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Sonnet to Fairfax, 1648.


Fair foux, whose name in armes through Europe
Filling each mouth with envy, or with pradife,
And all her jealous monarchs, with amaze
And rumors loved Loud, that dawns remotion dings,
Thy firm unshaken versie ever brings
Victory home, though new rebellions ruike
This Hydra heads, & the fall North displaies
her broken league, to pipe their serpent wings,
noblo task awaites thy

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For what can warr; but endles, wars still breed.
Till Truth, e Right from Violence be freed,
no A Public Faith cleard from the shame full brand
Public Fraud. In Vain doth Valowy bleed
While Avarice, & Rapine share the land. X


Specimens of the handwriting of some of Milton's Amanuenses between 1652 and 1660.

Cromwell, our

Cromert an cheif of men, who through a clad
Nos of warr onely, but debractions rude,
Guided by faith & marchless (Fortitude

To prace & brush thy glorious way hass plonge

Cyriach, this three years day these eys though cleer
To outward view, of blemin of of spos;

Bereft of light their seeing have forgos,

MEE thought & Bus

my tats espoused faint


brought to me like Sets from the grave whom loves great son to her glad husband gave r you'd from death by force though pake and faint.

First lines of "Paradise Lost," as in the manuscript for Press.

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(See Vol. I. p. 2. Note).

aradise lost. first book

first disobediones, & the furnit


Of that forbidden troe, whose mortall
Brought doate into the worlds, &

With losse of Edon, bill one,


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greater M.



Restore us, & vegamo The blissull soate, Iing howonly mase, that on the fornot tox of Oxob or of Sinai didht inspire

That Shophounds, who first taught the chosen hoods,

In the bogming

how the Hearns &

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out of Chaos: Dr ih Sion kill

While the foregoing pages of specimens from the original printed editions and from the preserved MS. copies may be interesting as curiosities, they will serve also as practical data for an inquiry into the subject of Milton's Orthography and Orthoepy; and perhaps the mere aspect of them may already have conveyed some preliminary impressions on that subject. The inquiry, however, is a very extensive and minute one, needing a far larger array of data than can be presented in any mere series of selected specimens. Accurate conclusions are possible only after patient and systematic examination of the original texts entire, with actual chase of representative words and sounds through all the individual cases of their occurrence in those texts. The results of my own investigations in this way I will state as succinctly as may be compatible with the production of instances sufficient for proof. Though Milton is directly concerned, and it is only with respect to him that the conclusions are here offered, they will bear, I believe, on the question of the style of spelling that ought to be adopted in all modern editions, for general use, of our English classics back to the time of Elizabeth. How far, and with what modifications, they may be applied to the question of the best form of the reproduction of the texts of still older English writers, I do not at present venture to say. That is a question, however, which scholars, I am perfectly sure, will sooner or later find reason for deciding' very differently from the practice now generally in fashion, and all the sooner if some portions of the marvellously abundant and exact science of Mr. A. J. Ellis's great work on Early English Pronunciation should be brought to bear upon it. On this side of the adoption of a Universal Glossic, theoretically perfect (see Mr. Ellis's work, Part III., pp. xiii.—xx.), what seems really necessary is a candid and minute study of the actual history of English spelling, with a view to sound rules for the editorial use of our existing alphabet. Meanwhile, our business being with Milton, the facts as regards his spelling may be expressed, definitely enough, in two propositions:

I. Milton's spelling, whether by his own hand, or through his printers, was very much the spelling of his day.

Everyone is familiar with the main differences of that spelling from the spelling now in use; and it is easier to remember them in general effect as seen in old books than to enumerate them individually.—One was the frequent use of the silent e final where we have now abandoned it, as faire, vaine, soone, urne, doe (do), keepe, tooke, crowne, deepe, ruine, forlorne, goddesse; with the corresponding extension es in the plural of nouns, as armes, aires, dayes. On the other hand, the e was occasionally omitted where we retain it, as fals, vers, els, leavs, tast (taste), hast (haste). So our final y was frequently represented by ie, as starrie, majestie, guiltie, happie, flie, crie, descrie; while, on the other hand, y did service from which it has now been released, as in ayr, voyce, tyme, tyger, lye, poyson, ycie (icy), jubily.-For our word than the almost con

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stant spelling is the older form then: e.g. Less then half we find exprest" (Arcad. 12); and for our word lest we find also the old form least. Reversely, we may expect to find lest for our least, e.g. "The first at lest of these I thought deni'd" (P. L., IX. 555), and occasionally even than for our then: e.g. "Full little thought they than, That the mighty Pan" (Od. Nativ. 88; where, however, it is the rhyme that induces it).—Whereas we distinguish the possessive case sing. and plur. in nouns by the use of an apostrophe, there was no such constant practice in old writing and printing; and, accordingly, we find mans where we should now write man's, fathers where we should now write father's or fathers', mens where we should now write men's, Javans issue for Javan's issue, Joves court for Jove's court, and as far as Angels kenn (P. L., I. 59), where it is doubtful whether the meaning is Angel's ken, Angels' ken, or Angels ken (the verb). On the other hand, the apostrophe often occurs before s when we do not expect it: e.g. myrtle's (plur.), hero's (plur.), "Juno dare's not give her odds" (Arcad. 23), “Of dire chimera's and inchanted Iles" (Com., 517), and "Gorgons and Hydra's, and Chimera's dire" (P. L., II. 628).-Again, the letters used for some of the common vowel-sounds, beyond the y and ie group, were often different from those on which we have now fixed; and so we find such spellings as mee, hee, shee, wee, yee, sed and se'd (said), æternity, sphear, vertue, neather (neither), seaven (seven), weild, feild, preist, freinds, dieties (deities), theefe, deceave, heer, peirc'd, spreds, threds, dores, sease (seize), rowz'd, eev'n, spight, shoars, rore, yoak, raign, beleeve, travailer (traveller), woolf, flourets, extreams, fowl (foul), jeat (jet), o're (o'er), shepheards, warriers, wraught, unsaught, wrauth, thurst (thirst), &c.—Add, by way of miscellaneous variations from our present spelling, such frequent or occasional forms as these-mortall, celestiall, battel, sollemne (solemn), center, scepter, compell, committ, goddes (goddess), endles (endless), ripenes, saphire, suttle (subtle), welcom, musick, ore and o're (o'er), Ile (I'll), flowres, showres, laureat, farewel, warr, farr, carr, persues (pursues), onely, sents (scents), swindges (swinges), allarm, pittie (pity), large-lim'd (large-limbed), weele (wheel). All these spellings, and many more not now customary, occur in Milton's MSS. or his original printed editions; and, with the peculiarities already mentioned, and the use of capital letters at the beginning not only of proper names but also of names of all important objects, and generally also of Italic letters for foreign or classical words, they help to impart to his original printed editions that slight look of uncouthness which ordinary readers find in all books of his period.

II. Just because Milton's spelling was in the main the spelling of his day, one of its most marked characteristics is its variability or want of uniformity; and, on examination, it is found that this variability or want of uniformity affects precisely and chiefly those spellings which differ from ours, and that, in almost every such case, our present

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