[Milton-L] "Millions of spirits for his fault amerced Of Heaven."

Horace Jeffery Hodges horacejeffery at gmail.com
Wed Dec 6 07:32:49 EST 2017


I had thought that "amerced" meant the withdrawal of mercy, but I happened
upon some interesting  meanings of amerced [as payment of a fine, and a
noun form  contrasted with a penalty predetermined by statute]. Probably
this is all common knowledge among Miltonists, just in case:

In 1365, Henry Galeys, designated guardian for Joan, filed suit against
Thomas Mott, charging that he "took, carried away, and abducted" (*cepit,
asportavit, et aduxit*) her with her goods and chattel valued at 20 pounds
"with force and arms" and "against the peace" (*et contra pacem*). The
jurors found Thomas not guilty because he abducted Joan with her assent,
but he was amerced because Joan had been taken against the will of Henry.

a·merce  (ə-mûrs′) tr.v. a·merced, a·merc·ing, a·merc·es Law To punish by
fine or other penalty. [Middle English amercen, from Anglo-Norman amercier,
from à merci, at the mercy of : à, to (from Latin ad; see ad-) + merci,
mercy (from Latin mercēs, wages).] a·merce′a·ble adj. a·merce′ment n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition.
Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published
by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
amercement, amerciament 1. punishment or penalty applied at the discretion
of a court or other authority, as contrasted with a penalty predetermined
by statute. 2. the imposing of such a penalty. — amercer, n.

Best Regards

Jeffery Hodges
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