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181. It shall be said, his judgment, etc.—Dr Guest, in the paper "On English Verbs," in the Second Volume of the Proceedings of the Philological Society, which has been already referred to, adduces some examples to show that the primary sense of shall is to owe. Hence the use of should which is still common in the sense of ought. "The use of shall to denote future time," Dr Guest continues, "may be traced to a remote antiquity in our language; that of will is of much later origin, and prevailed chiefly in our northern dialects.—Writers, however, who paid much attention to their style generally used these terms with greater precision. The assertion of will or of duty seems to have been considered by them as implying to a certain extent the power to will or to impose a duty. As a man has power to will for himself only, it was only in the first person that the verb will could be used with this signification; and in the other persons it was left free to take that latitude of meaning which popular usage had given to it. Again, the power which overrides the will to impose a duty must proceed from some external agency; and consequently shall could not be employed to denote such power in the first person. In the first person, therefore, it was left free to follow the popular meaning, but in the other two was tied to its original and more precise signification. These distinctions still continue a shibboleth for the natives of the two sister kingdoms. Walter Scott, as is well known to his readers, could never thoroughly master the difficulty."
In the Third Edition of Dr Latham's English Language, pp. 470-474, may be found two other explanations; the first by the late Archdeacon Julius Charles Hare (from the Cambridge Philological Museum, 11. 203), the second by Professor De Morgan (from the Proceedings of the Philological Society, IV. 185; No. 90, read 25th Jan. 1850).
The manner of using shall and will which is now so completely established in England, and which through
out the greater part of the country is so perfectly uniform among all classes, was as yet only growing up in the early part of the seventeenth century. This was very clearly shewn some years ago by a writer in Blackwood's Magazine, by comparing many passages of the authorized version of the Scriptures, published in 1611, with the same passages in the preceding translation, called the Bishops' Bible, which had appeared in 1568. The old use of shall, instead of will, to indicate simple futurity, with the 2nd and 3rd persons, as well as with the 1st, is still common with Shakespeare. Here, in this and the next line, are two instances:-"It shall be said;' " "Shall no whit appear." So afterwards we have, in 187, "This shall mark our purpose necessary;" in 238, "Cæsar should be a beast without a heart; in 351, "The enemies of Cæsar shall say this;" in 620, "The enemy, marching along by them, By them shall make a fuller number up." We have occasionally the same use of shall even in Clarendon :-“ Whilst there are Courts in the world, emulation and ambition will be inseparable from them; and kings who have nothing to give shall be pressed to promise" (Hist., Book xiii). In some rare instances the received text of Shakespeare gives us will where we should now use shall; as when Portia says, in The Merchant of Venice, iii. 4, "I'll hold thee any wager,
When we are both accoutred like young men,
But here we should probably read "I prove."
181. Shall no whit appear.-Whit is the Original English wiht, any thing that exists, a creature. It is the same word with wight, which we now use only for a man, in the same manner as we have come in the language of the present day to understand creature almost exclusively in the sense of a living creature, although it was formerly used freely for every thing created,-as when Bacon says. (Essay, Of Truth), "The first creature of God, in the
works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and his Sabbath work ever since is the illumination of his spirit;" or (Advance. of Learning, B. i.), “The wit and mind of man, if it work upon matter, which is the contemplation of the creatures of God, worketh according to the stuff, and is limited thereby;" or as it is written in our authorized version of the Scriptures (1 Tim. iv. 4), "Every creature of God (Tav Krioμα Oεov) is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving." We have creature used in this extensive sense even by so late a writer as the Scotch metaphysician Dr Reid (who died in 1796), in his Inquiry into the Human Mind, ch. 1, first published in 1764:-" Conjectures and theories are the creatures of men, and will always be found very unlike the creatures of God."—No whit is not anything, nowhat, not at all. And our modern not (anciently nought) is undoubtedly no whit:-how otherwise is the t to be accounted for? So that our English "I do not speak," I do no whit speak, is an exactly literal translation of the French Je ne parle pas (or point), which many people believe to contain a double negative.
182. Let us not break with him.-That is, Let us not break the matter to him. This is the sense in which the idiom to break with is most frequently found in Shakespeare. Thus, in Much Ado About Nothing (i. 1), the Prince, Don Pedro, says to his favourite Don Claudio, "If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it; and I will break with her;" that is, I will open the matter to her. And again, in the same scene; "Then after to her father will I break." So in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (iii. 1), "I am to break with thee of some affairs." But when in The Merry Wives of Windsor (iii. 2), Slender says to Ford, in answer to his invitation to dinner, "We have appointed to dine with Mistress Anne, and I would not break with her for more money than I'll speak of," he means he would not break his engagement with her. The
phrase is nowhere, I believe, used by Shakespeare in the only sense which it now bears, namely, to quarrel with.
186. A shrewd contriver. The adjective shrewd is generally admitted to be connected with the substantive shrew; and according to Horne Tooke (Div. of Purley, 457-9), both are formations from the Original Englishverb syrwan, syrewan, or syrewian, meaning to vex, to molest, to cause mischief to, from which he also deduces sorrow, sorry, sore, and sour. Bosworth (who gives the additional forms syrwian, syrwyan, searwian, searwan, searian, serian), interprets the old verb as meaning to prepare, endeavour, strive, arm, to lay snares, entrap, take, bruise. A shrew, according to this notion, might be inferred to be one who vexes or molests; and shrewd will mean endowed with the qualities or disposition of a shrew. Shrew, as Tooke remarks, was formerly applied to a male as well as to a female. So, on the other hand, paramour and lover, now only used of males, were formerly also applied to females; and in some of the provincial dialects villain is still a common term of reproach for both sexes alike.
Both to shrew and to beshrew are used by our old writers in the sense of to curse, which latter verb, again (originally cursan or cursian), also primarily and properly signifies to vex or torment. Now, it is a strong confirmation of the derivation of shrewd from the verb to shrew that we find shrewd and curst applied to the disposition and temper by our old writers in almost, or rather in precisely, the same sense. Shakespeare himself affords us several instances. Thus, in Much Ado About Nothing (ii. 1), Leonato having remarked to Beatrice, "By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get a husband if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue," his brother Antonio adds, assentingly, " In faith, she's too curst." So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream (iii. 2), Helena, declining to reply to a torrent of abuse from Hermia, says, "I was never curst; I have no gift at all
in shrewishness." And in The Taming of the Shrew (i. 2), first we have Hortensio describing Katharine to his friend Petrucio as "intolerable curst, and shrewd, and froward," and then we have Katharine, the shrew, repeatedly designated "Katharine the curst." At the end of the Play she is called "a curst shrew," that is, as we might otherwise express it, an ill-tempered shrew.
Shrew, by the way, whether the substantive or the verb, always, I believe, and also shrewd very frequently, appear throughout the First Folio with ow as the diphthong, instead of ew; and in The Taming of the Shrew the word shrew is in various places made to rhyme with the sound of o; so that there can be little doubt that its common pronunciation in Shakespeare's day was shrow, and also that the same vowel sound was given to shrewd or shrowd in at least some of its applications. It is the reverse of what appears to have happened in the case of the word which probably was formerly pronounced shew (as it is still often spelled), but now always show. Thus Milton, in his 7th Sonnet:
"How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
late spring no bud or blossom shew'th."
So likewise in Il Penseroso (171, 172) :
"Of every star that heaven doth shew,
And every herb that sips the dew."
In the case, again, of strew, or strow, neither mode either of spelling or of pronunciation can perhaps be said to have quite gone out, although the dictionaries, I believe, enjoin us to write the word with an e, but to give it the sound of an o. In the passage before us the First Folio has " a shrew'd contriver."
As it is in words that ill-temper finds the readiest and most frequent vent, the terms curst and shrew, and