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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Milton. (search)
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