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66 'punished in the shape he sinned [in].”—P. L., x. 516.
"Which argues [thee] overjust and self-displeased For self-offence."-S. A., 514, 515.
Knowing [myself], as needs I must, by thee betrayed."-S.A. 840.
CONSTRUCTION CHANGED BY CHANGE OF THOUGHT.— Perhaps there is no subtler observation in Dr. Abbott's Shakespearian Grammar than that which occasioned his invention or adoption of this useful name for a rather frequent and troublesome, but very interesting, class of Shakespearian idioms (Sh. Gr. § 415). It is all the more welcome because it is a recognition of the more general and far-reaching principle that all the so-called Figures of Speech, including all grammatical variations and irregularities, however minute, are to be referred ultimately to equivalent turns, modifications, changes of manoeuvre, in the act of thinking. First let us give two of Dr. Abbott's Shakespearian instances:
"Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree,
But fall unshaken when they mellow be."-Hamlet, iii. 2.
Here the change of number from sticks to fall evidently indicates a change in Shakespeare's act of thinking as he wrote. He was first thinking of one piece of fruit, or of fruit as one mass, sticking to a tree; but next moment he sees the shower of separate pieces of fruit falling numerously. Again, in the passage
"Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through our host,
we see the King first only telling Westmoreland what to proclaim, but immediately, in his indignation at the idea called up, passing into the direct imperative, as if he were facing the army and making the proclamation himself.
If the reader will now go back on our collection of Miltonic ellipses he will be able to explain some of the most puzzling of them on this principle. Here, however, are a few cases in which the afterthought, or change of front, if we may so call it, in Milton's mind, and the corresponding
change of construction in the sentence, may be better observed :
That Nature hung in heaven, and filled their lamps
"There does a sable cloud Turn forth her silver lining to the Night, And casts a gleam over this tufted grove."-Com. 223-225.
"Much less can bird with beast or fish with fowl
"[O flowers] . . which I bred up with tender hand
"Who was that just man, whom had not Heaven
P. L., XI. 68, 682.
"Let no man seek
In apprehension than in substance feel
Change of tense is a very natural form of this curious kind of change of construction, thus :
"It was the winter wild
While the heaven-born child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies."-Od. Nat. 29-31.
"And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess,
And seals obedience first with wounding smart.'
Upon the Circ 23-25.
"I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
When straight a barbarous noise environs me.”—Sonnet XII.
"Took leave, and toward the coast of Earth beneath,
P. L., III. 739-742.
INTERCHANGES OF PARTS OF SPEECH. These, so common among the Elizabethans, are frequent enough in Milton. The most frequent by far is the adjective for adverb: e.g. "Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye Powers of Heaven" (P. L., VII. 162), repeated throughout in such instances as obscure for obscurely, chief for chiefly, sager for more sagely, etc. Next in frequency is adjective for substantive: eg. "those rebellious" (P. L., I. 71), "great or bright infers not excellence" (P. L., VIII. 90-91), "the magnetic (P. R., II. 168). Of verb for noun "without disturb (P. L., VI. 549) is an example; and there are others. they sat recline" (P. L., IV. 333), "made so adorn for thy delight" (P. L., VIII. 576), and "sight so deform" (P. L., XI. 494), are not to be mistaken as instances of verb for adjective, the first and third being simple appropriations of the Latin adjectives reclinis and deformis, and the second of the Italian adorno.
IRREGULARITIES IN CONCORD AND GOVERNMENT.Although Milton was more strict in his syntax than the Elizabethans generally had been, instances do occur in him of Elizabethanisms of this glaring kind.
Singular Verb with Plural Nominative.-This is frequent in the third person plural; where, however, it is not merely a license or irregularity, but rather a relic of Old English grammar. While the old Southern dialect had eth for the termination of the third person plural indicative present of verbs (loveth) and the old Midland had en (loven), the old Northern had s or es (loves). This last still persists in vernacular Scotch: e.g. "Sailors has hard lives." Now, after the standard English had, in the main, dropt inflection in the plural of verbs (saying love in all the three persons), a tradition of the northern inflection in s was kept up in some usages of the third person plural. Instances in Shakespeare are numerous; and Milton gives such as the following :
"His praise and glory was in Israel known."—Ps. CXIV. 6.
Compels me to disturb your season due."-Lycid. 6, 7.
"hill and valley rings."-P. L., II. 495.
"Kingdom and power and glory appertains."-P. L., VI. 815.
"Sorrows and labours, opposition, hate,
Attends thee, scorns, reproaches, injuries,
P. R., IV. 386-388.
Here is one striking example of a similar liberty of concord in the first person, where the explanation is not persistence of archaic habit, but bold purpose by the writer himself:
"Both Death and I
Am found eternal."-P. L., X. 815, 816.
Explicable on the same principle, or on that of change of construction with change of thought, is this false concord of person in a relative clause :
"Hail, foreign wonder!
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed,
Unless [thou art] the goddess that in rural shrine
The following is an instance of what we should now call false concord of case in apposition :
With Satan: he who envies now thy state."-P. L., VI. 899, 900.
Each is often used by Shakespeare in a plural way, as equivalent to Both or All: e.g. "What each of them by the other lose" (Coriol. iii. 2), "Each in her sleep themselves so beautify" (R. of L., 404). So Milton:
"Each in their crystal sluice."-P. L., v. 133. "Each in their several active spheres."-P. L., v. 477. "Cattle and creeping things and beasts of the Earth, Each in their kind."-P. L., VII. 452, 453.
Corrupting each their way."-P. L., xI. 888, 889.
Occasional violations of our present rules of government occur among the pronouns. "Save He who reigns above" (Par. Lost, 11. 814) is a bold use of the nominative for the objective, after precedents in Shakespeare; and the frequency of ye for the usual objective you has been noted in our
remarks on Milton's peculiarities of inflection. That idiom, however, is not extinct yet. The following instances of the objective relative whom are worth noting :
"Belial came last; than whom a Spirit more lewd
Satan except, none higher sat.”—P. L., II. 299, 300.
66 Abdiel, than whom none with more zeal adored
Theoretically whom should be who in each of these cases (e.g. the first = "Belial came last, and a more lewd Spirit than he fell not from Heaven"); but the ear revolts from "than who." Than is used prepositionally in such cases.
OTHER PECULIARITIES AMONG THE PRONOUNS.-One of the most frequent and interesting of these is the use of the possessives of the personal pronouns—my, mine, our; thy, thine, your; his, her, their-as true possessive cases with the full function of our equivalents for them-of me, of us, of thee, of you, of him, of her, of them. Thus they are often antecedents to relatives: e.g. :
"His high will
Whom we resist."-P. L., 1. 161, 162.
66 Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last... Came."-P. L., I. 376-379.
66 my folly, who have profaned
The mystery of God."-S. A. 377, 378.
This usage has not yet gone out in modern English poetry, though it has become much rarer than it was among the Elizabethans, probably because we have come to regard my, thy, his, etc., rather as adjectives than as possessive cases of substantives. Indeed we should hardly make an antecedent even of the possessive case of a noun. "The man's horse who was here just now" would seem an odd phrase. Probably Milton's habit of referring to Latin constructions made it natural for him to perpetuate this particular Elizabethanism both with the possessives of nouns and with the possessives of pronouns. We see this recollectiveness of Latin constructions, at all events, in a still stronger variety of the