« ПредишнаНапред »
Lost, " although, when that was composed, others frequently allowed it.” The common authorities give us no help in such matters as this; no notice is taken of the word Its either in Todd's Verbal Index to Milton, or in Mrs Clarke's elaborate Concordance to Shakespeare. But Milton does use Its occasionally; as, e.g. (P. L. i. 254),
The mind is its own place, and in itself;" and (P. L. iv. 813), “No falsehood can endure Touch of celestial temper, but returns Of force to its own likeness.” Generally, however, he avoids the word, and easily manages to do so by personifying most of his substantives; it is only when this cannot be done, as in the above examples, that he reluctantly accepts the services of the little parvenu monosyllable.
Mr Singer, in a note to his edition of the Essays and Wisdom of the Ancients, p. 200, seems to intimate that its is nowhere used by Bacon. Like Shakespeare and other writers of the time, he has frequently his in the neuter.
Dr Trench notices the fact of the occurrence of its in Rowley's Poems as decisive against their genuineness. He observes, also, that “Dryden, when, in one of his fault-finding moods with the great men of the preceding generation, he is taking Ben Jonson to task for general inaccuracy in his English diction, among other counts of his indictment, quotes this line of Catiline, Though heaven should speak with all his wrath at once;' and proceeds, ' Heaven is ill syntax with his.'” This is a curious evidence of how completely the former humble condition and recent rise of the now fully established vocable had come to be generally forgotten in a single generation.
The need of it, indeed, must have been much felt. If it was convenient to have the two forms He and It in the nominative, and Him and It in the other cases, a similar distinction between the Masculine and the Neuter of the genitive must have been equally required for perspicuous
expression. Even the personifying power of his was impaired by its being applied to both genders. Milton, consequently, it may be noticed, prefers wherever it is possible the feminine to the masculine personification, as if he felt that the latter was always obscure from the risk of the his being taken for the neuter pronoun. Thus we have (P. L. i. 723) “The ascending pile Stood fixed her stately height;” (ii. 4) “The gorgeous East with richest hand Showers on her kings;” (ii. 175) “What if all Her stores were opened, and this firmament Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire;” (ii. 271) “This desert soil Wants not her hidden lustre;” (ii. 584) “Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls Her watery labyrinth ;” (ix. 1103) “The fig-tree ... spreads her arms; (Com. 396) Beauty had need ... To save her blossoms and defend her fruit;” (Com. 468) “The soul grows clotted
till she quite lose The divine property of her first being;” and so on, continually and habitually, or upon system. His masculine personifications are comparatively rare, and are only ventured upon either where he does not require to use the pronoun, or where its gender cannot be mistaken.
Milton himself, however, nowhere, I believe, uses his in a neuter sense. * He felt too keenly the annoyance of such a sense of it always coming in the way to spoil or prevent any other use he might have made of it. The modern practice is the last of three distinct stages through which the language passed as to this matter in the course of less than a century. First, we have his serving for
* Unless the following were to be considered as an instance :
"It was a mountain, at whose verdant feet
A spacious plain, outstretched in circuit wide,
Par. Reg. iii. 255. But the feet, instead of foot, would seem to intimate that we are to regard the mountain as personified here.
both masculine and neuter; secondly, we have his restricted to the masculine, and the neuter left without or with hardly any recognized form ; thirdly, we have the defect of the second stage remedied by the frank adoption of the heretofore rejected its. And the most curious thing of all in the history of the word its is the extent to which, before its recognition as a word admissible in serious composition, even the occasion for its employment was avoided or eluded. This is very remarkable in Shakespeare. The very conception which we express by its probably does not occur once in his works for ten times that it is to be found in any modern writer. So that we may say the invention, or adoption, of this form has changed not only our English style, but even our manner of thinking
The Original English personal pronoun was, in the Nominative singular, He for the Masculine, Heó for the Feminine, and Hit for the Neuter. He we still retain; for Heó we have substituted She, apparently a modification of Seó, the Feminine of the Demonstrative (Se, Seó, Thaet); Hit we have converted into It (though the aspirate is still often heard in the Scottish dialect). The Genitive was Hire for the Feminine (whence our modern Her), and His both for the Masculine and the Neuter. So also the modern German has ihr for the Feminine, and only one form, sein, for both the Masculine and the Neuter. But in the inflection of this single form the two genders in our ancient English were distinguished both in the Nominative and in the Accusative, whereas in German they are distinguished in the Accusative only. They are the same in the Genitive and Dative in both languages.
It is to be understood, of course, that the its, however convenient, is quite an irregular formation: the t of it (originally hit) is merely the sign of the neuter gender, which does not enter into the inflection, leaving the
natural genitive of that gender (hi, hi-s) substantially
Another general shout !—Two hemistichs or bruken lines thus following one another are not necessarily to be regarded as prosodically connected, any more than if they were several sentences asunder. The notion that two such consecutive fragments were always intended by Shakespeare to make a complete verse has led the modern editors, more especially Steevens, into a great deal of uncalled-for chopping and tinkering of the old text.
56. But in ourselves. In the original edition divided “our selves," exactly as “our stars” in the preceding line. And so always with our self, your self, her self, my self, thy self, and also it self, but never with himself, or thenselves. Vid. 54.
56. What should be in that Cæsar ?-A form of speech now gone out. It was a less blunt and direct way of saying What is there? or What may there be ? These more subtle and delicate modes of expression, by the use of the subjunctive for the indicative and of the past for the present, which characterize not only the Greek and Latin languages but even the German, have for the greater part perished in our modern English. The deep insight and creative force the “great creating nature"-which gave birth to our tongue has dried up under the benumbing touch of the logic by which it has been trained and cultivated.
56. More than yours.--Here and everywhere else, it may be noticed once for all, our modern than is then in the old text. Vid. Prolegomena, Sect. v.
56. Become the mouth as well.--Always aswell, as one word, in the First Folio.
56. The breed of noble bloods.-We scarcely now use this plural. Shakespeare has it several times; as afterwards in 645, “I know young bloods look for a time of
rest;" in Much Ado About Nothing, iii. 3, where Boracio remarks how giddily fashion “ turns about all the hot bloods between fourteen and five and thirty;" in The Winter's Tale, ¿. 1, where Leontes says,
“ To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods ;” in King John, ië. 1, where Philip of France, to the boast of John before the walls of Angiers that he brings as witnesses to his right and title “ twice fifteen thousand hearts of English breed," replies (aside) that
“As many and as well-born bloods as those
Stand in his face to contradict his claim." 56. That her wide walls encompassed but one man.—The old reading is “wide walks.” Despite the critical canon which warns us against easy or obvious amendments, it is impossible pot to believe that we have a misprint here. What Rome’s wide walks may mean is not obvious; still less, how she could be encompassed by her walks, however wide. The correction to walls has the authority of Mr Collier's MS. annotator, but had been conjecturally adopted down to the time of Malone by most of the modern editors, from Rowe inclusive.
56. Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough.—Shakespeare's pronunciation of Rome seems to have been Room. Besides the
passage before us we have afterwards in the present Play (368) “No Rome of safety for Octavius yet;” and in King John, iii. 1, " That I have room with Rome to curse a while." In the First Part of King Henry the Sixth, it is true, we have the other pronunci. ation; there ü. 2), the Bishop of Winchester having exclaimed “Rome shall remedy this," Warwick replies “Roam thither, then.” This little fact is not without its significance iu reference to the claim of that Play to be laid at Shakespeare's door.
56. But one only man.-In the original text “but one onely man,” probably indicating that the pronunciation