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to delay transitive/intransitive

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Milton, Paradise Lost: Book One, lines 207/8

[...]while Night
Invests the Sea, and wished Morn delayes:

I was wondering if the word order in the second clause could/should be inverted, so that it reads eg. "it's the Night that both invests the Sea AND delays wished Morn,

or rather Night covers the Sea and wished Morn delays (ie. takes its sweetass time)

Which is more likely?


Verfasser101recon06 Jan 10, 12:51
Kommentar
"Wished Morn" is the subject of the second sentence (indicated by the comma before and:

i.e. there are two actors: 1. night invests, 2. morn delayes.
#1VerfasserReinhard W. (237443) 06 Jan 10, 13:08
Kommentar
101recon, you are absolutely right, it can be read either way; night can delay morn (transitive), or morn itself can delay (intransitive). Ambiguities like that are one of the nice things about Milton. Well spotted. (-:

If you're asking which is the primary sense, I'm not sure there is one. (IMO, FWIW, etc.)
#2Verfasserhm -- us (236141) 06 Jan 10, 20:20
Kommentar
An intransitive meaning would make more sense to me: a sailor has sought shelter (he thinks) until the night is over, and the morning the sailor wishes for so strongly is in no hurry to come.

New Shorter OED:
delay v.i. Loiter, be late; wait; (now poet.) tarry in a place.
#3VerfasserCM2DD (236324) 06 Jan 10, 21:05
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