The Poetical Works of John Milton
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1903. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... ESSAY ON MILTON'S ENGLISH AND VERSIFICATION. The following remarks relate to Milton's Poetry only, any references to his Prose being but incidental. The remarks may arrange themselves under five heads: -- I. Milton's Vocabulary. II. Spelling and Pronunciation. III. Peculiarities of Grammatical Inflection. IV. Syntax and Idiom. V. Milton's Versification, and his Place in the History of English Verse. I. MILTON'S VOCABULARY. It has been computed that Milton's total vocabulary in his poetry, to the exclusion of his prose-writings, consists of about 8000 words. In this computation all separate parts of speech are counted as distinct words, but inflections of any one part of speech are not so counted. By a similar computation it is found that Shakespeare's vocabulary in his Plays and Poems consists of about 15,000 words. The greater extent of Shakespeare's poetical vocabulary, as compared with Milton's, may be accounted for partly by the greater bulk of the poetical matter from which the vocabulary is gathered; but it is, doubtless, owing in part also to the greater multifariousness of that aggregate of things and notions amid which Shakespeare's imagination moved for the purposes of his dramas. An interesting question with respect to any English writer the extent of whose total vocabulary may have been ascertained is the question what proportion of that vocabulary consists of words of the old native English or "AngloSaxon" stock, and what of words derived from the Latin 01 other non- Saxon sources that have contributed to our matured and composite English. "In the vocabulary of the English Bible," says Mr. Marsh in his Lectures on the English Language, "sixty per cent are native; in that of Shakespeare the proportion is very nearly the same; while of the stock of wo...
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