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So in older English, and in poetry, the personals are employed where the agent is acting upon himself, or makes reference to himself: as, I thought me richer than the Persian king.–Ben Jonson.
He sat him down at a pillar's base.—Byron. But commonly the word self is added in such instances; and confusion has arisen from not clearly determining the force of this word. “My-self' would lead us to think self a substantive; but himself' looks as if self were an adjective; indeed, in some provincial dialects, we find 'his-self' uniformly used for him-self.' Nor should we despise these dialectic varieties; they sometimes throw light upon grammatical theories.
260. Let us examine the history of self. In Anglo-Saxon sylf appears to be an adjective, and it agrees with the pronoun to which it is joined. Rask says (Anglo-Saxon Grammar, $ 141) sylf is usually added to the personal pronoun in the same case and gender; as
ic sylf hit eom;
I self it am.-Luke xxiv. 39. i. e. 'it is I myself.'
ic swerige thurh me sylfne;
Gen. xxii. 16. i.e. "by myself.
Sometimes however, adds Rask, the dative of the personal pronoun is prefixed to the nominative of sylf: as,
ic com me-sylf to eow
Ælf. N. T. p. 35. 1. e. of my own accord.'
ær thu the-self hit me gerehtest
Boethius, v. 1. 261. In Layamon's Brut the word sometimes has the meaning of alone;' thus when Cordelia is sent away to be married to the French king Aganippus, King Leir sends her,
mid seolven hire clathen;
with selves her clothes; that is, with the clothes she wore, but without any outfit, or anything in the way of dowry.
262. Besides the emphatic forms used to strengthen the nominative ic me-sylf and thu the-sylf, we also find ic sylf, • I self' and thu sylf, thou self.'
In early English, me-sylf and the-sylf passed into mi-sylf, my-sylf, thi-sylf, thy-sylf; whence it was thought that self had a substantive force, and that my, thy were possessive pronouns. Hence too, by analogy, such forms as our-selves and your-selves arose.
In older English we find his-self and their-selves, which are formed on the analogy of my-self and yourself, and are theoretically defensible, though not allowed in modern English :
Every of us, each for hisself, laboured how to recover
him. That they would willingly, and of theirselves, endea
vour to keep a perpetual chastity. 263. It is worth remarking that, in modern English, the first and second persons exhibit the substantive force of self: as my-self, thy-self, our-selves, your-selves; where Dr. Latham remarks (English Grammar, § 331) that the word self (or selves) governs the words my, thy, our, your, just as in the expression John's hat, the word hat governs the word John's; so that my, thy, are possessive cases.
On the other hand, in the third person, we find the word used apparently as an adjective, but added to the objective case of the pronoun, in the forms him-self, them-selves. This presents no difficulty when the pronouns are used as the object of a verb : He crowned himself,' "They praised themselves.' But it is very difficult to justify the use of himself as a nominative in the sentences, 'He himself said so,' 'Himself bare our sins. We can only say that it is the custom of the language, one of the many anomalies that have crept in.
264. The word her-self is ambiguous; since it is doubtful whether her be a possessive or an objective case.
In like manner it is doubtful whether it-self was originally it-self, or its-self.
One-self and one's self are both used; though one-self is the more common.
In the poets we find self sometimes as a substantive, and sometimes as an adjective: as,
Swear by thy gracious self.
Being over full of self affairs
Midsummer Night's Dream, i. 1. . 265. Whenever any words are interposed between the pronominal part and self, the substantive force of self predominates. We say him-self, but his own self;' his own dear self.' So them-selves, but their own precious selves.'
266. To express the adjectival Reflective (Lat. suus) we use the word own (Anglo-Saxon agen) with the possessive pronoun, or the genitive of the personal : as, “That is my own book;' Virtue is its own reward.'
RECIPROCAL PRONOUNS. 267. A Reciprocal pronoun is said to be one that implies the mutual action of different agents; but we have no forms, in English, to which this term can strictly be applied. With us, reciprocity of feeling or action is expressed by the combination each other, one another.
In the constructions, “They love each other,' They love one another, we consider each and one as nominatives, in opposition with the subject-nominative they; and other, another, objectives governed by the verb love.
In such expressions as • after each other,' to one another,' the place of the preposition has been disturbed. The real construction is each after other, one to another, as we actually find in older English:
A thousand sighes, hotter than the glede,
Chaucer. Some grammarians assert that each other strictly refers to two, and one another to any number more than two; but this distinction is not always observed.
CHAPTER VIII. WORDS VARIOUSLY TERMED ADJECTIVE PRO
NOUNS, OR PRONOMINAL ADJECTIVES. 268. When England and Scotland were distinct kingdoms, and often at war with one another, there was a belt of land on the Border, absolutely held by neither nation, and termed the Debateable Land.'
So there are words which lie on the border line, between two Parts of Speech; sometimes found on one side of the line, and sometimes upon the other; but obstinately refusing allegiance to either.
Grammarians have led us astray, by wishing to make it appear that the Parts of Speech are something more than an artificial division of their own; and as though there were some corresponding natural division. Hence they have gravely discussed the question, whether the Parts of Speech are eight or nine in number. But, all along, they take for granted that the parts of speech can be clearly defined; that all words can be brought under one heading or another; and in order to make out their case, they have recourse to forced explanations.
269. For example, in many languages, adjectives are used substantively; but the grammarians labour hard to show that, in such instances, a noun is always understood. They argue thus : that in speaking we do not always express all that we have in our thoughts; but, very often, our words indicate what is meant, though not expressed. Hence adjectives are very often used, when the nouns to which they relate are not expressed. In such cases, the adjective is said to be used substantively; that is, as though it were itself a substantive; the real explanation being that the substantive, to which the adjective belongs, is not expressed.–See Mason, English Grammar, $$ 97-99.
But grammarians are obliged to admit, that some adjectives are used so completely as substantives as to have the ordinary inflections of nouns; when in fact the adjective becomes, to all intents and purposes, a noun substantive. Thus the words subject and individual are proper adjectives; but they are also nouns in such phrases as, ' A subject's duties,' "The subjects of the Queen,' • Some individuals.'
Where are we to draw the line? It may be urged, that proper adjectives cannot have the inflections of a noun; that where such inflections are used, the word ceases to be an adjective, and becomes a substantive.
270. But, on the other hand, we must be careful not to confound meaning with form. No doubt, when we speak of
the good, we mean good men' or 'good persons ; ' but there seems to be no reason, why we should insist upon supplying a word, a grammatical form, merely because we are unwilling to admit that the adjective may stand in the place of a substantive.
In the same way, because each, other, &c., are constantly used as Substantives, some grammarians do not like to call them adjectives, but contend that they must be pronouns at all events; and some, by way of compromise, have termed them Adjective Pronouns.
Others again, thinking that most of these words are originally adjectives, have stated the compromise in the other way, and called them Pronominal Adjectives. In truth, grammarians have hardly known what to call them. But this very difficulty should have led grammarians to reflect, and to inquire whether the distinction between Parts of Speech is, or is not, absolute.-See $$ 403, 404.
271. We shall divide these words, accordingly, as they denote quality or quantity.
I. Words denoting quality: such, same, only.
SUCH means literally so-like,' and is derived from the Anglo-Saxon swa-lic, swilc. It is commonly used as an adjective: as, Such harmony is in immortal souls.
Merchant of Venice, v. 1. It is also used as a substantive: as,
Mere strength of understanding would have made him
such in any age.—De Quincey. i. e. such a person.'
The adverb so is frequently found where we might expect such: as,
We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
Pope, Essay on Criticism, 438, 439.
but with a view to defend his country and its laws :