe
he hangs nearly a page of dissertation on the nicety of Milton
's ear. Mr. Masson
thinks that Milton
‘must have had a reason for it,’1
and finds that reason in ‘his dislike to [of] the sound ch
, or to [of] that sound combined with s
. . . . . . His fine ear taught him ’