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little or nothing of the notion of a doubt or dispute:“Thou shalt accompany us to the place, where we will, not appearing what we are, have some question with the shepherd;" Winter's Tale, iv. 1.
377. Nor his offences enforced.-Dwelt upon and pressed, or more than simply stated. In the same sense in Coriolanus, ii. 3, the tribune Sicinius exhorts the populace touching Marcius:-"Enforce his pride, And his old hate unto you."
377. As which of you shall not?—We find which in our oldest English in the forms hwilc, hwyle, and hwelc— forms which have been supposed to arise out of the combination of the relative hwa with lic (like), the annexation being designed to give greater generalization or indefiniteness of meaning to the pronoun. At all events, the word is used with reference to nouns of all genders, as is also its representative the whilk, or quhilk, of the old Scottish dialect, and as the English which too formerly was even when an ordinary relative (as we have it in the time-honoured formula "Our Father which art in heaven"), and still is both whenever it is interrogative and likewise when the antecedent to which it is relative is either suppressed or joined with it in the same concord and government. Thus, we say of persons as well as of things, "Which was it?" and "I do not know which of them it was," as Brutus, addressing his fellow-citizens, has here “Which of you;" and it is even allowable to say “Louis XVI., which king it was in whose reign—or, in the reign of which king it was-that the French Revolution broke out.”—It is one of the many curiosities of Dr Webster's English Dictionary that he refuses to admit which to have anything to do with the ancient hwile, and suggests that it may be rather the same word with quick! The stage direction in the original edition is, "Enter Mark Antony, with Cæsar's body."
377. My best lover.— Vid. 260.
382. Shall now be crowned in Brutus.-The now is not in the old texts, but was supplied by Pope, and has been retained by Malone and Boswell, as well as by Steevens. It may not be the true word, but that some word is wanting is certain. The dialogue here is evidently intended to be metrical, and “Shall be crowned in Brutus" is not a possible commencement of a verse. Mr Collier also in his regulated text retains the now, although it does not appear to have the sanction of his MS. annotator.
387. Do grace to Cæsar's corpse.-We have lost this idiom, though we still say "to do honour to."
390. I am beholden to you.-Both here and also in 392 the first three Folios have all beholding, which may possibly have been the way in which Shakespeare wrote the word (as it is that in which it was often written in his day), but may nevertheless be rectified on the same principle as other similar improprieties with which all modern editors have taken that liberty. Yet beholding is, I believe, always Bacon's word; as in his Tenth Essay:
"The stage is more beholding to love than the life of 'man." Even in Clarendon, reporting the words of Queen Henrietta to himself, we have:- "Her old confessor, Father Philips, . . . always told her, that, as she ought to continue firm and constant to her own religion, so she was to live well towards the Protestants who deserved well from her, and to whom she was beholding" (Hist., Book xiii.). The initial syllable of the word is of more interest than its termination.
The complete disappearance from the modern form of the English language of the verbal prefix ge is a remarkable fact, and one which has not attracted the notice which it deserves. This augment may be said to have been the favourite and most distinguishing peculiarity of the language in the period preceding the Norman Conquest. In the inflection of the verb it was not merely, as in modern German, the sign of the past participle
passive, but might be prefixed to any other part; and the words of all kinds which commenced with it, and in which it was not inflexional, amounted to several thousands. Yet now there is no native English word having ge for its initial syllable in existence; nor, indeed, has there been for many centuries: there are not only no such words in Chaucer, whose age (the fourteenth century) is reckoned the commencement of the period of what is denominated Middle English; there are none even in Robert de Brunne, and very few, if any, in Robert of Gloucester, who belong to the thirteenth century, or to the age of what is commonly designated Early English. The inflexional ge is found at a comparatively late date only in the reduced or softened form of y, and even so scarcely after the middle of the sixteenth century (which may be taken as the date of the commencement of Modern English) except in a few antique words preserved or revived by Spenser. If two or three such words as yclad and yclept are to be found in Shakespeare, they are introduced with a view to a burlesque or grotesque effect, as they might be by a writer of the present day. They did not belong to the language of his age any more than they did to that of Thomson, who in the last century has sprinkled his Castle of Indolence with words of this description the better to keep up his imitation of Spenser. As for the "star-ypointing pyramid" attributed to Milton (in his lines on Shakespeare), it is in all probability a mistake of his modern editors: "ypointed" might have been credible, but "ypointing" scarcely is. The true reading probably is "starry-pointing." It has commonly been assumed that, with such rare and insignificant exceptions (if exceptions they are to be considered), the old prefix ge has entirely passed away or been ejected from the language in its present state, that it has dropped off, like a decayed member, without anything being substituted in its place. But the fact is not so. It is certain,
that, both in its inflexional and in its non-inflexional character, it still exists in a good many words in a disguised form, in that namely of be. Many of our words beginning with be cannot be otherwise accounted for. Our modern beloved, for example, is undoubtedly the ancient gelufed. Another remarkable instance is that of the familiar word belief or believe. The Original English has no such verb as belyfan; its form for our believe is gelyfan (the same with the modern German glauben). Again, to become (at least in the sense of to suit) is the Original English gecweman: there is no becweman. Become, in this sense, it ought to be noticed, has apparently no connexion with to come (from coman, or cuman); we have its root cweman in the old English to quem, meaning to please, used by Chaucer. And the German also, like our modern English, has in this instance lost or rejected both the simple form and the ge- form, retaining, or substituting, only bequem and bequemen. Nor is there any belang or belong; our modern belong is from the ancient gelang. In like manner there is no such Original English verb as besecan; there is only gesecan, from which we have formed our beseek and beseech. So tacn, or tacen, is a token, from which is getacnian, to denote by a token or sign; there is no betacnian; yet we say to betoken. And there are probably other examples of the same thing among the words now in use having be for the commencing syllable (of which the common dictionaries give us about a couple of hundreds), although the generality of them are only modern fabrications constructed in imitation of one another, and upon no other principle than the assumption that the syllable in question may be prefixed to almost any verb whatever. Such are bepraise, bepowder, bespatter, bethump, and many more. Only between thirty and forty seem to be traceable to Original English verbs beginning with be.
The facts that have been mentioned sufficiently explain the word beholden. It has nothing to do with the modern behold, or the ancient behealdan (which, like its modern representative, signified to see or look on), but is another form, according to the corruption which we have seen to take place in so many other instances, of gehealden, the past participle passive of healdan, to hold; whence its meaning, here and always, of held, bound, obliged. It corresponds to the modern German gehalten, of the same signification, and is quite distinct from behalten, the past participle passive of the verb behalten, which signifies kept, preserved.
One word, which repeatedly occurs in Shakespeare, containing the prefix ge, has been generally misunderstood by his editors. What they all, I believe without exception, print I wis, or I wiss, as if it were a verb with its nominative, is undoubtedly one word, and that an adverb, signifying certainly, probably. It ought to be written ywis, or ywiss, corresponding as it does exactly to the modern German gewiss. It is true, indeed, that Sir Frederic Madden in the Glossary to his edition of Syr Gawayne (printed, for the Roxburgh Club, in 1839) expresses a doubt whether it were "not regarded as a pronoun and verb by the writers of the fifteenth century." But this supposition Dr Guest (Phil. Proc. II. 160) regards as wholly gratuitous. He believes there is not a single instance to be found in which wiss, or wisse, has been used in the sense of to know, "till our modern glossarists and editors chose to give it that signification.' Johnson in his Dictionary enters wis as a verb, meaning to think, to imagine. Webster does the same. So also Nares in his Glossary. It is the only explanation which any of these authorities give of the form in question. 'The preterite," adds Nares, "is wist. The present tense is seldom found but in the first