« ПредишнаНапред »
the object: he may love another. Peter loves her,' is definite; but add the word sister and the word her becomes again a Genitive.
For the sake of perspicuity, we have generalized the preceding examples; but the 'simple sentence' is not necessarily confined to two, or to three, words. The Nominative and the Accusative (or Objective) may have each their qualities, designated by Adjectives; and the Verb its modifications, denoted by Auxiliaries and Adverbs. For example:
The rich farmer Peter passionately loves the beautiful shepherdess Mary.'
Here we have ten words instead of the three, ('Peter loves Mary'): but it is, nevertheless, still a simple sentence. It has only one agent, one verb, and one object.
In the preceding arrangement Peter is the first and prominent figure on the canvas; but we may transfer this place to Mary, by putting the sentence in the passive voice, thus, Mary is loved by Peter.' Mary is still the object of the active verb to love, but she is the nominative to the verb is, which declares the state of being loved, in which she is placed, by Peter. Peter is the cause of that state; and, in the Latin language, Petrus, instead of being distinguished solely by a preposition, as in the English by, would have a change
of orthography and be written, in the ablative case, Petro. That case does not belong to English Nouns, but were we to use the Pronoun, we should say, 'Mary is loved by him.'
The different forms of Construction which depend on the power of varying the arrangement have a material effect upon the precision and harmony of the expression; and, in this respect, the learned languages possessed an evident superiority. The ties that bound the Noun to its cases, and the Verb to its moods and tenses, facilitated the transpositions of clauses, which, in the modern tongues, contain so many separate particles that they are apt to be confounded, or lost, in the hands of a careless compositor. Nevertheless, the English has more power, of this kind, than is generally supposed; for, even in the simplest sentence, we, frequently, can choice among several changes. As an example, let us take the words Was John buried here?' and note the combinations which might be adopted both by the querist and the answerer, without rendering the idea ambiguous. The whole number of changes on four words is twenty-four, which we shall here exhibit. The first six are questions and the other eighteen are answers.
Was John buried here? Was John here buried? Was buried John here? Was buried here John?
Was here John buried? Was here buried John?
Buried John was here. Buried John here was. Buried was John here. Buried was here John. Buried here John was. Buried here was John. John was buried here. John was here buried. John buried was here. John buried here was. John here was buried. John here buried was. Here John was buried. Here John buried was. Here was John buried. Here was buried John. Here buried John was. 'Here buried was John. However uncommon many of the preceding arrangements may appear, there are few of which the meaning is either different or doubtful; and had we added another word, such as, Was John buried here yesterday?' we might have made one hundred and twenty changes. To some persons these things may seem trifling, but a power over the arrangement of words and phrases is the great secret of elegant and luminous composition. Every sentence has its natural emphasis, as every polysyllable has its accent; and the art of writing is to make this emphasis fall, where it is, not only most expressive of meaning, but, at the same time, most harmonious. In poetry, the propriety of this Rule is acknowledged by every one-why should it not be so prose?
Those simple sentences which admit of no transposition while nakedly expressed may, notwithstanding, be variously arranged when clothed with adjectives and adverbs. Peter loves Mary' is a sentence of this kind. Its construction is invariable; but The farmer Peter passionately loves the shepherdess Mary' may be written in twelve different ways, all of which are good English. Thus:
The farmer Peter passionately loves the shepherdess Mary.
The farmer Peter passionately loves Mary the shepherdess.
The farmer Peter loves passionately the shepherdess Mary.
The farmer Peter loves passionately Mary the shepherdess.
The farmer Peter loves the shepherdess Mary passionately.
The farmer Peter loves Mary the shepherdess passionately.
Peter the farmer passionately loves the shepherdess Mary.
The others are obvious, and may be extended by the reader. Besides, were the sentence
changed into the passive form, thus,
"The shepherdess Mary is passionately beloved by the farmer Peter,"
we should have a choice of other twelve different forms of arrangement.
It will be observed that, in the preceding example, there are four different substantives; the Farmer, Peter, the Shepherdess, and Mary. There is, notwithstanding, only one nominative and one accusative; for the Farmer is merely another name for Peter, as the Shepherdess is for Mary. But other independent substantives may enter into the composition of an expression, without taking away its character as a simple sentence. For instance,-"The Highwayman took a watch from a gentleman's servant by force," has only one verb, but contains five separate substantives, each of which is in a different state from the others. The Highwayman is the agent or nominative to the verb; the Watch is the thing acted upon,-the accusative; the Gentleman's is the possessive case, the person to whom the servant belongs; the Servant is he from whom the Watch was taken; and Force is the means by which the robbery was committed. In the Latin language, the nouns Highwayman, Watch, Gentleman's, Servant and Force would be put, respectively, in the Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, Dative, and Ablative cases; and in those several states they, in fact, stand in English, though not so obviously, on account of