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6. The USE OF ONE PART OF SPEECH FOR ANOTHER. Other poets have resorted to this practice, but none so often as Milton.1

a. Sometimes a verb or an adjective is employed in a participial sense, as

Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill.❜

b. Now and then an adjective is used as a verb:

May serve to better us and worse our foes.3

c. Occasionally a substantive is made to take the place of a verb, as when trees "gemmed" their blossoms, or sea-monsters "tempest' the ocean, or Satan "voyaged" the deep. Participles from such noun-verbs appear in the expressions "fuell'd entrails," "his consorted Eve," "roses bushing round." 5

d. More frequently verbs seem to be used as nouns, though it is often hard to say whether the word in question is a verb or a clipped form of substantive: "the great consult began"; Satan "began... his roam"; "without disturb they took alarm"; "the place of her retire."

e. One interchange of the parts of speech that was a favorite with Milton and his followers is the use of an adjective where an adverb would ordinarily be employed. Because of the distorted order it is often impossible to tell whether the word in question is intended to be an adjective or an adverb; but at any rate ordinary prose usage would employ adverbs in such cases as these, "with gems. . . rich emblazed," "grinned horrible," "his grieved look he fixes sad," "his proud step he scornful turn'd.""

f. As common, if not more so, is the use of an adjective for a noun. This device is sometimes very effective, the vague suggestiveness of a general expression being far better for Milton's purposes than the more definite word with its human associations would be, when, for example, he speaks of chaos as "the palpable obscure” or “the vast abrupt," of a trumpet as "the sounding alchemy," of the sky as "Heaven's azure" or "the vast of Heaven." Other instances are "this huge convex of fire," "dark with excessive bright," "Satan with

It is hard to say how much of this is due to his fondness for the shortened forms of words. For example, in "made so adorn for thy delight" (viii. 576), does he mean "adorned" or does he intend to use the verb as an adjective?

2 ix. 845.

♦ vii. 325, 412; X. 471.

i. 234; vii. 50; ix. 426.

i. 798; iv. 536–8; vi. 549; xi. 267.

7 i. 538; ii. 846; iv. 28, 536.

3 vi. 440.

ii. 406, 409 (cf. Raleigh's Milton 1915, pp. 228–9), 517; i. 297; vi. 203.

his rebellious," "on smooth the seal" plays, "quit The dank,' ing to wild," "putting off Human, to put on Gods." 1


7. VOCABULARY. Through his wide and constant reading, his unusual familiarity with the classics, his admiration for Chaucer and for Spenser, Shakespeare, and other Elizabethans, Milton had acquired an unusual vocabulary, which shows itself even in his prose works. In Paradise Lost he naturally made frequent use of still other unfamiliar words to describe the exceptional persons and places with which he dealt; for ordinary language is not only inadequate but too definite and too connotative of commonplace things to picture archangels, chaos, hell, and heaven. These persons and places Milton with great art suggests to us through the atmosphere and sound of the poem, and in order to create this atmosphere and to obtain harmonies that produce this sound he had to depart from the ordinary vocabulary. For these reasons his diction would be marked in any age; but in the time of Pope and Johnson, when the poetic vocabulary was unusually limited and when many old words that are common to-day were obsolete, it must have seemed strange enough.2

The words in Paradise Lost that would have sounded unusual to the average intelligent reader of the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century fall into four main classes, the general effect of each of which, it will be observed, is to give splendor, as well as a certain strangeness or aloofness, to the poem:

a. Archaic words found in Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, or their contemporaries, but obsolete in the eighteenth century, such as "erst," "grunsel," "welkin," "frore," "lore," "grisly," "ken," "areed," "avaunt," "behests," "wons," "emprise." Since, however, any eighteenth-century writer who uses such words may have derived them from Spenser or Shakespeare or possibly Chaucer, they count for little in tracing Milton's influence.

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b. Unusual words from the Greek or Latin. Under this head Peck, in 1740, noted "dulcet," "panoplie," "sapience,' ""nocent,' "congratulant," "attrite," "insanguin'd," "sequent." Latin words, whether common or uncommon, appealed strongly to Milton. c. Words in general use but employed by Milton in senses obsolete in the eighteenth century. To such words he usually gives

1 ii. 434; iii. 380; vi. 414 (cf. i. 71); vii. 409, 440-1; ix. 212, 713-14.

2 We know that it did: see above, p. 64.

3 i. 360, 460; ii. 538, 595, 815; iii. 622; iv. 821, 962 (two); vi. 185; vii. 457; xi. 642.

• New Memoirs of Milton, 110-111. Cf. P.L., i. 712; vi. 527 (and 760); vii. 195; ix. 186; x. 458, 1073; xi. 654; xii. 165.

the meanings they had in Latin or Anglo Saxon. For example, "the secret top Of Oreb" (L., retired); "a singèd bottom all involved With stench" (L., wrapped in); "tempt" an abyss (L., attempt); "his uncouth way" (A. S., unknown); "the buxom air" (A. S., yielding); "habit fit for speed succinct" (L., girt up); "unessential Night" (L., unsubstantial); "comes unprevented" (L., unanticipated); "argument" (L., theme); "sagacious of his quarry" (L., keen-scented); "turn My obvious breast" (L., in front of).1

d. Words required or suggested by the subject, as ambrosial, chaos, adamant or adamantine, ethereal, void, abyss, umbrageous, embattled, amarant or amaranthine.2

8. The introduction into a comparatively short passage of a CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF PROPER NAMES that are not necessary to the sense but add richness, color, and imaginative suggestiveness:

And what resounds

In fable or romance of Uther's son,
Begirt with British and Armoric knights;
And all who since, baptized or infidel,
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban,
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond;
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell
By Fontarabbia.

Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can,
And Samarchand by Oxus, Temir's throne,
To Paquin of Sinaean kings, and thence
To Agra and Lahor of Great Mogul,
Down to the golden Chersonese, or where
The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since
In Hispahan, or where the Russian Ksar
In Mosco, or the Sultan in Bizance.3

9. UNUSUAL COMPOUND EPITHETS, formations probably borrowed from Homer, and much more frequent in Comus than in the later poems. Typical examples are "sail-broad vans," "high-climbing hill," "arch-chemic sun," "half-rounding guards," "night-warbling bird," "love-labour'd song," "seven-times-wedded maid," "skytinctured grain," "three-bolted thunder," "Heaven-banish'd host,

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1 i. 6-7, 236–7; ii. 404-5, 407, 842; iii. 643; ii. 439; iii. 231; ix. 28; x. 281; xi. 373-42 Milton has "ambrosial" 13 times, "chaos" 25, "adamant" or "adamantine" 11, "ethereal" 25, "void" 15, "abyss" 19, "umbrageous" 1, "embattled" 5, "amarant" or "amaranthine" 2.

3 i. 579-87; xi. 388-95 (this roll of names continues for sixteen more lines). Cf. also i. 392-521, 576-9; ix. 77-82, 505-10; x. 431-6, 695-706, etc.

'shape star-bright," "joint-racking rheums," "double-founted stream."


Three other characteristics of Paradise Lost, though worth mentioning because they are generally overlooked, are so common in earlier poetry as to be, in my opinion, of no value in determining influence. One of them, which must have pleased Milton's ear (since it occurs frequently in all his poems) and which may have had something to do with his puns,2 is the INTENTIONAL REPETITION of a word or a phrase:

And feel by turns the bitter change

Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce.

So he with difficulty and labour hard
Moved on: with difficulty and labour he.3

A second feature of Milton's style which is also to be found in the work of his predecessors is the use of an UNINTERRUPTED SERIES OF WORDS in the same construction, participles, adjectives, verbs, substantives, etc.:

Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved.

Exhausted, spiritless, afflicted, fall'n.

But apparent guilt,

And shame, and perturbation, and despair,
Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile."

Such series are not frequent in Paradise Lost, however, and might be used independently of Milton.

A third characteristic of Paradise Lost which might perhaps appear in any writer whether he knew the epic or not, but which is apt to gives lines a Miltonic ring, is the use of ADJECTIVES IN -EAN OR -IAN from proper nouns. Some examples are Memphian, Ausonian, Atlantean, Serbonian, Cerberean, Trinacrian, Ammonian, Philistean, Cronian, Cathaian, Memnonian, Bactrian, Plutonian, Dictaean, Thyestean.

1 ii. 927; iii. 546, 609; iv. 862; v. 40, 41, 223, 285; vi. 764; x. 437, 450; xi. 488; xii. 144. Laura E. Lockwood's Milton Lexicon (N. Y., 1907), pp. 667–71, lists all the words hyphenated in the original text.

* See, for example, iv. 181 (“at one slight bound high overleap'd all bound”), v. 583-4 ("the empyreal host Of Angels, by imperial summons call'd”), vi. 383-4 ("to glory aspires, Vain-glorious").


3 ii. 598–9, 1021-2. Cf. also ii. 618-25; iii. 188-93, 446-8, 645-6; v. 146, 791–2; vi. 244-5. In iv. 639-58 and x. 1086-1104 passages of some length are repeated.

♦ ii. 185 (cf. iii. 372–5, v. 898–9); vi. 852; x. 112-14. Cf. also ii. 618–28, 947–50; iii. 489-93; iv. 344; v. 772; vii. 502–3.

It is not through oversight that nothing has been said of Milton's prosody. Master as he was of all the resources of verse, he was less an innovator in "numbers" than in other things. Every important characteristic of his versification which is capable of being defined, isolated, and catalogued is to be found in the plays of Shakespeare and the lesser Elizabethans. Peculiarities of Paradise Lost that seem to be due to its prosody will, when examined more closely, be seen to lie in other categories. True, Milton's verse is in general less flowing, less conversational, and more exalted than that of the dramatists, but does not this difference spring from the nine qualities we have just been examining? The remarkable freedom, flexibility, and variety that characterize his prosody he secured by constantly using run-over lines, by moving the cesural pause from one part of the line to another, by inverting the metrical accent through the substitution of trochaic for iambic feet, by slighting one or more of the metrical accents in nearly every line, and by shifting the location of those he slighted. Yet, as all these devices are used by Shakespeare, they are of no assistance in tracing Milton's influence.

The features of Paradise Lost that have been listed include by no means all of its characteristics, but they are all I have found to be useful in detecting the influence of the poem. In fact, a number of them are by themselves of no account. A work may be dignified and reserved, may contain unusual Greek or Latin words or unusual compound epithets and make frequent use of parentheses and appositives, and yet not be Miltonic; but if we are sure on other grounds that it has been influenced by Paradise Lost the presence of these qualities will show the extent of the influence, and if we are doubtful their presence will help settle the matter. The frequency with which they occur is naturally an all-important matter. An occasional inversion, an adjective used now and then for an adverb or a noun, a few words employed in obsolete senses, these may be found in almost any poem and hence are of no significance. To give a piece the Miltonic ring they must be fairly common.

But does the presence of these qualities, however frequently they occur, necessarily prove the influence of Paradise Lost? May they not have been derived from other poems or have been hit upon by some writers quite independently? Some of them may have been, and are therefore, as has been said, of slight value in establishing influence. A considerable number, however, - and it is upon these that the burden of proof rests, cannot in the eighteenth century very well have been derived from any source but Paradise Lost. True, the same qualities may occasionally be found in the other poetry

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