[Milton-L] metrical contraction

Joshua Scodel joshscodel at gmail.com
Wed Mar 28 08:40:34 EDT 2018


Dear Miltonians,

I have a very dull technical question.  I'm teaching the "Nativity Ode" and
am bothered yet once more by l. 116 as printed in the 1645 and 1653
editions:  "With unexpressive notes to Heav'ns new-born Heir."  It'd be a
perfectly good alexandrine with a disyllabic "Heaven's," but the elision to
a monosyllabic 'Heav'n's" makes it eleven syllables and the concluding
three syllables hard to scan.  Is it plausible that this is just a repeated
printer's error based on the fact that all the other instances of "Heaven"
in the poem are elided to "Heav'n"?

Attridge briefly remarks on Milton's use of both contracted and
uncontracted forms of "heav(e)n" in *Paradise Lost*, but has anybody done a
systematic study of Miltonic metrical elision?

Best, Josh Scodel

-- 
Joshua Scodel
Helen A. Regenstein Professor in English, Comparative Literature, and the
College
University of Chicago
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