Authore G. Oldys attributes it to George Chapman. Sufficient attention has not been paid to this early and thoughtful specimen of blank verse " Cunningham. It is, of all long poems that are remembered at all, the most unfortunate in its reputation" Hallam, "Literature of Europe," i.
Essay on Milton | John Milton | Samuel Johnson
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An Essay on Milton's Use and Imitation of the Moderns, in His Paradise Lost
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Milton therefore seems to have somewhat mistaken the nature of our language, of which the chief defect is ruggedness and asperity, and has left our harsh cadences yet harsher.
But his elisions are not all equally to be censured; in some syllables they may be allowed, and perhaps in a few may be safely imitated. The abscission of a vowel is undoubtedly vicious when it is strongly sounded, and makes, with its associate consonant, a full and audible syllable. I believe every reader will agree, that in all those passages, though not equally in all, the musick is injured, and in some the meaning obscured. There are other lines in which the vowel is cut off, but it is so faintly pronounced in common speech, that the loss of it in poetry is scarcely perceived; and therefore such compliance with the measure may be allowed.
Yet even these contractions increase the roughness of a language too rough already; and though in long poems they may be sometimes suffered, it never can be faulty to forbear them.
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- No. 88. A criticism on Milton’s versification. Elisions dangerous in English poetry.?
- John Milton - Wikipedia.
Verses of this kind occur almost in every page; but though they are not unpleasing or dissonant, they ought not to be admitted into heroick poetry, since the narrow limits of our language allow us no other distinction of epick and tragick measures, than is afforded by the liberty of changing at will the terminations of the dramatick lines, and bringing them by that relaxation of metrical rigour nearer to prose. This, with regard to our language, is evidently true, not because monosyllables cannot compose harmony, but because our monosyllables, being of Teutonick original, or formed by contraction, commonly begin and end with consonants, as, ————Every lower faculty Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste.
As ————Knowledge Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind. Fruits,——Hesperian fables true, If true, here only, and of delicious taste.
Of guests he makes them slaves, Inhospitably, and kills their infant males. Milton frequently uses in his poems the hypermetrical or redundant line of eleven syllables.