« ПредишнаНапред »
both masculine and neuter; secondly, we have his restricted to the masculine, and the neuter left without or with hardly any recognized form; thirdly, we have the defect of the second stage remedied by the frank adoption of the heretofore rejected its. And the most curious thing of all in the history of the word its is the extent to which, before its recognition as a word admissible in serious composition, even the occasion for its employment was avoided or eluded. This is very remarkable in Shakespeare. The very conception which we express by its probably does not occur once in his works for ten times that it is to be found in any modern writer. So that we may say the invention, or adoption, of this form has changed not only our English style, but even our manner of thinking.
The Original English personal pronoun was, in the Nominative singular, He for the Masculine, Heó for the Feminine, and Hit for the Neuter. He we still retain ; for Heó we have substituted She, apparently a modification of Seó, the Feminine of the Demonstrative (Se, Seó, Thaet); Hit we have converted into It (though the aspirate is still often heard in the Scottish dialect). The Genitive was Hire for the Feminine (whence our modern Her), and His both for the Masculine and the Neuter. So also the modern German has ihr for the Feminine, and only one form, sein, for both the Masculine and the Neuter. But in the inflection of this single form the two genders in our ancient English were distinguished both in the Nominative and in the Accusative, whereas in German they are distinguished in the Accusative only. They are the same in the Genitive and Dative in both languages.
It is to be understood, of course, that the its, however convenient, is quite an irregular formation: the t of it (originally hit) is merely the sign of the neuter gender, which does not enter into the inflection, leaving the
natural genitive of that gender (hi, hi-s) substantially identical with that of the masculine (he, he-s, hi-s).
54, 55.-And bear the palm alone.-Another general shout!-Two hemistichs or broken lines thus following one another are not necessarily to be regarded as prosodically connected, any more than if they were several sentences asunder. The notion that two such consecutive fragments were always intended by Shakespeare to make a complete verse has led the modern editors, more especially Steevens, into a great deal of uncalled-for chopping and tinkering of the old text.
56. But in ourselves.-In the original edition divided "our selves," exactly as "our stars" in the preceding line. And so always with our self, your self, her self, my self, thy self, and also it self, but never with himself, or themselves. Vid. 54.
56. What should be in that Cæsar ?-A form of speech now gone out. It was a less blunt and direct way of saying What is there? or What may there be? These more subtle and delicate modes of expression, by the use of the subjunctive for the indicative and of the past for the present, which characterize not only the Greek and Latin languages but even the German, have for the greater part perished in our modern English. The deep insight and creative force-the "great creating nature"—which gave birth to our tongue has dried up under the benumbing touch of the logic by which it has been trained and cultivated.
56. More than yours.-Here and everywhere else, it may be noticed once for all, our modern than is then in the old text. Vid. Prolegomena, Sect. v.
56. Become the mouth as well.—Always aswell, as one word, in the First Folio.
56. The breed of noble bloods.—We scarcely now use this plural. Shakespeare has it several times; as afterwards in 645, "I know young bloods look for a time of
rest;" in Much Ado About Nothing, iii. 3, where Boracio remarks how giddily fashion "turns about all the hot bloods between fourteen and five and thirty;" in The Winter's Tale, i. 1, where Leontes says, "To mingle friendship far is mingling bloods;" in King John, ii. 1, where Philip of France, to the boast of John before the walls of Angiers that he brings as witnesses to his right and title "twice fifteen thousand hearts of English breed," replies (aside) that'
"As many and as well-born bloods as those
Stand in his face to contradict his claim."
56. That her wide walls encompassed but one man.—The old reading is "wide walks." Despite the critical canon which warns us against easy or obvious amendments, it is impossible not to believe that we have a misprint here. What Rome's wide walks may mean is not obvious; still less, how she could be encompassed by her walks, however wide. The correction to walls has the authority of Mr Collier's MS. annotator, but had been conjecturally adopted down to the time of Malone by most of the modern editors, from Rowe inclusive.
56. Now is it Rome indeed, and room enough.-Shakespeare's pronunciation of Rome seems to have been Room. Besides the passage before us we have afterwards in the present Play (368) "No Rome of safety for Octavius. yet;" and in King John, iii. 1, "That I have room with Rome to curse a while." In the First Part of King Henry the Sixth, it is true, we have the other pronunciation; there (i. 2), the Bishop of Winchester having exclaimed "Rome shall remedy this," Warwick replies "Roam thither, then." This little fact is not without its significance in reference to the claim of that Play to be laid at Shakespeare's door.
56. But one only man.-In the original text "but one onely man," probably indicating that the pronunciation
of the numeral and of the first syllable of the adverb was the same.
56. There was a Brutus once, that would have brooked. -To brook (originally brucan), for to endure, to submit to, is one of those old words which every one still understands but no one uses, unless it may be some studious imitator of the antique.
57. That you do love me, I am nothing jealous.—I am nowhat jealous, doubtful, suspicious, in regard to its being the fact that you love me. This seems to be the grammatical resolution of a construction which, like many similar ones familiar to the freer spirit of the language two centuries ago, would now scarcely be ventured upon.
57. I have some aim.-Aim, in old French eyme, esme, and estme, is the same word with esteem (from the Latin æstimatio and æstimare), and should therefore signify properly a judgment or conjecture of the mind, which is very nearly its meaning here. We might now say, in the same sense, I have some notion. In modern English the word has acquired the additional meaning of an intention to hit, or catch, or in some other way attain, that to which the view is directed. It does not seem impossible that the French name for the loadstone, aimant, may be from the same root, although it has usually been considered to be a corruption of adamant. A ship's reckonings are called in French estimes, which is undoubtedly the same word with our aims. In the French of the early part of the sixteenth century we find esme and esmé (or esmez, as it was commonly written) confounded with the totally different aimer, to love. Rabelais, for instance, writes bien aymez for bien esmez, well disposed. See Duchat's Note on liv. I., ch. 5.
57. For this present. -So, in the Absolution, those things may please him which we do at this present.” This expression, formerly in universal use and good repute,
now remains only a musty law phrase, never admitted into ordinary composition except for ludicrous effect.
57. So with love I might entreat you.-This form of expression is still preserved both in our own language and in German. Thus (John i. 25):-"Warum taufest du denn, so du nicht Christus bist ?" or, "So Gott will" (If God please). The conjunction thus used is commonly said to be equivalent to if. But so, according to Horne Tooke (D. of P., 147), is merely the Moso-Gothic demonstrative pronoun, and signifies properly this or that. In German, though commonly, as with ourselves, only an adverb or conjunction, it may still be also used pronominally; as Das Buch, so ihr mir gegeben habt (the book which you gave me). Something of the same kind, as we have already seen (44), takes place even in English with as, which is perhaps only another form of so or sa. Upon this theory, all that so will perform in such a passage as the present will be to mark and separate the clause which it heads by an emphatic introductory compendium : -That (or this), namely, that with love I might, etc.; and the fact of the statement in the clause being a supposition, or assumption, will be left to be inferred. That fact, however, would be expressed by the so according to the doctrine of Dr Webster, who conceives the word to be derived from some Hebrew or other root signifying to compose, to set, to still. "This sense," he affirms, "is retained in the use of the word by milkmaids, who say to cows so, so, that is, stand still, remain as you are." Such an application of the term, I apprehend, is not peculiar to the milkmaid tongue,-a familiarity with which, however, is certainly carrying linguistic knowledge a great way. The First Folio points, blunderingly, "I would not so (with love I might intreat you).”
57. Be any further moved. Here again, as in 45, Mr Collier prints farther, though further is the reading of both the First and the Second Folio.