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
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
Oddly enough, Milton
uses words beginning with sh
seven hundred and fifty-four times in his poetry, not to speak of others in which the sound occurs, as, for instance, those ending in tion
, had he lived long enough, might have retorted on Milton
Manliest, resolutest, breast,
As the magnetick hardest iron draws,
What moves thy inquisition?
Know'st thou not that my rising is thy fall,
And my promotion thy destruction?
With the playful controversial wit of the day he would have hinted that too much est-est
is as fatal to a blank-verse as to a bishop, and that danger was often incurred by those who too eagerly shunned
it. Nay, he might even have found an echo almost tallying with his own in
To begirt the almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging,
a pun worthy of Milton
's worst prose.
Or he might have twitted him with ‘a sequent
king who seeks
As for the sh
sound, a poet could hardly have found it ungracious to his ear who wrote,
Gnashing for anguish and despite and shame,
Then bursting forth
Afresh with conscious terrors vex me round
That rest or intermission none I find.
Before mine eyes in opposition sits
Grim Death, my son.