Page images
PDF
EPUB

Prince Henry. I am good friends with my father, and

may do anything. Falstaff. Rob me the exchequer the first thing thou doest.

1st Hen. IV. iii. 3. Talbot. Convey me Salisbury into his tent.

1st Hen. VI. i. 4.
Petruchio. Villain, I say, knock me here soundly.
Grumio. Knock you here, sir ! why, sir, what am I, sir,

that I should knock you here, sir?
Petruchio. Villain, I say, knock me at this gate,
And rap me well.

Taming of the Shrew, i. 2. 166. The secondary objective is found after the verbs list and like, both in the sense of please;' after seem and think in the sense of appear : ' as,

And al that likith me, I dare wel sayn
It likith the.

Chaucer. i.e., 'all that pleaseth me, pleaseth thee.'

When in Salamanca's cave
Him listed his magic wand to wave,
The bells would ring in Notre Dame.

Scott, Lay of the Last Minstrel, ii. 13.
Yet there, meseems, I hear her singing loud.

Sidney. Hotspur. By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap

To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon,

1st Henry IV. i. 3. Hamlet. Madam, how like you this play? Queen. The lady protests too much, methinks.

Hamlet, iii. 2. In such phrases as “methinks,' 'meseems,' meseemeth,' the pronoun me is a dative, and the sense is ‘it appears to me,' 'it seems to me. Some grammarians have found a difficulty in the form 'methinks,' from not being aware that in AngloSaxon there are two verbs, thencan, German denken, to think,' and thincan, German, dünken, 'to seem. It is from the latter verb that we have our phrase me-thinks, corresponding to the German mir dünkt, or mich dünkt, it seems to me.' We may remark that the Germans can use, in this construction, either the dative mir or the accusative mich,

167. In such phrases as woe is me,''woe worth the day,' we have similar instances; for they signify' woe is to me,' 6 woe be to the day. Here worth is a form derived from the Anglo-Saxon weorðan, to become.'

Much wo worth the man,

That misruleth his inwitte;
And well worth Piers Plowman,

That pursueth God in his going.
That is to say,

Much woe betide the man,

That misruleth his conscience;
And fair befall Piers Plowman,

That followeth God in his conduct. Sir Walter Scott, imitating the language of the old ballads, pas the following passage :

I little thought, when first thy rein
I slacked upon the banks of Seine,
That Highland eagle e'er should feed
On thy feet limbs, my gallant steed!
Woe worth the chase, woe worth the day,
That costs thy life, my gallant grey!

Lady of the Lake, i. 9. · Some adjectives govern an objective case; as like, nigh, near, worth : It is like him ;' "This is near me;' That is worth twenty pounds.' Analogy would lead us to the conclusion that these objectives represent dative cases; and the argument is corroborated by the fact that the preposition to is sometimes added, like to, near to.

CHAPTER VI.

ADJECTIVES. 168. An Adjective is a word added to a substantive to express its quality, (Lowth, Grammar, p. 44.)

This definition is founded upon the literal meaning of the word adjective, which is derived from the Latin ad-jectus, put on,' added to. But we must bear in mind the distinction between the Attributive and the Predicative use of the Adjective. When we speak of the good boy,' the red apple,' we qualify the words "boy' and 'apple.' This is called the attributive use of the adjective; and it was treated under the head of Qualifications, $$ 4, 7, 14. But when we assert that the boy is good, and the apple is red, we employ the adjective as a predicate, and this is termed the predicative use of the adjective. See Predicate-nominative, $$ 5, 6.

In short, the so-called copula is, and an adjective, are together equivalent to a verb; as may be seen by comparing · English with Latin forms:

is wise = sapit.
is white=albet.

is green=viret. 169. But we have now to consider the substantive use of the Adjective. Becker says:

• Adjectives are termed Substantive adjectives when substantively used, that is to say, when expressing a person or thing; e.g. der Gute, “ the good man," die Kranken, a the sick persons,das Schöne, “the beautiful,” or “the beautiful thing." '-German Grammar, Fraedersdorf's Transl. § 127.

Dr. Lowth remarks (English Grammar, p. 44, note), that 'Adjectives are very improperly called Nouns, for they are not the Names of things. The adjectives good and white are applied to the nouns man, snow, to express the qualities belonging to those subjects; but the names of those qualities in the abstract, that is, considered in themselves, without being attributed to any subject, are goodness, whiteness, and these are Nouns or Substantives.'

Dr. Lowth does not accurately distinguish between Nouns and Substantives. But, to pass over that point, his argument depends upon the principle that nouns are names of things; and that words which are not names of things are not nouns.

But this again depends upon the meaning of the word thing. If the word be restricted to material or physical things, then Dr. Lowth's rule is not correct: for virtue, wisdom, pride, are not names of material things, and yet they are nouns. If, on the other hand, we extend the term thing, to make it include thoughts,' 'feelings,' and 'qualities, why may not an adjective be the name of a thing ?

There seems to be no reason why an adjective should not represent a quality in the abstract. In Greek and Latin' the neuter of the adjective is constantly so used. And though in Greek the adjective used substantively is always accompanied by the article, that is no warrant for supposing that the article and the adjective are together equal to a substantive; or that the substantive force is due to the presence of the article. The case may be just the other way; because the adjective is used substantively, it is capable of receiving the article.

Besides, the neuter adjective is constantly used as a substantivo in Latin, where no article whatever is found. Utile and honestum are used by Cicero for 'expediency' and 'honour;' and so HoraceOmne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci.

De Arte Poetica, 343. *Profit with pleasure.'

... molle atque facetum Virgilio annuerunt gaudentes rure Camænæ.

Sat. I. x. 44. *Tenderness and grace.' They used to tell us at school, that with an adjective so employed, a substantive must be understood;' and as res is unfortunately feminine, we were bidden to supply negotium, which does not suit the meaning. But why must a substantive be understood ? Only because the grammarians are determined not to admit the claim of the adjective. If we may 'understand' and 'supply' words at pleasure, it is easy to prove anything. Even when an adjective stands as the predicate of a proposition, as 'Snow is white,' this is sometimes explained by grammatical ellipsis: as, 'Snow is a white (thing),' or 'a white (substance),' or 's white (object)

The poets, however, have no scruple. Milton, in particular, is very fond of this construction:

Who shall tempt with wandering feet,
The dark unbottomed infinite abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way?

Paradise Lost, ii. 404–407.
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear.

Ibid. iii. 380.
So much of death her thoughts
Had entertained, as dyed her cheeks with pale.

Ibid. a. 1009. So Shakespeare :

Call you me fair? That 'fair' again unsay:
Demetrius loves your fair. O happy fair !
Your eyes are lodestars, and your tongue's sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.

Midsummer Night's Dream, i. 1. And so Spenser, where the adjective used substantively may be taken in the concrete :

• The lyon, lord of everie beast in field,'
Quoth she, his princely puissance doth abate,
And mightie proud to humble weake does yield'.

Faerie Queene, I. iii. If it be urged that this is merely poetic license, we may quote the deep' used for the sea,' the waste for the desert,' with the philosophic terms, the good,''the true,' the beautiful.'

POSITION 170. Adjectives generally stand before the nouns which they qualify; as, the bright sky,' the distant shore.' But, in poetry, the order is often changed, to vary the diction, and to raise it above ordinary prose; as, ' O lady fair,''my father dear.'

It is a common practice with Milton to place an adjective both before and after a noun; as,

At length a universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds and voices all confused,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear
With loudest vehemence.

Paradise Lost, ii. 951-4.

Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine.

Ibid. iii. 40-4. So, too, he alludes to Isocrates as 'that old man eloquent,' where, however, old man' may be considered almost one word, equivalent to the Latin senex :

... as that dishonest victory
At Chæronea, fatal to liberty,
Killed with report that old man eloquent.

Sonnet ix. Even in prose, participles are often found after a noun: as, the persons named,''the reasons mentioned.'

171. Chaucer uses an adjective with the indefinite article after a noun : as, A monk there was a fayre.

Canterbury Tales, Prologue, 165. A frere there was a wanton and a mery.Ibid. 208. And, in more modern English, it is not unusual for one adjective to precede the poun, while others follow connected by and; as,

A dark prince, and infinitely suspicious.-Bacon.

« PreviousContinue »