Friday, February 10, 2006


Milton and Euripides

In his Life of Milton, Samuel Johnson wrote:
The books in which his daughter, who used to read to him, represented him as most delighting, after Homer, which he could almost repeat, were Ovid's Metamorphoses and Euripides. His Euripides is, by Mr. Cradock's kindness, now in my hands: the margin is sometimes noted; but I have found nothing remarkable.
Johnson did not look closely enough into the margin. Modern editors of Euripides adopt at least one of Milton's conjectural emendations, at Euripides, Bacchae 188. E.R. Dodds in his commentary ad loc. remarks:
The correction ἡδέως for ἡδέων was first made by the poet Milton, who noted it with other conjectures in the margin of his copy of Euripides, now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. These emendations were not published in full until 1814, when they were printed in the Museum Criticum.

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