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counting, it occurs seventy-two times in all in his poetry,fourteen times as the noun, singular or plural, and fifty-eight times as the verb in various forms, including the past participle. Now, out of these seventy-two times, we have the ew spelling fifty-eight times, and the ow spelling fourteen times. In each of these cases of the ow spelling it may, of course, stand; and, indeed, in Sonnet XXI. 12, Arc. 79, Ps. CXIV. 5, it must stand, on account of the rhymes there (show know; show-go; and shown—known). There is no doubt, therefore, that the pronunciation show was already familiar. There is room for doubt, however, whether it was yet universal. For, out of the fifty-eight instances of the ew spelling, there are five in which that spelling might seem essential for the rhyme, viz. Il Pens. 171 (shew rhyming to dew), Com. 51 (shew rhyming to true), Ps. LXXXV. 26 (shew rhyming to renew), Ps. LXXXVI. 54 (shew again rhyming to true), Sonnet II. 4 (shew'th rhyming to youth, truth, and indu'th). In these places, at all events, the ew spelling ought to stand.
The word "Roll," and its symphonies.-The word roll occurs thirty-eight times in the poetry, our present spelling appearing only once among them, in the form roll'd, while all the other thirty-seven times we have rowl, rowle, roul, or roule, with rowl'd, rould, rowling, rouling, etc. Now, there can be no doubt that Milton knew and used our present pronunciation of the words roll, rolled. The single occurrence of the spelling roll'd in the Piedmontese Sonnet would prove this, even if the word did not rhyme there with cold, old, and fold, spelt so. Besides which, we have the word enroll five times in the poetry—twice, it is true, as enrowle and inrould (Ps. LXXXVII. 23, and P. L., XII. 523), but three times in the unmistakable forms of enroll'd (S. A. 653, 1736) and enrol'd (S. A. 1224). The question is, however, whether, when the word occurs with the ow or ou spelling, it is always or ever to be pronounced as that spelling would now suggest. In many cases, I can vouch, a reader of the original editions, coming on the spellings rowle, rowl, roul, rowl'd, rowling, etc., is tempted, partly by the sight of such spellings, partly by a sense of the fitness of the sound they suggest at the places where they occur, to wish the spellings kept, and our pronunciation adjusted to them: e.g.
Reignd where these Heavn's now rowl."-P. L., v 578.
" on each hand the flames
Drivn backward slope their pointing spires, and rowld In billows, leave i' th' midst a horrid Vale."-P. L., I. 222-224. "Rowld inward, and a spacious Gap disclos'd."-P. L., vi. 861.
Lay vanquisht, rowling in the fiery Gulfe."-P. L., 1. 52.
"And towards the Gate rouling her bestial train."-P. L., 11. 873. Did Milton, in all these cases, or in any of them, intend the sound which the spelling suggests to us? The following might seem to decide the matter :—
"When at the brook of Kishon old
As dung upon the plain."-Ps. LXXXIII. 37-40.
Here rowl'd rhymes to old.
"Let th' enemy pursue my soul
And overtake it, let him tread
In the dust and there out spread
Lodge it with dishonour foul."-Ps. VII. 13-18.
What are we to do here? Either, keeping our modern pro-
foulds, foulded. Controule (P. L., v. 803) and controul (Od. Nat. 228) are the only occurrences of that word; and we have never scroll, but only scrowle twice (P. L., XII. 336, Ps. LXXXVII. 21). Nor is Milton singular in such spellings. In Richardson's Dictionary there are examples of rowle and roule as well as roll, and of scrowle and scroul as well as scroll, from earlier writers, back to Chaucer. Spenser frequently indulged in rowle. On the other hand, the spelling roll had become commoner with some of Milton's contemporaries, and even some of his seniors, than we find it in himself. Thus roll or rolle, rhyming to such words as pole and soul, and roll'd or even rold, rhyming to such words as gold and uphold, are common in the poems of Drummond of Hawthornden as early as 1616; where I do not think rowl or rowl'd will easily be found, but where I light on one Sonnet containing the word scroule rhyming to soule, mole and pole. -This last instance might suggest the true solution; which is that, even when the spelling was scroule or scrowle, rowl or roul, the pronunciation had come to be definitely scroll and roll. Observe that we still retain ou and ow in many words where the sound is that of the simple long ; e.g. soul, mould, shoulder, poultry, mourn, fourth, know, blow, below, snow, own, bestow.
Spelling of the Past Tense and Past Participle of weak Verbs. Two practices in the old texts are to be noticed under this head: viz. (1) the use of the apostrophe in past tenses and participles in ed when the e is not to be sounded, as lov'd, flow'd, mov'd, favour'd, espid, rais'd, oppos'd, flam'd, reserv'd, prepar'd, ordain'd, unconsum'd, injur'd; (2) the occurrence of the form for the ed where the sound is actually and not d, as in vanquisht, markt, banisht, belcht, kickt, lookt, mixt, encampt, tipt, prest, etc.
(1.) The former practice is still kept up in a lax way in our poetry; and such forms as lov'd, mov'd, adorn'd, steer'd are still expected whenever we open a book of verse. Wordsworth, however, set the example of abandoning the habit, and writing loved, moved, adorned, steered, even when the e is not to be sounded. He was right, and it would be well if such forms as lov'd, steer'd, adorn'd (with Heav'ns, giv'n, and the like) were banished from our verse. They serve no purpose, for who ever wants now, except by special direction, to say loved, steerèd, adornèd; and they are an eyesore in
our printed pages, already sufficiently ticked with apostrophes in possessive cases and elsewhere. The fact is, such forms as lov'd, steer'd, adorn'd, were once habitual in English prose also and we have feebly retained in our verse-printing what we have swept out of our prose - printing without harm. Probably the origin of the habit was that in former times the suffix ed was oftener sounded in full than now, and that, when the habit of the contracted pronunciation became more common, the apostrophe was a convenient means for marking it. The disfigurement of old printed pages by this device was the less because the apostrophe was not then much used in possessive cases and inverted commas were rare. But that Milton and his contemporaries found the apostrophe troublesome even in this case appears from their often dropping it. Milton has rowld as often as rowl'd; and his pages abound with such spellings as appeerd, barbd, embattelld.
(2.) The Miltonic forms vanquisht, markt, lookt, mixt, belcht, etc., have been admired by some late writers. But more has been made of the trifle than it is worth. It is not a matter of necessity in order to direct the pronunciation; for, let us write vanquished, marked, looked, mixed, belched, as persistently as we please, no English mouth can pronounce them otherwise than vanquisht, lookt, etc. The sole intrinsic reason to be given, then, for the t spelling in such words is that it is phonetically truer, and at the same time more curt, than the other. If once, however, we raise the flag of phonetic accuracy in English spelling, there is a world more for us to do than write lookt and mixt while our neighbours write looked and mixed. Still, in reprinting Milton, the plea might avail if he had himself been constant to his own supposed habit. But he was not so. His admirers in this minute matter, besides forgetting that any credit in it for a great part of his life belonged to the printers, have not sufficiently examined the original texts of his Poems. Not only do we find there many instances of the awkward suffix form 't instead of simple t,-e.g. plac't, provok't, escap't, danc't; we find also frequent aberrations into the d form of the suffix where the sound is, and cannot but be, t. If I find plac't, I also find plac'd; if I find exprest, I also find express'd; if I find washt, I also find wash'd; and so I find pass'd, passd, march'd, lik'd, pluck'd, shriek'd, possess'd,
ask'd, retrench'd, etc. Are we to rectify all these into the t form, or are we to follow slavishly the texts in their reasonless changings from t to 't, and from both to d or 'd, and back again? Surely the most sensible plan is to conform to present usage, and print uniformly eď in this category of præterites, unless where, as does happen sometimes, the form recommends itself by a subtle twitch of fitness at the moment e.g. P. L., vi. 580, where the cannon in Heaven are seen, and behind each
A Seraph stood, and in his hand a Reed
Highth: drouth: bearth.-The word height, spelt as now, occurs in the 1645 edition of the Minor Poems (Arc. 75); but, with a single exception, in every other of thirty-four occurrences of the word in Milton's poetry (twenty-six of them in Par. Lost, four in Par. Reg., and three in Sams. Ag.) it is spelt highth. The single exception is at P. L., IX. 167, where the spelling is hight. There can be no doubt that Milton approved of the spelling and pronunciation highth, as indicating more correctly the formation of the word by the addition of the suffix th to the adjective high. He seems more dubious about the derivative verb, for he has once highth'nd (P. L., vI. 629), and once hight'nd (P. L., IX. 793). The word drought does not occur in the poetry, but the form drouth four times and droughth once (P. R., I. 325). It is to be inferred that Milton preferred the th termination of the word, whether it meant "thirst" (for which drouth is still a Scottish word) or "scarcity of water" (Com. 928). Twice in the poetry we have the peculiar word bearth, viz :—
'Help to disburden Nature of her Bearth."-P.L., Ix. 624.
In all modern editions the word in both places is printed birth. This seems improper. The word birth, so spelt, is frequent in the poetry; but in at least the first of the two instances of bearth the spelling seems to imply a peculiar meaning. It there means "collective produce."
Sovran: harald.-That Milton's ear preferred the Italian form sovran (sovrano) to the French form sovereign, which was the commoner in his time, as it is now, is evident from