Page images
PDF
EPUB

suspected as those I have before mentioned : because, in our modern English, we have totally cast off all the letters of the discriminating termination of the third person singular of the indicative of those verbs.

Sir Walter Raleigh, in his History of the World, instead of blow, uses BLOWTH (the third person singular of the indicative of blopan, florere) as the common expression of his day.

“ This first age after the flood was, by ancient - historians, called Golden. Ambition and covet. “ ousness being as then but green and newly

grown up; the seeds and effects whereof were as yet but potential, and in the BLOWTH and bud.” Part 1, book 1, chap. 9, sect. 3, pag. 107. edit.

1677. “ This princess having beheld the child; his “ form and beauty, though but yet in the BLOWTH,

“ Whose most renowned acts shall sounded be as long “ As Britain's name is known; which spred themselves so wide “ As scarcely hath for fame left any ROOMTH beside.”

Poly-olbion, song 8. « Nor let the spacious mound of that great Mercian king “ (Into a lesser ROOMTH thy burliness to bring) « Include thee."

Poly-allion, song 8. “ Kanutus, yet that hopes to win what he did lose, “ Provokes him still to fight: and falling back where they « Might field-roomth find at large their ensigns to display, “ Together flew again."

* Poly-olbion, song 12. “ Besides I dare thus boast, that I as far am known “ As any of them all, the south their names doth sound; “ The spacious north doth me: that there is scarcely found 6 A ROOMTh for any else, it is so fill'd with mine."

Poly- lbion, song 26.

so pierced her compassion, as she did not only “ preserve it, and cause it to be fostered; but com66 manded that it should be esteemed as her own.”

Part 1, book 2, chap. 3, sect. 3, pag. 148. HARM. Our modern word HARM was in the Anglo-Saxon Ypmð or lermd, i. e. Whatsoever harmeth or hurteth: the third person singular of the indicative of ypman, or lerman, lædere.

ALE, was in the Anglo-Saxon Alod, i. e. Quod accendit, inflammat: the third person singular of the indicative of Ælan, accendere, inflammare.

Skinner was aware of the meaning of this word, though he knew not how it was derived. He says of ALE.....“ Posset et non absurde deduci ab A.

s. Ælan, accendere, inflammare : Quia sc. ubi generosior est (qualis Majoribus nostris in usu fuit) spiritus et sanguinem copioso semper, sæpe nimio, calore perfundit.”

Knave (A. s. Ena fa) was probably Nafað, i. e. Ne-ha rad, Lenarað; qui nihil habet: the third person singular of Nabban, i. e. Ne-haban. So Lenæf, Lenæ fo, Næfig, Næfga, are in the AngloSaxon, mendicus, egens.

In the same manner Nequam is held by the Latin etymologists to mean Ne-quicquam. i. e. One who hath nothing ; neither goods nor good qualities. For...“ Nequam servum, “non malum, sed inutilem significat.” Or, accord. ing to Festus...." Qui ne tanti quidem est, quam

quod habetur minimi.”

Of the same sort the Anglo-Saxons had likewise many other abstract terms (as they are called) from others of their verbs: of which we have not in our

modern language any trace left. Such as Lnýð,
the third person singular of the indicative of
Inetan; Duguð, the third person singular of the
indicative of Dugan, &c.
Chaucer indeed has used CRYTH.
“ Christ said: Qui gladio percutit,

Wyth swerde shall dye.
« He bad his priests peace and GRYTH."

Plowmans Tale, f 1. 94, pag. 1, col. 2. And from Duguð we have doughty still remaining in the language.

But I think I need proceed no farther in this course: and that I have already said enough, perhaps too much, to shew what sort of operation that is, which has been termed ABSTRACTION.

ΕΠΕΑ ΠΤΕΡΟΕΝΤΑ, &c.

CHAP. VI.

OF ADJECTIVES.

F. YOU imagine then that you have thus set aside the doctrine of abstraction.

Will it be unreasonable to ask you, What are these adjectives and participles by which you

think you have atchieved this feat? And first, What is an adjective? I dare not call it noun adjective : for Dr. Lowth tells us, pag. 41, “ Adjectives are very

improperly called nouns, for they are not the names of things.

And Mr. Harris (Hermes, book 1, chap. 10.) says....

“ Grammarians have been led into that strange absurdity of ranging adjectives with nouns, and separating them from verbs; though

they are homogeneous with respect to verbs, as “ both sorts denote attributes : they are heteroge"neous with respect to nouns, as never properly “ denoting substances.

You see, Harris and Lowth concur, that Adjectives are not the names of things; that they never properly denote substances. But they differ in their consequent arrangement.

Lowth appoints the adjective to a separate station by itself amongst the parts of speech; and yet expels the participle from amongst them, though it had long figured there : whilst Harris classes verbs, participles, and adjectives together under one head, viz. attributives.(m)

H. These gentlemen differ widely from some of their ablest predecessors. Scaliger, Wilkins, Wallis, Sanctius, Scioppius, and Vossius, considerable and justly respected names, tell us far otherwise.

Scaliger, lib. 4, cap. 91. 6 Nihil dissert concretum ab abstracto, nisi modo significationis, non

significatione.”
Wilkins, part 1, chap. 3, sect. 8. “ The true

genuine sense of a noun adjective will be fixed " to consist in this; that it imports this general “ notion, of pertaining to.

Wallis, pag. 92. “ Adjectivum respectivum est “nihil aliud quam ipsa vox substantiva, adjectivé

posita.”

Pag. 127. “ Quodlibet substantivum adjective “ positum degenerat in adjectivum.” Pag. 129.

“ Ex substantivis fiunt adjectiva “ copiæ, additâ terminatione y &c.

Santius,

F. I beg you proceed no farther with your authorities. Can you suppose that Harris and Lowth

[ocr errors]

(m) Harris should have called them either attributes or attributables. But having terminated the names of his three other classes (substantive, definitive, connective) in ive, he judged it more regular to terminate the title of this class also in ive : having no notion whatever that all common terminations have a meaning; and probably supposing them to be (as the etymologists ignorantly term them) mere protractiones vocum: as if words were wiredrawn, and that it was a mere matter of taste in the writer, to use indifferently either one termination or another at his pleasure.

« PreviousContinue »