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

David Urban dvu2 at calvin.edu
Wed Dec 6 07:45:19 EST 2017

Thanks, Jeffery--this is very interesting.

I think it's safe to say that what you share isn't common knowledge among Miltonists, so thanks again!

BTW, here's some interesting commentary on these lines (PL 1.609-10) from a 1861 edition by John Hunter, a neglected edition that, I think, merits our attention:



The first book of Milton's Paradise lost: with a prose tr. and notes, by J. Hunter<https://books.google.com/books?id=CcQIAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA57&dq=%22Millions+of+spirits+for+his+fault+amerced+Of+Heaven.%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-oqais_XXAhUn64MKHaIlCbIQ6AEILTAB#v=onepage&q=%22Millions%20of%20spirits%20for%20his%20fault%20amerced%20Of%20Heaven.%22&f=false>



From: milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu <milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu> on behalf of Horace Jeffery Hodges <horacejeffery at gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 6, 2017 7:32:49 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: [Milton-L] "Millions of spirits for his fault amerced Of Heaven."

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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