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requires will. Had the speaker simply declared the act as a future, without alluding to his determination, the phrase should have been “ I shall speak.”
“ He says that James will be hanged.” This is a compound sentence, and will be better understood by reversing the clauses thus: “ James will be hanged,-he says that.” We have then only to consider the simple sentence, “ James will be hanged,” in which James is the nominative, but the speaker is not James, neither does he determine James's death; and, therefore, according to the Rule, will is the proper auxiliary. Had the speaker been a judge, and pronouncing his fiat from the judgment seat, he would, then, have determined James's death, and the expression would have been “ He says that, James shall be hanged.”
• My master desires me to tell you that,--he will call upon you to-morrow.” Here it is the servant (not the master) who speaks; and he is neither the nominative of the verb call, nor possessed of power over the action; will is, therefore, the proper auxiliary.
. Thou shalt not steal.” Here the speaker is not the nominative, but he determines the verb, which, in consequence, requires shalt. Shall and must are often, erroneously, considered as syno
nymous. They have nevertheless distinct meanings. You must not steal” is an imperious moral precept, for which different reasons may be assigned; but “You shall not steal" is a mandate independent of any regard to the crime, and assumes that the speaker will exercise his power, either in preventing, or in punishing. When the latter is in view, the penal clause is frequently added, as, “ Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
Speaking of the defender of a fortress, it may be said, “ He will die rather than surrender," which, by Dr. Wallis's Rule, would be ungrammatical, because will is here in the third person, and nevertheless is not a simple future; but, according to the preceding General Rule, it is good English: for “ the speaker is neither the nominative to the verb nor determines its accomplishment.” “He shall die,” &c. would express a determination in the speaker to put the governor to death, should he attempt to surrender the fortress.
The solemn and the poetical styles have generally been said to be excepted from the ordinary rules, in the use of these auxiliaries: but this we believe, in most cases if not all, to be a misapprehension. The spirit of enthusiasm views the future as if it were present. The threatenings of the Bard and the denunciations of the Prophet, though derived from different sources, have a similarity of manner. The language too has the same name: it is that of Inspiration.
When we look at the phraseology of ordinary life, we perceive no compulsive act unassociated with the agent that compels. If the judge say “ the man shall die,” we know that it is in consequence of the fiat of the speaker that the man is to suffer death; but the predictions of the prophet, or the poet, although they are equally absolute, suppose no energy inherent in the speaker; he is the real or the imaginary representative of a superior being in whose name he speaks. That being is shrouded in darkness. Unseen and unapproachable, his will is inexorable and his fiat irrevocable; and hence it is that denunciations of the future are so often allied to the sublime. The following examples will explain what we have now stated:
Rapt into future times, the Bard begun:
Th’ ætherial spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
The sick and weak, the healing plant shall aid,
The contingent future in the third person is marked by will; but these are, obviously, necessary futures, determined by a power known to the Bard, but not described. Shall is also understood in many of the lines where the verse prevents its insertion.
Mr. Day puts the following prediction in the mouth of his “ Dying Negro:”
“ The time shall come, the fated hour is nigh,
When guiltless blood shall penetrate the sky.
Then the stern Genius of my native land,
What tides of ruin mark his ruthless way!
In the preceding lines, the necessary futures, expressed by shall, are consequent upon the will of “Eternal Justice," who holds in her hands the links of a dependent chain. The “Fiends," as executioners, are incited by the " Genius of Africa,” who is, himself, only the " delegated” minister of vengeance; and, hence, it is properly said that he "shall raging cross the seas,”-not that he will; which latter would have been the auxiliary, had the Genius been the primary agent in pouring the torrent of desolation.
Past actions are always necessary; and we may view an action as past, although, in reality, it is yet indeterminate: in which case, we use shall in the third person, as if the will of the agents were to have no influence.
Thus we may say candidate : “If he shall be elected, he will do his duty to his constituents; that is, “ Grant this, -He shall be elected,” and, this being done, I assert that,-"He will do his duty to his constituents." Thus also in Rowe's Lucan:
“ Cæsar is all things in himself alone,
The silent Court is but a looker on;