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to Pray you, tell me this,
“For which of these works do ye stone me?”f
What is the proper interrogative of the demonstrative, as, “When any new thing comes in their way children ask the common question of a stranger, What is it?—”f
The English has one peculiar class of pronouns answering in sense to the Latin ipse. These are compounded, for the most part, of the genitive case of the primitive, united with the substantive self. In the third person, however, the accusative is used instead of the genitive, thus,
Sing. Plu. 1 Person Myself Ourselves. 2 Person Thyself Yourselves.
JMas. Fem. Neut. 3 Per. Himself Herself Itself Themselves.
This form of the pronoun seems merely to be an amalgamation of two words, the one in the genitive case, as must always be when two nouns come together: for the form of the third person appears only a corruption of the original his self, which gave an unpleasant hissing sound. In old writers we find his self, as, “Every one of us, each for his self, labored how to recover him.” ||
The VERB, termed Word, by the Anglo-Saxons, expresses any action, endurance, or passion of body or mind,
as, to move, to hear, to love. It is either transitive, i.e., communicates its action to some person or thing, as, to build a tower ; or intransitive, i.e., completes its action in itself, as, to sleep. he verb in English may be considered as having four
modes of expressing an action, namely the INDICATIvE, which simply indicates the performance, as, I walk: the IMPERATIVE, which commands, as, walk! the SUBJUNCTIVE, which is uncertain, as, if I walk: and the INFINITIVE, or abstract action, independent of any person, as, to walk.
The simple tenses or times are few : in the Indicative only two, namely, present and past: in the Imperative only one, and even that is defective; for it requires the aid of the verb to let to make the third person of the singular, and the first and third of the plural: in the Subjunctive, as in the Indicative, only present and past. But although the simple tenses are few, the compound ones are numerous almost beyond example; and, by means of the many auxiliaries, the slightest variations of meaning are given with extraordinary precision. The regular verb, without the intervention of auxiliaries, is thus conjugated.
To love. Participle present, Loving.
If I love We
If I loved We
The auxiliaries necessary to the formation of the English verb are many of them defective, having precisely those tenses only remaining, which are entirely wanting in the regular verb; or, for it is difficult to decide which is the real origin of the circumstance, perhaps having in themselves the sense required; as in German werden, to become, which has in itself a future signification, performs the part of a future tense. In the Anglo-Saxon reeal shall, from the verb reeolban to owe, performs this office, and we may see from our own use of I ought, that to owe has in itself a kind of future tense. But the manner of compounding the English verb with its auxiliaries, is so anomalous that it forms the greatest difficulty of the language, and seems almost to defy explanation. The defective auxiliaries consist of, shALL, MAy, CAN, MUST: the regularly formed ones are, to HAve, to BE, to po, to LET: and these latter, with the exception of Do, form the compound tenses, as in other languages, by the aid of the participle: but the former class are compounded with the infinitive, omitting the to. Of the defective auxiliaries, all sufficiently puzzling in their use to a foreigner, shALL offers by far the greatest difficulties, and is seldom used properly except by a native of England in its most restricted sense. It is required to form the future tense, and by some odd chance has become so amalgamated with the verb will, that some parts of each tense are taken from the one verb and some from the other. The simple future is thus formed. I shall We shall Thou wilt love. Ye or you will love. He will They will
But there is a yet farther peculiarity in the use of this auxiliary, for, besides the simple future, it has a second or imperative future, in which the two verbs change places, and I will, thou shalt, have the force in the first person, of a vehement determination; in the second, of a stern command.
The second form, therefore, stands thus:
I will We Will
It is only in modern phraseology that this distinction is so strongly marked. In the Anglo-Saxon reeolban furnishes the simple future to all the persons, and no longer ago than the age of the translation of the Bible,” it was the custom of the English, as may be seen in Matt. vii. 5. “First cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shall (wilt) thou see clearly to cast out the mote that is in thy brother's eye;” and a little farther on, “How much more shall (will) your Father which is in heaven give good things,” &c. v. 16. “Ye shall (will) know them by their fruits.” viii. 11. “Many shall (will) come from the east and from the west,” &c. Hundreds more of such instances might be given; nay, it may be assumed as a rule in reading the translation of the scripture, that will is never used but as an expression of absolute volition, as, “Lord if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”—“I will, be thou clean ' It is important to be aware of this in reading our older writers, for much misconception of the meaning would otherwise arise, and indeed in many instances has arisen among those who use only the translation of the Bible.
The distinction, however, was well established when Shakspeare wrote, as may be seen in the following:
“My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord
* Our present authorized translation was a revision of Coverdale’s version, first published A. D. 1537.
“Thy company which erst was irksome to me,
I'll write to him a very taunting letter,
Yet in a letter from the lord treasurer Burleigh to Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Harrington, dated A. D. 1578, the following passage shows a considerable confusion in the use of shall according to the above rules. “For at a good lecture you maie lerne in an houre that (which) a good Teacher perhapps hath been studyinge for a daie, and yourself by readinge shall not synd oute in a moneth. Againe you shall reache more discerninge of trothe in an houres reasoninge with others, than a weeks wrytinge by yourself.” It seems therefore that the greater precision in the use of shall and will was one of the changes in the language effected by the great writers of the age of Elizabeth, those who did not much affect fine writing clinging still to their old habits: but as the writers became popular, the fashion spread.
According to the modern custom of using these tenses, the second future, as above arranged, has somewhat of the force of the Hebrew hiphil form * it implies that the speaker is either expressing a very resolute will to act on his own part, or an equally resolute will in causing action on the part of others, with modifications, however, in intensity, which are expressed by a change of emphasis, or by the use of an adverb; I will go is equivalent to Je veua, aller.
When put interrogatively the same word is used by the querist as by the replicant; as may be seen in the before quoted passage from Shakspeare. “Wilt thou, Silvius?” must be replied to by, I will, or I will not: SHALL he go? will be answered by, Yes, he shall.
he same distinctions exist with regard to the subjunc
tive or potential mode; the simple future is
* To cause to do.