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Whom when on ground she grovelling saw to roll; and from Shakespeare (Othello, iv. 2),
I durst, my Lord, to wager she is honest. Other verbs that are found in Shakespeare sometimes construed in the same manner are endure, forbid, intend, vouchsafe; as, — The treason that my haste forbids ine show.
Rich. II., v. 3.
Mid. N. Dr., ii. 1.
Tam. of Shrew, iv. 3.
Com. of Er., V. I. The verb to owe, it may further be observed, is etymologically the same with own. Shakespeare repeatedly has owe where own would be now employed; as in Iago's diabolical self-gratulation (in Othello, iii. 3):
Not poppy, nor mandragora,
Which thou owedst yesterday. The Saxon word is ágan, — the ag, or radical part, of which is evidently the same with the ey of the Greek
xelv, signifying to hold, to possess, to have for one's property, or what we call one's own. pose the a to have been pronounced broad, as in our modern all, and the g to have come to be softened as g final usually is in modern German, ag and owe, unlike as they are to the eye, will be only different ways of spelling, or representing by letters, almost the same vocal utterance. The sound which the vowel originally had is more nearly preserved in the Scotch form of the word, awe. The n which we
If we sup
have in the form own is either merely the common annexation which the vowel sound is apt to seek as a support or rest for itself, or, probably, in this case it may be the en of the ancient past participle (agen) or the an of the infinitive (ágan). So we have both to awake and to awaken, to ope and to open. In so short a word as the one under consideration, and one in such active service, these affixes would be the more liable to get confounded with the root. It may sɔund odd to speak of a man as owning what he owes; yet, if we will think of it, there are few things that can rightly be said to be more a man's own than his debts; they are emphatically proper to him, or his property, clinging to him, as they do, like a part of himself. Again, that which a man owns in this sense, or owes, is that which it is proper for him, or which he has, to perform or to discharge (as the case may be); hence the secondary meaning of ought as applied to that which is one's duty, or which is fitting. [See Latham's English Language, Fifth Edition, (1862), SS 599, 605, 606, 727; and Marsh, Lectures on English Language, First Series, pp. 320–325.]
1. Upon a labouring day. – Laboring is here a substantive, not a participle. It is as when we say that we love laboring, or that laboring is conducive to health of mind as well as of body. It is not meant that the day labors; as when we speak of a laboring man, or a laboring ship, or a laboring line
(When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move slow). A laboring day is an expression of the same kind with a walking stick, or a riding coat; in which it is not asserted that the stick walks, or that the coat rides; but, two substantives being conjoined, the one characterizes or qualifies the other, — performs, in fact, the part of an adjective, - just as happens in the expressions a gold ring, a leather apron, a morning call, the evening bells.
An expression used by Cowper (in his verses composed in the name of Alexander Selkirk), “the sound of the church-going bell,” has been passionately reprobated by Wordsworth.
“ The epithet church-going applied to a bell," observes the critic (in an Appendix upon the subject of Poetic Diction, first attached, I believe, in 1820 to the Preface originally published with the Second Edition of the Lyrical Ballads, 1800)," and that by so chaste a writer as Cowper, is an instance of the strange abuses which poets have introduced into their language, till they and their readers take them as matters of course, if they do not single them out expressly as matters of admiration.” A church-going bell is merely a bell for church-going; and the expression is constructed on the same principle with a thousand others that are and always have been in familiar use ;such as a marauding expedition, a banking or a house-building speculation, a writing desk, a looking glass, a dining room, a dancing school, a dwelling house, etc., etc. What would Wordsworth have said to such a daring and extreme employment of the same form as we have in Shakespeare, where he makes Cleopatra (in Antony and Cleopatra, iii. II) say, speaking of the victorious Cæsar,
From his all-obeying breath I hear
The doom of Egypt? But these audacities of language are of the very soul of poetry
The peculiar class of substantives under consideration cannot, properly speaking, be regarded as even present participles in disguise. Their true history has been given for the first time by Mr. Richard Taylor in his Additional Notes to Tooke's Diversions of Purley, 1829 and 1840; see edition of 1840 [or 1860], pp. xxxix.-liv. The termination of the present participle in Saxon was ende; and when that part of the verb was used substantively it denoted the agent, or performer of the verbal act. Thus, Haeland signified the Healer, or Saviour ; Scyppend, the Shaper, or Creator. Ing or ung, on the other hand, was the regular termination of that description of verbal substantive which denoted the act. Thus Brennung was what in Latin would be called Combustio, and what in our modern English is still called the Burning. In other tongues of the same Gothic stock to which our own in part belongs, both forms are still preserved. In German, for instance, we have end for the termination universally of the present participle, and ung for that of a numerous class of verbal substantives all signifying the act or thing done. It never could have been supposed that in that language these verbal substantives in ung were present participles.
But in English the fact is, as Mr. Taylor has observed, that it is not the verbal substantive denoting the act which has assumed the form of the present participle, but the latter which has thrown away its own proper termination and adopted that of the former. This change appears to have commenced as early as the twelfth century, and to have been completely established by the fourteenth. Even after the middle of the sixteenth century, however, we have the old distinction between the two terminations (the end or and for the present participle, or the agent, and the ing for the verbal act) still adhered to by the Scottish writers.
[One might infer from this statement that the distinction was uniformly regarded by Scottish writers of the sixteenth century. What Mr. Taylor says is this: “ Though the use of ing for the present participle was fully established in the fourteenth century, the age of Langland, Chaucer, and Wiclif, yet the ancient ande was still occasionally used, both being found in the same writers, and sometimes in the very same sentence; and in the North, to the end of the sixteenth century.”
The following are examples of the two endings appropriately used in the same sentence:
Hors, or hund, or othir thing
Dunbar (Ellis's Spec.). Our sovereign havand her majesty's promise be writing of luff, friendship, etc.
Lord Herries (1568, quoted by Robertson). The following are examples of the indiscriminate use of these endings:
herdes of oxin and of fee,
Sir D. Lyndsay (1528). I may add that in Gower (Pauli's ed.) the prevailing form of the participle is -ende; while in Chaucer (Wright's ed.) -ing is the ending. Mi.