ePub 版

Our doom ; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit
His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed,
Not mind us not offending, satisfied

With what is punished.”—II. 201—213.
“ If this be our condition, thus to dwell

In narrow circuit straitened by a foe,
Subtle or violent, we not endued
Single with like defence wherever met,
How are we happy, still in fear of harm ?
But harm precedes not sin : only our foe
Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem
Of our integrity : his foul esteem
Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns
Foul on himself; then wherefore shunned or feared
By us, who rather double honour gain
From his surmise proved false, find peace within,
Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event ?
And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed
Alone, without exterior help sustained ?
Let us not then suspect our happy state
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise
As not secure to single or combined.
Frail is our happiness, if this be so ;

And Eden were no Eden, thus exposed.”—IX. 322—341.
“ He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk

Into the wood fast by, and, changing shape
To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act
By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded
Upon her husband-saw their shame that sought
Vain covertures; but, when he saw descend
The Son of God to judge them, terrified
He fled, not hoping to escape, but shun
The present—fearing, guilty, what his wrath
Might suddenly inflict ; that past, returned
By night, and, listening where the hapless pair
Sat in their sad discourse and various plaint,
Thence gathered his own doom ; which understood
Not instant, but of future time, with joy
And tidings fraught, to Hell he now returned,
And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot
Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhoped

Met who to meet him came, his offspring dear.”—X. 333–349. Here what have we? A use, it is true, of certain native mechanisms, so that the syntax is part English ; but these mechanisms aided, and all but supplanted, by Latin constructions. It is not only that Latin phrases and idioms are translated; it is that Milton bends, arranges, and builds up his own uninflected or scarce-inflected English on the system of the Latin syntax. Observe, generally, the fondness for those participial constructions by which the Latins saved conjunctions and connecting particles, and gave their syntax its character of brevity and strength. Such constructions abound even in the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

short pieces quoted, both in the form of the case relative and in that of the case absolute. Though the case absolute had survived in native English, one can see that in such instances as " we not endued,that past," " which understood,it was really the Latin ablative absolute that was in Milton's mind.

Illustrations of the Latinism of Milton's construction and idiom might be endless; but the following may here suffice :

SPECIAL LATINISMS. “ After Eve seduced,” for “ After the seduction of Eve,” is one instance, already quoted, of a well-known special Latinism : Post urbem conditam.Mr. Abbott produces but one example of this formation from Shakespeare, and that a doubtful one. But it recurs in Milton. Thus:- “ After the Tuscan mariners transformed ” (Com. 48); “Never since created Man (P. L., I. 573); “After summons read” (P. L., I. 798); “After Heaven seen” (P. L., III. 552); “After his charge received” (P. L., V. 248); "From his surmise proved false” (P. L., IX. 333); “At that tasted fruit" (P. L., X. 687); “In punished Man” (P. L., X. 803); “Repenting him of Man depraved” (P. L., XI. 886); “Since first her salutation heard(P. R., II. 107). With these, as containing substantially the same idiom, may be associated such as the following :

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

" For me be witness all the host of Heaven

If counsels different, or danger shunned
By me, have lost our hopes.”—P.L., I. 635—637._-

“ This question asked
Puts me in doubt."-P. L., IV. 887, 888.

“ best witness of thy virtue tried.”—P. L., IX. 317.

" the way found prosperous once
Induces best to hope of like success.”P. R., I. 104, 105.

prevented by thy eyes put out."-S. A. 1103.


Among Milton's special Latinisms we are inclined to class a good many of his case-absolute phrases ; for, though the dative absolute was an Anglo-Saxon idiom, and the nominative absolute, as a recollection of it, is frequent in early and Elizabethan English, Milton's case-absolute seems often, as we have said, imagined in the Latin, e.g:

till, the signal given,
Behold a wonder.”—P. L., I. 776, 777.
" This said, he paused not.”—-P. L., V. 64.

“ The Angelic quires,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all the empyreal road, till, at the gate
Of Heaven arrived, the gate self-opened wide
golden hinges tu

Divine the sovran Architect had framed.


From hence—no cloud, or, to obstruct the sight,
Star interposed, however small-he sees,
Not unconform to other shining globes,

Earth, and the Garden of God.”—P. L., V. 251–260.
" Let us seek Death, or, he not found, supply

With our own hands his office.”—P. L., X. 1001, 1002.

[ocr errors]

Once or twice the accusative is used absolutely instead of the nominative: e.g. "us dispossessed” (P. L., VII. 142); "me overthrown” (S. A. 463).

MISCELLANEOUS LATINISMS. -The following (some of them representative of recurring forms) may suggest the wealth of Latinisms, with sometimes a Græcism, scattered through Milton's text : Spare to interpose them oft.”—Sonnet XX.

“Peace is despaired ;
For who can think submission ?”—P. L., I. 660, 661.
" Whatever doing, what can we suffer more ?”-P. L., II. 162.
“What sit we then projecting peace and war?”P. L., II. 329.
66 Or of the Eternal coeternal beam

May I express thee unblamed ?”—P. L., III. 2, 3.
“ Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream ?”—P. L., III. 7.

" I will clear their senses dark
What may suffice.”P. L., III. 188, 189.

to change torment with (for) ease.”—P. L., IV. 892, 893.
" Yet evil whence? In thee can harbour none,
Created pure.”P. L., V. 99, 100.

'aery shapes
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames

All what we affirm, or what deny.”P. L., V. 105-107.
“ Haste hither, Eve, and, worth thy sight, behold

Eastward among those trees what glorious shape
Comes this way moving.”—P. L., V. 308—310.

on all sides to his aid was run
By Angels many and strong.”—P. L., VI. 335, 336.
“Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints.”—F. L., VI. 808.

“me higher argument remains.”—P. L., IX. 41-43.
“Greedily she ingorged without restraint,
And knew not eating death.”—P. L., IX. 791, 792.
Sagacious of his quarry from afar.”—P. L., X. 281.

“more wakeful than to drowse."-P. L., XI. 131. The Latinism of Milton's constructions will pursue us through a good deal of what follows; but it is best to throw the farther peculiarities of his syntax that seem most worthy of notice into an independent classification.

ELLIPSES. .“ The Elizabethan authors,” says Mr. Abbott,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"objected to scarcely any ellipsis, provided the deficiency could be easily supplied from the context”; and, as respects Shakespeare, he illustrates the remark through fifteen pages of examples and comments. The ellipses in Milton are perhaps not so numerous as in Shakespeare; but they are frequent and interesting.

Some may be called Ellipses in thought, inasmuch as what is omitted is some idea or link in the meaning which it is taken for granted the reader will supply for himself. An example is P. L., I. 587-589

“ Thus far these beyond
Compare of mortal prowess, yet observed
Their great commander ;

where, if the context is studied, it will be seen that Milton in the phrase Thus far,” etc., requires his readers to perform for themselves a sum in proportion with data he has furnished. Another example is Par. Lost, II. 70—73

“ But perhaps
The way seems difficult, and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe !
Let such [as are of this opinion] bethink them,” etc.

Of what are called mere ellipses of expression, or grammatical ellipses (though, strictly considered, these resolve themselves into ellipses of thought too), there is a great variety of kinds, not a few being really Latinisms.

Omission of the Nominative to a Verb.—This, which is not uncommon in Shakespeare and the other Elizabethans, Mr. Abbott attributes, in them, partly to a lingering sense of Old English verbinflections, partly to the influence of Latin, partly to the rapidity of Elizabethan pronunciation, which slurred such nominatives as I and he. To which of these causes Milton's ellipses of the kind are most generally owing will be best judged from a few examples :

" Or wert thou that just Maid who once before

Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth,

And camest (thou] again to visit us once more ?D. F. I. 50–52. 6. His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed

Equal in strength, and rather than be less
[He] Cared not to be at all.”—P. L., II. 46–48.

" and know'st [thou] for whom ?”P. L., II. 730. On whom the great Creator hath bestowed Worlds, and on whom [he] hath all these graces poured.”—P. L., III. 673, 674.

“ then [she] strews.”—P. L., V. 348. “ One Almighty is, from whom All things proceed, and [they] up to him return.”—P. L., V. 469, 470. “ This is my Son beloved : in him [l] am pleased."-P. R., I. 85.

[ocr errors]

Omission of the Verb to be.—This, also Elizabethan, is pretty frequent (sometimes as a Latinism) in Milton, e.g. :

“ Hail, foreign wonder !
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed,
Unless (thou art] the goddess that,” etc. — Com. 265-267.

“ though my soul [is] more bent
To serve therewith my Maker.”—Sonnet XIX.
“ Though

their children's cries (were] unheard."--P. L., I. 394, 395.
“ Yet confessed [to be] later than Heaven and Earth.”—P. L., I. 508.
“ [Being] Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.”P. L., III. 76.
“ The tempter, ere she was) the accuser, of mankind.”—P. L., IV. 10.
“ Though I (am) unpitied.”—P. L., IV. 375.

“ Is pain to them
Less pain, less to be fled ? or [art] thou than they
Less hardy ?”P. L., IV. 918-920.

“ pretending first
[It to be] Wise to fly pain.”—P. L., IV. 947, 948.

" and gav'st them names,
Needless (to be] to thee repeated.”—P. L., VII. 493, 494.

6. Death as oft accused Of tardy execution, since [it had been] denounced The day of his offence.”P. L., X. 852–854.

though my pardon [Be] No way assured.”—S. A. 738, 739.

[ocr errors]

Omission of Antecedent.—Examples of this (generally Latinisms)


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

- in bulk as large As [those] whom the fables name of monstrous size.P. L., I. 196, 197. “ Will envy [him] whom the highest place exposes.”—P. L., II. 27. “ To find (one) who might direct his wandering flight.”P. L., III. 631.

“ to subdue By force [those) who reason for their law refuse.”P. L., VI. 40, 41.

“ returning [thither) whence it rolled.”—P. L., VI. 879. “ Sent from [him] whose sovran goodness I adore.”P. L., VIII. 647.

" and soon found of whom they spake I am [he].”—P. R., I. 262, 263.

Peculiar Miltonic Ellipsis.—It is not safe to give this name to a form of which there may already be registered examples from other authors than Milton; but, as it has struck me first in Milton, and as the Miltonic examples of it are memorable, let the name stand for the present.

The ellipsis may be described as a peculiar omission of the word “ofby which a phrase compounded of an adjective and a substantive is made to do duty as an adjective. The Miltonic examples of it, though memorable, are few. I have noted the following:

« 上一頁繼續 »