[Milton-L] being

John Leonard jleonard at uwo.ca
Thu Mar 29 09:13:04 EDT 2018


Re: "being" (in "As being the contrary to his high will"), it seems to me that this is a good example of Milton's use of synaloepha ("melting together"), often confused with elision ("crushing out"). So (to my ears at least) the sound is closer to "b'ying" than "b'ing". Some might think the distinction precious, but as Francis Peck wrote in 1740 (of a different line, "over many a tract") the melted syllables ("y a")  "seem not to be cut off, but to remain." Johnson's essay on Milton's scansion (Rambler 88, 19 Jan 1751) illustrates (to Johnson's cost) the wild work that can arise when synaloepha is confused with elision. I discuss these and other examples in chapter one of Faithful Labourers, especially the sections on Peck and Johnson.


John Leonard

________________________________
From: milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu <milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu> on behalf of Joshua Scodel <joshscodel at gmail.com>
Sent: March 28, 2018 8:02:04 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] being

Thanks, Clay and Michael, for reminding me of Bridges on elision, which I looked at many years ago.  If anybody knows more recent work that's relevant, please let me know.  Best, Josh

On Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 6:44 PM, Gregory Machacek <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu<mailto:Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu>> wrote:
Of the 28 appearances of the word "being" in PL, 14 are at the end of the line.  About 9 of the others are b'ing, and about three disyllabic.  I say "about" because when I came to the end of my count, it didn't add up to 28, so I've missed one somewhere.  But the rough proportions are correct.

The two other "contrary"s in the poem are four syllables.

So I favor, "As b'ing the contrary to his high will."  Of course, wasn't Bridges' point that M counts it as "b'ing" but pronounced it as "being"?  It's been too long.

Be well,


Greg Machacek
Professor of English
Marist College


----- Original message -----
From: "J. Michael Gillum" <mgillum at ret.unca.edu<mailto:mgillum at ret.unca.edu>>
Sent by: milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu>
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l at richmond.edu>>
Cc:
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "Millions of spirits for his fault amerced Of Heaven."
Date: Wed, Mar 28, 2018 10:22 AM

I think Clay Greene is right on all counts. The line needs to be a hexameter to fulfill the established stanza pattern. Also, "heaven" is occasionally disyllabic in PL.

Here's a tricky one: "As being the contrary to his high will" (PL 1.161). It has an extra syllable, but should we find the elision in "being" or "contrary"? (The former, I'm pretty sure. "Contrary" as noun is apparently stressed on the first syllable elsewhere in PL Its third syllable may have secondary stress in M's dialect.)

On Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 9:04 AM, Clay Greene <claypgreene at gmail.com<mailto:claypgreene at gmail.com>> wrote:
Dear Professor Scodel,

I would say Robert Bridges performed the most important study of Milton’s elisions in Milton’s Prosody (1923 edition). He is studying PL, but he thinks Milton’s elisions are all explainable for syllabic reasons. Contraction and elision are for Bridges a core feature of how Milton’s prosody works—pretty close to being a systematic study, since he looks at all the PL lines that would tilt one way or the other depending on contraction.

I can’t speak to the specific possibility of error here, but I think it’s probably an alexandrine and that it makes sense to read the word disyllabically regardless of the printed version.

My apologies if the above is obvious. Thanks for the chance to revisit contraction in Milton.

Best,
Clay Greene
PhD Student, English and Renaissance Studies
Yale University

On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, Joshua Scodel <joshscodel at gmail.com<mailto:joshscodel at gmail.com>> wrote:
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 "heav(e)n" in Paradise Lost, but has anybody done a systematic study of Miltonic metrical contraction?

Josh Scodel

On Wed, Dec 6, 2017 at 7:18 AM, John Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca<mailto:jleonard at uwo.ca>> wrote:

The legal sense "fine" was noted by "P.H." in 1695. He added the interesting detail that the word "bears an affinity" with a like-sounding Greek word used by Homer, meaning "deprive." The Greek pun then slipped out of the editorial canon until Stella Revard rediscovered it in (I think) MQ. It is likely that Milton is using both the Greek and the French senses (including "at the mercy of").





________________________________
From: milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu> <milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu<mailto:milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu>> on behalf of Horace Jeffery Hodges <horacejeffery at gmail.com<mailto:horacejeffery at gmail.com>>
Sent: 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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--
Joshua Scodel
Helen A. Regenstein Professor in English, Comparative Literature, and the College
University of Chicago

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