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"Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream?"—P. L., III. 7.
"I will clear their senses dark

What may suffice.”—P. L., III. 188, 189.


to change torment with [for] ease.”—P. L., IV. 892, 893. "Yet evil whence? In thee can harbour none,

Created pure."—P. L., V. 99, 100.

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By Angels many and strong."-P. L., VI. 335, 336.
Vengeance is his, or whose he sole appoints.”—P. L., VI. 808.
me higher argument remains.”—P. L., IX. 41—43.


"Greedily she ingorged without restraint,


And knew not eating death."—P. L., IX. 791, 792.

Sagacious of his quarry from afar.”—P. L., X. 281.
more wakeful than to drowse.”—P. L., XI. 131.


The Latinism of Milton's constructions will pursue us through a good deal of what follows; but it is best to throw the farther peculiarities of his syntax that seem most worthy of notice into an independent classification.


ELLIPSES. "The Elizabethan authors," says Mr. Abbott, objected to scarcely any ellipsis, provided the deficiency could be easily supplied from the context;" and, as respects Shakespeare, he illustrates the remark through fifteen pages of examples and comments. The ellipses in Milton are perhaps not so numerous as in Shakespeare; but they are frequent and interesting.

Some may be called Ellipses in thought, inasmuch as what is omitted. is some idea or link in the meaning which it is taken for granted the reader will supply for himself. An example is P. L., I. 587-589

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where, if the context is studied, it will be seen that Milton in the phrase “Thus far," &c., requires his readers to perform for themselves a sum in proportion with data he has furnished. Another example is Par. Lost, II. 70-73:—

"But perhaps

The way seems difficult, and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe!

Let such [as are of this opinion] bethink them," &c.

Of what are called mere ellipses of expression, or grammatical ellipses (though, strictly considered, these resolve themselves into ellipses of

thought too), there is a great variety of kinds, not a few being really Latinisms.

Omission of the Nominative to a Verb.—This, which is not uncommon in Shakespeare and the other Elizabethans, Mr. Abbott attributes, in them, partly to a lingering sense of Old English verb-inflections, partly to the influence of Latin, partly to the rapidity of Elizabethan pronunciation, which slurred such nominatives as I and he. To which of these causes Milton's ellipses of the kind are most generally owing will be best judged from a few examples :—

"Or wert thou that just Maid who once before
Forsook the hated Earth, O tell me sooth,

And camest [thou] again to visit us once more?"-D. F. I. 50-52.

"His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed

Equal in strength, and rather than be less

[He] Cared not to be at all."-P. L., II. 46–48.

"and know'st [thou] for whom?"-P. L., II. 730.

"On whom the great Creator hath bestowed

Worlds, and on whom [he] hath all these graces poured."-P. L., III. 673, 674. "then [she] strews."—P. L., V. 348.

"One Almighty is, from whom

All things proceed, and [they] up to him return.”—P. L., V. 469, 470. "This is my Son beloved: in him [I] am pleased.”—P. R., I. 85.

Omission of the Verb "to be."-This, also Elizabethan, is pretty frequent (sometimes as a Latinism) in Milton, e.g. :—

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Hail, foreign wonder!

Whom certain these rough shades did never breed,

Unless [thou art] the goddess that," &c.—Com. 265–267.

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though my soul [is] more bent

To serve therewith my Maker."-Sonnet XIX.

"Though... their children's cries [were] unheard.”—P. L., I. 394, 395.

"Yet confessed [to be] later than Heaven and Earth.”—P. L., I. 508.


[Being] Uncertain which, in ocean or in air."-P. L., III. 76.

"The tempter, ere [he was] the accuser, of mankind."—P. L., IV. 10.

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"and gav'st them names,

Needless [to be] to thee repeated."-P. L., VII. 493, 494.

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Omission of Antecedent.--Examples of this (generally Latinisms) are:

"in bulk as large

As [those] whom the fables name of monstrous size.”—P. L., I. 196, 197. "Will envy [him] whom the highest place exposes."-P. L., II. 27. "To find [one] who might direct his wandering flight."-P. L., III. 631.

'to subdue

By force [those] who reason for their law refuse."-P. L., VI. 40, 41. "returning [thither] whence it rolled."-P. L., VI. 879.

"Sent from [him] whose sovran goodness I adore."-P. L., VIII. 647. "and soon found of whom they spake

I am [he].”—P. R., I. 262, 263.

Peculiar Miltonic Ellipsis.—It is not safe to give this name to a form of which there may already be registered examples in plenty from other authors than Milton; but, as it has struck me first in Milton, and as the Miltonic examples of it are memorable, let the name stand for the present. The ellipsis may be described as a peculiar omission of the word "of" by which a phrase compounded of an adjective and a substantive is made to do duty as an adjective. The Miltonic examples of it, though memorable, are few. I have noted the following:

"He scarce had ceased when the superior Fiend

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Up led by thee,

Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed,
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
Thy tempering."—P. L., VII. 12—15.

"Under his forming hands a creature grew,

Man-like, but different sex.”—P. L., VIII. 470, 471.

Miscellaneous Ellipses.-The variety of these may be indicated by the following specimens. Some, it will be seen, are again Latinisms in reality :


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'Daily devours apace, and nothing said."-Lycid. 129.

"While smooth Adonis from his native rock

Ran purple to the sea, supposed with blood

Of Thammuz yearly wounded."-P. L., I. 450-452.

"More glorious and more dread than from no fall.”—P. L., II. 16.

"Let us not then pursue,

By force impossible, by leave obtained

Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state

Of splendid vassalage."-P. L., II. 249–252.

place [of which it was] foretold [that it] should be."-P. L., II. 830, 831.


Direct my course :

Directed, no mean recompense it brings

To your behoof.”—P. L., II. 980-982.

"Man shall not quite be lost, but saved who will.”—P. L., III. 173.

"The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warned

Their sinful state."-P. L., III. 185, 186.

"No sooner did thy dear and only Son

Perceive thee purposed not to doom frail Man
So strictly, but much more to pity inclined,

offered himself to die

For Man's offence."-P. L., III. 403–410.

66 stars

Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move.”—P. L., III. 718, 719.

"whereof here needs no account,

But rather to tell how," &c.-P. L., IV. 235, 236.

"Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same Or undiminished brightness, to be known

As when thou stood'st in Heaven."-P. L., IV. 835-837.

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Adam relating, she sole auditress.”—P. L., VIII. 50, 51. "Her husband [as] the relater she preferred.”—P. L., VIII. 52.

"Whose virtue on itself works no effect,

But in the fruitful Earth."-P. L., VIII. 95, 96.

"Let it suffice thee that thou know'st

Us happy, and without Love no happiness."-P. L., VIII. 620, 621. "Thee, Serpent, noblest beast of all the field

I knew, but not with human voice endued.”—P. L., IX. 560, 561.

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“Knowing [myself], as needs I must, by thee betrayed.”—S. A. 840.

GRAMMATICAL SUPERFLUITIES.-These are, as might be expected, not nearly so numerous in Milton. Indeed, it would be very difficult to find a distinct and positive instance. The little prose-note appended

to the early poem called The Passion might seem to be one: "This subject the author finding to be above the years he had when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished." But, though this is an anomalous construction now, the anomaly does not lie in superfluity. Read "The author, finding this subject to be," &c., and all is rectified without the loss of a word. So with the following apparent instances :

"I know thee, stranger, who thou art."-P. L., II. 990.


"The other sort

Nameless in dark oblivion let them dwell."-P. L., VI. 376-380.

Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy breast,

Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear?"-P. L., IX. 288, 289.

"To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied."—P. L., XI. 453.

"I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith

He leaves his gods."-P. L., XII. 128, 129.

In each of these cases, though there seems to be a grammatical excess, it will be found that the excess is required by the meaning. Take the first and the last of the quoted passages. They are examples of a usage which Mr. Abbott finds frequent in Shakespeare, and which he calls "The redundant object." It may easily be defended. "I know, stranger, who thou art," and "I see, but thou canst not, with what faith he leaves his gods," would not convey what is meant-viz., first, the recognition or optical discernment of a person, and, secondly, a fact about that person. Nor, even by present usage, could the word he in "To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied," be omitted without loss of the intended emphasis. In the two remaining examples retrenchment would equally enfeeble the sense. The phrase "The other sort" in the one, and the noun "Thoughts" in the other, may be taken as instances of an emphatic Elizabethan form which Mr. Abbott names "the noun absolute"; or the two whole sentences may be taken as instances of a subtle grammatical figure, which Mr. Abbott calls "Construction changed by change of Thought," and of which we have more to say.

Seeming redundancies also rather than real are Milton's occasional double negatives. There are two forms, however, of this idiom. There is, first, the double negative, usually so called, of such Shakespearian and Early English phrases as "He denied you had in him no right," "Forbade the boy he should not pass these bounds," where the second negative word does not undo the first, but only intensifies the negation already made in it. Distinct from this is another double negative, constructed on the ordinary grammatical principle that "two negatives make an affirmative," and serving, in fact, as a rather emphatic affirmative. Of the following four passages the first two are examples of the first kind of double negative, the last two of the second; and it will be seen that in none of them is there properly redundancy :

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