Caxton's Blanchardyn and Eglantine, c. 1489 : from Lord Spencer's unique imperfect copy, completed by the original French and the second English version of 1595
edited by Leon Kellner
highlight hits: on | off
Page  v



Introduction to the Noun

§1. RELATIONS between the Noun and the other parts of speech.

From the logician's point of view, every 'part of speech' has a province of its own, strictly limited and separated from the other 'parts'; but in practice, language constantly cuts the line drawn by Aristotle, and some English students are wont to say that nearly every short English noun and verb can be used as verb, noun, and adjective, while nearly every adjective can be used as a noun: 'a plant, plant-life or plant-culture, to plant; tea, tea-district, we'll tea you at our tent; love, love trifles, to love; his english, English ways, to english; the true, the beautiful; true that line,' &c.;

In Old English there are several instances in which both noun and adjective are denoted by the same form of a word, as earfoð (difficulty and difficult), leoht (light sb., bright adj.), weorð (worth, sb. and adj.), yrre (wrath, sb. and adj.); every adjective may be used substantively, in the singular as well as in the plural, in the positive as well as in the comparative and superlative degree; the infinitive and the verbal noun (in -ung, -ing) may be said to belong to the noun as well as to the verb. Theoretically, the tendency of every literary language of the present day is to observe the laws of logic in grammar and style, and to restrict as far as possible the use of every part of speech to its own dominion, though practically, as stated above, speakers and writers claim and exercise full freedom in this respect. Caxton and his contemporaries did not care to be fettered by niceties of logic, and thus we have to state the following relations, in his books, between the noun and the other parts of speech.

1. Nouns used as adjectives.

We have kept in Modern English a few such expressions as 'queen-mother, queen-dowager, lord-lieutenant,'*. [At the Philological Society's Meeting on Nov. 1., when parts of this Introduction were read as a Paper, the Members divided these 3 sample-words into two classes, I. two nouns, 'queen-mother'; II. noun and adjective, 'queen-dowager,' 'lord-lieutenant.'] where 'queen,' 'lord' Page  vi are to be looked on more as appositions than as the first part of compounds; and there are others, like 'fellow-creature, deputy-marshal, champion-sculler,' where 'fellow,' 'deputy,' 'champion' are used quite adjectively. But while in Modern English this use is restricted in common speech to a few cases,—I exclude the conscious archaisms in poetry and historic romances,—Caxton is very free in forming such appositive compositions:—

the paynem kynge Alymodes, Blanchardyn 38/2, 90/25, 133/11; a man straunger,*. [This postposition of the adjective-noun, due to French influence, will be dealt with under Arrangement of Words.]ibid. 43/9 (original: homme estrange); a knyght straunger,*. [This postposition of the adjective-noun, due to French influence, will be dealt with under Arrangement of Words.] 51/19, 125/33; lady paramours, 78/31, 205/23; leches cyrurgiens,*. [This postposition of the adjective-noun, due to French influence, will be dealt with under Arrangement of Words.] 102/18; kynge sarasyne,*. [This postposition of the adjective-noun, due to French influence, will be dealt with under Arrangement of Words.] 129/8, 133/31 (sarasyn is a pure adjective as well, cf. 131/15); kyng prysoner, 148/5; felon conspiratours, 178/16; felon paynems, 189/1; felon enmyes, 205/25.

This is quite a common Middle English use.

  • Cursor Mundi—yon traitor juu, 4397; knau barns (male children), 5544. Cf. Orm. Gloss. s. v.

  • Chaucer—a coward ape, IlI. 198; felon look, V. 9.

  • Gesta Romanorum—the fole knyg̛t, p. 20; lorell knaue, p. 80; a leper man, p. 190; the traitour servant, p. 316.

  • Early E. Wills (ed. Furnivall)—the freres prechoures, 17/2.

  • Morte Darthur—queens sorceresses, 187/27; cf. 212/19. the same traitour knyght, 289/34; cf. 290/17, 294/33.

This use becomes rare in the 16th century, and probably dies out for a time, though it is afterwards revived in literary, if not in common, speech. Berners, in his Huon of Burdeux, has still 'a felon traitour,' I. 5/4; 'thou ſalse traitour knyght,' I. 41/26. But the edition of 1601 alters the latter passage into 'trayterous knyght.' 'Traitor knight' and like expressions will, however, be found in plenty of later poems and romances, though more or less consciously as archaisms.

2. Adjectives used substantively.

Compared with its power in Old English, and even in the first two centuries of the Middle-English period, the adjective of the present day has lost a good deal of its vigour and independence. By inflexion, any adjective could formerly express alone what it can now say only by adding a noun: e. g. se góda (the good man), þœt Page  vii gód (the good, in opposition to evil), þá gódan (the good ones, the righteous). We can still use: 'the good and evil of this life, of adversity,' &c.; 'the good (pl.) shall be happy, the evil (pl.) miserable, hereafter.' But in consequence of the inflexion having decayed, the independence of the adjective was to some extent given up, in order to avoid ambiguity. In Modern English prose we only retain—and in the plural only, as to persons—those which exclude all ambiguity, e. g. 'the poor and the rich,' always plural now, Psalms and Bible used singular, or whose ambiguity the context removes. Caxton's use of the adjectives is, in this respect, nearly modern.

The adjectives used substantively may be divided into the following groups:—

  • (a) Adjectives qualifying concrete nouns, mostly persons.
    • Specyall = friend, Blanch. 84/34; elsewhere, frende specyall, 72/10, 73/30, 75/9.

    • crysten = christians, 154/1, 183/31 (crysten men, 140/2).

    • famyllyer = intimate friend. 'That night noon of them alle, were he neuer so moche her famyllyer, cam to see her,' Blanch. 51/16.

    • the quycke = the quick (living) flesh. Cf. the French: toucher au vif, 'loue smote her ayen wyth a darte to the quycke tyll þe herte of her,' Blanch. 67/32.

    • his elder = his elders. 'He passed them that were his elder in age,' Blanch. 13/21. Original: les plus sagies de soy.

  • (b) Adjectives used as abstract nouns.
    • Such adjectives in the positive degree are rarely met with. 'Casuall fryuolles,' Blanch. 44/21, translates Old French 'frivoleances.' 'yet ought ye to maynten & holde thapposite,' ibid. 44/17; in certayne, 97/1.

To this group belong also the adjectives denoting a. languages, as: frenshe, Blanch. 1/24; englysshe, 1/24, 2/9; b. colours, as: in red, 64/10, 164/5; and c. adjectives in the genitive case used adverbially, as: of freshe, Blanch. 164/12, 165/21; of newe, ibid. 100/26, 147/18, 195/7. The latter correspond to the Middle English 'newes,' Story of Gen. and Exodus (ed. R. Morris), l. 240, and note; of lyght = lightly, 129/33.

There is one instance of an abstract adjective in the comparative degree: 'men must suffre, for better to haue,' Blanch. 68/25.

Page  viii

But it occurs pretty often in the superlative:—The thykkest of the folke = the thykkest press, 42/6, 59/5, 106/8, 167/16; it is for your best, 44/23, 185/19; he sholde do the best and the worst, 48/16; at the last, 188/20, and frequently.

3. Prepositions used as Nouns

'Her best biloued (Blanchardyn) was alle redy com to his aboue ouere Rubyon,' Blanch. 85/3; his aboue (in this as well as in the following two passages) translates the French au-dessus; 'they were come to their aboue of their enmyes,' 142/32; 'ye are therof come to your aboue,' 149/27.

4. The Adverb used as a Noun.

There is one instance only in Blanchardyn: 'he had called alle his barons and lordes, & alle the gentylmen of there aboute,' 98/16. Cf. Modern English, the whereabouts; perhaps also Aymon, 59/5: 'ye shall now here and understande from the hensfourthon a terryble and a pyteous songe.'

§ 2. Abstract and concrete Nouns interchanged.

Logic classifies nouns, with reference to the mode in which things exist, into concrete and abstract. However, not only in poetry, but also in simple prose both classes are often (as now) interchanged.

(a) Abstracts used in a concrete sense:—

  • counseyll (as now) = French conseil. '(She) spake at that same owre wyth certayne of her counseyll,' Blanch. 76/32.

  • chivalrie = knights. 'I do yelde and delyuere into your handes the kynge of Polonye, your enemye, whiche I haue taken with the helpe of your sone, and of your noble and worthy cheualrye,'*. [So in Byron, Macaulay's Ivry, &c.; &c.;] 108/34. Cf. Morte Darthur, 47/22.

  • love = lover, sweetheart (as now), 25/2, 26/15, et passim. Cf. Gloss. lover occurs 30/14.

  • grace = gracious person. 'I presente this lytyl book unto the noble grace of my sayd lady,' 1/7, 8. ('Her Grace, your Grace,' now.)

Verbal nouns in -ing, originally abstracts, often become concrete.

  • clothing = clothes, Blanch. 148/18, 159/32. (Bible: 'her clothing was of wrought gold.')

  • kyssing = a kiss. 'That one onely kyssyng that I toke of yow,' Blanch. 134/8.

Page  ix

It is doubtful whether 'helpes' in the following passage is correct, or a misprint for helpers:*. [ Cf. our 'lady-help,' and 'help' (American), the regular word for servant.] 'Would Subyon or not, and all his helpes, the noble lady was taken out of his power,' 197/21. Helpe = helper looks suspicious, because it does not occur, so far as I am aware, elsewhere in Caxton; but it is used in the same sense in the Story of Genesis and Exodus, l. 3409:

And (Ietro) at wið moysen festelike,
And tagte him siðen witte like
Under him helpes oðere don.

Of course 'helpe' is not to be confounded with 'help'; the latter is abstract, the former concrete; cf. hunte = hunter. Layamon, 21337; O. E. Hom. II. 209; Orm. 13471; Chaucer, Knight's Tale, 1160; Stratmann, s. v.; Skeat, Notes to Piers Plowman, p. 402.

Abstracts used for concretes are not very common in Middle English:—

  • Cursor Mundi, barunage = barons, 4627, 8533.

  • Chaucer, message = messenger, Man of Law's Tale, 333. Cf. sonde = messenger, O. E. Hom. I. 249, Story of Gen. and Ex. Glossary.

  • Langland (Piers Plowman), retynaunce = a suit of retainers. Skeat, Notes to P. Pl., p. 46. treuthe = a true man, a righteous man, Skeat, l. c. 297.

A few are retained in Modern English, as a justice = judge, a witness, &c.;

(b) Concrete nouns used as abstracts.

  • I know of only one instance in Blanchardyn, chief = beginning: 'or euer he myght come to the chyeff of his enterpryse,' Blanch. 17/4. chief is = cap (caput), which exactly answers to heafod, head. Cf. Morte Darthur 144/8: 'ther by was the hede of the streme, a fayre fountayn.'
  • field = battle, occurs in Morte Darthur 172/17, and is often to be met with in Elizabethan authors: Gorboduc, l. 230; Gascoigne, Steel-Glass, pp. 58, 63, 64; Spenser, F. Q., I. iii. 379; Shakspere, Schmidt, s. v.

§ 3. Number.
Page  x

Not all nouns can be used in the singular as well as the plural; some are restricted to the former, some to the latter. The so-called pluralia tantum, which are so numerous in Modern English (bellows, gallows, etc.), are not to be met with in Blanchardyn. Tydinge is used in the singular as well as in the plural. Cf. Gloss., 'well garnyshed of vytaylle,' Aymon, 182/31. Galloưs occurs three times. 'he shold doo make and to be sette up a galhouse,' 187/24; 'to make him deye upon the galhouse,' 189/3; '(he) sawe a payre of galhouse,' 188/2. The French has les fourches. To conclude by the spelling, which also occurs in Four Sons of Aymon, 331/22, Caxton apparently connected the word with house; hence the singular, as proved by the indefinite article in the first instance.

There are several nouns in the singular and singular form, which, according to modern use (save as to 'foot'), should appear in the plural:

'Men see atte eye his beaulte,' 54/34, 118/1, 10; 'which of heyght was XV fote long,' 56/34, 163/26; '(they) fel both doune humbly at the fote of him,' 126/14; 'they followed after at the back of hym, as the yonge lambe do the sheep,' 106/27.*. [Or lambe = lambren? Stratman quotes 'lombe' as plural from Robert of Gloucester, 369.]

On the other hand, we find a few plural forms where we should expect the singular:

  • 'When the fayr beatryx, that at her wyndow was lening her hande ouer her brestes,' 189/11. In Old English, as well as in the other Teutonic languages, 'breast,' even with reference to male persons, was often used in the plural. Cf. Grein, s. v. breost.

  • heuens = sky, 43/18, 98/5. The same in Old English, Grein, s. v. heofon.

  • shores = shore. 'They were nyghe the lande, where as the sayd mast, and Blanchardyn upon it, was cast of the waves unto the shores,' 97/35; 'he sawe hem in grete nombre, for to fyght nyghe by the see shoris,' 162/4.

Abstracts are, in Modern English, restricted to the singular; in Old and Middle English the plural is very frequent. It then denotes either singular actions, as: godnesses, Orm. Ded., 252, 276, etc.; different kinds of the conception, as: twa sarinesse beoð, O. E. Hom., Page  xi I. 103, 105; gleadshipes, Saules Warde, 263; or the unusual force of the conception:

'whiche boke specyfyeth .... of the grete adventures, labours, anguysshes, and many other grete diseases of theym bothe,' Blanch. 2/3, 4; 'the grete humylyte and courtoysyes that were in Blanchardyn,' 50/12; 'sore wepynge & sorowynge his byttirnesses,' 114/18; 'they beganne to make grete festes and grete Ioyes,' 201/1; 'other infinyte thynges that are wont to tarry the corages of some enterpryses,' 17/11; 'But their corages were neuer the lesse therfore,' Aym. 262/29 (original: couraiges); 'all rewthis layde aparte' (French, regretz), 17/8, 20/6; '(he) toke ayen his strenthes and corage wythin hymself,' 190/13; '(he) gaff louynge and thankes to our lord,' 98/6, 119/36, 132/13.

Plurals of verbal nouns (-ing) occur: 26/3 (wepynges); 30/11 (the same); 132/13 (praysynges); 133/29 (the same); 174/10 (sobbynges). Cf. O. E. Hom., I. 103, 105, 253, 255; Ayenbite of Inwyt, 18, 19, 24, 83; Gesta Rom., 174, 176, 235, 287; Morte Darthur, 173/14, 193/32; Huon, 16/8, 172/17, 325/7, 387/24.


§ 4. The Nominative Case.

The Nominative in Middle English ranges over a wider area than in Old English. First, its dominion is enlarged in consequence of the other cases losing their characteristic inflexions, and being mistaken for the nominative; secondly, it is used in syntactic connections and expressions which were unknown to the older periods of the English language.

In the struggle between the nominative and the accusative (or dative?) case of the personal pronoun (ye and you), as late as the end of the 15th century, the nominative is far from being overcome.

1. The first function of the nominative is to express the subject of a sentence. So far as the logical subject is concerned, there has been no change from Old English down to Modern English times.

2. But in the course of the 14th and 15th centuries, the grammatical subject became much more frequent and important than ever it was before.

(a) While Old English is very rich in impersonal verbs, there is a tendency in the later periods of Middle English towards the personal expression, that is to say (as Koch puts it), what once appeared as aPage  xii dim sensation is made to appear as the conscious action of the free mind. Instead of 'hit hreóưeð, hit sceameð, hit licað, hit langað,' there appear 'I repent, I am ashamed, I like, I long.' This natural development was favoured by two external causes. In such instances as 'Wo was this kyng,' Chaucer, II. 193, what is an indirect object was mistaken for the nominative case; and secondly, the French model had great influence. See Chapter VI. on the Impersonal Verbs, p. xlvii, below.

(b) The second encroachment of the nominative on the dative case took place in the passive constructions of transitive verbs governing a direct and an indirect object, or of intransitive verbs followed by prepositions. This innovation was brought about first by the dative and accusative cases being confounded. Objects governed by verbs like 'command, answer,' etc., were consequently looked upon as accusative cases, and were treated as such, so that they became capable of the passive construction.

In Caxton's time, however, that process was not yet completed; hence such expressions as the following, which we still keep: 'as was tolde him by the knyght,' Blanch. 43/1; 'all that was told him,' 196/20. See the chapter on the Passive, p. lxi, below.

3. The Nominative absolute wholly supplanted the Old English dative, and became much more popular than the Old English construction (apparently from Latin) had ever been. This use, which is quite common in the 14th century (for Chaucer, cf. Einenkel, p. 74, ff.), occurs rather frequently in the time of Caxton, and offers nothing of special interest:—

'This ansuere y-herde, Alymodes ... made his oost to approche,' Blanch. 57/28; 'and that doon, ... he shall mowe,' etc., 73/24;—preceded by after, 94/6; Charles the Grete, 44/21, 47/31, 58/31, 61/12, 62/17, and passim; Huon, 3/29, 39/5.

4. Another function of the nominative case was that in connection with the infinitive:—

e. g. 'I say this, be ye redy with good herte To al my lust, and that I frely may As me best liste do you laughe or smerte, And neuer ye to gruch it night ne day.'—Chaucer, II. 289. See the chapter on the Infinitive, p. lxiv, below.

5. Interchange of the Nominative and the Accusative cases.
Page  xiii

(a) Though the use of you instead of ye occurs as early as the middle of the 14th century ('yhow knaw,' Hampole, Pricke of Conscience, p. 127, l. 4659; cf. Book of Curtesye, Introduction, p. x), the nominative holds its place on to the time of Henry VIII.

Caxton, as a rule, has preserved ye; it is only in the inverted position (imperative, less frequent in interrogative sentences) that you is introduced; but the number of ye's, even in that position, prevails.

In Blanchardyn there are two you's in the imperative:—

'Come you with me,' 60/28; 'be you sure,' 185/17. (The instances are, of course, much more numerous in The Foure Sonnes of Aymon and Morte Darthur.)

Aymon. 'But knowe you, that Hernyer dyde mysse of his enterpryse,' 90/15; 'Fayr chyldren, now be you sure,' 129/1; 'defye you hym on my behalfe,' 157/32; 'now gyue you me good counseyll,' 203/14, 361/9, 412/26.

Interrogative sentences. 'What be you, fayre knyghte?' 91/25; 'telle me, how thynke you?' 170/1; 'what thynge aske you of me?' 246/20, 184/31, 291/31, 343/17, 373/29.

Morte Darthur, 206/6, 240/22, 242/14, 251/29, 255/16, 255/33, 269/8, 279/18, etc., etc.

Huon, 33/9, 33/19, 41/5, 79/32, 98/10, 102/5, 110/13, etc.

There are, however, several instances of you in another position:

'You holde,' Aymon, 26/18; 'Cosin, sayd Reynawde, you speke well and wysely,' ibid. 132/33; 'now up, Ogyer, and you, duke Naymes,' ibid. 157/23; 'yf you wyl yelde your selfe to his merci,' 189/22, 432/14, 438/10.

(b) There is another instance in which the nominative case has been encroached upon by the dative. That well-known tendency of using absolute personal pronouns in the dative case, which has divided the French pronouns into two different classes (conjoints and absolus), and which appears in such modern English phrases as 'it is me, older than me,' is not wholly unknown to Caxton. He always has 'it is I'*. [Chaucer 'it am I.'] (never me!), but in the following passages, p. xiv, there is apparently a faint germ of that use.

In Blanchardyn the dative occurs twice where we expect the nominative case; but there seems to be a sort of mixed construction: 'And syn aftre, he lyghtly dyde sette hande on the swerde, of the Page  xiv whiche he smote here and there with bothe his handes by suche a strengthe, that him that he rought with full stroke was all in to brused,' 63/2,—him that = whom that, for 'he whom,' as if the use of the flexionless that threw the case on to he; 'and sware that he sholde neuer departe from afore the place unto the tyme that the castel were take, and theym of within at his wyll,' 181/31,—'them' for 'they.'

But the passages from Aymon do not admit of such an explanation:—

'whan thise wordes were fynysshed, all the foure brethren, and all theym of theyr companye arayed themselfe ...' 78/22; 'the base courte began to be sore moved, and the crye was so great, for al them of the dongeon defended themselfe valyantlye,' 94/12; 'But I telle you, upon your feythe that none other shal knowe the same, but only we, us three, unto the tyme that the dede be accomplysshed,' 212/30. Cf. The Curial, 4/18: 'For ther is nothyng more suspecte to euyl peple than them whom they knowe to be wyse and trewe.'

On the other hand, there are striking instances of the nominative being used instead of the dative or accusative case:—

'But at thentree of a forest that was there, they loste their trayne, and went oute of ther waye, wherby they myght not folowe nor ouertake the pucell, nor they that brought her with theym.'—Blanchardyn, 181/22; 'Go ayen to Tormaday to see the noble lande of that lady, she of whom thou art amorouse so moche,' 186/19.

On this point I cannot refrain from quoting those passages of a 16th century play which contain the same use, as I have never come across any parallel earlier or later. Both in the last passage of Caxton's and in those of Sir Clyoman and Sir Clamydes (falsely attributed to Peele, and printed in Dyce's edition of Peele's works, pp. 490—534; see my essay in Englische Studien, XIII, p. 187), a pronoun referring as apposition to a noun in one of the oblique cases appears in the nominative:—

  • To go and come, of custom free or any other task:
    I mean by Juliane, she, that blaze of beautie's breeding.
    491, b.
  • Do never view thy father, I, in presence any more.
    497, a.
  • Sith that mine honour cowardly was stole by caitiff he.
  • But shall I frame, then, mine excuse by serving Venus, she.
    501, b.
  • Than thus to see fell fortune, she, to hold her state in spite.
    505, b
  • Page  xv
  • Clamydes, ah, by fortune, she, what froward luck and fate
    Most cruelly assigned is unto thy noble state.
    507, b.
  • Fie on fell Fortune, she.
    508, a.
  • Although that with Clamydes, he, I haue not kept my day.
    511, a.
  • Yet though unto Neronis, she, I may not show my mind.
  • Neronis, daughter to the king, by the king of Norway, he,
    Within a ship of merchandise convey'd away is she.
    514, a.
  • So do I fly from tyrant he, whose heart more hard than flint.
    515, a.

The Foure Sonnes of Aymon and Huon contain several striking instances of the nominative instead of the dative case:—

'Reynawde toke hym, ... and made all they that were wyth hym ... to be hanged and slayne.'—Four Sons, 90/19; 'For never Hector of Troy was worthe thou,' 127/29. 'Before you and all your barons I haue dyscomfyted in playn batayll he that hath brought you into all this trouble.'—Huon, i. 46/10. 'Syr, ye may se here before you he that wolde do lyke case agaynst me.'—ibid. 288/16. 'I haue found so nere me he that purchaseth my dethe and shame.'—ibid. 288/23. On pages 83, 84, and 87, thou is apparently a misprint for you.

Finally, it is worth stating that but and sauf (save) don't govern the accusative as prepositions, but are followed by the nominative, as if they were conjunctions. 'Noon but I have seen it.'—Blanchardyn, 43/32. 'Al be ded sauf I.'—Charles the Grete, 102/31.

§ 5. The Genitive Case.

(a) The genitive in connection with nouns (and pronouns).

The applicability of this genitive, which was nearly unlimited in Old English, especially in poetry, is rather restricted in Caxton's time.

1. The first function of this case, viz., that denoting birth and relationship (whence the name genetivus), shares its dominion with the dative:—

'My lady Margarete . . Moder unto our naturel & souerayn lorde.'—Blanchardyn, 1/3. 'Blanchardyn, sone unto the kynge of Fryse.'—ibid. 1/27. 'Blanchardyn ansuered that he was of the lande of Grece, and sone to a kynge,' 100/1; 'and sayde to the kynge, fader unto Blanchardyn,' 174/18; 'daughter to Kyng Alymodes,' 83/9; 'quene Morgause of Orkeney, moder to Sire Gawayne.'—Morte Darthur, 357/25; 'kynge Lots wyf and moder of sir Gawayne and to sire Gaheris,' ibid. 425/12.

2. The objective genitive is not very frequent:—

Page  xvi

'She bereth in her herte care ynough and dyspleysure for the loue of him.'—Blanchardyn, 73/33, 76/5, 77/25; 'for right moche he desyred to shewe hymself, for his ladyes loue,' 83/8.

3. The genitive denoting quality is used in the same way as in Modern English; only it is noteworthy that Malory treats it quite as if it were an adjective, so as to use it in the comparative and superlative degree. 'She is the fairest lady and most of beautie in the world,' Morte Darthur, 357/23; more of beautie, 358/13, 358/18, 360/33, 450/13, and frequently. Instead of of, a sometimes appears:—

'yf he had been yet man alyue, I wolde haue gyuen you tyl his wyff.'—Blanchardyn, 93/22. alyue = of life; cf. liues = alife.—Rob. of Gloucester, 301/376; Owl and Nightingale, 1632; Morris, note to l. 250 of Story of Genesis and Exodus. 'I am not a power to reward the after thy merite.'—Blanchardyn, 109/9.

4. The genitive of the personal pronoun instead of the possessive pronoun occurs very frequently:—

(I) 'knewe wel that the story of hit was honeste.'—Blanchardyn, 1/11. 'the sowle of the (thee),' 17/21; 'for pryde of her,' 39/14; 'the herte of hym,' 39/33, 64/17, 86/20, 87/31, 92/7, 106/17, 114/32, etc.

This use is especially worth noting, when it occurs in sentences like the following:—

'ye haue exposed the body of you and of your men,' 171/20. In Modern English we should say: 'your body and those of your men.' Malory once says: 'I pray you hertely to be my good frende and to my sones,' Morte Darthur, 406/28.

5. The partitive genitive was not a great favourite with the English of the 14th and 15th centuries. After comparing the use of this case in that time with what it was in Old English, we cannot but conclude that the idea of partition attached to such phrases as MÁÐMA FELA (many treasures), Beówulf 36, in Old English was about to be supplanted by that of the simple apposition. Apart from the fact that the numerals, as well as many indefinite adverbs and pronouns, no longer governed the genitive, compare the following expressions:—

  • Robert of Gloucester (quoted by Koch, II2, p. 169): 'þe þryddePage  xvii del my kingdom, y geue þe,' 285; 'þe þrydde del ys londe,' 711; 'From þe on ende Cornewayle,' 178.

  • Chaucer (Einenkel, p. 93): 'A busshel venym,' IV. 267; 'no morsel bred,' III. 215; 'the beste galoun wyn,' III. 249.

  • E. E. Wills (ed. Furnivall): 'a peyre schetys,' 4/16, 5/8, 41/24, 76/16, 101/18; 'a peyre bedes,' 5/3.

  • Bury Wills (Camden Society): 'a pece medowe,' 47; 'a peyre spectaclys,' 15; 'a quart wyne,' 16; 'a galon wine,' 30.

But there was a sudden stop in the development towards apposition instead of the genitive; and at the end of the 15th century there was a sort of reaction in favour of the Old English use. Expressions like those quoted above are not to be met with in Caxton; only a few traces of the Middle English tendency remained.

Maner without of occurs in Blanchardyn three times: 'by al manere wayes,' 50/19; 'all manere noureture,' 74/8; 'al manere poyntes,' 109/16; while there are 18 instances of maner + of viz., 28/20, 53/17, 55/27, 58/19, 60/31, 73/34, 93/32, 111/28, 117/27, 119/2, 119/11, 159/34, 174/12, 177/4, 186/8, 188/26, 197/28, 200/18.

Other is used for 'others of.' 'Other her gentyll women,' 76/31; 'other his prysoners,' 121/25.

Also any occurs for 'any of':—

'Affermyng that I oughte rather tenprynte his actes and noble feates than of Godefroy of boloyne or ony the eight.'—Caxton's Preface to Morte Darthur, 2/1.

In Aymon is a curious remnant of what must have been rather common in the 14th century, as Chaucer offers several instances of it. The passage runs as follows: 'but of all Fraunce I am one of the best & truest knyght that be in it,' 272/23. These are the parallels in Chaucer:—

'Oon of the grettest auctour that men rede' (5 MSS., one has 'auctours'), III. 234; 'On of the best farynge man on lyue,' III. 8; 'On of the best enteched creature,' V. 35 (cf. Einenkel, p. 87).

This odd expression is made up of two constructions: I. 'One the best knyght.' II. 'One of the best knyghtes.' The former, which was at last supplanted by the second, crops up many times in Middle English, and has its parallel in other numerals:—

'Oute of þilke hilles springeþ þre þe noblest ryueres of al Europe.'—Trevisa, I. 199. 'I deuyse to Iohane my doughter ... III. thePage  xviii best pilwes after choys of the forseyde Thomas my sone.'—E. E. Wills, 5/9. 'I wyll that Richard my sone haue tweyne my best hors.'—ibid. 23/23. 'II. the best yren broches.'—ibid. 46/17. 'too the best sanapes,' 101/24, Guy of Warwick (ed. Zupitza), 8095; 'at two the firste strokes,' Morte Darthur, 343/29; 'two the best knyghtes that euer were in Arthurs dayes,' ibid. 419/31.

This free use of apposition (instead of the modern genitive) did not die out before the time of James I.:—

  • 'Enough is, that thy foe doth vanquisht stand
    Now at thy mercy: Mercy not withstand:
    For he is one the truest knight aliue.'

    Faerie Q., I. iii. 37.

  • 'Or who shall not great Nightes children scorne,
    When two of three her Nephewes are so foule forlorne?'

    Ibid. I. v. 23.

  • 'His living like sawe never living eye,
    Ne durst behold; his stature did exceed
    The hight three the tallest sonnes of mortall seed.'

    Ibid. I. vii. 8.

  • 'Was reckoned one the wisest prince that there had reigned.'

    Shakspere, Henry VIII., II. ii. 48.

Apart from this liberty, we have to state a few other noteworthy points respecting Caxton's use of the partitive genitive.

(a) There are numerous instances of the independent, or, as it is sometimes called, the elliptic genitive partitive, which is so often met with in Chaucer; cf. 'Of smale houndes hadde sche, that she fedde,' II. 5. Before Chaucer the instances are rare. Perhaps the following passages may be looked upon as approaching that use:—

'hwa se euer wule habbe lot wið þe of þi blisse: he mot dea'e wið þe of þine pine on eorþe.'—O. E. Hom. I. 187. 'man eggeð his negebure to done oðer to speken him harm, oðer s(c)ame, and haueð uið elch wið oðer, and makeð him to forlese his aihte, oðer of his rihte.'—O. E. Hom. II. 13. 'þe priue þyeues byeþ þo þet ue steleð naȝt of oncouþe ac of priueþ. And of zuichen þer byeð of greate and of smale. þe greate byeð of þe kneade and þe ontrewe reuen.'. .—Ayenbite, 37.

Caxton has several instances of this use:—

'(She) tolde hym that she was right wel content of his seruyce, and wolde reteyne hym in wages, and gyue hym of her goodes, for he was worthy therof.'—Blanchardyn, 75/5. 'wherof the kynge was right wele content, and reseyued hym of his hous.'—ibid. 99/21; = as one of his house, or court. (Cf. Huon, I. 13/20: 'the two sonnesPage  xix of Duke Senyn of burdeux shal come to the courte, and, as I haue harde say, the kynge hath sayde that, at there comynge, they shal be made of hys pryuey counsell.') 'And wyte, that Guynon hadde wyth hym of the beste knyghtes of Charlemagne.'—Aymon, 91/18. 'and therefore lete us set upon hym or day, and we shalle slee doune of his knyghtes: ther shal none escape.'—Morte Darthur, 121/10. '(He) charged hym that he shold gyue hym of al maner of metes.'—ibid. 214/20. (Cf. Gesta Romanorum, 197: 'þe knyghte of baldak sent to the knite of lumbardye of al maner thinges.')

This use too was continued in the time of Henry VIII.:—

'I wyll ye take of your best frendys.'—Huon, 5/25. 'this that I haue shewid you is of truth.'—ibid. 61/26. 'I requyre you, shewe me of your newes and adventures that ye haue had.'—ibid. 566/12. 'Englysh marchauntes do fetch of the erth of Irlonde to caste in their gardens.'—Andrew Borde, p. 133; cf. p. 170.

From an alteration of the 1601 edition of Huon we may perhaps conclude that the English of that time did not relish this use in prose. The original edition has: 'for incontinent they wyll sende of theyr shyppes, and take thys shyp,' 212/29; the edition of 1601 alters of into 'some of.'

(b) Here and there indefinite pronouns like 'much, many (other)' are followed by of + noun: 'for he hath doon to us this day so moche of euyl.'—Blanchardyn, 169/22. 'wherof soo many of children (were) faderles, and soo many churches wasted.'—Aymon, 27/19. 'a grete many of prysoners.'—ibid. 87/4. But, as a rule, the modern use prevails.

(c) There is another sort of Genitive, which we may, perhaps, not improperly term pseudo-partitive, viz. that which appears in sentences like 'a castle of hers, a knight of Arthur's.' It is true, that in many cases we might translate these phrases by 'one of her castles, one of Arthur's knights'; but there are many examples in Middle English which do not admit of such an explanation, and the Modern English use ('that beautiful face of hers!') proves that no idea of partition is included in such expressions. After a close examination of the oldest instances as met with in the 14th century (second half?), we see that they are brought into existence by another necessity.

In Old English the possessive pronoun, or, as the French say, 'pronominal adjective,' expresses only the conception of belongingPage  xx and possession; it is a real adjective, and does not convey, as at present, the idea of determination. If, therefore, Old English authors want to make such nouns determinative, they add the definite article:

hæleð mín se leofa, Elene, 511; þú eart dóhtor mín séo dýreste, Juliana, 166; þæt tacnede Leoniða on his þæm nihstan gefeohte and Persa, Orosius, 84/31; Mammea his sio gode modor, ibid. 270/26; mid hire þære yfelan scéonnesse, Blickling Homilies, 5/1; openige nu þin se fægresta fæþm, ibid. 7/24; þonne bið drihten ure se trumesta staðol, ibid. 13/10; hé wolde oferswíðan úrne ðone écan déað, Ælfric's Homilies, I. 168/1; úre se ælmihtiga scyppend, ibid. I. 192/6; þurh his þæs mran forryneles and fulluhteres ðingunge, ibid. I. 364/5. The article preceding the possessive pronoun: se heora cyning, Orosius, 56/31; seo heora iugoð, Blickling Homilies, 163/3; seo hire gebyrd, 163/9, etc.

In Middle English the possessive pronoun apparently has a determinative meaning (as in Modern English, Modern German, and Modern French); therefore its connection with the definite article is made superfluous, while the indefinite article is quite impossible. Hence arises a certain embarrassment with regard to one case which the language cannot do without. Suppose we want to say 'she is in a castle belonging to her,' where it is of no importance whatever, either to the speaker or hearer, to know whether 'she' has got more than one castle—how could the English of the Middle period put it? The French of the same age said still 'un sien castel'; but that was no longer possible in English. There's only one instance of indefinite article + possessive pronoun that has come to my knowledge, and that is of the early period of Middle English: Sawles Warde (O. E. H., I. p. 265): 'for euch an is al mihti to don al þat he wule, ȝe, makie to cwakien heouene ba ant eorþe wið his an finger' (for one is mighty enough to do all that he desires, yea, to make heaven and earth quake with one of his fingers. Translation by R. Morris).*. [ Other instances, however, may have escaped my notice, and it is worth while to search Middle English literature for evidence on this hitherto puzzling point.]

We should expect the genitive of the personal pronoun (of me, etc., as in Modern German),—and there may have been a time when this use prevailed,—but, so far as I know, the language decided in Page  xxi favour of the more complicated and rather absurd construction 'of mine, of thine,' etc.

This was, in all probability, brought about by the analogy of the very numerous cases in which the indeterminative noun connected with mine, etc., had a really partitive sense (cf. the examples below), and, moreover, by the remembrance of the old construction with the possessive pronoun.

There is a good deal of guesswork in this explanation, of course; but one thing is sure—it was the impossibility of connecting the indefinite article with the possessive pronoun which suggested the new construction. This is proved by indisputable chronological facts.

I. First, we find the indefinite article (or the equally indefinite words any, every, no) in connection with of mine, of thine, etc. This construction is met with in the 14th century.

II. Next, analogy introduces the indefinite article in connection with the double genitive of a noun, 'a knyght of king Arthur's.'

III. Last, we come across definite pronouns (this, that) in connection with of mine; and exceptionally the definite article occurs there also in connection with the double genitive of a noun (the knight of kyng Arthur's).

  • CHAUCER:A friend of his, IV. 130, IV. 257, IV. 356; an hors of his, II. 271; an old felaw of youres, III. 97; eny neghebour of myne, III. 198; every knight of his, II. 239; no maner lym of his, V. 170.—Cf. that ilke proverbe of Ecclesiaste, II. 226; this my sentence heere, III. 40; oure wreche is this, oure owen wo to drynke, IV. 184 (Einenkel, pp. 86, 87).

  • Early E. Wills: I will that William . . . be paied of their billes for making off a liuery of myn, 53/20; ȝif any servaunt of myn haue labord for me . . . 53/23 (both instances ab. 1420 A.D.); I will that Chace haue a habirion of myne, 54/7; he may haue such a good honest booke of his owne, 59/9; every child of hires lyuynge at the day of my decesse haue xx ƚi to their mariage, 107/1.

  • Bury Wills (A.D. 1434): and more stuff I haue not occupied of hers, p. 23; such goodes of myn as shall be sold, 24; such tyme as money may be reysid of goodes as shal be sold of myn, 36.

In neither of these 'Wills' volumes is there any instance of the second or third stage of the development of our construction. Cf. E. E. Wills: this my present testament, 49/4; similar cases are in 51/5, 79/26, 119/15.

Page  xxii

Gesta Romanorum offers instances of II, but not of III: I am forrester of the Emperours, 206; a noþere knyȝt of the Emperours, 241.

In CAXTON the I. group is represented by numerous instances: And for this cause departeth now my sayd lady from a castell of hers, Blanchardyn 38/6. (Original: dun sien chastel.) He toke also a grete spere from the hande of a knyght of his, ibid. 107/32; for the kyng Alymodes hath a daughter of his owne . . . ibid. 125/4; a yeoman of his owne, ibid. 201/18; a town of his, Aymon 69/15; a gentylman of his, 412/29; a neuewe of his, 527/22. Cf. Malory's Morte Darthur, 35/35, 38/28, 365/12, 366/2, 369/17, etc.

Group II. is often met with in the Morte Darthur: a knyghte of the dukes, 37/7, 9; Syre gawayne, knyghte of kynge Arthurs, 146/30; I am a knyghte of kynge Arthurs, 153/32, 263/31, 263/34, 330/22, 331/19; a trusty frende of Sir Tristrams, 363/8; and ryght so cam in knyghtes of kynge Arthurs, 386/29; and he had gotten hym ten good knyghtes of Arthurs, 459/33; and therewith foure knyghtes of kynge Markes drewe their swerdes to slee syre Sadok, 469/30, 521/24, 522/12, 635/21.—In two instances s is omitted: Thenne came forth a knyght, his name was lambegus, and he was a knyght of syr Trystrem, 318/16; there was a knyghte of kyng Arthur, 331/17.

The frequent occurrence of this genitive in connection with Arthur and his knights has often (in English Grammars, &c.;) suggested the supposition that there is a sort of ellipsis in this construction: a knyghte of kynge Arthurs = a knyghte of kynge Arthurs court.*. [Cf. two knyghtes of kynge Arthurs Courte, 297/1, 6, 16, 298/33, etc.] But first of all, such instances as 'a trusty frende of syr Tristrams,' 'I am forester of the Emperors,' do not admit of such an explanation—unless we say 'among Sir T.'s friends,' 'among the Emperor's foresters';—and secondly, there are no other examples of this elliptic construction in Caxton or Malory.

Of Group III., there are two instances in Blanchardyn with that, and a few with the definite article in Morte Darthur:

'as for to wene to haue her, thou haste that berde of thyne ouer whyte therto; thy face is so mykel wonne, and that olde skynne of thyne ys ouer mykel shronken togyder,' 186/22-25. Original: 'vous auez la barbe trop grise, la face trop usee, et le cuir trop retrait.'

Elsewhere Caxton is not afraid of using this in connection with the possessive pronoun. Cf. this my towne, Blanch. 73/18; this her werre, 90/1.

Page  xxiii

There are two passages in Morte Darthur belonging to this group: 'Alle the knyghtes of kynge Arthurs,' 330/9; 'he sholde haue her and her landes of her faders that sholde falle to her,' 488/14;—in both instances the partitive genitive is wholly excluded.

B. The Genitive governed by adjectives and verbs is, on the whole, the same as in Modern English. But it is worth noting that the ideas of reference and cause are still expressed in Caxton by of, while, in Modern English other prepositions (in, as to, with &c.;) are preferred.

(a) Reference:—

The childe grewe and amended sore of the grete beaulte . . . Blanchardyn, 13/6; of the tables and ches playing, and of gracious and honeste talkynge, he passed them that were his elder in age, 13/9; demaunding of the batailles of Troy, 14/13, 15/8; sore troubled of wyttis, 45/8; nought dommaged of nothing, 48/31; there was no man that of prowes and worthynes coude go beyonde hym, 65/21; wele shapen of alle membres, 99/14; sore chaunged of face, 145/30; what wyl you do of me?, 146/16. Cf. 150/25, 178/21, 184/6, 193/14;—Aymon, 54/25, 64/5, 290/32;—Morte Darthur, passim.

(b) Cause:—

(They) judged hem self right happy of a successoure legytyme, 12/17; (the kyng) that of this adventure was ful sory and dolaunt, 21/4; Blanchardyn sore angry and euyll apaid of that he sawe . . . 28/13; sore passioned of one accident, 68/20;—thank of, 49/33, 60/25; pardon of, 50/9, 10.

Of is sometimes replaced by ouer: Right enamored they were ouer hym, 66/25; auenged ouer hym, 86/30. Once for of occurs: and also for of the grete dysplesure that he had . . . 111/34.

(c) For the Genitive used adverbially, see Adverb, p. lxxvii.

§ 6. The Dative Case.

After the decay of the Old English inflection there was a tendency to make up for it by the preposition to. But from the time in which the Old English Homilies were composed, down to our own days, to never became the rule.

In CAXTON to is often used after verbs, where we omit it, especially after tell:—

Now anon brynge to me myn armes, Charles the Grete 48/15; but on the same page: he shold brynge hym hys armes, l. 4; afterPage  xxiv brought he hym hys hors, l. 22. I assure to you by my faith that I shall do it . . . ibid. 49/30; I graunte to you alle my goodes, ibid. 50/3; I do to the grete amytye, ibid. 55/34. Cf. Blanchardyn, 20/17; Aymon, 362/31, 367/9.

Tell. and whan thou hast told to me thy name . . . Charles the Grete, 53/16; I telle to the, ibid. 54/17. Cf. 55/2, 57/23, 61/3, 86/5, etc.

Demand is usually followed by of; but there is an exception, perhaps brought about by French influence: 'Thenne cam kyng Alymodes forthe, and demaunded to the stywarde' . . . Blanchardyn, 283/23. Require, also, occurs with to: Blanchardyn, 168/3; Aymon, 34/20. Ask, followed by two objects, occurs: Aymon, 362/31; (he) asked for hym to two of his men.

There is one instance of offend + to: 'Yf there be ony man here that I haue offended unto,' Morte Darthur, 292/19.

The Ethic Dative is not frequent in Caxton:

'A right grete and impetuouse tempeste rose, that lasted us thre dayes,' Blanchardyn, 100/9; their sorrowe redoubled them full sore, ibid. 119/34; the bloode ranne me doune, Aymon, 88/19. (But ye withdrawen me þis man.—Chaucer, Boethius, ed. Morris, p. 7. Caxton has: fro me.)

§ 7. The Accusative Case.

A. The Accusative Case, as governed by transitive verbs, sometimes differs in Caxton from the modern use.

Besides such verbs as 'demand, require, serve, tell,' quoted above, behold is followed by of, e. g. Aymon, 391/26; and especially noteworthy is the construction of swear. In Middle English this verb is followed by on. Cf. Chaucer, IV. 363: and this on every God celestial I swere it yow, V. 222. Caxton uses 'swear' as a transitive verb, and makes the accusative case follow it: he sware his Godes, Blanchardyn, 92/25, 107/22; swore God, Aymon, 38/4, 73/14, 87/10, 185/4, 201/33, 459/11, 471/7, 515/7, 526/17. In Aymon are only three examples of 'swear' followed by a preposition: (he) sware by God, Aymon, 61/29; he sware by saint Denys, ibid. 411/11; I swere upon all sayntes, ibid. 85/4.

From one passage of the Ayenbite, and another in Blanchardyn, we may safely infer that this use is due to French influence.

Page  xxv

Ayenbite, p. 6: huo þet zuereþ wiþ-oute skele þane name of oure lhorde . . . he him uorzuereþ, Blanchardyn, 107/22; The kynge of polonye . . . sware his goode goddes, that he sholde neuer haue loye at his herte. Original: 'jura ses bons dieux.'

Dan Michel always translates literally; and Caxton too, in this case, introduced the French construction.

The Cognate Object occurs several times:

And there she had not been no longe whyle, when she had perceyued the playn choys and syght of a right grete and myghty nauye, Blanchardyn, 56/2; (choys = syght). deye a shamefull dethe, ibid. 190/4, and very often in the other works of Caxton. I rebuke hym neuer for no hate that I hated hym, Morte Darthur, 349/4; the good loue that I haue loued you . . . ibid. 364/4.

B. The Accusative absolute is used with great freedom by Caxton and Malory, and even by Berners. Instances abound. I quote only a few to illustrate my statement:—

He fonde hym the terres (= tears) at the eyes of him makynge his full pituouse complayntes, Blanchardyn 123/24; (there) he toke a bote, prest and garnysshed wyth eight goode felawes, eche of them an ore in his hande . . . ibid. 154/7; The good erle, then, the prouost, and the knyghte of the fery, their swerdes in their handes naked, toke and seysyd her by force, ibid. 180/19; Thenne came syluayn, his felawes wyth hym, and ascryed the two barons to dethe, ibid. 205/19. Original: 'siluain auant auec ses compaignons.'

C. For the Accusative with Infinitive, see Infinitive, p. lxx.

D. The Adverbial Object exhibits some peculiarities worth stating.

(a) Time. Never the days of her lyff she sholde wedde paynem nor no man infidele, Blanchardyn, 65/15. Malory has: neuer his lif, 127/23; cf. Chaucer. Imeneus, that god of weddyng is, Seigh neuer his lif so mery a weddid man, II. 333; many a wighte hath loued thynge he neuer saugh his lyue, V. 8 (cf. Einenkel, p. 52; Zupitza, note to Guy of Warwick, ll. 1747-8); (he) wend neuer to haue come tyme enough, Blanchardyn, 158/4. Original: 'a tans (temps).' Cf. 170/5; Aymon, 265/19, 343/5; Morte Darthur, 228/24; Huon, 332/8, 334/10.

That tyme, in Morte Darthur, 48/8, is equivalent to 'at that tyme,' ibid. 49/16. Cf. the same tyme, Blanchardyn, 127/13, 128/8, 143/29; and at that same houre, 139/8; at the tyme, 194/32; Morte Darthur, 363/35; and the instructive example, Morte Darthur, 356/7, 8: sometyme he was putte to the werse by male fortune, and at sometyme the wers knyghte putte the better knyghte to a rebuke.Page  xxvi

(b) Manner.

Seeyng that noon otherwyse he myghte doo, Blanchardyn, 30/26; and noon otherwyse wyll I doo, ibid. 93/25; the best wyse that he myght or coude, he ordeyned his bataylles, 162/27, 171/32;—but we find too: in like wise, 98/23; in the best wyse, 125/24, 166/2.

Chaucer never uses other wyse; only other weye, other weyes. Cf. Einenkel, p. 66.

§ 8. The Article.

There are several remarkable peculiarities about Caxton's use of the Article.

(a) Nouns in the Vocative case are preceded by the definite article instead of O:—

'Sith that we haue lost thee, farewell the ioye of this world!' Aymon, 574/30; 'Then syr Launcelot cryed: the knyght wyth the blak shelde, make the redy to Iuste wyth me!' Morte Darthur, 392/16.

(b) Possessive Pronouns used substantively are sometimes preceded by the definite Article:—

'Thenne toke the prouost his spere, and so dyde Blanchardyn the his,' Blanchardyn, 48/20 (Original: la sienne); I praye you that euery man force hymself to do worthily hys deuoyr, that your worship and the oures be kepte, Aymon, 72/21; In whiche he hath not rendred the reason or made any decision, to approve better the his than that other, Eneydos, 23/19.

(c) Numerals denoting part of a whole are sometimes preceded by the definite Article:—

'And yf perauenture one of them dare not come allone hardyly, late come the two or thre or foure of the moost valyauntest' . . . Charles the Grete, 41/27; and yf the foure dare not come, late come fyue, ibid. 29. Cf. Morte Darthur, 355/5: wete thou wel, said sir Tristram, the one of us shalle dye or we departe.

In all these three groups Caxton copied only too faithfully his French originals. I do not know of any other Middle English instance of 'the his'; but as for 'the two,' there is the authority of Chaucer and the unknown translator of the Romaunt of the Rose, if not to sanction it as a good Middle English expression, at least to excuse it:

And sins he ran . . . And borwed him large boteles thre; and in the two his poysoun poured he; The thrid he keped clene for hisPage  xxvii drynke, Cant. T. III. 103; And if thou maist so fer forth wynne, That thou resoun derst byginne, And woldist seyn thre thingis or mo, Thou shalt fulle scarsly seyn the two.—Romaunt of the Rose, V. 77/8.

Perhaps the following expressions too may be attributed to French influence:—

The captayne gaff the goode nyght to the damoyselle, Blanchardyn, 51/27 (Original: la bonne nuit); and gaff hym the goode nyght, ibid. 74/26; onely the captayne of Tormaday, that cam for to make unto her the reuerence, ibid. 51/17. Cf. 77/2, 158/16: Blanchardyn coude not kepe hymself, but that the grete teerys dropped fast out of his eyen, ibid. 145/33.

(d) Before two adjectives qualifying one noun, the Article is often repeated:—

He sawe there under in a playn a moche ample and a grete medowe, Blanchardyn, 32/2; the prouoste of the towne dyde ordeyne a stronge and a bygge warde, 58/20; ye be enamored of a hyghe and a ryche pryncesse, 75/7; he was a ryght valyaunt and a hardy prynce, 113/20; makyng a grete and a solempne oath, 177/16.—There are, in Blanchardyn, but two exceptions*. [These are where Caxton is writing his own English, not englishing another man's French. I wish all his Prologues and Epilogues, as collected in Blades's quarto, could be examined for other contrasts of his phrascology.—F. J. F.]: A noble and victorious prynce, 1/26; the rude and comyn englysshe, 2/9.

(e) The definite article is repeated where one of the two adjectives is in close connection with the noun. Thus in Blanchardyn 'proude' and 'pucelle' are looked upon as one noun, hence the following expressions:—

The right gracious and fayre, the proude pucelle in amours, 76/30; the fayer, the proude pucell, 83/12; the right desolate, the proude pucelle, 89/29; cf. 94/9, 96/7, 127/10, 129/29. There are two exceptions: the fayr pucelle and proude in amours, 128/8; the fayr proude mayden, 131/10.

(f) There are three instances (in Blanchardyn) of the indefinite article used in analogy to such + adjective + a:—

It nedeth not to be doubted that he is come to his extremyte of prowes and valyantes, wythout that amours hathe be the cause in the persone of some hyghe a pryncesse, 72/20; hy gaf to hym-self grete merueylle, and was wel abashed of that soudayne a wylle that was come to hym, 126/9; which is the most fayr, and the most Page  xxviii noble, and the most complete a lady, and most pleasaunt of all the remnaunt of the world, 156/13.

§ 9. The Adjective.

For adjectives used substantively see ò 1, p. vi. For the arrangement of noun and adjective see the chapter below, on 'The Arrangement of Words.' The tautology in the formation of the comparative and superlative degree (more better, most best) so well known from Shakspere, occurs here and there in Caxton, and is extremely frequent in Morte Darthur:—

more werse, Blanch. 23/33; more better, ibid. 91/35; the most valyauntest, Charles the Grete, 41/27; more sonner, ibid. 44/18; most next, ibid. 44/17; more gretter, Curial, 5/13. Morte Darthur, 74/37, 142/8, 144/29, 35; 148/5, 215/29, 218/3, etc.

Adjectives referring to preceding nouns are not yet followed by one:—

So grete a stroke and so heuy he gaffe hym, Blanch. 62/22; god hath well kept hym from so moche an hap and so hyghe, 75/24; a trusty man and secret, 81/23, 86/17, 97/20, 110/2, 156/14, 163/4, 169/17, 178/2, 179/5, 200/29. Aymon, 392/9, 504/20. Morte Darthur constantly.

But the Middle English use of 'one' following a noun is met with in Malory several times:—

There lyueth not a bygger knyght than he is one, 72/22; (it) was grete pite that so worthy a knyght as he was one shold be ouermatched, 87/35; such yong knyghtes as he is one . . . ben neuer abydynge in no place, 251/25. Cf. Chaucer: For in my tyme a seruaunt was I on, II. 56, V. 112. The oldest instance quoted by Mätzner, Glossar, is from Robert of Gloucester, p. 17: 'a wonder maister was he on;' but without the preceding article, the use goes as far back as the Ormulum:—

þatt ȝho wass adiȝ wimmann an
All wimman kinn bitwenen. 2333.

So far as I know, but one instance occurs in Caxton of one following an adjective:—

And after whan thou shalt haue employed thy body, thy tyme and thy goodes for to deffende the, another newe one cometh to the courte, and shall supplante thy benediction.
Curial, 12/13.

The syntax of the numerals is that of our own day.

Page  xxix


§ 10. Personal Pronouns.

(a) Cases interchanged. See § 4, p. xi.

(b) Use of thou and ye.

Thou is used from superiors to inferiors, or from equals to equals as a sign of contempt or defiance:—

Lohier, the son of Charlemagne, delivering his message to the duke Benes of Aygremonte, addresses him with 'thou,' Aymon, pp. 24, 25; and so do all the knights challenging each other to fight. Instances abound.

In many cases thou and ye are used in the same speech:—

  • Blanchardyn. Eglantyne always addresses her lover with 'ye'; but on p. 109 the following passage occurs: 'Ha, my right trusty frend . . . . that hath ben the pyler, susteynynge under thy swerde bothe myself and all my royaulme, I am not a power to rewarde the after the meryte that ye deserued to haue of me. Well ye haue shewed . . . the excellent vertu of humylite that is in you,' etc., ll. 9 ff. Again, Beatrice addressing her father Alymodes with contempt, says: 'medel thou nomore wyth loue, leue thys thoughte, and make no more thyne accomptes for to entre wythin thir cite; for yf ye haue taken and bounde my husband . . .' 186/28 ff.

  • Aymon. Ogier the Dane addressing his sword Cortyne: 'Ha, Cortyne that so moch I haue loued the, and, certes, it is wel rayson, for ye be a good swerde, and in many places ye haue wel holpen me,' 268/1 ff.

    —Charlemagne asks Rypus to hang Richard: 'Rypus, yf ye wyll do soo moche for me that ye wyll go hange Rychard, I shall make the lord of grete londes,' 333/6—8.

    —Mawgis blaming Rypus: 'Ha, rypus, thou traytour, euyll man, ye haue always be redy for to doo some euyll against us, but sith that I haue found you here I shall not seke you nowhere else,' 339/17 ff. Cf. 435/10 ff., 468/8 ff.

  • Morte Darthur. The lady's thanking Sir Lancelot for his killing the giant: 'For thou hast done the most worship that euer dyd knyght in this world, that wyll we bere recorde, and we all pray you to tell us your name,' 199/15 ff.

    —Sir Raynold addressing Lancelot: 'thou art a strong man, and I suppose thou hast slayn my two brethren . . . I wolde not haue a doo wyth you,' 202/35 ff. Cf. 209/14, 211/8, 214/13, 224/20, 226/5, 227/14, 234/14, etc.

Page  xxx

This change of the pronoun in the address may be observed even in good Elizabethan prose:—

'Young gentleman, althoug[h] my acquaintaunce be small to intreate you, and my authoritie lesse to commaund you, yet my good will in giuing you good counsaile should induce you to beleeue me, and my hoarie haires (ambassadors of experience) enforce you to follow me, for by howe much the more I am a straunger to you, by so much the more you are beholdinge to mee, hauing therefore opportunitie to vtter my minde, I meane to be importunate with you to followe my meaninge. As thy birth doth shewe the expresse and liuely Image of gentle bloude, so thy bringing vp seemeth to mee to bee a greate blotte to the linage of so noble a boute, so that I am enforced to thincke, that either thou dyddest want one to giue thee good instructions, or that thy parentes made thee a wanton wyth too much cockeringe; either they were too foolishe in vsinge no discipline, or thou too frowarde in reiecting their doctrine, eyther they willinge to haue thee idle, or thou wylfull to be ill employed.'

—Lyly, Evphves, p. 2, ed. Landmann.

Philautus answering to Evphves:

'friend Euphues (for so your talke warranteth me to terme you), I dare neither vse a long processe, neither louing speach, least vnwittingly I should cause you to conuince me of those thinges which you have already condemned. And verily I am bolde to presume vpon your curtesie, since you yourself haue vsed so little curiositie, perswading my selfe that my short answere wil worke as great en effect in you, as your few words did in me. Try all shall proue trust; heere is my hand, my heart, my lands and my lyfe at thy commaundement: Thou maist well perceiue that I did beleue thee; and I hope thou wilt the rather loue me, in that I did beleeue thee.'

Lucilla, declaring her love to Euphues, uses both thou and you.—Ibid. p. 50.

Cf. New Custom (Dodsley's Collection, ed. Hazlitt, Vol. IV.), p. 18; Trial of Treasure (ibid.), p. 264; Marlowe, Tamburlaine, l. 189 ff.; Greene, A Looking-Glass for London and England; for Shakspere, see Abbott, § 231.

(c) Personal pronouns are emphasized by a preceding it is. It is he . . . Aymon, 33/9, 251/18; it is she, Blades, p. 166; it was I, Morte Darthur, 38/21, 83/25. In Malory the older expression occurs several times: I am he, 36/18; I was he, 67/7.—'It is me' was never used by Caxton, though he had the strong temptation of the French.

Page  xxxi

(d) Pleonastic use of the personal pronoun. If the predicate is separated from the subject by any adverbial, participial, or adjectival (relative) clause, a personal pronoun is pleonastically inserted to mark the subject:—

The proude pucelle in amours, with what peyne and grief that it was, atte thynstaunce and requeste of her sayd maystresse, she mounted anon upon her whyte palfray, Blanch. 45/4; The kyng thenne, after the knyght had thus spoken to hym, he gaff commandment . . . ibid. 102/16; How Gryffon of Haultefelle and Guenelon, after that they hadde slayne the Duke Benes of Aygremonte, they retorned to Paris, Aymon, 58/13; whiche, whan he sawe that Guycharde was entred into the castell, he retorned ayen, ibid. 73/6; the whiche whan he founde not his master in the chirche, he was al abasshed, ibid. 573/16; the damoysel that came from la Beale Isoud unto syr Tristram alle the whyle the tournament was advoynge she was with Quene Guenever, Morte Darthur, 389/8; thenne Kyng Arthur with a grete egre herte he gate a spere in his hand . . . ibid. 391/18, 395/37.

This pleonasm is very frequent after participle clauses:—

Thenne one of the daughters of the provost, knowyng that Blanchardyn was armed and redy to goo out wyth her fader, she cam and brought with her a fayre whyte coueryng . . . Blanch. 61/5; the Kynge Alymodes, seeynge the grete prowes that was in Blanchardyn, and that non so hardy durste approche hym, he began to crye aloude . . . ibid. 88/18; cf. 126/17, 128/28, 129/27, 138/9, 144/14, 150/19, 152/33, 167/12, 170/2, 173/24, 181/15.

But the pronoun was not the rule. The number of the passages quoted above is 13; but there are 16 (in Blanchardyn) where the pronoun is omitted, 22/20, 26/17, 27/23, 33/3, 41/27, 48/1, 50/1, 53/2, 56/12, 57/24, 93/11, 118/10, 148/22, 152/9, 166/30, 169/16. This use crops up very often in the Gesta Romanorum, pp. 3, 5, 45, 171, 209, 210, 221, 233, 235, 276, 316, 335.

After adjectival or relative clauses this use may be traced back to the earliest periods of the English language. A few instances will suffice for the present occasion:—

  • Ælfred's Orosius. Ac þa lond on east healfe Danais þe þær nihst sindon, Albani hi sind genemnede, 14/23; and he Ninus Soroastrem Bactriana cyning, se cuðe manna ærest dry cræftas, he hine oferwinnand ofsloh, 30/10; cf. ibid. 12/16, 26/20, 72/13, 98/2, 124/16, 188/26, 204/6.

  • Cura Pastoralis. Ure ældren, þa þe þas stowa ær hioldon, hie lufedon wisdom, p. 4; cf. 22.

  • Page  xxxii
  • Blickling Homilies. Lazarus, þe Crist awehte þy feorpan dæge pæs þe he on byrgenne wæs ful wunigende, he getacnað þysne middangeard, 75/4; cf. 85/25, 147/2.

  • Ancren Riwle. þeo ilke þet he bledde vore ne brouhten heo him to presente ne win et. 114.

  • O. E. Hom. I. pp. 3, 7, 9. 253; II. pp. 15, 19, 41, etc. Old English Miscellany, pp. 17, 18, 40. Story of Gen. and Exodus, ll. 1003-4, 1065, 3839. Cursor Mundi, ll. 283, 285, 7184, 8940, 9014, etc., etc.

Caxton exhibits several instances of this pleonasm:—

He that wyll bee enhaunced in price, he oughte not to looke so nyghe, Aymon, 354/23; he that beginneth a game, he oughte to see an ende of it to hys proffyte, 355/6; and again the Frenshemen that sawe their kynge come agen, they were ryght glad, 413/19; for he that had ony mete, he hyd it incontynent, 422/2; and Charlemagne, that sawe aymon goo thus quyte, and that he had garnysshed mountalban of vytayllis, he was full angry for it, 436/14; this mornynge, thenne, reynawde that was wythin ardein, after that he had herde his masse, he called his thre bredren, 476/10; and thenne therle Faffras that was a worthy knyghte and a wyse, he wente to the gate of saynt stevyn, and kepte hym there, 504/21; for he that shall deye in the sawtynge of the holy cite, he shall be saved wythout doubte, 512/8.

There are many instances of the pleonastic personal pronoun after the compound relative who that or simple who = whosoever.

And who had seen him at that tyme, he wolde not haue trowed that he had be a man . . . Blanch. 194/21; who soever rekeneth wythoute his hoste, he rekeneth twys, ibid. 202/6; who that beleueth ouermoche in dremes, he doth agenste the commaundemente of god, Aymon, 222/12; who that doth you goode, he leseth well hys tyme, 269/18, 363/5, 368/5, 420/28, 453/3, 514/15, 590/24.

For the apparently pleonastic use of personal pronouns in the oblique case, see 'Relative Pronouns,' p. xlii.

(e) Personal Pronoun omitted.

A. As subject.

This omission is a remnant of the oldest stage of the language, when the personal endings of the verb made any pronoun (as a subject) superfluous, as in Greek and Latin. It is common to Old English, Middle English, and Old French:—

Page  xxxiii
  • Old English. Her com Eomer from Cwichelme West Seaxna cininge. þohte þæt he wolde ofstingan Eadwine cininge, Chronicle, ab. 626; cf. 656 (Laud MS.) þæs on þæm afterran geare Hannibal sende sciphere on Rome, and þær ungemetlice geher gedon (scil. hie, namely the army), Orosius, 180/3; cf. 68/27, 134/6.

  • Middle English. and ȝif he hit naueð, aȝefe (scil. he) swa muchel swa he mai, O. E. Hom., I. 29; þa he iseh Martham and Mariam Magdalene þe sustren wepe for hore broðer deð, and ure drihten ðurh rouðe þet he hefde of hom, schedde of his halie eȝene hate teres, and hore broðer arerde, and (scil. heo, they) weren stille of hore wope, ibid. 157; þu seist þat on gode bileuest (scil. thou), ibid. II. 25, l. 2; after þe forme word of þe salme abugest gode (scil. thou), ibid. l. 4. Cf. 71, 89, 93, 97, 101, 111, 119, 123, 197, 199, 215. Gen. and Exodus, ll. 1183, 1729, 1732, etc., etc.

Caxton is extremely free in omitting the pronoun. The instances occurring may be divided into the following groups:—

1. When the subject is the same in two co-ordinate sentences, it is omitted in the second. The omission is striking, whenever there is a clause inserted between the two principal sentences:—

So ranne the vasselles to gyder, and roughte eche other by suche a force upon the sheldes, that they were brusen and broken all to peces; theire speres (that sore bygge and stronge were) broke also all to peces. And thenne toke theire swerdes (scil. they) . . . Blanch. 28/11; A lytyl shal here cease oure matere to speke of hym, unto tyme and oure shal be for to retorne to the same. And shall shewe the sorowes and the complayntes of the proude pucelle in amours (scil. it, namely, oure matere), ibid. 43/5; [the provost is introduced making a long speech; then the author continues:] and thenne (that is, after the speech) wythout taryeng drewe his swerde (namely, the provost), 49/29. On p. 52 the subject for the first sentence of the 16th chapter must be supplied from the preceding chapter:—whan the proude lady in amours understode the squyer speke thus, the bloode ranne up at her face, and [she] wexed red as a rose, 64/16; wherof the provost was not lesse reioysshed than blanchardyn was. The dyner was redy, and [they] made an ende of their proces tyl another tyme, 81/26; cf. 14/21, 16/10, 22/15, 30/27, 32/7, 33/18, 41/19, 41/24, 42/8, 43/1, 52/17, 58/23, 64/16, 64/20, 66/17, 66/21, 67/4, 68/4, 69/1, 85/27, 85/32, 88/11, 99/32, 100/21, 106/8, 108/19, 127/4, 146/9, 157/3, 170/29, 174/20, 195/22, 203/29.

2. When the subject is the same in a principal and a subordinate sentence, the pronoun is omitted in one of them.

(a) Pronoun omitted in the subordinate sentence:—

Page  xxxiv

Blanchardyn emonge other passetymes, delyted hymself in hawkynge and huntyng, wheras right moderately and manerly [he] mayntened hymself, 13/18; cf. 21/2, 22/11, 25/8, 39/25, 97/32, 152/28, 169/13.

(b) Pronoun omitted in the principal sentence:—

And for tabredge, after the rewthes, syghes and wepynges that so moche incessantly or wythout ceasse made the noble pucelle, [she] fell doune sterk ded upon the stomak of her most dere louere, 30/13; cf. 30/20, 49/11, 52/21, 53/24, 54/6, 65/3, 127/16.

3. When the subject of a subordinate sentence is not the same as that of the principal one, and is yet omitted, it must be supplied from the ontext.

How be it I knowe right wel, and make no doubt at all, but that first of all hit shall tourne for pryde of her, tyl a grete displeasire unto her, and [she] shal be therof wors apayed more than reason requyreth, Blanch. 39/15; certaynly I shal doo folow hym; and byleue for certayn that his laste daye is comen, and [he] shal deye, 44/12; cf. 45/16, 45/21, 87/10, 97/3, 133/33, 146/13, 150/23, 167/16.

4. It preceding impersonal verbs is omitted.

There are but two instances of this omission in Blanchardyn:—

But [it] seemed that she sholde slee herself to be more hastely venged, 43/26; so [it] taryed not long after thys was doon that the tempeste ceassed, 137/29.

Other instances: Charles the Grete, 41/6, 47/28, 49/11, 50/7, 63/11, 77/14, 83/9, 83/24, 85/7, etc. Morte Darthur, 136/7, 145/34, 163/35, 217/4, 241/34, 266/5, 278/20, 318/9, 354/29, etc. Aymon, 24/15, 27/26, 31/32, 39/29, 43/26, 45/3, 47/3, 48/24, etc.

B. A pronoun as object is very rarely omitted.

'But the knyght that was ryght courteys, guyded hym and conduyted a whyle,' Blanch. 39/30, is scarcely to be called an omission (see 'Arrangement of Words,' p. ci); but the pronoun is certainly wanting in the following passage: 'For as to his fadir, he wolde not touche,' Aymon, 85/29. Cf. Starkey, England in the Reign of Henry VII, 71/66: as for thys matter we shal ryght wel avoyd.

(f) The Emphatic Pronoun (himself, etc.) is used either in apposition (he himself), or independently (himself):—

Page  xxxv

For yf I sholde doo it, he hymself sholde blame me for it, Aymon, 189/33; and he hymselfe is delybered for to take the habyte and to become a monke, ibid. 280/23. By my faith, said Charlemagn, myself shall it be, ibid. 387/19; he thrested his swerde in one of his flankes wel depe, and hys swerde, hymself, and the place was all bybled of the blood, Charles the Grete, 77/12; wherin hym self is buryed, ibid. 37/24. There are not instances enough to decide which use prevails.

Own is sometimes inserted: 'I shall hang you my owne self.' Aymon, 339/13.

§ 11. The Reflexive Pronoun.

Both the simple and the compound forms occur, but the latter are apparently the rule. Of thirty instances occurring on the first forty-two pages of Blanchardyn, only three are simple, namely, 1/22, 2/10, 41/21.

§ 12. The Possessive Pronoun.

(a) My, thy, are used before consonants; mine, thine, before vowels. Its never occurs; in its place we find his, as in Old and Middle English. For the possessive pronouns used substantively, 'mine, thine, ours, yours' is the rule; 'our, your' occur, but quite exceptionally:—

I haue herde that ye haue called me and my broder the sones of a traytour, and that the kyng knoweth well that our fader slewe yours by trayson, wherof I wylle ye wyte that ye lie falsely, but your fader dyde assaylle our by trayson, Aymon, 545/10; Ye wolle enforce yourselfe to rescue oute of daunger of deth, my lorde and youre, my good husband Sadoyne, Blanchardyn, 189/25. his is sometimes preceded by the definite article. See 'Article,' p. xxvi.

The possessive pronouns are sometimes preceded by this: 'This their message,' Morte Darthur, 160/30. Cf. above, ò 5, on the Genitive Case, p. xv.

(b) The possessive pronoun my is used as a term of courtesy. It occurs very frequently in connection with lady, so as to form almost one word. This is made evident by the repetition of my in the following instances:—

Unto the right noble puyssaunt and excellent pryncesse, my redoubted lady, my lady Margarete, duchesse of Somercete, etc., Blanchardyn (Dedication), 1/2; I haue told you her byfore, that the paynem kynge Alymodes apparreylleth hymself to make werrePage  xxxvi to my lady, my maystresse, the proude pucelle in amours, ibid. 38/3; my lady my susters name is dame Lyonesse, Morte Darthur, 232/13; I byleue certeynly that he shall doo soo, for the kindness that my lorde my fader dyde shewe unto Charlemagne, Aymon, 427/33; I praye you ryde unto my lorde myn unkel kynge Arthur, Morte Darthur, 267/32. I met with only one exception: At yonder wyndowe is my lady syster dame Lyones, ibid. 237/3.

Instead of 'my lady his moder,' Caxton says several times his lady moder: Aymon, 57/34, 62/20, 81/13.

(c) The possessive pronoun is often replaced by the genitive of the personal pronoun: the head of him = his head. See 'Genitive.'

(d) his instead of the genitival inflexion 's is very rare:—

And with that renne, blanchardyn his courser ran ouer þe provost that he tradd upon one of his armes, Blanchardyn, 48/35; to what thynge Charles hys sone and hys doughters were instructe and taughte to doo, Charles the Grete, 28/1; this lord of this castel, his name is syr Damas, Morte Darthur, 126/17 (not exactly equal to a genitive); the fyrste knyghte hys hors stumbled, ibid. 220/30.

(e) mine is sometimes equivalent to of me used in an objective sense. It occurs in connection with the gerund, and translates the French mon, etc. 'Thou knowest well, that I dyde was in my deffendynge,' Aymon, 88/26; 'it was I that slewe this knyght in my deffendaunt,' Morte Darthur, 83/25. This is false analogy to the other gerundial constructions, like 'in my talking,' etc., formed out of the intransitive or transitive verbs. There is a parallel passage in Chaucer:—'Another homicidy is doon for necessite, as whan a man sleth another in his defendaunt,' III. 312. One MS., however, has him defendaunt.*. [Perhaps the following passage cannot be explained in the same way:—'Syre, ye be a right fayre Iouncell . . . and to my seming right wel worthy to haue the grace and fauour of the right gentyll damoyselle,' Blanchardyn, 37/22. Probably 'seem' is here 'think'; 'to my thinking' is still in use. Cf. the chapter on the Impersonal Verb.]

§ 13. The Demonstrative Pronouns.

With the exception of one remnant of Middle English use, the syntax of the demonstrative pronouns is really the same in Caxton as in our own time. That is sometimes used in connection with one and other:—

Page  xxxvii
  • That one looked upon that other for to see who wold sette fyrst honde upon hym, Charles the Grete, 44/26; that one was named babtysme, and that other grabam, ibid. 59/17-18. Cf. ibid. 59/24-5, 62/19, 70/21.

  • The same is often used as a mere equivalent of the simple personal pronoun:—'Where by experience he shuld lerne to bere armes, and shuld exercyce and take payne and dyligence upon hymself to knowe the ways of the same = of them' (scil. armes), Blanchardyn 16/6; cf. 19/16, 22/1, 38/9, etc. It crops up very often in Elizabethan times: Marlowe, Tamb. l. 2; Edward II. l. 1439; Greene, Looking Glass, 135 a, 142 a; Greene, Alphonsus, 228 a, 228 b, 229 a; Gorboduc, 18, 23; Spenser, View of the State of Ireland, p. 609 a, 624 a. For Shakspere, see Schmidt, Lexicon, s. v.

§ 14. Interrogative pronouns.

With regard to Interrogative Pronouns it is noteworthy that what often refers to persons:—

She loked bakward for to se what he was that so hastely rode after her, Blanchardyn, 41/30; moche grete desyre I haue to wyte and knowe what he may be, 64/1; (he) asked of him what he was,*. [Though we say still 'What are you? an engineer or a teacher?' meaning 'of what profession or business are you?' the first quotation above shows that what in it means who.] of what lande and of what lynage, 99/35. Cf. 43/13, 128/17, 154/11, 183/20, 194/3. Very often in Morte Darthur, and also in Berners's Huon, we find 'what he was and who was his father,' 17/22. Cf. 23/12, 29/11, 30/3, 30/13, 54/7, 104/11, etc.

§ 15. The Relative Pronoun.

(A.) The relative clause either follows its antecedent, or rather correlative, or precedes it. Accordingly we find two sorts of relative pronouns in Caxton:—

I. That, which, the which, whom, where, as.

II. Who, who that, whosoever (whomsoever).

(I.) That is used of persons and things, especially after pronouns (he, that), but is restricted to the nominative and accusative case, when used alone, and is never preceded by a preposition. Of all the relative pronouns it is by far the most frequent.

'That' conveys a vague idea of reference; this is its function compared with the other relative pronouns. It answers thus to Page  xxxviii Old English þe, to the German was, used by illiterate people, and to the Hebrew ascher.

Dr. Abbott's rule with regard to the Elizabethan use of that does not apply to Caxton. That is not only used (a) after a noun preceded by the article, (b) after nouns used vocatively, in order to complete the description of the antecedent by adding some essential characteristics of it. Cf. the following passages:—

  • That used of persons: Blanchardyn, 1/9 (theym that); 12/17 (people of the lande that Iudged hemself right happy); 14/5 (theym that); 15/2 (Blanchardyn that); 15/22 (knyghtes that); 19/16 (dyuers there were that); 19/19 (blanchardyn that); 19/21 (no tonge humayn that); 19/23, 24; 20/1, 21/11, 22/2, 4, 17; 23/2, 7, 13, 17, 19, 24; 25/15, 16, 22, 24; 26/16, 27/11, 28/6, 31/2, 9; 32/13, 22, 25; 33/4, 5; 38/8, 39/29, etc.

  • That used of things: 12/5, 19; 15/6, 16, 21; 16/7, 17, 19; 17/10, 14; 18/10, 22; 19/1, 14, 15, 25, 26; 20/19, 22/9, 11; 23/6, 24/9, 26/1, 7, 19, 25; 27/4, 16, etc.

Next in frequency comes which. It refers to persons and things, but differs from that in three points.

1. It not only follows an immediate antecedent, but may be separated from it by other nouns:—

he found the foot of the hors of hym for whom he wente in enqueste, whiche (sic. the foot) he folowed ryght quykly, Blanchardyn, 25/19; at thynstaunce and requeste of my sayd lady, whiche I repute as a commaundemente, I haue reduced, 1/23; he gate a ryght goode and riche swerde, that longed unto the kynge his fader, whiche afterward was to hym wel syttynge, 17/15; where he fonde the leest courser of the kinge his fader, whiche was the fairest and the best that coude haue ben founde in ony contreye at that tyme, 18/1; cf. 19/10. There is a very instructive instance in Morte Darthur: 'when syr Gaherys sawe hys tyme, he cam to their beddes syde, alle armed, with his swerd naked and soddenly gat his moder by the here and strake of her hede; whenne syr Lamorak sawe the blood dasshe upon hym all hote, the whiche he lefte passynge wel (i. e. his moder), wete ye wel he was sore abasshed,' 452/27.

2. Which is used in connection with prepositions. Upon whiche, Blanchardyn, 18/7; in whiche, 22/2, 28/17, 31/16; through whiche, 32/3, 62/2.

3. It replaces a personal or demonstrative pronoun, in order to bring about a closer connection between the two logically co-ordinate sentences:—

Page  xxxix
  • I, wyllyam Caxton . . . presente this lytyl book unto the noble grace of my sayd lady: whiche boke I late receyued in frenshe from her sayd grace, etc., Blanchardyn, 1/7; I haue reduced this sayd boke out of frenshe into our englyshe: whyche boke specyfyeth of the noble actes and fayttes of warre . . . ibid. 1/25 (= and it); cf. 33/6; the noble mayden behelde hym moche humbly, whyche toke a ryght grete pleasure to see his gracyouse and assured behauyng, 77/7 (= and she); but this function is shared also by the whiche and whom. Cf. Of whom and of their behauynge I shal make mencion after, Charles, 38/22.

  • The whiche (answering to the French liquels) is used most of persons in the same function as which, Blanchardyn, 13/3, 18/16, 22/18, 26/10, 27/8, 29/7, 32/14, etc.

  • Whom, so far as I am aware, is used of persons, and in connection with prepositions. Of whom, 15/15; for whom, 25/18; to whom, 37/7. Cf. 82/12, 90/19, 94/22, 98/31, 99/3, 104/5, 105/11, etc.

  • Where, followed by of or by, refers to persons and things, and whole sentences, and is equivalent to which and whom.

    The childe grewe and amended sore of the grete beaulte, wherof he was garnyssed, Blanchardyn, 13/6 (French dont); and (that) gaff hym a wylle for to be lyke unto those noble and worthy knyghtes, wherof he sawe the remembraunces, 15/19; thurgh the cite were herde the voyces, wherby they were soone aduertysed, 20/4; (he) wrapped his wounde, wherof he so sore sorowed, 23/11; and thenne toke their swerdes, wherof they gaafe many a grete stroke, 28/11; cf. 28/16; he sholde vaunce hymself for to kysse suche a pryncesse that neuer he had seen before, and wherof thacquentaunce was so daungerous, 40/25; the rayson wherby I so saye I shall show it unto you, 53/9, etc.

    Referring to sentences: but trowed all they that were present that they had be bothe ded, wherof the pyteous cryes, wepyng and lamentacyons began to be more grete . . . 20/2, 20/5.

  • As is used after such as in Modern English; cf. 1/20, 2/11, etc., but such is also often followed by that:—

    It shall not be taken so lightly as men wene, for suche folke doo kepe it, that well and worthily shall deffende it, Aymon, 73/11; ye aske counseyll of such that cannot counseyll theymselfe, ibid. 208/14; I requyre and byseche alle suche that fynde faulte or error . . . Blades, Caxton, 170. Cf. Chaucer, Boeth. (ed. Morris): such a place that men clepen theatre. On the first forty pages of Blanchardyn, the share of these pronouns expressed in figures is:—

That 39 51
Whiche 6 17
The whiche 7 1
Where 2 7
As 1 1

Page  xl

(II.) Who as a relative preceding the correlative is met with in Old English in connection with swa, and becomes in Middle English whose, later whoso.

Who that is declared by the grammarians not to appear before the second half of the 14th century; cf. Koch II.2, p. 282. But there are instances of an earlier date:—

  • Þenne aȝaines kinde Gað hwa ðat swuche kinsemon ne luueð and leueð (then against nature goes each man who loveth such a kinsman and leaveth, Morris). Þe wohunge of ure Lauerd (O. E. Hom. I. p. 275).

  • to quat contre sum þat þu wend, Cursor Mundi, 1149. Cf. 1151; qua þat, iid. 1969.

  • huo þet yelpþ; he is aperteliche godes þyef, Ayenbite, 59; huo þet godeleð his encristen, he is accorsed of god, ibid. 66; cf. 70, 75, 80, 81, 89, 93, 94, etc.

For Chaucer, see Koch, loc. cit.

Caxton has both who and who that equivalently: for who that was that tyme yrought of hym, his dayes were fynyshed, Blanchardyn, 169/4; who had seen hym at that tyme, he wold not haue trowed, that he had be a man mortal, ibid. 194/20; for who that believes ouer moche in dremes, he dooth againste the commaundemente of god, Aymon, 222/12; who that dooth you goode, he leseth wel hys tyme, ibid. 269/17; who had seen the grete mone that alarde . . . made for their cosyn, he wolde haue grete pyte for to see them, 363/3. Cf. 368/5 (who that), 420/28 (who), 453/3 (who that), 514/13 (who), 590/24 (who). Cf. Morte Darthur, 43/29, 45/23, 176/35, 264/23, 378/23, etc.

(B.) Relative pronouns in the sentence.*. [For convenience' sake I prefer to discuss this important point in this place, instead of in the Syntax of the Sentence, as the system requires.]

The structure of the relative clauses in Caxton is far from being the same as in Modern English. There are three principal types of relative constructions:—

(I.) The antecedent or correlative is a noun in a complete sentence, which is followed by a many-worded adjective or relative clause:—

'She conceyued a ryght faire sone, whiche was named Blanchardyn.'—Blanchardyn, 12/12.

(a) If the relative pronoun is in the nominative case, the construction, as a rule, is the same as in Modern English. There are only a few exceptions:—

Page  xli
  • Ine þise zenȝeþ moche uolk: ine uele maneres . ase þise fole wyfmen. þet uor a lite wynnynge, hy yueþ ham to zenne, Ayenbite, 45.

  • A knight ther was and that a worthy man, That fro the time that he firste began To riden out, he louede chevalrie.—Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (quoted by Zupitza in a note to Koch II2. p. 278).

I have not come across any such instance in Caxton, but have found two in Malory's Morte Darthur:—

Now tourne we unto sire Lamorak that upon a daye he took a lytel Barget and his wyf . . . 330/24; here is a worshipfull knyght sir Lamorak that for me he shal be lord of this countreye, 334/2; sir Trystram that by adventure he cam . . . ibid. 407/21.

(b) The relative is an oblique case. Then, as a rule, the relatives enumerated above are used in connection with the corresponding preposition: 'Of whom, to whom, whom or which,' etc. But there are exceptions in this case too. Instead of the simple relatives, there occur

In the genitive: relative + his (her), their.

In the dative and accusative: relative + him (her, it), them.

  • Old English. Hwæt se god wre, þe þis his beâcen was, Elene, 162; se mon ne wât, þe him on foldan fægnost limneð, Cod. Ex. 306/25 (quoted by Koch, p. 277).

  • Middle English. Þe pope Gregorie þþat þe fende him hadde wel neiȝ icauȝt, Greg. ed. Schulz, 16 a; a doughter þþat wiþ hire was hire moder ded, ibid. 32 a; It was hire owhen child, þat in his armes aniȝt she went, ibid. 748; there were maydenes thretty, that for hys seruyse in the halle there there loue on hym can falle, Guy of Warwick, ed. Zupitza, l. 180, see note (Koch, p. 278, note by Zupitza).

There are a few instances in Caxton and Malory:—

Thenne answered Rubyon to Blanchardyn, that the daughter of the myghty kynge Alymodes, the euen before had gyuen unto hym her sleue, the whiche in presence of her father she had taken it from her ryght arme, Blanchardyn, 84/12, 13; he fonde hym, the terres at the eyes of hym, makynge his full pituouse complayntes, the whiche sadoyne had herde part of hem, 123/25; Syre, I say the same for the knyght, that is the most parfyt in all beaulte and condicyons that*. [Perhaps 'that' is here = so that?] his lyke can not be founde, 155/8; the whiche thenne, by old age and lyuynge many yeres, his blood was wexen colde, Eneydos, 14/21; of whom may not wel be recounted the valyaunce of hym, Charles, 38/20; Page  xlii for he had lost moche of his blode by his foure mortal woundes, of whyche the leste of them was suffysaunt for hym to haue deyed, ibid. 235/10; A, syr, ye are the same knyghte that I lodged ones in your castel, Morte Darthur, 266/15; so leue we sire Trystram in Bretayne, and speke we of sire Lamerak de galys, that as he sayled, his shyp felle on a rok, and perysshed all, 330/2; and that was she that Breunys saunce pyte took that shelde from her, 345/11, 12.

This use continued in the 16th century:—

I know no man lyuyng that I or my brother haue done to hym any dyspleasure, Berners, Huon, 19/24; the whiche treasure I gaaf part therof to the kynge, 263/9; I pray thee, show me what be yonder two prynces that goth up the stayres, and that so moch honour is done to them, 286/9.

Very rarely is a relative in the oblique case followed by a redundant personal pronoun:-

(they) were all murderers, wherof the pryncypall and the mayster of them all was named syluayne, Blanchardyn, 204/8; It is by cause ther is come in to thy court he that hath slayne my brother whom incontynente thou oughtest to haue slayne hym quyke, Huon, 141/24.

The edition of 1601 omits hym. There is perhaps a change of the construction in Blanchardyn, 192/29: 'they recountred a peynem, which they toke, and broughte hym before Blanchardyn.'

(II.) The correlative sentence is divided into two parts by the relative clause:—

'He that wyll be enhaunced in price, he oughte not to loke soo nyghe.'—Aymon, 354/23.

In Old and Middle English this type is nearly always a sort of anacoluthon to our modern eyes and ears, and perhaps it was such indeed. The essential point in which this construction differs from the modern use is, that the correlative always appears in the nominative case, without regard to its place in the sentence; it is only the redundant pronoun, personal or possessive, in the second part, which marks the subjective or objective case of the correlative, e. g., in Modern English we might say:—'To her who was not skilled in receiving such guests, his acquaintance was hard to make,' but Caxton has:—'and she that was not lerned to receyue suche geestes, sore harde was his acquaintance to her.'—Blanchardyn, 67/29, 30.

Page  xliii

Accordingly I distinguish two groups of type II.

(a) The correlative is the subject of the sentence. Then the redundant personal pronoun appears in the nominative case.

This pronoun is, as said above (see 'Personal Pronoun'), very frequent in Old English and Middle English. Perhaps we might say that this is the rule; at least the Old English Homilies seem to suggest such a supposition. There are in the Second Series twenty-three instances of the redundant pronoun, namely, p. 15, l. 4 from top; p. 15, l. 4 from foot; p. 19, l. 9 from top; p. 43, l. 3 from top; p. 45, l. 16 from foot, and on pages 69 (twice), 73, 75, 99, 115 (twice), 133 (twice), 143, 153 (three times), 155, 159, 201, 203, 207; while only six passages omit it, namely, on pages 11, 17, 19, 73, 111, 151.

In Caxton this is no longer the case. There is not one instance of the group (a) in Blanchardyn; and in Aymon they are not very numerous. See 'Personal Pronoun.'

(b) The correlative is the object (direct or indirect) of the sentence; then, as a rule, it is in the nominative case, and the redundant personal pronoun is either in the genitive (his, her, their) or dative (accusative) case:—

Alle synfulle men þe heued-synnes don habbeð, and nel'eð þerof no shrift nimen he bihat hem eche fur on helle, O. E. Hom. II. 41; alle þo þe here synnen forleteð and beteð he heleð here synwunden mid fulcnege, ibid.; þat (Harleian MS. þei þat) etys me ȝitt hungres thaym, and þey þat drinkes me ȝitt þristes thaym. Hampole, Prose Treatises, p. 3.

In Caxton, (b) is apparently the rule:—

The rayson wherby I so say, I shall show it unto you, Blanchardyn, 53/9, 67/30 (quoted above); but this that I haue tofore wryton, I haue taken it oute of an autentyke book, Charles, 38/24; he perceyued a right myghty nauye, wherof they that were come upon lande, he sawe hem in grete nombre, ibid. 162/3; that whiche I haue done in this behalue, I haue donn it for the beste, 185/19; they that were about hym rebell, he dompted and subdewed them, 196/15; very instructive instances, ibid. 215; he that deyeth in fleyinge, his soule shall neuer be saued, Aymon, 232/26; but the sorou that the kyng made for his quene, that myghte no man telle.—Malory, Morte Darthur, 274/34.

I found but a few instances of modern construction:—

Page  xliv

And them that ben poure and caste doun, maketh she oftymes to ryse and mounte from certaynte to Incertaynte, Curial, 6/13; and them that were hurte, he lete the surgyens doo heale their woundes, Malory, Morte Darthur, 174/13.

There is one instance in Malory in which—if Caxton or his compositor did not introduce a first gaf not in the author's copy—both the old and modern uses are mixed in one: 'Thenne the kyng stablysshed all his knyghtes and [gaf] them that were of londes not ryche, he gaf them londes . . .' Morte Darthur, 118/13. Malory (if the first gaf was his) began with the modern construction: 'and gaf them that were of londes not ryche (londes),' but in the second half of the sentence he found it would be quite confusing and impossible to add 'londes' only to his long adjective 'that were of londes not ryche,' and he therefore repeated the words which governed 'londes,' the old use suggesting itself to his memory as a justification for his cumbrousness. This use occurs very often in Berners:—

The londe that they hold, gyue it to Charlot your sone, Huon, 5/13; with my sworde I so defendyd me, that he that thought to haue slayne me, I haue slayne hym, 27/5, 6; he that lieth there deed before you, I slew him in my defence, 34/11; all the mete that he could get in the towne, he shuld by it, 84/33.

(III.) The relative sentence precedes its correlative.

'who had seen hym at that tyme, he wold not haue trowed that he had be a man mortal,' Blanchardyn, 194/21. The use of the personal pronoun in the correlative is the same as in type II.

In the Ayenbite the pronoun is the rule, just as in the French Original (qui-il, quiconque-il); quite exceptionally it is omitted, e. g. 'huo þet wyle lede guod lif; zeche þet he habbe þet zoþe guod,' p. 94 (omitted also in the Original). In the Gesta Romanorum, too, it is always to be met with:—

  • who that euer comith thedir, he shall fare wele, p. 15; who so euer wold come to that feste, he sholde haue his doughter, p. 87; who so euer gote therby to the holy londe, he shall in pes go, p. 106; who so euer wolde rin with his dowter, he shulde wed her, p. 122; who so euer gothe with her to bedde, he shall anon falle in to a dede sleep, p. 160; who so euer bere it upon him, he shal haue loue of al men, p. 180; whosoeuer haue hit, he shall euermore joy, p. 286.

  • Page  xlv
  • CAXTON. Blanchardyn, 194/21 (quoted above); whosoeuer rekeneth withoute his hoste, he rekeneth twys for ones, 202/6; who that was that day yrought of hym, his dayes were fynyshed, 169/4;—Aymon, 222/12, 269/18. See above, p. xl.

  • Malory, Morte Darthur. Who that holdeth against it, we wylle slee him, 43/29, 30; who saith nay, he shal be kyng, 45/23; whosomeuer is hurte with this blade, he shalle neuer be staunched, 176/35; who that may first mete ony of these two knyghtes, they sholde torne hem unto Morgan le fays castel, 378/23.

The same use occurs in the 16th century as well:—

Whosoeuer that hath not seene the noble citie of Venis, he hath not seene the bewyte and ryches of thys worlde, Andrew Boorde, p. 181; whosoeuer wil buylde a mancyon place or a house, he must cytuate . . . p. 233. Cf. pp. 236, 238, 242.

Shakspere has often what—it:—

What our contempt doth often hurl from us, We wish it ours again, Antony, I. ii. 127; what you have spoke, it may be so perchance, Macbeth, IV. iii. 11.

(C.) Attraction is to be observed in that = that which:—

Paynem, upon that thou me demaundest, I telle to thee . . . Charles the Grete, 54/17; Olyuer answered that he wold not, and that he sayd was folye, ibid. 56/35. Cf. Blanchardyn, 74/12, 91/7; Morte Darthur, 257/31.

Stronger attractions occur in Blanchardyn:—

Blanchardyn, sore angry and euyl apayde of that he sawe the untrewe knyghte to endure so longe . . . = 'of that which,' 28/13; and wyth theym was the kynge of fryse, that of new had cast doune to the grounde [him] that bare the chief standarde of kyng Alymodes, 195/8. that = him who.

(D.) Omission of the Relative.

The omission of the relative is very common in the 15th and 16th centuries, after there is, there is not (no):—

There is no man in the world can compare to him, Charles, 54/19; yet there were some of the grete lordes had indignation that Arthur shold be kynge, Morte Darthur, 43/14; there was none dyd so wel as he that day, ibid. 50/12; there was so fewe a felauship dyd suche dedes, 53/33; there was no man myghte passe them, 59/20. Cf. 59/28, 61/17, 68/24, 146/38, 212/4, 222/33, 238/28, etc.

There are many instances of this omission in Berners and in Elizabethan writers:—

Page  xlvi

Here be two of my nephese shall be pledge for me, Huon, 37/21; among them there was one was not content, ibid. 73/16; there is no man shal let me, 97/7. Cf. 113/25, 115/32, 122/17, 146/1, 238/30, 249/28, 296/16, 299/8, 440/16. For Shakspere, see Abbott, § 244; and Anglia, III., p. 115 ff.

Beside the omission after there is, several striking instances occur in Blanchardyn and Morte Darthur. It is impossible to account for this use without entering into a discussion of the whole matter; so I beg the reader to be satisfied for the time with a simple report of the facts:—

Whan blanchardyn understode [that] the knyght thus went thretenyng hym, and that [he] so moche inhumaynly entreated the gentyll pucelle, [he] sayde unto hym, 27/10. Cf. [he] sawe syr Alysander was assoted upon his lady,*. [The omission of the relative here is still good English.]Morte Darthur, 477/12; thou suffrest now thyn enmyes to sette thy land al on a fyre, and wymmen and children to be slayn of them, [that] are comen ferre wythin thy royaulme, Blanchardyn, 101/27; haue pyte and compassyon upon thys pore chylde, whiche is now al alone amonge wolves famyshed, [that] be redy to devour me, ibid. 180/22.

In a chirche they found one was fair and riche, Morte Darthur, 84/5; I shall sende hym a gyfte shalle please hym moche more, 101/2; where is the lady shold mete us here? 146/15; he mette with a man was lyke a foster, 184/29; and thenne was he ware of a faucon came fleynge ouer his hede, 208/11; but thou shalt see a syght shal make the torne ageyne, 219/35; ryght soone ther shal mete a knyght shal paye the alle thy wages, 228/11; by the feythe we owe unto god, 233/8; I wil wel with this he make her amendys of al the trespas he hath done ageynst her, 240/29; for the good lordship ye shewed me, 305/14; that is the grettest payne a prysoner may haue, 400/4.

§ 16. The Indefinite Pronouns.

The modern English one = people = French on, German man, does not occur in Caxton. Its place is still occupied by men.

And that by his behauoure and contenaunce, men might well knowe that he was departed and come of noble extraction, Blanchardyn, 50/16; men see atte ey his beaulte, 54/33; (she) cam toward a wyndowe, out of whiche men sawe right ferre into the see, 55/32. Cf. 57/7, 68/24, 76/28, 80/7, 99/1, 116/11, 129/7.

From the passages 54/33, and 129/7, we see that 'men' was followed by a predicate in the plural. Cf. 'men make often a rodde for theym selfe,' Aymon, 97/11. There is one instance of 'man':—

Page  xlvii

A man told me in the castel of four stones, that ye were delyuered, and that man had sene you in the court of kynge Arthur, Morte Darthur, 83/4.

Everiche is equivalent to the modern 'everybody':—

Eueryche (went) in to his owne countrey, Aymon, 186/16; to do eueriche Iustice and reson, Charles, 30/15; there came a byrde to his ere in the presence of everiche that were aboute hym, ibid. 34/3; in a plural sense = all.


§ 17. Impersonal Verbs.

(A.) The Impersonal Verbs denoting natural or else external events, as raining, thundering, freezing, etc., have remained the same, with regard to their syntactical use, from Old English down to modern times. We say still: it rains (O. E. hit rînð), it thunders (O. E. hit þunrað), it freezes (O. E. hit freóseð), it*. [This it is a false subject, to throw the true subject after the verb.] happens that, &c.; (O. E. hit gelimpeð), etc.

But those Verbs which express states or actions of the human mind have undergone an important change. As stated above (see p. xi, 'Nominative Case'), many once Impersonal Verbs became personal, and we have now but a few instances of such verbs as 'it*. [This it is a false subject, to throw the true subject after the verb.] seems to me, it*. [This it is a false subject, to throw the true subject after the verb.] pleases me.'

In Caxton we see this tendency at work, but the change from impersonal to personal verbs is far from being complete. Here is an alphabetical list of the impersonal verbs in Caxton and Malory; those used personally, too, are marked with *:—

  • *ail, Middle English eilen, impersonal, and so it is in Caxton. 'Ha broder, what yelleth you?' Aymon, 226/26; what eyleth you, fayr cosyns, that ye make so euyll chere? ibid. 322/1.

    Once personal. And when the duchesse sawe him, she began to wepe full sore; and the duke knewe wel what she eylede (Original: yeelde), Aymon, 66/2.

  • *be better. 'Me were better' is the rule, but there is an instance of the personal use. 'A, foole, said she, thou were better flee by tymes,' Morte Darthur, 228/33.

  • forthynke (cf. rewe, repent), to repent. Middle English only impersonal, see Stratmann, s. v. There are exceptions in the Ayenbite (pp. 5, 29), but there Dan Michel apparently copied too faithfully his French original.

    Page  xlviii

    Caxton does not use the word, which he replaces by 'rewe' and 'repent'; but there are several instances in Morte Darthur: 'Me forthynketh of your displeasyr,' 97/32; 'that me forthynketh,' 82/2. Cf. 324/17.

  • *hap = happen, generally impersonal as in Middle English. Once personal in Morte Darthur: 'And so he happed upon a daye he came to the herd men' . . . 369/20. Einenkel quotes an earlier instance from the Life of saynt Elisabeth, Wülcker's Lesebuch, II., p. 15: 'For who . . . In that holy iurne happe for to deye . . . he goth a siker weye To heuenwarde.'

  • *be leuer,generally impersonal (Caxton, however, prefers 'have leuer.' Cf. Aymon, 37/17, 148/12); but there is apparently the beginning of the personal construction in the following mixed expression: 'Ha, false and renyed strompet, I were me leuer ded, than that I sholde byleue nor doo thi cursed counseyll,' Blanchardyn, 185/32. It is composed out of the two constructions struggling one with another in the author's mind. Similar absurdities occur in Chaucer: Him hadde wel leever . . . That she hadde a ship, II. 109; Him lever had himselfe to mordre and dye, V. 323. See Einenkel, p. 112; Zupitza, note to Guy, l. 5077.

  • Like is still impersonal. (Caxton prefers please.) 'Sir, like it you (may it like, that is, please you) that we have doon,' Aymon, 568/25; me lyketh better the swerd, sayd Arthur: Malory, Morte Darthur, 74/3; I assente, sayd the kynge, lyke as ye haue deuysed, and at crystmas there to be crowned, and to holde my round table with my knyghtes as me lyketh, ibid. 182/10. Cf. 222/10, 230/8. I don't notice any instance of personal use in Caxton; but there is one as early as 1440: 'Here me, and þou shalt like it for euer,' Gesta Romanorum, p. 281.

  • Like is used impersonally (and intransitively) in Elizabethan authors:

    'Therefore 'tis best, if so it like you all,
    To send my thousand horse incontinent.'

    Marlowe, Tamburlaine, l. 51.
    'And I'll dispose them as it likes me best.'

    ibid. 3839.Cf. Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, p. 159, a.; Greene, James IV., p. 202, a.; George-a-Greene, p. 260, a.

  • *list, used both personally and impersonally.

    Impersonal. Whan the kynge hath dyned, who that wyl may goo playe where hym lyste,—Charles the Grete, 118/11; Breuse was so wel horsed, that whan hym lyst to flee, he myght wel flee, and also abyde whan hym lyst,—Morte Darthur, 398/8, 9. Cf. 245/8, 256/4.

    Personal. Ye shall now here and understande from the hensfourthon a terryble and a pyteous songe, yf ye therafter liste to herken, Aymon, 59/7; ye shall understonde, yf ye liste to herken, ibid. 90/21.

    Page  xlix

    There are two instances of the personal use in Chaucer. For he to vertu listeth not entende, III. 1; As doon this fooles that hire sorw eche with sorowe . . . and listen nought to seche hem oother cure, IV. 136.

  • *ben loth.

    Impersonal. I wold well kepe me, and be loth for to denounce thynge unto you that shulde tourne you to a displeasure, Blanchardyn, 76/17; that is me loth, said the knyght, Morte Darthur, 69/24.

    Personal. I knowe thou arte a good knyghte, and loth I were to slee thee, Morte Darthur, 203/17; therfor ony of hem will be loth to haue adoo with other . . . ibid. 279/2; I am ful loth to haue adoo with that knyght, ibid. 383/22.

    There is an instance of the personal use in Chaucer. 'My soverayn lady . . . Whom I most drede and love, as I best can, and lothest were of all this world displese,' 111/19. But perhaps this use may be traced back to as early as the Cursor Mundi. One line shows the state of transition between the impersonal and personal. 'Of chastite has lichour leth' (loath), l. 31, Cotton MS. The Fairfax MS. reads: 'of chastite ys licchour loþ.' Göttingen and Trinity MSS. read: 'of chastite has lecchour lite.'

    In another line, loth seems to be used quite personally: (these names) þat lath er for to lie in rim, 9240, MSS. C. F. T.

  • *myster = need, be in need of; avail.

    Impersonal. lady moder, gramercy of so fayre a yefte as here is, For it mystreth me wel, Aymon, 129/14; borgons, thys worde mystre not to you for to saye, for ye must nedes defende yourselfe, ibid. 141/5; what mystreth hym (to Aeneas) to edifie cartage, and enhabyte emonge his enmies . . . Eneydos, 62/13.

    Personal. Wherefore I mystered gretly of thayde and socours of you and of other, Blanchardyn, 77/33. (Of your helpe I had grete myster, Morte Darthur, 224/34. Cf. 59/5.)

  • need seems to be used only impersonally by Caxton and Malory. It needeth not to be doubted that he is come to his extremite of prowes and valyauntnes, Blanchardyn, 72/17; it nedeth not to be asked, yf he was therof gladde, ibid. 101/4; it nede not to you to make eny sorowe, ibid. 278/15. Cf. Aymon, 167/7, 490/6; Morte Darthur, 278/15. Often used so by Spenser:

    Now needeth him no lenger labour spend, His foes have slain themselves.—Faerie Queene, I. i. 26; Him needed not long call, ibid. II. vi. 19; Me little needed from my right way to have strayed, II. vi. 22. Also by Shakspere, 3 Henry VI., I. iv. 125; Venus, 250.

  • owe = behove. Alas, said sir Lamorak, ful wel me ought to knowe you, for ye are the man that most haue done for me, Morte Darthur, 337/24. Cf. Chaucer, II. 313: and ther she was honoured as hir oughte; Gesta Romanorum, p. 215: (she) mette him as hir owte to do.

  • Page  l
  • please only impersonal. It playse me wel, Aymon, 75/8. Cf. 29/25, 159/28, 226/22, etc.; Morte Darthur, 198/3, etc.

  • *repent.

    Impersonal. Yf ye abide here ony lenger, it shall repente you full sore, Aymon, 472/30; Me sore repenteth it, said sir gauayn, Morte Darthur, 107/27; that me repenteth, sayd syr Turquyne, ibid. 185/25.

    Personal. Wherof I me repente sore, Aymon, 38/21; I truste in god myn eure is not suche but some neuer of them may sore repente thys, Morte Darthur, 59/7; I repente me, ibid. 469/23.

  • rew, impersonal. That rewyth me, sayd the provost, Blanchardyn, 156/10.

  • *seem not only means 'appear,' but also 'think, believe,' as in Old English, when used personally. There are two passages in Blanchardyn which can be interpreted in this way: 'To my seming ye sholde forclose and take awaye out of your herte all inutyle sorowfulnesse,' 53/5; 'I am sure that he hath in his house a rote that, as to my semyng shal gyf me help,' 70/17; Me semeth him a servaunt nothing able, Courtesye, l. 455.

    There are two passages in the E. E. Wills which sanction this interpretation: 'like as mine executours seme best,' 79/21; and still more indisputable: 'as they seme that gode ys,' 111/26.

  • shame, only impersonal.

    'Me shamed at that tyme to haue more adoo wyth you,' Morte Darthur, 332/5; 'for me shameth of that I haue done,' 324/6.

    In Middle English it is impersonal and personal; cf. Trevisa's translation of Higden's Polychronicon → : 'I knewe myn own pouert, and schamede and dradde,' I., p. 11. Cf. I., p. 9: 'me schamed and dradde to fynde so grete and so gostliche a bone to graunte.'

  • thynken = seem, always impersonal. Charles, 55/11; Aymon, 410/30; Morte Darthur, 65/9, etc.

(B.) There is another sort of Impersonal Verbs, which denote neither external events nor actions of the mind. These are the verbs reherce, show, tell, occurring in Malory, as in Middle English, without any subject. The context proves that we have to supply 'the author,' 'the book,' though sometimes we find 'in the booke':—

After they were wedded, as it telleth in the booke, Morte Darthur, 63/18; as it telleth after, 63/35; as it telleth in the book of aventures folowynge, 64/31; as it reherceth after in the book of Balyn le saueage, that foloweth next after, 75/17; as it telleth after in the sangraylle, 91/27; as it reherceth afore, 105/11. I found only one instance in Caxton. The heading of chapter xvii. of Aymon runs as follows:—Here sheweth how reynawde faught agenst rowland, the whiche he conquered by the wyll of God, etc., 389/12.

Page  li

This is an old Middle English use:—

Ase hit seið þer = as is said there, i. e. in the salutations, Ancren Riwle, p. 34; hi scule habben þat brad þe seið iþe godspel (which is spoken of in the gospel), O. E. Hom., I. 241; so it her telleð, Bestiary (in O. E. Miscellany), l. 257. Cf. l. 630. (There is another explanation in Grimm, IV. 53.)

(C.) There is often a striking want of inflexion in the Impersonal Verbs, especially in thynk = seem:—

Bote ne þinche ham nawt ȝet þat he is ful pinet (but it seems to them that he is not yet fully tormented).—Þe wohunge of ure Lauerd, O. E. Hom., I. p. 283. In the Cursor Mundi, me thinc is the rule! Cf. 225, 248, 2224, 2941, 3030, 5192, 5863, 6670, etc.; otherwise as hem thenke, E. E. Wills, 124/10; as it please the seid Denys, Bury Wills, p. 46; as them best seme to doon, E. E. Wills, 86/4. In Caxton—Me thynke that ye ought to take that the erle proffereth to you, Aymon, 410/30; It playse me well, sayd the kynge, ibid. 75/8; thys worde mystre not for you to saye, ibid. 141/5. Lyst is nearly always without s. See above.

I suppose that this want of inflection is due to the analogy of the frequent me lyst, which is the regular Old English form. Cf. fæst (inf. fæstan), grét (inf. grétan). Sievers, A. S. Grammar, § 359/3.

§ 18. Intransitive, transitive, and reflexive verbs.

It is an unparalleld freedom of the English language to use the same verb in an intransitive, transitive, or causative, and reflexive sense, e. g. change, mend. Many causes have concurred in bringing about this remarkable and most valuable peculiarity. There is a faint germ of it in Old English, e. g. bídan, to abide (dwell and wait for), intransitive and transitive; féran, go and carry; gesamnian, to gather, reflexive and causative. It grows in Modern English, e. g. drive, used intransitively, O. E. Miscellany, pp. 1, 15; fill(en), Intr. O. E. Hom., II. 37; sink(en), causative, Story of Genesis and Exodus, 1108; leren = to learn, ibid. 354, 1383, 3486; O. E. Miscellany, pp. 4, 11; understand = to teach, ibid. p. 52; kelen = to become cold.—Trevisa, Polychr. I. 177, etc.

It becomes ripe in the Elizabethan time, when nearly every verb is used in all the three senses.

Caxton exhibits several instances, which show that the development towards the Modern use was nearly complete:—

Page  lii
  • Cease,used as a causative. Soo pray I you that ye wyl cesse your grete sorowe, Blanchardyn, 44/2; (I beseche you) that ye wyll ceasse your sorowe, ibid. 53/27.

  • Learn = teach. She was not lernyd to receyue suche geestes, Blanchardyn, 67/29. Cf. 141/4.

    Malory, too, has several instances of this use:—

    I shalle be your rescowe, and lerne hym to be ruled as a knyghte, Morte Darthur, 197/10; who dyde lerne thee to dystresse ladyes and gentylwymmen, ibid. 197/17. Cf. 285/33, 333/23. Shakspere, Othello, I. iii. 183: My life and education both do learn me How to respect you.

  • Lose, causative = ruin. But through fortune chaungeable, my lande hath he wasted and lost by darius, Blanchardyn, 146/5; Morte Darthur, 82/21.

  • Possess, causative. When he had gyuen to me my lande, and possessed me in my contrey, I wold not accept it, Charles, 147/16.

  • Succombe, causative = subdue. In their folysshe pryde I shal succombe and brynge a lowe their corage, Blanchardyn, 104/30. The original has: 'Et de la folle entre prinse qu ilz ont faicte pour l'orgueil et oultrage qui les ensuient contre vous vouldroy abaissier leur couraige follastre.'

  • Sit. There is a passage in Aymon where sit is used as a causative = set; but there seems to be only one instance of this use, and that makes me suspect a misprint. And he sat al his folk in a bushment within a grete wode, 136/18. I never came across this use of sit in older English, but several passages in Melusine, and the free modern sit, as a reflexive or causal, come very near to it. And she thanne wepynge satte herself by hym, Melusine, 157/2; [they] sate themself at dyner, ibid. 157/20; 'Whatever he did, he was constantly sitting himself down in his chair, and never stopping in it.'—Dickens, Chimes, 66; 'sitting himself down on the very edge of the chair,' Pickwick, II. 356. See Storm, English Philology, Colloquial English.

  • Tarry is used as an intransitive, reflexive, and causative verb.
    (a) but not long hit taryed, when tolde and recounted was . . . Blanchardyn, 19/17.
    (b) the knyght there alone taryed himself,—Blanchardyn, 22/20. Cf. 88/3.
    (c) other Infynyte thynges that are wont to tarye the corages of some enterpryses, Blanchardyn, 17/11; here we shal tarye tyl oure penne, ibid. 182/11.

  • Walop, causatively. But Blanchardyn wyth a glad chere waloped his courser as bruyauntly as he coude . . . = made to gallop, Blanchardyn, 42/5. Cf. Morte Darthur, 176/5: and anon he was ware of a man armed walkynge his horse easyly by a wodes syde. (Both as in Modern English.)

Page  liii

There are a few verbs used reflexively, which seem to be mere translations of the French.

The whiche, when he sawe Blanchardyn, anone escryed hymself hyghe . . . Blanchardyn, 32/15; I haue not perceyued me of this that ye telle me, ibid. 17/15 (Original: je ne me suis pas perceu de . . .); I perceyue me well, Aymon, 229/15; after this he toke hym self to syghe full sore = he began, Blanchardyn, 23/16; yet sholde I neuer consent me to noo peas, Aymon, 409/23; I assente me, said Arthur, Morte Darthur, 71/13; I assente me therto, ibid. 340/6.

At last, it is worth noting that a passive construction is sometimes used with the meaning of a reflexive (or intransitive):—

Here we shal leue to speke of her, and shal retourne to speke of Blanchardyn, that in the provostis house was sette atte dyner, Blanchardyn, 82/22; they wysshe their handes, ant were sette at dyner, Aymon, 38/8; now was set Berthelot and the worthi reynawde for to playe at the ches, ibid. 61/21; I pray you that ye wyl telle me in what region and what marche it (i. e. the city) is sette = lies, Blanchardyn, 128/25. Cf. Huon, 117/32. This too seems to be due to the French.

§ 19. Auxiliary Verbs.

(a) The verbs can, may, will are still complete.

  • 1. be able to: How shall I conne doo soo moche, that I maye avenge myselfe of Charlemagne, Aymon, 61/9; full fayne [she] wolde haue putte therunto a remedy yf by any meanes she had conde,—Blanchardyn, 97/4.

  • 2. with the meaning = to learn: 'Syre monke, in the deuylles name, conne ye well your lesson,' ibid. 282/23.

  • 3. The phrase 'I conne you thanke' (French: savoir gré): I conne you grete thanke of the offre that now ye haue doon to me, Aymon, 30/34, and 70/32.

The infinitive of may is may, or the more frequent and correct mowe (Old English, múgan). In Blanchardyn there is only 1 may against 12 mowe.

  • I pray you that ye wyl doo the beste that ye shal may toward the kynge, 91/10; As ye shall mowe here hereafter, 14/8; by what manere he sholde mowe passe it over, 32/7, 38/14, 43/14, 46/31, 54/28, 68/5, 73/25, 78/2, 101/34, 151/6, 173/33.

  • Mowe occurs twice as a past participle in Blanchardyn. And wherby ye haue mowe knowen by the relacion of your captayne . . .Page  liv 53/13; by all the seruyces and pleasures that I haue mowe doon unto you, 53/23.

    It is to be thought that he shall wyl giue hym one of his doughters in mariage, Blanchardyn, 64/25.

  • Will. I am at a loss how to explain wold = be willing,*. [Dr. Furnivall says it is the past participle 'have been willing to,' 'have consented to.'] in the following passage: 'from þe owr that ye shal wold gyue your loue unto kynge Alymodes, the right happy weal of peas shall be publysshed through alle cuntreye,' Blanchardyn, 69/19. Well he had wold*. [Past part. wisht, been willing.] that they myght be met wythall, ibid. 121/17.

Perhaps the past participle has influenced the infinitive, as in the verbs of Latin origin, like 'mitigate, participate,' etc.

(b) Have often means = lead, take, bring. (The ladyes) toke her up anone, and had her to bedde, Blanchardyn, 96/20; (Subyon) toke her by the hande, and had her up fro the grounde, ibid. 177/32, 181/17, 183/2, 189/30; Aymon, 92/14, 525/9, 536/10, etc.; Morte Darthur, 486/17.

(c) May is equivalent to can; they are sometimes used together tautologically. 'The gretest honoure that man can or may do to a knyght.'—Blanchardyn, 66/10.

(d) do is used to give the verb which it precedes a causative meaning. I shal doo passe this same spyere throughe the myddes of thy body, Blanchardyn, 27/17; I shal doo folow hym = I shall cause him to be followed, ibid. 44/10 (Original: 'Ie le ferai Sieuir'), 112/7, 120/25, 126/28, 137/21, 148/3, 157/12, 186/4, 187/23, 190/3, 200/31. So in Malory. Compare 'make' in § 25 below.

(e) do used redundantly, as can or gan in Middle English. I tried in vain to find out a rule in Caxton for using or omitting this troublesome 'auxiliary.' There are 95 instances of this do in Blanchardyn.

(f) Come is once used as an auxiliary, as in French, and probably in obedience to it: 'She called hym nyghe her, and shewed hym the ryght myghty nauye that cam to arryue there' = which had just arrived (venoit d'arriver), Blanchardyn, 153/35.

(g) For owe, see 'Impersonal Verbs.'

(h) For the use of shall and will, in order to mark tense and mood, see 'Tense' and 'Mood.'

§ 20. Voice.

The peculiarity of forming the passive voice from intransitive verbs, which is characteristic of the English language, or rather the Page  lv conversion of what is the object of a verb into the subject (he was given a book), is, so far as I am aware, not to be met with in Caxton, and I found only one instance in Malory. Cf. the following instances:—

As was tolde hym by the knyght, Blanchardyn, 43/1; all that was told hym, ibid. 196/20; and whan it was told the kynges that there were come messagers, Morte Darthur, 48/27; whan hit was told hym that she asked his hede, ibid. 79/25, 327/35;—he departed and came to his lord and told hym how he was answerd of sir Trystram, ibid. 463/5.

This rigid observation of the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs, with regard to the passive voice, is very strange at the end of the 15th century, as there are instances of the modern freedom as early as the beginning of the 13th century.

Koch quotes one instance from Layamon: 'þat we beon iquemed,' 1/40; and another from Robert of Gloucester: 'ycham ytold,' 5514.

But I find the passive construction even with the direct and indirect object:—

  • 'Nes among al moncun oni holi dole ifunden þet muhte beon ileten blod,' Ancren Riwle, 112; þet is scarcely the dative; nor is Ure Lauerd in 'Ure Lauerd beo iðonked,' ibid. 8, where MS. C has; 'beo hit þonked,' for another passage, on p. 112, is indisputable: 'þe he was þus ileten blod.'*. [Einenkel was somewhat rash in saying, with regard to this use, that in Chaucer's time this revolution had just began, and that we must look upon these instances as mere irregularities and licences, p. 110.]
  • CHAUCER. I may you devyse how that I may be holpe, III. 11; I am commaundid, II. 294; ye schal be payd, III. 17; Thembassatours ben answerde for fynal, IV. 306.

Chaucer offers no example of the passive with a double object, but I find one in Hampole, Prose Treatises, p. 5: 'I fand Jesus bowndene, scourgede, gyffene galle to drynke.'

Perhaps we may see in Caxton's apparent dislike of this construction, a sort of negative influence of the French.

§ 21. Verbal Forms

There are verbal forms which, in Old English, were indifferent with regard to voice. These were the infinitive, the verbal noun (-ung, -ing), and sometimes the participle past, when used adjectively. Page  lvi

In Middle English there is a faint beginning of creating new passive constructions of the infinitive and gerund by means of the auxiliary be; but before the Elizabethan age the modern use of the passive infinitive and gerund is not complete.

In Caxton there is a distinct tendency towards the modern use, but still the active constructions prevail. The Infinitive, Gerund, and Participle will be dealt with in their proper place; here a few instances will suffice:—

He made the toun sawte ofte tymes ful sore = to be assaulted, Blanchardyn, 152/4; after that greuouse sorowe that she hath had of my takynge, ibid. 148/32; (he) was remembred of it always, ibid. 31/7; he was ryght sore merueylled, ibid. 139/16.

§ 22. Tense.

(a) Sometimes the Present Tense occurs instead of the Preterite (Præsens historicum):—

And then he taketh him bytwene his armes, and kisseth hym by grete loue; and whan he had doon thus, he sayd . . . Aymon, 78/12; all they[m] of theyr companye arayed themselfe, and yssued oute of the castell . . . and soo go upon the oost of Charlemagne,ibid. 78/25; but Reynawde the worthy knyght is not abasshed, but he taketh all his folke, and setteth theym afore hym, and sayd to his brother Alarde, ibid. 101/12.

(b) The Present used instead of the Future is very rare:—

'To morwe erly, whan we see houre and tyme goode, and alle redy, we shal do sowne oure trompetter,' Blanchardyn, 157/11.

(c) The Preterite is used in the narrative; but sometimes the Perfect alternates with it, often even in the same sentence:—

Charlemain is come to the frensshe men, and commaunded theym for to wythdrawe theym selfe, Aymon, 84/7, 8; Reynawde and his bredern are goon upon the walles, and loked about theym, and sawe that the bassecourte of the castell brenned there as their wytaylles were, ibid. 98/1, 2; Sir Bleoberis ouerthrewe hym, and sore hath wounded hym, Morte Darthur, 296/32.

This use crops up pretty often in Middle English epic poetry. Cf. Story of Genesis and Exodus:—

'Wið wines drinc he wenten is ðhogt,
So ðat he haueð ðe dede wrogt.

1149, 1150;
Symeon and leui it bi-speken,
And hauen here sister ðor i-wreken.'

1855, 1856, 2043, 2101, 2312, 2609, 2622, 3746, 3798, 3956.

Page  lvii

(d) The Preterite instead of the Past Perfect Tense is still very common in Caxton:—

(We) shall shewe the sorowes and the complayntes of the proude pucelle in amours, and the manyere that she kept after the kysse that blanchardyn toke of her, Blanchardyn, 43/8. And (the city) hym semed the most fayre and most riche cyte that euer he sawe, ibid. 45/17. Cf. 47/33, 57/29, 59/26, 66/15, 116/8, 128/34, 129/26, 145/12, 162/6, 185/6. Malory, Morte Darthur, 37/13, 49/2, 99/31, 150/25, 271/19, 313/14, 325/18, 337/7, 348/3.

(e) If what a person thinks, hopes, or tries does not agree with the facts, the verb containing the object of the verbs think, believe, trow, fear, hope, try, etc., appears, as a rule, in a tense anterior to that of those verbs, e. g.:—

The prouost and the other of the towne entred ayen in to the cyte, wenyng to them that Blanchardyn had be wyth them, but he was not, Blanchardyn, 88/8.

1. for they were bothe fal in swone, so that no lyf coude be perceued in theire bodyes, but trowed all they that were present that they had be bothe deed, Blanchardyn, 20/2; as they sholde neuer haue seen eche other, they toke leue one of other, 94/5; for well he wend that he sholde neuyr haue seen ayen her, 95/30; but the prouost . . . trowed that he (Blanchardyn) had ben a sarrasyne as other were, 128/10; they were constreyned to enter into the brode see agayne, lest they sholde haue smytten hemself agrounde, 136/13. (She) was in a grete feer lest he had ben drowned in the grete tempest, 152/14; she was right glad, wenyng to her that it had be Sadoyne, 183/13; and thenne sir launcelot wold haue yeuen hym alle these fortresses and these brydges, Morte Darthur, 352/4. Cf. ibid. 368/35, 369/30, 392/29, etc.

2. The infinitive of the perfect, instead of the present tense, after such verbs is (with a very few exceptions) strictly observed:—

He wende to haue tourned the brydell of his horsse, Blanchardyn, 140/32; the cassydonyers had not syth the powere for to haue dressyd it (the standarde) vp ayen, 141/30; (the prouost) wend neuer to haue come tyme ynoughe there, 158/3; he wende to haue lost his wyttes, 186/33; he trowed certaynly to haue fynysshed hys dayes, 188/3. Cf. 107/11, 108/8, 113/22, 117/25, 136/22, 152/29, 166/8, 182/23, 184/2, 197/25, 203/9, 205/25, 205/31, 206/5; Charles the Grete, 133/1, 142/13, 143/15; Aymon, 60/2, 85/26, 101/28, 175/23, etc.; Morte Darthur, 35/12, 37/15, 83/1, 83/6, etc.

Page  lviii


(Alymodes) wythdrewe hym self in to his pauyllyon, commaundyng his folke that euery man shold loke to lodge hym self, trowyng to be in a sewrete that his enmyes as for that same day sholde not comen nomore out of their cyte (but they yssued out), Blanchardyn, 59/20; she shal neuer haue no parfytte Ioye at her herte, for loue of a knyght of whom she is enamored, whiche she weneth to be peryshed (but he was not), 155/3. Cf. 167/25, 185/14, 186/22, 186/27, 190/33; Aymon, 196/26, 231/11; Morte Darthur, 227/13, 248/3.

This use was continued in the 16th century:—

He fell to the erthe, wenyng he had been slayne, BERNERS, Huon, 29/25; (Huon) drew out his sword to defende hym selfe, thynkyng the beest wold haue assayled hym, 111/11; cf. 200/31, 291/2; with the infinitive, 11/17, 26/30, 27/3, 31/13, 40/9, 44/20, 62/15, 69/6, 90/5, 100/4, 108/4, 108/30, etc.; he was about in such familiar sort to have spoken to her, SIDNEY, Arcadia, p. 27; I was about to have told you my reason thereof, SPENSER, Ireland, p. 613; I hope to have kept, ibid. p. 620.

'Her scattered brood, soone as their Parent deare
They saw so rudely falling to the ground.
Groning full deadly, all with troublous feare,
Gathred themselves about her body round,
Weening their wonted entrance to have found
At her wide mouth.'

SPENSER, Faërie Queene, I. i. 25.

'All cleane dismayd to see so uncouth sight,
And half enraged at her shamelesse guise,
He thought have slaine her in his fierce despight.'

ibid. I. i. 503. Cf. I. ii. 362; I. ii. 39; I. iii. 5; I. iii. 24; I. iii. 41; I. v. 13; I. vi. 3; I. vi. 40; I. vii. 14, etc.

(f) With regard to the agreement between the tenses in principal sentences and clauses, the strictness of our modern rules, adopted from the Latin grammar, is still unknown, and, in particular, the Preterite in the principal sentence is often followed by the Present in the clause. This is due to a sort of anacoluthon. There is, as it were, a sudden transition from indirect to direct speech, which is indeed very common in Middle English, as well as in Caxton and Malory:—

(Blanchardyn) prayed hym that he vousshesauff to helpe hym that he were doubed knyght, Blanchardyn, 24/2 (Original: 'quil le aidast a adouber de ses armes'); and whan she myght speke vnto her maystres that he that this Iniurye had doon to her what so euer he be, Yf he may come in her handes or in her power, noon shalPage  lix mowe saue hym, but he shal lese his hed for the same, 43/13; and sayde of a goode herte and a free wylle that he shal furnysshe Rubyon of his requeste, 83/3; Blanchardyn made grete sorowe and lamentacyon, wyshyng full often that he may yet see ones his lady, 97/17, 65/11, 69/19, 138/20, 185/7; (Charlemayne) sware god that he sholde neuer retorne in to fraunce but that Ryynawde were take; and that yf he maye haue hym, all the worlde shall not saue hym, Aymon, 73/16; (the kyng) badde hym be redy and stuffe hym and garnysshe hym, for within xl dayes he wold fetche hym oute of the byggest castell that he hath, Morte Darthur, 35/33; and there Dynadan told Palomydes all the tydynges that he herd and sawe of syre Tristram, and how he was gone with kynge Marke, and with hym he hath alle his wyll and desyre, ibid. 455/12.

§ 23. Mood.

Caxton's use of the Subjunctive is nearly modern; in the sentences, however, which express a wish, the synthetic use is remarkable. Instead of the modern 'may god help me' there is 'so helpe me God'; instead of 'might it please God,' 'pleased God,' etc. This, however, is very common, and is continued in the poetry of even modern times. But there is another point worth noting. There are several instances of the Indicative instead of the Subjunctive Mood, which seem to suggest that the modern tendency of supplanting the Subjunctive may be traced back to Caxton's time, or still earlier.

1. Sentences expressing wish:—

  • I beseke and praye þe, in the worship of the goddes, that at tyme of nede, for the defense of my royalme, thou wylt uttir and shewe that which I see appiere with in þe, Blanchardyn, 104/22.
  • There are several instances of this use in Huon:—for I wyll thou knowyst she is the fairest mayde that is now lyuynge, 50/14; I wyll thou layest unto me good hostages, 51/9; I wyll thou knowest that ye shall all lose, 87/28; I doubte me lest he hath slayne my sone Lohyer, Aymon, 30/17.

Please occurs in Elizabethan authors in the Indicative, when used in principal sentences expressing wish:—

Pleaseth it you therefore to sit down to supper,—Lyly, Euphues, p. 28; pleaseth you walk with me down to this house—Shakspere, Errors, IV. i. 12; pleaseth you ponder your Supplicant's plaint—Spenser, Sheph. Cal., February.

There seems to be one instance as early as 1360, Sir GawaynePage  lx and the Green Knight, 2439: 'bot on I wolde yow pray, displeses yow neuer.'

2. Negative clauses:—

He began to ryde faste by the forest, in whiche he was bothe the daye and the nyght . . . wythout adventure to fynde that doeth to be recounted, Blanchardyn, 31/19 (original: qui a raconter face); wythout fyndyng of eny aduenture that is to be recounted, ibid. 127/7; it nedeth not to be doubted that he is comme to his extremite of prowes, wythout that amours hath ben the cause in the person of some hyghe a pryncesse, 72/19.

3. Conditional sentences:—

(a) The clause (introduced by if) appears sometimes in the Indicative:—

And yf thou wylt not doo it . . . Aymon, 25/6; always yf he hath trespassed ayenst you in ony manere, I am ryghte sory for hit, ibid. 30/28; now shall it be seen yf it is true or not, ibid. 325/3.

The Subjunctive appears in Aymon, 25/33, 26/1, etc.

(b) Sometimes the principal sentence following a conditional clause appears in the Indicative, though the latter expresses irreality:—

For a ryght gode knyght he was, yf he had been a crysten man, Blanchardyn, 86/13; for I was dysherited and undoon for euer, yf they had not been, Aymon, 159/6.

§ 24. Imperative Mood.

1. The Imperative is very often followed by the personal pronoun. Instances abound. Cf. p. xiii.

2. Here and there the imperative seems to be represented by the Indicative, as the arrangement of words suggests:—

But wel ye knowe that he was not hadde sore ferre from the kynge his fadre, Blanchardyn, 13/1 (original: sachiez); A, fayr damoysels, said Amand, ye recommaunde unto la Beale Isoude, Morte Darthur, 436/16.

This occurs very often in the Story of Genesis and Exodus, as in the Cursor Mundi (frequent):—

'Almigtin louerd, hegest kinge,
ðu giue me seli timinge.'

Story, 31.

'Adam, ðhu knowe eue ðin wif,'

ibid. 397. Cf. 737, 1492, 2072.

The Oriel Text of the Book of Curtesye has one instance:—

'As ye be commandyd, so ye do algate.'


Page  lxi

Hill and Caxton have: 'so do ye algate.'

§ 25. The Infinitive. Active and Passive.

While, as mentioned above, the Infinitive in Old English—as well as in the other Teutonic languages—was indifferent with regard to voice, the later periods of Middle English develope the passive on the same principle as Latin, and are probably modelled on that. Whenever there is an action without a subject to do it, we find the passive construction in Latin—infinitivus passivi and participium passivi (or rather gerundium), e. g. militem occidi iussit; credendum est. So far as I am aware both these constructions are translated in Old English, as well as in Middle English of the first centuries, by the simple infinitive. Instances abound:—

Þa hi þæt ne geþafodan, þa het he hi beheafdian,—Sweet, Oldest English Texts, p. 177 (Martyrology); þa heht se casere gesponnan fiower wildo hors to scride, ibid.; Eac is to geðencanne, Cura pastoralis, 53; denum eallum wæs . . . to geþolianne . . . oncyð, Beowulf, 1418; ne bið swylc cwénlic pew, idese to efnanne . . . þætte freoðu—webbe, ibid. 1941; we nu gehyrað þis halige godspel beforan us rædan, Blickling Hom. 15/28. Cf. 55/25, 107/26; hit is lang to areccene, Wulfstan, 7/12; seo menniscness is wundorlic ymbe to smeagenne, ibid. 15/14, 25/6, 27/1, 158/16, etc., etc.

Middle English:—

Nu ne þerf na mon his sunne mid wite abuggen but toward crist ane mid scrifte swa him his preost lered al swa his festen, þe swiðe oner Rimet þes flesces wlongnesse and chuc (chirc?) ȝong and god to donne þeruore monie and feole oðre godere werke þe nu were long eou to telle,—O. E. Hom. I. 9; heo wes wurse to þolien þenne efreni of alle þa oþre pine, ibid. I. 43; hwet is us to donne?—ibid. I. 91; þan alden his to warniene wið uuele iþohtas, ibid. I. 109; II. 117, 139; þatt (sc. flocc) tœleþþ þatt to lofenn iss, Ormulum, 77; þeos (þinges) beoð alle ine freo wille to donne or to leten, Ancren Riwle, 8; leteð writen on one scrowe hwat se ȝe ne kunneð nout, ibid. 42.

  • 'Ghe knew it for hire owen sune;
    And quane it sulde sundred ben,
    Ghe bar it teremuth for to sen.'

    Story of Genesis and Exodus, 2628;

  • 'ðe bi-leuen brennen he bead.'

    ibid. 3154.

  • 'O spuse-brek womman
    þat þe Iuus dempt to stan.'

    Cursor Mundi, 186;

  • Page  lxii
  • 'worþie for to neuen.'

    ibid. 4056, 4420, 5634, 5678, 6364, 6718.

  • 'And syn he best to love is and most meke.'

    Chancer, V. 77;

  • 'ſoul artow to embrace.'

    ibid. III. 93.

  • 'But ay thay wondren what sche mighte be,
    That in so pover array was for to se.'

    ibid. II. 310.

  • 'His brest was hole withouten for to sene.'

    ibid. III. 13;
    'it (sc. þe oost) is to dispyse (orig. spernendum est).'

    Boethius, p. 12.

Þis emperour is to undirstand our Lord ihesu crist, Gesta Romanorum, p. 22 (= by this emperour is understood, etc.); I wolle haue this childe, that thi wife has brought forthe this nyght, to norisshe in my palys, ibid. p. 208; sone the emperoure made letters to send to the empresse, ibid. p. 213; thenne she brought him out of þe prison, and gerte bathe him, ibid. p. 312.

The passive construction is rarely to be met with in the earliest Middle English texts. There are, however, numerous instances in the 14th century:—

Cursor Mundi (Cotton, Göttingen, and Trinity MSS.), 4856:

'þair siluer he tok and gaue þam corn
And to þair inne did it be born.'

Cf. 5004, 5080, 9098; worthy to be . . . i-preysed (= praeconiis attollendi), Trevisa, Polychronicon, I. 3; suche serueþ and is good to be knowe of Cristen men, ibid. I. 17; that made hem gentil men y-callid be,—Chaucer, I. 240.

'And suffrith us . . .
ful ofte to be bete in sondry wise.'

ibid. II. 314.(Petrarch's Original, p. 170: et saepe nos multis ac gravibus flagellis exerceri sinit.)

In Caxton the old use is still very frequent, if it is not the prevailing one; and, to conclude ſrom several instances, the passive construction was not quite familiar to him. The proportion between the instances of active and passive construction is in Blanchardyn 11 to 8.

(a) Governed by adjectives and answering to the Latin Supine.

  • Active. The sore of loue is ryght anguyssous and heuy forto bere,—Blanchardyn, 68/23; lete vs not departe from hens for this is a goode place for to deffende, Aymon, 108/10; but the foure sones of Aymon were good to knowe by thother for they had on grete mauntelles of scarlet furred with ermynes, ibid. 224/8.

  • Page  lxiii
  • Passive. (Subyon) tolde them . . . that he wold wedde the proude pucelle in amours, for many causes and raysons that were to long to be reherced,—Blanchardyn, 179/18; here shall you here of the hande hewyng, and of a thynge heny to be recounted,—Aymon, 53/12; Reynawde and his bredern are suche knyghtes that they ben not for to be lightly ouerthrowen, ibid. 104/2; ye are gretly to be blamed, ibid. 234/6.

(b) Governed by verbs, especially by do and make, answering to the Latin Infinitivus Passivi. Caxton very often uses a redundant do, so that we find such awkward expressions as, 'he did do make.'

  • Active. I shal doo folow hym (original: Ie le feray sieuir), Blanchardyn, 44/10; he made to drawe vp ancres, ibid. 111/13; they made to take vp the ancres and to hale vp their saylles, ibid. 127/2; he made the toun sawte ofte tymes, ibid. 152/4; Subyon domaged theym ryght sore, and their place, wyth their bombardes and other engynes of warre, that he had do brynge there, ibid. 200/31; but what so euer goode sporte and pleysure that blanchardyn sawe ther make for his sake nothyng coude playse hym, ibid. 110/11; very striking is ibid. 12/22: Blanchardyn was taken in to the handes of a right noble lady of the lande for to norysshe and bryngen vp (original: pour le nourir et esleuer). Cf. Gesta Romanorum, p. 208 (quoted above, p. lxii).

    There is also both the active and passive construction governed by the same verb:—

    Kyng Alymodes commaunded expressely to the mareshall of his ooste, that he shold doo make and to be sette vp a galhouse, Blanchardyn, 187/23; Aymon, 70/5, 73/30, 74/22, 78/14, 90/24, 96/21, 96/28, 129/4, 145/23, 147/21, etc.

  • Passive. for he made to be brought vnto hym by his folke al suche armures and harneys as to hym behoued to haue, Blanchardyn, 47/19; (Blanchardyn) made hym to be armed,—ibid, 47/22; he made his trompetto to be sowned, ibid. 119/23; Aymon, 65/8, 66/14, 69/34, 73/23, 73/26, 74/13, 80/1, 80/21, 84/31, 87/1, 96/24, 101/22, 167/32, etc.; Morte Darthur, 37/1, 367/38, etc.

(c) Governed by the verb 'to be,' answering to the Latin Gerundium or Futurum Passivi:—

  • Active. And where vpon is to by-leue that blanchardyn was neuere in hys lyff half so glad, Blanchardyn, 80/11; syr Emperour, this paynymPage  lxiv nameth hym self fyerabras, whiche is moche to redoubte and hath done moche harme to crysten men, Charles the Grete, 42/26; and yf thou mayst come vnto the hye secrets whyche ben strongly for to doubte and drede in the doubtous courteynes of the most hye prynces. Thenne shalt thou be most messhaunt, The Curial, 5/12; ye be to blame (still kept), Aymon, 83/7, 99/13.

  • Passive. He began to ryde faste by the forest wythout aduenture to fynde that doeth to be recounted (original: qui a raconter face), Blanchardyn, 31/19; wythout fyndyng of eny aduenture that is to be recounted, ibid. 127/7; yf Blanchardyn was ryght glad of this adventure, it is not to be axed, 42/1, 12; it is not to be told but Blanchardyn mayntened hymself, 50/29.

Instead of the infinitive there occur two instances of the past participle:—

Thise ben the folke of themperour Charlemayn, that goeth to Ardeyn for to besege a castell that the foure sones of Aymon haue do made there, Aymon, 70/29; how the kyng Charlemayn wold have doon hanged Mawgys incontynent after that oliver had deliverde hym to hym, ibid. 365/5. Cf. Alle the werk . . . which I haue do maad,—Bury Wills, p. 39.

There are striking instances of group (b) in Berners's Huon:—

(Huon) toke the horne of Iuorey from his necke and toke it to his host to kepe, sayenge, 'host, I take you this to kepe,' 85/15. Cf. ibid. 233/16 (kepe, however, may be the substantive; Middle English, kep. See Stratmann s. v.); thyder his doughter was brought to hym to se, ibid. 313/31; how the duches Esclaramond deliueryd her doughter Clariet to Barnarde to bere to the abbot of Cluny, ibid. 401/26.

For the Tense of the Infinitive, see above, p. lvii.

§ 26. The Simple Infinitive.

The Simple Infinitive is far from being so much restricted as in Modern English. Caxton's use of it is nearly as free as Chaucer's. A few instances will do:—

How after many dysputacyons Olyuer ayded arme fyerabras, Charles the Grete, 57/4; But the valiaunt erle of rames pursued hym so nygh that he suffred hym not goo at his wylle, Aymon, 517/9. Cf. Man schal not suffre his wyf go roule aboute, Chaucer, II. 226; That wol not suffre us duellen here, ibid. II. 279.

The Infinitive governed by 'do' is nearly always simple: for instances see the preceding paragraph.

Page  lxv

After 'make' the simple Infinitive in a passive sense is very rare.

He made the toun sawte ofte tymes ful sore, Blanchardyn, 152/4; The good lady made bryng lynnen, Aymon, 129/7. Cf. Chaucer, Boece, p. 55, l. 1460: he lete brenne þe citee of Rome and made slen þe senatours.*. [Dr. Furnivall suggests that this construction may explain Shakspere's puzzle in All's Well, III. iv.: 'I see that men make rope's (make us to be ensnared) in such a scarre (fright) that we'll forsake ourselves.']

§ 27. To and for to preceding the Gerundial Infinitive.

As a rule, Caxton uses for to,

(a) In order to denote aim and purpose; (b) after substantives.

The first translates the French pour, the latter de. There are, however, exceptions. On the first sixty pages of Blanchardyn, to occurs eighty-six times, and of these only two are governed by nouns, viz., 16/6, 41/20. On the other hand, out of the eighty-six passages containing for to, there are but three governed by verbs, viz., 18/18, 29/25, 37/13. Here and there both to and for to occur in the same sentence:—

They alle sholde mounte on horsbacke for tenquyre and seke after his most dere and welbeloued sone, and to brynge hym ayen vnto hym, Blanchardyn, 20/21; ye myght well kepe your selfe that ye com not so often to see vs and for to doo vs harme, Aymon, 83/9.

§ 28. Functions of the Infinitive.

(a) Caxton sometimes uses the Infinitive—as in Old and Middle English—where we use the Gerund, especially after prepositions:—

Wythout aduenture to fynde, Blanchardyn, 31/18; Wythout to make ony noyse, Aymon, 78/24; yf I goo there wythoute myn armes, nor wythout to be as it apperteyneth, ibid. 219/31; wythout to be dyshonoured, ibid. 470/25. Infinitive with the Gerund, Blanchardyn, 37/15, 16; he salued hym prayng that for to paye well and largely content him, he wold vouchsauf to take hym for his hoste, Blanchardyn, 46/9; ye knowe well the offence that your broder halde doon to me, for to haue slayn soo cruelly Lohier, Aymon, 60/2; but none myght compare wyth Reynawde for to do well, Aymon, 82/3; yet ye be there and wel ferre for to be oute, Charles, 93/3; ye are gretely to blame for to displease kyng Arthur, Morte Darthur, 80/12.

Remnants of this use occur still in Spenser (? as conscious archaisms):—

Page  lxvi
  • 'Or who shall let me know
    On this vile body for to wreak my wrong.'

    Faërie Queene, II. viii. 28/4.

  • 'feare nought, then saide the Palmer well aviz'd, for these same Monsters are not these in deed,
    But are into these fearefull shapes disguiz'd
    By that same wicked witch, to worke in dreed,
    And draw from on this journey to proceed.'

    Ibid. II. xii. 26/5.

(b) The Infinitive used instead of a whole clause (as a manyworded adverb):—

They kylled and slue and hurte sore many one, Deffendynge hem selfe soo strongely ayenste their enmyes, to theyr grete losse and damage, and to wythdrawe them self ayen = so that they withdrew themselves (original: 'maint en naurerent et occirent en eul deffendant, tellement que leurs ennemis, a leur grant perte et dommage, sen retournerent arrieve sans gaires prouffiter, car moult en yolt de mors et de naures'), Blanchardyn, 187/10; he lefte not for to be forthwith quartered . . . but that he toke that same sarasyn by the heyre, etc., Charles the Grete, 132/18; for to renne xxx leghes he wold not be wery, ibid. 150/13; Here is to hard a mocke for me, and ye wynne not moche by, for to gabbe me of this facyon, Aymon, 338/29 (conditional clause); and soo he lete conduyte the harper out of the countrey but to say that kyng Mark was wonderly wrothe he was (conditional clause), Morte Darthur, 465/12.

There are several instances of this use in Berners's Huon, and here and there in Elizabethan writers:—

Syr, quod they, to dye in the quarell we shall ayde and socoure you (edition of 1601: were we sure to dye, etc.), Huon, 22/2; I thanke the of thy grace to haue gyuen me the puyssaunce to sle such a creature (ed. of 1601: that thou hast gyuen me, etc.), ibid. 109/21; as long as I lyue I shal neuer forgete Huon, and shal alwayes, to dye in the payne, kepe me for the bodely company of ony man lyuinge (ed. of 1601: and shal alwayes be redy to dye in the payne and kepe me fro, etc.), ibid. 195/14; yf he had knowen it to haue dyed in the quarel he wolde neuer haue consented to that treason, ibid. 284/6; Comforte your men, who hathe great desyre to defende this citye for the sauegarde of their owne bodyes and lyues, thus to make sorow ye can wyn nothynge therby, ibid. 387/30.

§ 29. The Infinitive Absolute.

There is a peculiar use of the Infinitive which turns up first in the second half of the 14th century:—

Page  lxvii
  • 'I say this, be ye redy with good herte
    To al my lust, and that I frely may
    As me best liste do yow laughe or smerte,
    And never ye to gruch it.'

    Chaucer, II. 289 (Grisilda).

  • 'Let hym fynde a sarasyn
    And y to fynde a knyght of myn.'

    Guy of Warwick, 3531/2.

I have tried in vain to find any trace of this use in earlier days, and can only account for it in the following way. There is an outspoken tendency in the English of the 14th century to supplant adverbial clauses of time, and express a condition by absolute constructions:—

þe same Plato lyvyng, hys maistre socrates deservede victorie of unriȝtful deeþ in my presence, Chaucer's Boece, 184 (original: 'eodemque superstite praeceptor ejus Socrates injustae victoriam mortis me adstante promeruit'); but I withstod þat ordinaunce and overcom it, knowyng al þis þe kyng hym self,—ibid. 308; The service doon, they soupen al by day, Chaucer, II. 364; This wordes seyde, she on hire armes two fil gruf, ibid. IV. 337; The cause iknowe, and of his harm the roote, Anon he yaf the syke man his boote, ibid. II. 14.

As appears by the preceding examples, both participles serve to represent clauses in the present and past tenses. But how about the future? Why should there be no absolute construction for a clause with a future tense? The want of a proper participle did not prevent the language from completing the use of absolute constructions. It resorted to the Infinitive. Wycliffe tried to introduce a future participle. 'He was to dyinge,'—Lucas, I. 2 (erat moriturus); 'to doynge,' ibid. 22, 23 (facturus). But this innovation was not accepted. There is, however, a similar formation in Caxton: 'Guy, hir loue and tocoming husband,' Charles the Grete, 134/27, i. e. that was to be; 'Our tocomyng souerayne lorde,' Blades, 139/140; it occurs also in Piers Plowman. Cf. Skeat, Notes, p. 371, and Trevisa, Polychr. I. 267. This probably gave birth to that peculiar use which, in the course of its development, became more and more free, so that in the 15th century the Infinitive Absolute often serves to alternate with any principal sentence and clause:—

  • 'I dar the better ask of you a space
    Of audience, to schewen oure request
    And ye, my lord, to doon right as yow lest.'

    Chaucer, II. 281.

  • Page  lxviii
  • 'Ne (he) in his desire none other fantasye bredde,
    But argumentes to this conclusioun,
    That sche of him wolde han compassioun
    And he to ben hire man whil he may dure.'

    Chaucer, IV. 127.

  • '(I mene that ye wolde) agreen that I may ben he
    In trowth alway to don yow my servyse,
    As to my lady right, and chief resorte
    With al my wit and al my diligence,
    And I to han right as yow list conforte ....
    And that ye deigne me so muchel honoure
    Me to comaunden aught in any houre,
    And I to ben youre veray humble trewe.'

    Chaucer, IV. 230.

  • 'Men schold him brenne in a fuyr so reed
    If he were founde, or if men myght him spye,
    And we also to bere him companye.'

    Chaucer, III. 38.

Item, I geue and quethe to Willm Husher III s. IV d. and he to haue his indentour of his prentished. Bury Wills, p. 16 (A.D. ); Item, I wyll that Maist. Thomas Harlowe sey the sermon at my interment, if he vouchsafT, and he to haue VI s. and VIII d. to prey for me, ibid. p. 17; ibid. p. 18. A striking instance occurs on p. 21: I will that the seid preest ne his successours shal not lete to ferme the seid place to no man nor woman, but he and his successours to logge; Also y will þat Iohn Edmund (haue) al þe led . . . he to pay þer for as it ys worthy, Earliest English Wills, 2/13 (A.D. 1387); I yeue hem halli unto Maude my wyf, scho for to doo with them hir owne fre wylle, ibid. 95/16 (A.D. 1433); ibid. 123/18 ff (A.D. 1439); If all thre sonnes die withoute heires of their bodies, theire moder than lyuyng, then she for to haue all the same maners, ibid. 124/25, 127/14, 15 (A.D. 1439):—

'frollo þat worthy knyght
Proferyd wyth arthour for to fyght
Vnder þis wyse and condicioun.—
Ho hadde þe Maystrie haue þe crown;
And no mo men but þey twa.'

Arthur, ed. Furnivall, l. 76.

Caxton seems to have disliked this use; the following passages are the only instances I have found of an Infinitive Absolute occurring in his works:—

And with the remenaunte he shold make men ryche, and to sette them in good poynte, Charles the Grete, 126/3; yf I retorne wythoute to auenge my barons, I shall do pourely, sythe they haue susteyned and borne up the crowne Imperial and my wylle, and I now to retorne wythoute to auenge them. He that gaf me suche counceyll, loueth me but lytel, I se wel, ibid. 16/14.

Page  lxix

But Malory's Morte Darthur makes a very large use of it; instances abound; and it is probably due to the influence of this great favourite of the 16th century that the absolute infinitive is very frequent in Berners, and occurs even in Elizabethan times:—

This is my counceill . . . that we lete puruey X knyghtes, men of good fame and they to kepe this swerd, Morte Darthur, 40/37; for hym thought no worship to haue a knyght at suche auaille he to be on horsbak and he on foot, ibid. 71/23; hit was neuer the custome of no place of worship that euer I came in whan a knyghte and a lady asked herborugh and they to receyue hem and after to destroye them, ibid. 310/23; and soo they rode vnto the keepers of beestes and alle to bete them, ibid. 367/38; The custom was suche amonge them, that none of the kynges wold helpe other, but alle the felauship of euery standard to helpe other, ibid. 533/18. Cf. 461/27, 590/35.

In the following instances the Infinitive Absolute is used without a subject:—

I wylle that ye gyue vnto your broder alle the hole manoir with the appertenaunce, vnder thys forme, that sir Ontzelake hold the manoir of yow, and yerely to gyue yow a palfrey, Morte Darthur, 134/18; I wyl foryeue the the dethe of my broder, and for euer to become thy man, ibid. 224/19; thou shalt neuer escape this castel, but euer here to be prys mer, ibid. 244/14; I will do to yow homage and feaute, with an C knyghtes with me, and alle the dayes of my lyf to doo you seruyse, ibid. 266/31; he shold fyghte body for body, or els to fynde another knyght for hym, ibid. 303/14; there is non other waye but thou must yelde the to me, outher els to dye, ibid. 314/3. Cf. 324/14, 408/8, 496/9, 527/25, 633/14, 646/32.

Berners goes a step beyond Malory in his free use of the Infinitive Absolute:—

Yf it fortunyd that the vanquisser sle his enemye in the feld, or he confesse the treason for the deth of his sonne, that than the vanquyssher to lese all his londys, Huon, 40/26; it shall be sayde that you who hath lyuyd in so grete tryumphe all the dayes of your lyfe, and now in your latter dayes to become a chylde, ibid. 47/6; whan thou seest hym sytte at the table, than thou to be armyde wyth thy sworde, ibid. 50/7; And also thou to brynge me thy handfull of the hereof hys herde, ibid. 50/20. Cf. 107/5, 116/32, 169/14, 169/20, 185/11, 256/21, 287/20, 303/26, 304/15, etc.

In all these instances the Infinitive Absolute is more or less governed by, or at least in connection with, the finite verb of thePage  lxx principal sentence; but there are some instances where the Infinitive is used entirely apart from the preceding sentence:—

By God, quod he, I hope alway byhynde! And she to laugh, Chaucer, IV. 198. Cf. IV. 185, V. 295.

'Most sencelesse man he, that himselfe doth hate,
To love another; Lo! then, for thine ayd,
Here take thy lovers token on thy pate
So they to fight.'

—Spenser, Faërie Queene, I. vi. 47/8.

Mr. Kitchin, in his Clarendon Press edition, explains this expression by 'and they go to fight'; but I am rather inclined to see in it a remnant of the Infinitive Absolute, if not an imitation of the older French use. See Littré, Dictionnaire, s. v. de, 20o.

§ 30. The Infinitive with the Accusative Case.

The Infinitive in connection with the Accusative (or Nominative) case, where we now put for or for . . to.*. [John Fisher has the modern construction: 'It is better for a synner to suffre trybulacyon.'—English Works of John Fisher, ed. Mayor (E. E. T. S.), p. 41, l. 9. ] As in Chaucer, the Infinitive with the Accusative occurs governed by substantives, adjectives, and impersonal verbs:—

No wondur is a lewid man to ruste,—Chaucer, II. 16; now were it tyme a lady to gette henne, ibid. IV. 250; but it is good a man be at his large, ibid. II. 71; (his folke) putte hem self vpon their enmyes, so that it was force the polonyens to recule abak, Blanchardyn, 107/18; it is better a man wysely to be stille than folyssly to speke, Charles the Grete, 93/5; for it is gods wyll youre body to be punysshed for your fowle dedes, Morte Darthur, 67/10; for it semeth not yow to spede there as other haue failled, ibid. 77/34.

In Malory, and even in Shakspere, we sometimes find the Infinitive in connection with the nominative case instead of the expected accusative, after substantives, adjectives, and impersonal verbs:—

Thow to lye by our moder is to muche shame for vs to suffre, Morte Darthur, 453/4; hit was neuer the custome of no place of worship that euer I came in, whan a knyghte and a lady asked herberough, and they to receyue hem, and after to destroye them, ibid. 310/23; a heauier task could not haue been imposed than I to speak my griefs unspeakable,—Shakspere, Err. I. i. 33; what he is indeed, more suits you to conceive than I to speak of,—As You Like It, I. ii. 279; thou this to hazard needs must intimate skill infinite or monstrous desperate,—All's Well, II. i. 186; I to bear this . . . is some burden,—Timon, IV. iii. 266.

Page  lxxi
§ 31. The Infinitive Omitted.

Sometimes the Infinitive is omitted, and its function is included in the preceding auxiliary verb. This is especially the case where we now use verbs like 'go,' 'move,' etc.

This omission is rather frequent in Old English:—

Swa swa oferdruncan man wat þæt he sceolde to his huse and his reste, Boethius, 132; ðat hie forgieten hwider hie scylen, Cura Pastoralis, 387/14; for oft ðonne hy witodlice geseoþ þæt hy sceolon to reste, Beda, 283; þæt he nyste, hwær ut sceolde, Orosius, 286/20; le him æfter sceal, Beowulf, 2817; þonne he forð scile, ibid. 3178; þonne ðu forð scyle metod-sceaſt seon! ibid. 1179; Ac hie to helle sculon on þone sweartan sið, Genesis, 732; Min sceal of lice sawul on sið ſæt, Iuliana, 699; Heo wæs on ofste, wolde ut þanon feore beorgan, þa heo onfunden wæs, Beowulf, 1293; ær he in wille, ibid. 1371; Ic to sæ wille, ibid. 318; nu wille ic eft þam lige near, Genesis, 760; ða he him from wolde ða gefeng he hine, Cura Pastoralis, 35/19; þa mid þæm þæ hi hie getrymed hæfdon and togædere woldon, þa wearð eorþbeofung, Orosius, 160/28; ac þa hie togædere woldon þa com swa ungemetlic ren, ibid. 194/17.

Middle English:—

'Bot I wyl to þe chapel, for chaunce þat may falle.'

Sir Gawayne, 2132.

'I frayned hym . . . whider þat he þouȝte.'

Langland, Piers Plowman (B), 16/174.

I could not find this use in Caxton, but there are instances in Malory:—

But the brachet wold not from hym, Morte Darthur, 37/24; I wylle to morowe to the courte of kyng Arthur, ibid. 446/1; whether wylt thow? ibid. 560/32; that wold the none harme, ibid. 390/4.

§ 32. The Present Participle.

The Present Participle ending in -yng, -ynge (scarcely in -ing), has the same functions as in Modern English; for tocoming, see above, § 29, p. lxvii.

With regard to voice, there are but few exceptions to its active meaning. Desplesaunt = displeasing occurs in Blanchardyn, 27/19; 'thy lyffe is to me so gretly displeasaunte.' But several times it has the passive sense = displeased:—

Byfore whiche cyte was yet Kyng Alymodes at siege wyth his oost, wherof the fayr the proude pucell in amours was sore displaysaunt, Blanchardyn, 127/11; but on thys day . . . so desplaysaunt ne sory was he neuer as I shal make hym for the, Charles the Grete, 62/3; the noble flory pes was moche dysplaysaunte for thePage  lxxii necessyte of the frensshe men, ibid. 124/26; wher fore thadmyral was so dysplaysaunt and angry that he wende to haue dyed, ibid. 143/14. The verb displease occurs also several times in the phrase: dysplayse you not, ibid. 113/20, 146/34; and in the past participle dysplaysed, Aymon, 464/19, 510/8.

Malory has beholdyng = beholden:—

Ye are the man in the world that I am most beholdyng to, Morte Darthur, 42/24; I am moche beholdyng vnto hym, ibid. 86/22; me semeth ye ar moche beholdynge to this mayden, ibid. 476/32; therfor ye are the more beholdyng vnto god than any other man to loue hym and drede hym, ibid. 640/11; beholden occurs, ibid. 86/11, 89/5. Cf. Skeat, Notes to Langland, p. 161. Instead of holden [B, A], we find in [C] the form holdinge.

This represents a common corruption, which appears also in beholding, as used for beholden by Shakspere and others, see Richard III., II. i. 129; Julius Cœsar, III. ii. 70; and Abbott, Shakspere Grammar, 3rd ed., sect. 372.

§ 33. The Past Participle.

The Past Participle exhibits far more irregularities with regard to voice. Past Participles of transitive verbs used in an active sense, or at least indifferent as to voice, turn up in all the periods of the language.

Old English. Ond ic bebiode on godes naman, þæt nán mon þone æstel from þáere béc ne dó, ne pá bóc from þæm mynstre: uncúþ hú longe þær swá gelærede biscepas síen, Cura Pastoralis, Preface.

Uncúþ may very likely be an absolute participle = 'it being unknown,' but I am rather inclined to take it in an active sense = 'not knowing,' referring to ic. The Middle English use of the word seems to justify this interpretation:—

His muð is get wel uncuð with pater noster and crede, O. E. Miscellany, p. 4, 112; of his swike he arn uncuð, ibid. p. 16, 512;

'Here dede is al uncuð
Wið ðat spekeð here muð.'

O. E. Miscellany, p. 19, 594.

Eftsone we þe beð uncuðe þe heuenliche kinge, for þat ure li flode him swiðe mislikeð, alse he wile noht cnowe bute þat þe him beð queme (we that do not know the heavenly king . . . he also will not acknowledge us), O. E. Homilies, II. p. 45. Cf. unwiste.

There is a parallel to this use in Old Norse. Kunnr = Old English cúð, is used in an active sense:—

Page  lxxiii

Atli sendi
ár til Gunnars
kunnan segg . . .
(Attila sent once to Gunther, a knowing, i. e. clever man), Edda, Atlakviða, 1/3; Geðrówod under ðám pontiscan Pilate,—Ælfric, Homilies, II. 596/14; hwæt getácnode sé gebrædda fisc, búton ðone geðrówodan crist? ibid. II. 292/13; and his bróðer sunu Irtacus, yfele geworht man, féng tó his ríce, ibid. II. 476/17; ond hie þa wurdan hraþe gelyfde Crist him sealde gesihþe, Blickling Homilies, p. 155/5; gelyfed = believing, also Ælfric, Homilies, II. 26/32; Lives of Saints, II. 302; and æt nyhstan þæt folc ða weard swa wið god forworht, þæt he let faran hæþenne here and forhergjan eall þæt land, Wulfstan, 14/2. Cf. ibid. 155/11; niniuéte wæron forsyngode swyðe, ac hy dydan, swa heam þearf wæs, ibid. 170/11.

Middle English. The Old English Homilies exhibit the same participles as those quoted above:—

And þa welle bi-wisten XII. meister deoflen swilc ha weren kinges to pinen þer wiðinnen þa earming saulen þe for-gult weren, O. E. Homilies, p. 41; nu leofe breðre ȝe habbeð iherð hwa erest biwon reste þam forgulte saule, ibid. p. 45; he demað stiðne dom þam forsunegede on his efter to-come þet is on domes deie, ibid. 95; on hwan mei þe mon modegian þen he beo wel iþoȝen and iþungen, for he mei findan fele þe beoð bet iþoȝen and istoȝen þene he, ibid. 107; heo setten heore honden ofer ilefde men, and heo underfengen þene halian gast, ibid. p. 91. Cf. unbilefde men, ibid. II. p. 81, 171, 195; he scal beon swa iweorht þet him mon mote wið speken and his neode menan, ibid. II. 111.

There are very numerous instances of participles of compound verbs, the first part of which is for:—

All folle wass forrgillt,—Ormulum, 25, 26; ȝiff þatt tu forrlanged arrt, Tu cumen upp till Criste, ibid. 1280; hwet sculen horlinges do, þe swikere, þe forsworene,—Poema Morale, 103. Cf. Alle he weeron forsworen and here treothes forloren,—Chronicle, ab anno 1137. O. E. Homilies, I. 143.

'And it sal ben ðe laste tid,
Quan al man-kinde, on werlde wid,
Sal ben fro dede to liue brogt,
And seli sad fro ðe forwrogt.'
(And the righteous separated from the wicked.) Story of Genesis and Exodus, 266; forswonken,—Cursor Mundi, 2017; forliuen (Cotton, Göttingen, Trinity), forliued (Fairfax), ibid. 5315; forwalked = tired out with walking,—Skeat, Notes to Langland, p. 312; forwandred = tired out with wandering, ibid.

Page  lxxiv

Chaucer, too, has several instances of this use:—

  • Now hadde Calkas left, in this mischaunce, Alle unwiste of this fals and wikked dede, His doughter, IV. 111, 112. (Unwiste = not knowing, ignorant;) þou and god . . . ben known wiþ me þat no þing brouȝt me to maistrie or dignite; but þe comune studie of al goodenes, ibid.; Boece, Consolation, 14 (original: 'tu mihi et . . . deus conscii nullum me ad magistratum nisi commune bonnorum omnium studium detulisse').
  • 'O olde, unholsom, and myslyved man!' ibid. IV. 313 = man of ill living. Cf. Modern English, long-lived, though that is probably an adj. in -ed from the compound noun long-life: its i is long.

Caxton's use of the past participle is pretty regular; there are, however, several instances at variance with modern use. In his reprint of Chaucer's Boece or Consolation, Caxton alters the 'known' of the passage quoted above, into knowing:—

(Blanchardyn) was remembred of it allewayes, Blanchardyn, 31/6; and the prouost aseed hym yf he was counseylled for to fulfylle the construction of that texte, ibid. 47/12, 178/2; the lady . . . is well trusted wyth me, ibid. 79/1; wherof he was right sore merueylled,— ibid. 139/16, 162/7. Cf. I was wondyrde (Harleian MS., I wondered), Hampole, Prose Treatises, p. 6; ha false and renyed strompet = renegate, Blanchardyn, 185/31; I meruaylle me moche how thou, that art prudent and wyse of goodes art so ouerseen and fro thy self, for to dar expose thy self to so many perillis = mistaken (Furnivall, Glossary), Curial, 3/13; whan charlemagne sawe hym seased of mawgys, he called rowlande, Aymon, 365/26. Cf. Huon, 94/8; whan Huon sawe that he was sessyd of his horne (ed. of 1601: possessed).

Malory is, in this respect as in many others, nearer the Middle English use:—

They are wery and forfoughten,—Morte Darthur, 87/25, 105/35; I pray you in no wyse be ye aknowen where I am, ibid. 254/21; thenne he told the kyng alle that batail, And how sir Palomydes was more weyker and more hurte and more lost of his blood, ibid. 447/13.

§ 34. The Verbal Noun.

The verbal noun in Caxton, with its functions of noun and verb, may be traced back to two different sources.

(A.) When used as a noun, it derives from the Old English [gap: possibly two wordsreason: omitted in printing] noun in -ung, -ing. Instances of it are very common [gap: possibly two-three wordsreason: text omitted in printing of edition] Page  lxxv in modern times. It is only worth noting when it forms part of a compound:—

Muste I nedes deye thus shamefully, wythoute deffence makynge? Blanchardyn, 188/31; the barons and knyghtes thenne of a right gode wyll, wythout answer nor replye makyng, in grete haste . . . went and armed hem self, ibid. 189/32; in thes wordes talkyng*. [? pres. part. absolute 'they talking.'—F. J. F.] togyder, dyd arryue there foure of their men, ibid. 192/25: Reynawde toke therof vengeaunce vpon Berthelot by good rayson and that more is, it was his body deffendynge,—Aymon, 207/29, 566/26; and for that honour doyng to Sir Tristram he was at that tyme more preysed, Morte Darthur, 394/19.

These compounds are common in Old and Middle English:—

Sige forgeaf Constantino cyning ælmihtig, dómweorðunga,—Elene, 144; sincweorðung, ibid. 1218; dægweorðung, ibid. 1233; dustsceawung, Blickling Hom., 113/29; unriht gitsung, ibid. 53/21; bi his cloðes wrixlunge, O. E. Hom., I. 207; by his side openunge, ibid.; in his blod swetunge, ibid.; þere is . . . fallyng in blode shedynge, Piers Plowman (Text C), 12/282; in housing, in haterynge and in to hiegh clergye shewynge, ibid. 15/76; late usage be ȝowre solace of seyntes lyues redynge, ibid. 7/87; þorugh 'ibeatus virres' techynge, ibid. 10/321; þorw bedes byddynge, ibid. 19/373; with herte or syȝte shewynge, ibid. 13/279; without any money payenge, E. E. Wills, 107/20 (A.D. 1436).

The more modern phrase 'the house is building'*. [It is a pity that 'is being built,' &c.;, tend to displace this construction.] is not met with in Caxton; he has still a (or in) preceding the verbal noun:—

(He) herde the feste and the noyse that was adoynge in the prouostis house, Blanchardyn, 67/5; she wyst not what she sholde saye or thynke therof, whether she was a wakyng or a slepe, ibid. 152/34; and as the feste was a doynge, there came a messager . . . Aymon, 163/7; he founde the chirche of saynte peter a makynge, ibid. 576/8; atte the same oure that this Ioye and feste was in making (original: 'se faisoit'), Blanchardyn, 67/1; Morte Darthur, 84/12, 389/7.

(B.) The verbal noun is used as a verb: then it derives from the present participle.

1. Governed by the preposition in.

We now use in in connection with the verbal noun, where, in Old English, the simple participle was preferred, e. g. 'ealo drincende oðer sædon' = others said in drinking ale, Beowulf, 1946. I Page  lxxvi suppose that in, imitated from the French, was grafted upon the old participle, so that it kept its verbal function. Therefore it was not followed by of, even in the earliest periods of its use:—

And thei seye, that we synne dedly, in schavynge oure Berdes,— Maundeville, p. 19; he was a dedly Creature, suche as God hadde formed, and duelled in the Desertes, in purchasynge his Sustynance, ibid. p. 47; and in bryngynge hire Servyse, thei syngen a Song, ibid. p. 310.

Caxton very often drops in, as in Blanchardyn, 14/20, 16/8, 18/8, 33/12, etc. But even when it precedes the verbal noun, it is not followed by of:—

I am come to serue her in kepyng my worship,—Blanchardyn, 76/11; and in tornynge hemself ayen, [they] layde hande on their swerdes, ibid. 84/27; euery man cam forth to doo his deuoyre, eche of hem in his rowme in defendynge the place,—ibid. 113/4, 123/17; Charles the Grete, 26/34, 52/11, 66/34, 85/23, 163/19, etc.

2. There are a few passages in Caxton, which, in my opinion, throw a most interesting light on the use of the verbal noun, both in Middle English and in modern times. 'Most humblie beseekynge my . . . lord to pardon me so presumyng,' Blades, 140; 'take no displaysir on me so presuming,' ibid. 148. Cf. 165. I see in this construction a mode of expression which was the only one used in old times, and which still remains in vulgar English: 'don't mind me sitting down.'

In Old English, as well as in Latin, Greek, and the old Teutonic languages, it is not the action or state as an abstract, but the person or thing acting, which is the subject of perception, feeling, or thought. 'hac literae recitatae magnum luctum fecerunt' = the reading of this letter, Livius, 27, 29; 'poena violatae religionis iustam recusationem non habet' = for the violation of religion,—Cicero, De Leg., 2, 15.

To this principle are due many of the so-called absolute constructions in the Old Teutonic dialects. See Grimm, IV. 873, ff.

It appears also in the noun-clauses in Old and Middle English. Instead of the modern abstract sentence, e. g. 'you see that he's going away,' the old construction is, 'you see him that he goes away.' So Old English Hom., I. 17; 'ȝif þu hine iseȝe þet he wulle assottie toPage  lxxvii þes deofles.' See below, 'Noun Clauses.' The same principle appears also in the following instances illustrating the older use:—

Be þe lifigendum (during thy life time), Beówulf, 2666; be þæm lifigendum, Beda, 2, 5; To-janes þo sunne risindde = at the time of sunrise, Old English Miscellany, 26.

  • 'Alle waters als þai sall rynne
    And þat sal last fra þe son rysyng
    Til þe tyme of þe son doungangyng.'

    Pricke of Conscience, 4777 f.

  • 'After the sunne goyng down.'

    Genesis, 28, 11.

In later times this use began to decay, as indeed in every respect abstraction supplanted intuition, and the verbal noun took the place of the old present participle. Thus Purvey alters the instance quoted above to 'aftir the goyng down of the sunne.' Cf. Exod. xxii. 26, Deuteronomy xi. 30. Perhaps we may see the state of transition in the following passages of the Ayenbite. The old participle is kept in its outward form, but the new use, i. e. the verbal noun, throws its shade on the construction. Thus we have: 'ȝef he zuereþ fals be his wytinde,' p. 6. 'Be him wytinde' would answer to the Old English 'lifigendum'; 'be his wytinge' would be quite modern (as it really occurs, see below); the connection of both gives 'be his wytinde.' Cf. pp. 8, 28, 37, 40, 47, 94, etc. The French has: 'à son (leur) escient.'

Both the mixed and the modern construction occur on p. 73, Ayenb.: 'guo into helle ine þine libbinde: þet þou ne guo ine þine steruinge' (original: 'en ton vivant, en ton morant').

The extremely free use of the verbal noun as an adjective to substantives, which is characteristic of Elizabethan English ('undeserving praise,' 'unrecalling crime' in Shakspere) is not met with in Caxton. Perhaps these are worth noting: 'fallyng sekeness,' Charles the Grete, 37/28; 'weepyng teerys,' Morte Darthur, 338/9. Cf. Huon, 219/25; Lucrece, 1375; Complaint, 304.

§ 35. The Adverb.

I. Derived from Nouns.

(a) In the Genitive Case.

  • Aƚonge= of longe = fully, at length. As alonge by the grace of god it shall be shewed in thistorye of this present book, Blanchardyn,Page  lxxviii 2/6; (Blanchardyn) entred in to a chambre, hanged wyth right fayre and riche tapysserye of the destruction of Troye, well and alonge fygured, ibid. 15/2; his mayster . . . . well and alonge dide aduertyse the chylde, ibid. 15/22; he dyde reherce unto blanchardyn al alonge, how the royalme of tourmaday was come to a doughter full fayre, ibid. 128/29.

  • Of lighte = lightly. A man that is well garnysshed is not of lighte overthrowe, Aymon, 106/6.

  • Of a freshe (a apparently mistaken for the article) = anew. After . . . began the batayll of a freshe, sore harde and fell, Aymon, 110/23.

(b) Old Instrumental, now the Accusative case.

  • Other while (Old English hwilum) = sometimes. It is as requesyte other whyle to rede in Auncyent hystoryes, Blanchardyn, 1/13.

  • Wonder grete (Old English wundrum). Syr Sadok . . . gaf hym a wonder grete falle, Morte Darthur, 532/19; soo they hurtled togyders wonder sore,—Morte Darthur, 433/15; he merueylled wonder gretely, ibid. 459/35.

    Caxton has wonderfull. Wherof the good lady Margerye was wounderfull wroth and sory, Aymon, 36/23. Cf. þat feht was wunder strong,—Layamon, 1744; it fresethe wonder faste,—Maundeville, 11; singe wondir swetly,—Gesta Romanorum, 334; wondyr hevy,—ibid.

The old instrumental case is contained also in the following adverbial phrases:—

She rydeth the lytyl paas (orig.: a petit pas), Blanchardyn, 38/22 (Blanchardyn bygan to ryde on a good paas,—ibid. 40/10); accordyng to my promyse, I haue holpen you the beste that I coude, ibid. 149/25; but the beste that to hym was possyble he dyde recomforte her, ibid. 172/21; whiche came rennynge all his myght towarde Subyon, ibid. 201/20.

Perhaps the following phrases are formed after the same principle, if not in analogy to the cognate accusative:—

Dynadas was ouerthrowen hors and man a grete falle,—Morte Darthur, 401/22; there was Kyng Arthur wounded in the lyfte syde a grete wounde and a peryllous, ibid. 412/25; the spere wente in to his syde a grete wounde and a peryllous, ibid. 442/20.

II. Derived from Adjectives.

Though the final e was scarcely more than a mere 'monumentum scriptionis,' yet there are very numerous instances of adjectives used as adverbs by means of (or without) the old -e.Page  lxxix

1. Before adjectives.

  • Clene. Ye cam lyke a madde man clene oute of your wytte, Morte Darthur, 599/16.

  • Close. He lyght ful quykly the shylde alonge the breast and the helmet wel clos laced, Blanchardyn, 24/16.

  • Exceeding. Whan the admirall saw her so exceeding fayre he was taken in loue, Huon, 162/8.

  • Hard. Sire Lamorak was hard byge for hym, Morte Darthur, 358/2.

  • Marvellous. Thys is a man meruayllous ryche, Charles the Grete, 42/15.

  • New. Now be the thre brethern newe horsed, Aymon, 63/29; there was a chylde newe dede, Charles the Grete, 37/18; but they knewe hym not for he was newe desguysed, Morthe Darthur, 636/24; when he sawe that he was new horsed agayne he was ioyfull, Huon, 291/24.

  • Wonderful. The dukes Beues had slayne Lohier, the sone of the kynge Charlemayn, wherof the goode lady Margerye was wounderfull wroth and sory, Aymon, 36/23.

  • Wood wrothe. Whan he sawe a knyght with his lady he was wood wrothe,— Morte Arthur, 407/12; thenne was kynge Marke wode wrothe oute of mesure, ibid. 470/15, 487/7, 488/19, 610/13, 647/26; (Launcelot) ranne wylde wod from place to place, ibid. 593/4.

2. Attached to verbs.

  • Clene. They made hym to be wasshed clene,—Blanchardyn, 148/18; all the estates were set and Iuges armed clene,—Morte Darthur, 491/33; thenne was sir Palamydes clene forgeten, ibid. 553/25; I counceyle yow said the kynge to be confessid clene,—ibid. 577/28, 601/8, 611/10, 638/35, 647/9, 672/11; he saw within the shyppe but one man clene aruyd, Huon, 447/3.

  • Clere. (An hand) helde within the fyst a grete candel whiche brenned ryght clere,—Morte Darthur, 666/24.

  • Page  lxxx
  • Dear. Neuer deth was so sore solde ne so dere boughte as this shall be, Aymon, 38/26.

  • Fayre. Nature had fayre appareylled the gardyne, Blanchardyne, 122/28; (Reynawd) wente fayr vpon the folke of charlemagne, Aymon, 449/12; soo they did saufly and fayre,—Morte Darthur, 370/17; he salewed hym not fayre,—ibid. 659/18, 666/35. Cf. Gesta Romanorum, p. 3, and passim; and fayre endyd his lyfe.

  • Foul. Gerarde of Roussyllon weneth for to fare fowll wyth vs, Aymon, 42/2; thou hast borne the foule this day ageynst me, Charles the Grete, 69/31; my fader is kyng Bagdemagus that was foule rebuked at the last turnement, Morte Darthur, 188/8; foule haue ye mocked me, ibid. 511/31; haue done foule to yow, ibid. 599/35.

  • Incontynent. She called to her them that were in her chambre to whiche incontynent she commaunded that they sholde goo, Blanchardyn, 56/16; he shold late hym haue it in-contynuent,—ibid. 60/4; the maystres dyd perceyue incontynent by her wordes . . . . ibid. 64/30, 187/1, 194/7, etc.; than duke Naymes departyd, and incontenent he incounteryd Charlot, Huon, 32/14; but Huon releuyd hym incontynent,—ibid. 56/24, etc. Cf. Marlowe, Tamburlain, 52; Spenser, Faërie Queene, I. vi. 8/5; ibid. II. ix. 1/7; Peele, Alphonsus, 229 a.

  • Late. Now haste you thi rewarde, for my lorde Lohyers deeth that thou late slew, Aymon, 56/18; he was but late made knyghte, Morte Darthur, 471/15; cf. Blades, p. 172. Cf. That likewise late had lost her dearest love,—Spenser, Faërie Queene, IV. viii. 3/4; ibid. I. ii. 11/2.

  • Loude. He smote his hors wyth the spore . . . . escryeng as loude as he myght, Blanchardyn, 170/13.

  • Nere. I am myself nere goon, Aymon, 565/23; the knyghtes name was called Accolor that after had nere slayne kyng arthur, Morte Darthur, 89/15.

  • New. Thou newe made knyght thow hast shamed thy knyghthode, Morte Darthur, 108/7; there was a fayre medowe that semed newe mowen, ibid. 228/17; A. M. horses let to be new shode, Huon, 113/10; let her be bayngned and wesshyde and new arayed, ibid. 536/25.Page  lxxxi Cf. And streems of purple blood new die the verdant fields,—Spenser, Faërie Queene, I. ii. 17.

  • Nyghe. How nyghe was I lost, Morte Darthur, 654/27.

  • Passyng. Sir Palamydes dyd passynge wel and myghtely, Morte Darthur, 557/21 (there is also passyngly,—ibid. 543/13, 544/33). Cf. And all the wyles of wemens wits (she) knew passing well,—Spenser, Faërie Queene, III. viii. 8/9.
    Kyd, Spanish Tragedy, 107.

  • Playne. I ware yow playne,—Morte Darthur, 621/34. Cf. By which he saw the ugly Monster playne, Spenser, Faërie Queene, I. i. 14/6.

  • Scarce. For they be not vytaylled scars for foure dayes, Charles the Grete, 122/3. Cf. Scarce them bad arise,—Spenser, Faërie Queene, I. iv. 14/14, 22/8.

  • Softe. He salued hym full softe,—Aymon, 33/27.

  • Stronge. Soo stronge he spored his horse, that he wente ayenste Reynawde, Aymon, 86/23.

The common adverb of negation is not used as in Modern English.

  • Ne = not (preceding the verb) occurs but quite exceptionally: in Blanchardyn only nys = ne is:—

    There nys no tonge humayn that coude to yow recounte ne saye the grete sorow, Blanchardyn, 19/22; ther nys so grete sorowe, but that it may be forgoten at the laste, ibid. 133/4; ther nys no tonge of no creature mortall, that vnto you coude telle . . . the grete Ioye, ibid. 148/2; there nys noo man so oolde but he sholde soone gete hete there, Aymon, 452/12.

    Here and there ne turns up also before other verbs:—

    Charlemagn ne shall see the beste torne of the worlde, Aymon, 168/18; I ne entende but onely to reduce thauncyent ryme in to prose. Charles the Grete, 39/6; he ne preysett kyng ne crle, ibid. 42/17; ne doubte ye not for I shal rendre you anone al hole, ibid. 95/11.

  • Page  lxxxii
  • Ne = nor. I holde nother castelle ne fortresse of hym, Aymon, 25/22.

  • Double negatives are very common: —

    He neuere had borne noon armes, nor herde speke therof, Blanchardyn, 13/24; nor also had not seen the manere and thusage of Ioustynge, ibid. 14/1; (Blanchardyn) neuere had taken theratte noo hede, ibid. 15/2, etc. etc. There is an instance of four negatives in one and the same sentence. For neuer daye nor owre the childe Blanchardyn toke noo fode of none others brestis, ibid. 13/3.

§ 36. Prepositions.
  • A = in or on.

    (He) herde the feste and the noyse that was adoynge in the prouostis house, Blanchardyn, 67/5. For other instances of this kind, see Gerund. The prouoste descended a lande (= on land), Blanchardyn, 198/30, 199/25; Aymon, 145/30, 525/7, 529/4. They lepte a horsbak (= on horsbak), ibid. 180/27, 183/16; Aymon, 26/28; the kynge ascryed hym self a hyghe (= on high), ibid. 20/12; he descended from his hors a foote, Aymon, 35/10, 186/5, 232/29, 490/20; they wende that the cyte had be sette a fyre (= on fire), ibid. 511/30, 583/9; he thus founde hymselfe a grounde (on grounde), ibid. 45/1, 232/10, 564/14.

  • A is often = of.

    (He) cut his helmet and the coyffe of stele in suche manere awyse (= of wyse) that the goode swerde entred in to the brayne, Blanchardyn, 28/20. Cf. above, Genitive.

  • Against = upon, towards.

    Hym happend ageynst a nyghte to come to a fayr courtelage, Morte Darthur, 200/3; (Launcelot) ageynst nygyt rode vnto that castel, ibid. 574/6.

  • At = to.

    He myght not brynge his entrepryse at an ende, Blanchardyn, 41/14; the bloode ran vp at her face, ibid. 64/16, 84/36, 176/26, 177/7, 177/21, 188/1. (He) wente wyth all hys oost at Mountlyon, Aymon, 69/14, 66/27, 79/21, 349/5, 408/1, 430/9, 496/8.

  • At = on.

    Reynawde toke the kynge and drewe hym a lityll atte oo side, Aymon, 146/7, 453/7.

  • By = from, out of.

    (He) laughe at them by grete love, Aymon, 230/25, 298/3, 303/30.

  • Page  lxxxiii
  • By = in.

    (He) smote a knyghte by suche a wyse, that he putte his spere thorughe the body of hym, Aymon, 42/15, 61/24, 304/5, 453/1.

  • By = on.

    They dyd soo moche by their iourneys that they cam to saynt Iames, Aymon, 156/19, 235/20, 239/32.

  • By = with.

    (He) smote a knyghte by suche a strengthe that he ouerthrewe hym, Aymon, 43/12.

  • By is used alternately with of and with in passive constructions; but of prevails. Cf. Blanchardyn, 1/15, 2/12, 11/11, 18/10, 19/3, 42/13, 66/8, 97/35, 98/27, 101/27, 109/32, 113/34; by, 1/26, 124/16, 169/21; with, 91/19, 124/14; Aymon, 52/34, 53/1.

  • For = in spite of, is rare in Caxton, but occurs several times in Malory:—

    This child wylle not laboure for me for ony thyng that my wyf or I may do, Morte Darthur, 102/22; I wyll accomplysshe my message for al your ferdful wordes, ibid. 167/31, etc. This use is very common in Elizabethan writers. Marlowe, Massacre, 2114; Spenser, Faërie Queene, 1, 3, 24/5; Peele, Old Wives' Tale, 453, b; Kyd, Spanish Tragedy, 17; Shakspere; see Schmidt, s. v.

  • For = from.

    After she asked whi they were departed for*. [Misprint for fro.] the kynges courte, Aymon, 36/19.

  • In = into, is still very frequent.

    Yf he may come in her handes or in her power, noon shal mowe saue hym, Blanchardyn, 43/14; the prouost came ayen in the sayd place, ibid. 81/16, 96/29, 105/5, 109/14, 109/24, 116/24, etc.; Aymon, 63/1, 159/20, 210/20; Morte Darthur, 252/13.

    Here and there also in the 16th century:—

    By rise of virtue, vice shall grow in hate, Gorboduc, 180; how canst thow in this condition; Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progress, p. 35.

  • In = on, is rare.

    That … in the crosse suffred deth and rassyon, Aymon, 24/20; ye ascended in to heuen and lefte for your liyeutenant saynt Peter thappostle in erthe, Charles the Grete, 71/27; Marlowe, Tamburlaine, 760.

    'I think the pleasure they enjoy in heaven
    Cannot compare with kingly joys in earth.'
    Page  lxxxivCf. Lord's Prayer: Thy will be done in earth. And in the honour of a kyng he sweares,—Marlowe, Edward II., 1216. He is in England's ground, ibid. 1705; Shakspere, Venus, 118; Midsummer Night's Dream, II. i. 185; Troilus, V. ii. 169.

  • Maugre = in spite of.

    (They) ledde the lady by force to castel forde, maulgre Subyon, Blanchardyn, 8/25, 9/1, 179/24, 180/29, 180/34, 189/9; Aymon, 86/14, 229/1; very often in Malory, and still in Shakspere.

    Maugre occurs also as a substantive:—

    They myghte no lenger endure the grete magre that Reynawde bare to theym (original: 'dommaige'), Aymon, 86/16; I haue herd moche of your maugre ageynst me, Morte Darthur, 405/28. So twice in Spenser:—

    'Ne deeme thy force by fortunes doome unjust,
    That hath (maugre*. [? by the ill will of.—F.] her spight) thus low me laid in dust.'

    Faërie Queene, II. v. 12/9; III. iv. 39/8.(= a curse upon? Morris, Glossary to Spenser's Works, Globe edition).

  • Of differs in its functions from the modern use in several essential points.

    • 1. It denotes reference, as to:—

      Pardoune me of the rude and comyn englyshe, Blanchardyn, 2/9; the childe grewe and amended sore of the grete beaulte, ibid. 13/6; of the tables and ches playinge and of gracyous and honeste talkynge, he passed them that were his elder in age, ibid. 13/19, 20; demaundynge of the bataylles of Troye (= about), ibid. 14/13; the same, 15/8; wel shapen of alle membres, ibid. 37/21; sore troubled of wyttis, ibid. 45/8, 48/31, 65/21, 97/10, 99/14, 145/30, etc.; Aymon, 54/25, 64/5, 290/32, etc.

    • 2. It denotes cause, in consequence of:—

      (They) iudged hem self right happy of a successoure legytyme, Blanchardyne, 12/17; sory of, ibid. 21/4; euyl apayde of (original: maltalentif), ibid. 28/13; of a custume (= in consequence, according), ibid. 112/32, 130/8; he ought of rayson to be well rewarded, ibid. 126/6, 133/10.

    • 3. Of = by in passive constructions. See by.

    • 4. It seems to be mistaken for on, upon:—

      (Kyng Charles) beyng in his dormytorye, trustyng of the syde of our lord in grete deuocyon began to say the psaulter, Charles the Grete, 33/32.

      Page  lxxxv

      This mistake, probably brought about by a being equivalent to of and on, is common in the 16th century:—

      They began to slee alle suche as wolde not beleue of Ihesu Cryst (ed. of 1601 on), Huon, 152/24; the same, ibid. 417/30, 462/12, 464/28; I wyll send thee of my errand, Sir Clyomon and Sir Clamydes, 494 a; my master riding behind my mistress; both of one horse, Taming Shrew, IV. i. 71; as when thou shouldst be prancing of thy steed, Greene, Alphonsus, 235 b.

  • On mistaken for of:—

    On hym is no care, Aymon, 62/27; she began to thynke on that poure man, Charles the Grete, 13/33. Probably also the phrase: on lyue = alyue, Aymon, 64/18. See Genitive: he seith not ryght on me, Morte Darthur, 138/25—16th century:—

    'I tell you true, my heart is swoln with wrath
    On this same thievish villain Tamburlaine.'

    Marlowe, Tamburlaine, 520.

    'And tyme may yield us an occasion
    Which on the sudden cannot serve the turn.'

    Marlowe, Jew of Malta, 473, 1078, 2338, 4690.

    The middle on's face, Lear, IV. v. 20; my profit on't, Tempest, I. ii. 365, 456; I'm glad on 't, Jul. Cœs., I. iii. 137.

  • Ouer = of:—
    Kynge alymodes knyghtes had grete enuye ouer hym, Blanchardyn, 65/22; right enamored they were ouer hym, ibid. 66/25; to thende he myght be auenged ouer hym, ibid. 86/30; Blanchardyn, that grete slawghter dyde make ouer his men, ibid. 107/27.

  • To = up to, equal to:—
    Suche a worship apparteyneth not to be doon to me, for I am not to the value therof, Blanchardyn, 109/20.

  • Tofore = before:—(He) presented hym selfe to-fore the kynge, Aymon, 186/24.

It is a remarkable custom in Caxton and other writers of the 15th century to use, for variety's sake, two different prepositions for the same purpose:—

O thou free knyght, replenysshed wyth prowesse and of grete wordynesse, Blanchardyn, 49/15; she cam and brought wyth her a fayre whyte coueryng of damaske clothe, wherof she made the hors of blanchardyn to be couered wyth,—ibid. 61/7, 8; loue serued her wyth a messe sharp and sowre ynoughe tyl her tast that is to wyte of a louely care, ibid. 67/17, 18; (Blanchardyn) cam ridyng through the toun accompaned wyth the prouoste and of many other knyghtes,Page  lxxxviibid. 83/23; the knyght of whom my sayde lady is so sore enamoured vpon, hath to his name blanchardyn, ibid. 130/17; Sadoyne sawe their shyppes redy and well stored wyth vytaylles and of other thynges, ibid. 150/28; they all were eten wyth bores and of lions, Aymon, 52/34, 53/1; Charlemayne apoynted not wyth the foure sones of Aymon, nor to Mawgys, ibid. 58/24, 25; I shall shew you whether I can do any thyng wyth the spere and of the swerde, ibid. 83/28; I am not a chyld wherof men oughte to mocke wyth, ibid. 360/12. (He) toke it and robbed wythall the nose, the mouth, and the eyen of rowlande, and in like wyse to all thother xii peres of fraunce, ibid. 371/21, 22; wysdom desyreth you to be hys wyf, and for to be quene, Charles the Grete, 14/8,9; it is the same of whyche your god was enbawmed wyth,—ibid. 56/29, 30; O fayre Quene of Orkeney, Kynge Lot's wyf and moder of sir Gawayne and to sire Gaheris, and modir to many other, for thy loue I am in grete paynes, Morte Darthur, 425/12; and the begynnynge of the kynges letters spak wonderly short vnto Kynge Arthur, and badde hym entermate with hym self and with his wyf and of his knyghtes, ibid. 456/32, 33; thenne by his aduys and of sire Sadoks he lete stuffe alle the townes and castels, ibid. 495/19.

§ 37. Conjunctions.
  • And used redundantly (compared with the Old English and the present use), turns up pretty often in Caxton, as in other writers of the 15th century, and is not unfrequent in Elizabethan times:—

    And the thyrd tyme with a full grete herte she revyled hym, and sayyng to hym that he was lyke an hounde, Trivet, p. 233; yf thow wolt telle me, and I shalle gete the on fallyng to thin estate, Gesta Romanorum, p. 173; the vertu of the broche is this, that who so euere ber hit vpon his brest late him thinke what he wolle, and he shalle mete þerwith at his likinge, ibid. p. 181; forsothe, sir, quod he, and I shall tell you, ibid. 202; sir, quoþ he, and I shall tell you not, ibid. 322; whiche boke I late receyued in frenshe . . . for to reduce and translate it in to our maternal and englysh tonge, Blanchardyn, 1/9; by my feyth, sayd Reynawde, and we shall-deffende ourselfe also to our power, Aymon, 235/11; O, brother Reynawd, and what doo you here, ibid. 244/26; cosin Reynawd, sayd Ogyer, and we shall kepe vs fro you, ibid. 263/11; alas, and that I dyde grete harme, ibid. 283/4; for the more that ye praye him, and the worse shall he doo, ibid. 330/27; syre, sayd Richarde, and ye shall see me anone, ibid. 343/22; sir, sayd mawgis, and I yelde me to you, ibid. 357/5; I praye you lete hym come here and that he awake myn vncle Charlemagne oute of his slepe, ibid. 405/12; whan he herde the duke naymes speke so, and it moved his blade full sore, ibid. 419/6; I neuer put man to the erthe and thys hors present, Charles the Grete,Page  lxxxvii 70/10; I requyre the that it may playse the to take the payne for to rescowe and socoure my loue guye, and ellis I am a loste woman, ibid. 135/3; alle the barons cam thyder and to assay to take the swerd, Morte Darthur, 42/35: syre knyght, sayd the other, whoos name was Hontzlake of wentland, and this lady I gat by my prowesse of armes this day, ibid. 114/23; wylle ye, sayd syre Gawayne, promyse me to doo alle that ye maye . . . to gete me the loue of my lady. Ye syre, sayd she, and that I promyse you, ibid. 150/11; whanne Elyzabeth, Kyng Melyodas, myst her lord, and she was nyghe out of her wytte, ibid. 273/27; a mercy my lord, sayd she, and I shalle telle you alle, ibid. 275/33; wel, said the Kyng Melyodas, and therfor shal ye haue the lawe, ibid. 275/35; but their horses he wold not suffre his squyers to medle with, and by cause they were knyghtes erraunt, ibid. 442/29; telle me, said palomydes, and in what manere was youre lord slayne, ibid. 518/31; and therfore ye may be sory, said sire Tristram, of your vnkyndely dedes to so noble a kynge. And a thynge that is done may not be vndone, sayd Palomydes, ibid. 542/29; sir knyghte, said she, and ye wille ensure me by the feyth that ye owe vnto knyghthode that ye shalle doo my wylle . . . and I shalle brynge yow vnto that knyght, ibid. 652/12; syr and I wille doo hit, sayd sir launcelot, ibid. 658/9; thenne had the kynge grete joye, and dressyng hym to sytte up, and toke the swerde by the pomel, Melusine, 153/16; and þenne gaf hym the swerd ayen, and thus makyng his wounde opend, and out of it ranne blood, ibid. 153/22; by my feyth, said thenne Anthony, and I accorde therunto, ibid. 217/10; sens he was aduertesyd, that with kepyng his tonge fro spekynge he myght abrege hys iorney, and he sayde that surely he wolde that way, Huon, 64/24 (ed. of 1601 omits and); syr, quod themperour, and he shal derely abye it, ibid. 305/27.

    • Gorboduc. 'Loe, this is all; now tell me your aduise.
      Arostus. And this is much, and asketh great aduise.'

      Gorboduc, 146;

    • 'Warre would he haue? and he shall haue it so.'

      ibid. 680;

    • Barabas. 'Haply (the Turks) come for neither, but to pass along
      Towards Venice by the Adriatic sea;
      With whom they have attempted many times,
      But never could effect their stratagem.
      Jew. And very wisely said. It may be so.'

      Marlowe, Jew of Malta, 205;

    • 'Is she so fair?
      And matchless beautiful.'

      ibid. 617.

    • 'O earth-mettled villains, and no Hebrews born!
      And will you basely thus submit yourselves
      To leave your goods to their arbitrament?'

      ibid. 310;

    • 'Well, yet the old proverbe to disprove I purpose to begin,
      Which always saith that cowardly hearts fair ladies never win:
      Shall I not Julia win, and who hath a cowardlier heart?'

      Sir Clyamon and Sir Clamydes, 507, a;

    • Page  lxxxviii
    • Kendal. 'Thou, how art thou a gentleman?
      Jenkin. And such is my master.'

      Greene, George-a-Greene, 259, a;

    • Hamlet. 'Will the king hear this piece of work?
      Pol. And the queen too.'

      Hamlet, III. ii. 53;

    • Cass. 'This rudeness is a sauce to his good wit.
      Brut. And so it is.'

      Julius Cœsar, I. ii. 307.

  • Also = as:—

    Also nighe as I can, Blades, 132.

  • As = as if, is very common:—

    Lepyng alwaye here and there, as hors and man had fowgthen in thayer, Blanchardyn, 42/7; her gowne that she had on was therof changed as grete shoure of rayne had come doune from the heuens, ibid. 43/17; after thys fortune I haue ben syn, as force compellyd me therto, seruaunt vnto a kynge sarasyn, as I had ben one of theym, ibid. 133/31; he smote vpon his enmyes as it had be the thonder, ibid. 169/2; he hewe the sarasins as they had ben wythoute harneys, Aymon, 137/20; (he) kept hymself styll like as he had ben deed, ibid. 179/11.

    Still frequent in Elizabethan authors:—

    • 'And lickt her lilly hands with fawning tong,
      As he her wronged innocence did weet.'

      Spenser, Faërie Queene, I. iii. 6/3. Cf. ibid. I. v. 20/9; III. i. 6/5;

    • 'I hope our credit in the custom house
      Will serve as well, as I were present there.'

      Marlowe, Jew of Malta, 94. For Shakspere, see Schmidt, s. v.

    As is used redundantly before other conjunctions and adverbs in Malory:—

    I wist it were soth that ye say I shold do suche peryllous dede as that I wold slee my self to make the a lyar, Morte Darthur, 84/38; awaite vpon me as to morn secretely, ibid. 287/22; I wille be-redy as to morne, ibid. 311/4; for as that same day this lady of the lake knewe wel that kynge arthur shold be slayne, ibid. 361/25; he charged the lady of the lake not to discouer his name as at that tyme, ibid. 362/22; nay, said sire Palomydes, as att this tyme I wille not Iuste with that knyght, ibid. 382/23; for as to morne the grete turnement shalle be, ibid. 383/23; that shalle ye not wete as at this tyme, ibid. 408/22; ye shalle not wete as at this time, ibid. 412/10.

  • Both (postponed) = as well, also occurs in Morte Darthur, not only in order to connect two, but more persons and things:—

    I am sore hurte and he bothe,—ibid. 134/10; he smote syr galahantyne on the helme that his nose braste out on blood, andPage  lxxxix cerys and mouthe bothe,—ibid. 192/5; for my hors and I ben fresshe bothe,—ibid. 323/20; now I wil say vnto you and to hym both,— ibid. 349/3; fals treason hast thou wrouȝt and he both,—ibid. 403/31.

  • Eke (Old English eác) = also:—

    eke harneys, Blanchardyn, 60/21; I shall delyuere you hors, and wherof his son and eke Blanchardyn came, ibid. 126/13.

  • Ne = nor, see 'Adverbs,' p. lxxvii.

  • Nor—also = nor—either:—

    For not a peny he wolde take of it, nor his brethern also,— Aymon, 145/7.

  • So = if:—

    Yf nedes I shal dey, I were of it all well content, soo that it were in the absence of her, Blanchardyn, 188/23; I shall now quyte you and relesse vnto you all the servyse that ye owe me, to you and to your eyres for evermore, soo that ye will take Richard, the sone of Aymon, and see that he be hanged, Aymon, 324/7; I will not take your yeldyng vnto me, But so that ye wylle yelde you vnto syr Kay the Seneschal, Morte Darthur, 200/32; I wille ryde with you so that ye wille not rebuke this knyght, ibid. 348/32.

    This use is also frequent in Elizabethan authors:—

    'So now the mighty emperor hears of you,
    Your highness needs not doubt but in short time
    He will . . . redeem you from this deadly servitude.'

    Marlowe, Tamburlaine, 1011; ibid. 3839; Faustus, 1364; Jew of Malta, 189; ibid. 190.

  • Than = then = when (Old English ðonne):—

    Thenne Brastias saw his felawe ferd so with al, he smote the duke with a spere that hors and man fell doune, Morte Darthur, 54/2, than Syre Tor was redy he mounted vpon his horsbak and rode after the knyght, ibid. 109/20; thenne the duke sawe he myghte not escape the deth, he cryed to his sones and charged them to yelde them, ibid. 155/4; and thenne Beaumayns sawe hym soo well horsed and armed, thenne he alyghte doune and armed hym, ibid. 222/26.

  • Than = than that, than if:—

    For I had leuer that ye were confused and dysmembred than I shold take armes or hors for to Iuste lyke as ye say, Charles the Grete, 43/17; and yf thou haue broughte Arthurs wyf, damd Gweneuer, he shall be gladder than thow haddest guyen to him half fraunce, Morte Darthur, 167/24; now am I better pleasyd, sayePage  xc Pryamus, than thou haddest gyuen to me all the prouynce and parys the ryche, ibid. 178/2; I had leuer to haue ben torn with wylde horses than ony varlet had wonne such loos, ibid. 178/4.

  • That, like the Greek, is often used to introduce a direct speech (oratio recta), so that it is equal in value to the modern colon:—

    He sayd full angerly to the styward, that 'to an euyll owre hath your lady ben so madde as to mary her self to a ladde, a straunger,' Blanchardyn, 184/9; (Merlyn) late wryte balyns name on the tombe with letters of gold, that here lyeth balyn le Saueage, Morte Darthur, 98/35; [how in the same function occurs, ibid. 84/7; (the kynge) wrote the names of them bothe on the tombe, How here lyeth launceor the kynges sone of Irlond, that at his owne requeste was slayne by the handes of balyn.]

    That often replaces other conjunctions in compound clauses, especially when; this is a literal translation of the French 'que' in the same function:—

    When they of the cyte had seen the manere and the rewle of their enmyes, and that all wyth leyser they had seen their puyssance and their manere of doynge, The Captayne and the prouoste of the towne dyde ordeyne a stronge and a bygge worde, Blanchardyn, 58/17; when he knewe and that he was aduertysed by his sone . . . he was al ynough content, ibid. 126/10; and whan she sawe that by no manere of meanes she myght not tourne ne chaunge the corage of her cruel fader, And that she herde hym saye blame of her god . . . she by grete wrath sayd, ibid. 186/9; and whan the nyght was passed, and that reynawd was vp he went here and there, Aymon, 434/23; and whan the tables were take vp and that everi man had eten at his ease, they wente to their warde, ibid. 463/27; and whan the morowe came and that mawgys had his newe sloppe and his hode he toke his palster, ibid. 467/9.—And after that the worke was ended, and that all their enmyes were taken or slayn, they brought hym and entred wythin the cyte, Blanchardyn, 195/26; after that Sadoyne was crowned to be kynge, and that he had archyeued and made all his ordonnaunces . . . Blanchardyn, his felawe, dysposed him self for to retourne ayen toward Tormaday, ibid. 196/22.—So began he to be ful of thoughte and all annoyed of hym self by cause he was not armed tyl his plesure, and that he myght not yssue out, ibid. 59/30; they sholde make theim gode chere of suche goodes as god had lent hem: by cause they semed to be knyghtes, and that it was sore late to ryde eny ferther, and that noo housyng nor no retrayt was nyghe, ibid. 204/27, 28; thother laborers had so grete enoy by cause he dide better his devour than thei, and that he was better loved than thei, Aymon, 575/16.

    Page  xci

    That is used tautologically:—

    None can telle it you, bycause that it (the beaulte) was so grete, that god and nature had nothyng forgoten there, Blanchardyn, 13/7; it is bycause that he is a straunger, ibid. 91/20; I shall now quyte you and relesse vnto you all the servyse that ye owe me . . . for evermore, soo that ye wyll take Richard . . . and see that he be hanged, Aymon, 324/7; ye knowe how longe that he hath dammaged vs, ibid. 402/14; me thynketh that we oughte to avenge vs vpon hym, sith that we have hym, ibid. 402/16; ye wote well that I left him by cause that peas shold be made, ibid. 407/26; I am wel admeruaylled fro whens that cometh to the suche presumpcion Charles the Grete, 53/13; for it is longe sythe that they haue ony thynge holpen vs, ibid. 140/30.


§ 38. Concord.

The first rule of every syntax, namely, that a finite verb agrees with its subject in number, is very often sinned against in the early periods of the English language.

(A.) The slightest violation of grammar is the construction of collective nouns with predicates in the plural. Of this concession made by grammar to logic, there are instances from Old English down to our own day:—

  • Old English: þæt fole sæt . . . and aríson, Exodus, xxxii. 6; se here swór þæt hie woldon, Chronicle, 921; þin ofspring sceal âgan heóra feónda gata, Genesis, xxii. 17. (March, Comparative Gram., ò 402.)

  • Middle English:þat israelisshe folc was walkende toward ierusalem on swinche, and on drede, and on wanrede, and þo wile was hersum godes hese. Ac efter þan þe hie weren wuniende in ierusalem . . . þo hie forleten godes lore, O. E. Homilies, II. 51. ðis wird of engeles metten him, Story of Genesis and Exodus, 1790.
    • 'And euerile on ðat helden wið him,
      ðo wurðen mirc, and swart, and dim.'

      ibid. 285.

    • 'And als ilkan for sere resun
      Com for to mak þair orisun.'

      Cursor Mundi, 10,222.

    • 'That all the folk schuln laughen in this place.'

      Chaucer, II. 231.

    • 'And saugh wel that hire folk weren al aweye.'

      ibid. IV. 201.

    • 'The remenaunt were anhanged, more and lesse.'

      ibid. III. 84.

Page  xcii

This use is rare in Caxton. 'People, folk,' are followed by a singular verb, e. g. Aymon, 38/12, 100/19; the plural is an exception, e. g. Aymon, 70/26: 'what are this folke?'

(B.) Plural nouns, or several nouns joined together by a copulative conjunction, take a singular predicate. This striking irregularity crops up very early, and is very frequent in the 15th century, and in the time of Shakspere:—

  • Moren and wilde (h)uni was his mete,

    O. E. Homilies, II. 139;

  • 'In firme begining, of nogt
    Was heuene and erðe samen wrogt.'

    Story of Gen. and Exod., 40;

  • 'For was sundri speches risen.'

    ibid. 668;

  • 'ðor was laid adam and eua.'

    ibid. 817;

  • 'Alle his wundres þat he doþ, is þurch þene vend.'

    The Passion of Our Lord, l. 60 (Old English Miscellany, 39).

  • 'Alle his wundres þat he doþ, is þurch þene quede.'

    ibid. l. 250.

  • (he) steaȝ into heuene þet is aboue alle ssepþe þet ys ine heuene, Ayenbite, p. 11; þe neȝende article and þe þri laste belongeþ to þe holi gost and is þellich, p. 13.

  • Siþen þe sege and þe assaut watz sesed at Troye, Sir Gawayne, l. 1; out tak the forsayd matyns bokys that is bequethe to Thomas my sone, 5/14; Early English Wills, 5/14;—the hole goodis that is my owne, 92/12; Þis es the dettis þat es [h]owynge to me, 39/34 (Essex, ab. 1417); the 80 mark þe whiche is in Thomas Harwodes hand, 44/12; forto dispende the goudis that es therin, 71/2; On the finger was wretyn wordis: 'percate hic,' Gesta Romanorum, p. 7. Cf. Zupitza, note to Guy of Warwick, l. 298.

  • CAXTON. The kyng Alymodes and alle his oost was right sore affrayed, Blanchardyn, 119/29; here is xx li of money, Aymon, 332/7; here is grete merveylles, ibid. 444/31; Such II. brethren as is kyng Ban and kyng bors, Morte Darthur, 57/38; there ben but fewe now lyuynge that is so myghty as he is, ibid. 241/22; he arryued up in Irland euen fast by a castel where the kynge and the quene was,—ibid. 285/9; there was slain that morowe tyde x M good mennys bodyes, ibid. 53/12.

  • There are many instances of this freedom in the literature of the 16th century:—

    • There is more nobler portes in England, Andrew Boorde, p. 120; there is at Bath certain waters, ibid.; the olde noble the Aungels and the halfe aungels, is fine golde, p. 121; in Cornwall is two speches, p. 123; in Wales is used these two stalticious matters, p. 127; yet in Ireland is stupendous thinges, p. 133; XVIII Scotish pens isPage  xciii worthe an Englysshe grote, p. 137; the mountains is very baryn, p. 160; the greater is the flods, p. 161; there is many great mountains, p. 165. Cf. 171, 172, 185, 191, 195, 208, 245.

    • There was many Dukes, Erles, and barons, Huon, I. 2/22 (ed. of 1601: were assembled); there was lenynge in wyndowes ladys and damesels, ibid. 38/28 (ed. 1601: were); there was present in the feld lordes and knyghtes, 43/4. Cf. 90/19, 115/19, 126/30, 156/6, 157/9, 167/3, 210/24, 313/25, 325/25, 371/13, 388/29, 390/6, 394/21, 413/15, 414/23, 422/11, 423/4, 471/22, 472/19, 473/31, 555/23, 29, 589/24, 605/28.

    • 'What shooting is, how many kindes there is of it—is tolde.'

      —Ascham, Toxoph. 31.

    • 'Both the mastur and rular of the sterne ys wyse and experte.'

      —Starkey, England, etc., p. 57, l. 1071.

    • 'See, Diccon, 't was not so well washed this seven year, as ich neeen.'

      Gammer Gurton, 193.

    • 'There is five trumps besides the queen.'

      ibid. 199.

    • 'What needs these plaints?'

      Mucedorus, 232.

    • 'What needs these words?'

      ibid. 232.

    • 'Here is four angels for you.'

      —Greene, Looking-Glass, 125, a.

    • 'Here is twenty angels.'


    • 'Each others equall puissaunce envies,
      And throug their iron sides with cruell spies
      Does seke to perce.'

      —Spenser, Faërie Queene, I. ii. 17, 4/6.

    • 'He had yet lived, whose twelve labours displays
      His endless fame, and yet his honour spreads.'

      Tancred, I. iii.

    • 'Here's your thirty shillings.'
      'Our neighbours, that were woont to quake
      And tremble at the Persean Monarkes name,
      Now sits and laughs our regiment to skorne.'

      —Marlowe, Tamburlaine, 115.

    • '...... about their necks
      Hangs massic chaines of golde . . .'

      ibid. 314.

    • 'Whose fiery cyrcles beare encompassed
      A heaven of heavenly bodies in their Spheares
      That guides his steps and actions to the throne.'

      ibid. 464.

    • 'Was there such brethren, sweet Meander. say?'

      ibid. 567.

    • 'What saies my other friends?'

      ibid. 768.

    • 'Upon his browes was pourtraid vgly death,
      And in his eies the furie of his hart,
      That shine as Comets, menacing reueng,
      And casts a pale complexion on his cheeks.'

      ibid. 1054/55.

    • 'for Wil and Shall best fitteth Tamburlain,
      Whose smiling stars giues him assured hope.'

      ibid. 1136.

    • 'What is beauty, saith my sufferings, then?'

      ibid. 1941.

    • 'Now shame and duty, loue and feare presents
      A thousand sorrowes to my martyred soule.'

      ibid. 2166.

    • Page  xciv
    • 'My lord, such speeches to our princely sonnes
      Dismaies their mindes before they come to prooue
      The wounding troubles angry war affoords.'

      ibid. 2646.

    • 'from Trebizon in Asia the lesse
      Naturalized Turks and stout Bythinians
      Came to my hands full fifty thousand more,
      That, fighting, knowes not what retreat doth meane.'

      ibid. 3538.

    • 'See now, ye slaues, my children stoops your pride
      And leads your glories sheep-like to the sword!'

      ibid. 3748/49.

    • 'Distrest Olympia, whose weeping eies
      Since thy arriuall here beheld no Sun,
      But closde within the compasse of a tent,
      Hath stain'd thy cheekes, and made thee look like death.'

      ibid. 3883.

    • 'The Humidum and Calor, which some holde
      Is not a parcell of the Elements.'

      ibid. 4477.

    • 'Sometimes like women, so unwedded maides,
      Shadowing more beautie in their ayrie brows,
      Then has the white breasts of the queene of Loue.'

      —Marlowe, Faustus, ed. Breymann, 149 (B).

    • For Shakspere, see Abbott, § 335.

The instances with -s, and -th, however, may be also explained as remnants of Northern and Southern endings.

§ 39. Co-ordination instead of Subordination.

It is a well-known characteristic feature of poetical style to use sentences as co-ordinate ones, which, logically, stand in the relation of subordination. But Caxton's prose also exhibits several striking instances of this use. Two principal sentences are asyndetically joined together, where we should expect a principal sentence and a subordinate clause:—

Whan he see Blanchardyn, that all prest was to furnyshe hys enterpryse, gaffe to hymselfe grete meruaylle, and praised hym but litell, he asked hym of whens he was. Blanchardyn answerd, that for no drede nor fere that he had of hym he shuld kepe his name from hym, Blanchardyn, 84/3; whan the sarrasyns saw the kynge of the gyauntes dede they were sore frayed and gretly abashed, for in hym was alle their hope. they fled toward their tentes as faste as they myght. Blanchardyn and they of Tormaday pursued them, ibid. 87/14, 15; Sadoyne behelde the pucell beatryx that so gentyl was and so odly fayr, he enbraced and kyssed her, sayeng, ibid. 143/21. Cf. 33/2, 39/16, 141/25, 168/24.

In the prose of the sixteenth century I noticed this use only in Berners:—Page  xcv

So he went to hys lodgyng sorowfull and in grete dyspleasure, and than he imagyned and studyed on the mater, and howe to brynge about his interpryse; than he departed fro hys lodgyng, and went to Charlot the kynges sone, with whome he was ryght pryuey; he founde hym syttyng on a ryche couche with a yonge knyght, Huon, 13/3—9; thus they 2 bretherne departyd and kyssyd theyr mother, sore wepynge. Thus they toke theyr horses and theyr companys, ibid. 14/3, 4; Charlot came agaynst the 2 brethern; the Abbot of Cluny saw Charlot commynge al armyde, ibid. 19/13, 14; as they lokyd in to the see they spyed a shyppe charged with xxx paynemes, and grete ryches; then Gerames saw how the shipp was commynge to that porte, then he sayd to his company, syrs, lett vs go, ibid. 129/11, 12. (But, perhaps in this case then—then answers to Old English ðonne—ðonne = when, then.) Cf. 134/20, 149/6—9, 152/16, 185/3, 4, 203/1, 273/8, 297/4, 313/25, 381/24, 388/2.

§ 40. Noun Clauses.

(A.) The Subject Clause, which, in Modern English, is introduced by that, turns up very frequently in the shape of an Accusative in connection with an Infinitive. 'It is better a man wysely to be stille, than folysshly to speke,' Charles the Grete, 93/5. See § 30.

(B.) Much more interesting is the difference in the construction of the Object Clause. Compare the following two sentences: 'And God saw the light that it was good' (Genesis, i. 4); 'You see that I am composed' (Dickens, Dombey and Son, iii. 9).

Logically speaking, the two constructions are equivalent; but psychologically, how different is the idea which they represent! In the first case the sentence expresses an abstract result; in the second, the verb see has a concrete object, in which a certain attribute is perceived.

The former way of expression is the older as well as the more intuitive, and it crops up very often in Early English, though the more modern one seems to have crept in at a very early period:—

  • Old English: Ic þœt gehre, þœt þis is hold wëorod, Beowulf, 290; We þœt gehrdon þurh hálige héc, þæt éow dryhten geaf dóm unscyndne, Elene, 364. Cf. 853.

  • Middle English: Gif þu hine iseȝe þet he wulle asottie to þes deofles hond send to his werkes. þet þu hine lettest, Old English Homilies, I. 17; he scal soðfeste men setten him to irefen. and for godes eie libban his lif rightliche and beon on erfeðnesse anred and edmod on stilnesse. and his ofspringe ne iþauie þet hi beon unrightwisePage  xcvi (and shall not suffer his offspring to be unrighteous), ibid. I. 115;

    • 'ful wel þu me iseie þauh þu stille were.
      Hwar ich was and hwat i dude þauh þu me uorbere.'

      On God Ureisun of ure Lefdi, 105/106;

    • 'He wayned me vpon þis wyse to your wynne halle,
      for to assay þe surquidre, ȝif hit soth were,
      þat rennes of þe grete renoun of þe Rounde Table.'

      Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight, 2457;

    • '(They) louen more here folye avowis to fulfille hem þan to fulfille goddis hestis.'

      —Wyclif, Unprinted Engl. Works, ed. Matthew, p. 103;

    • 'When the emperowre harde telle
      All þat case, how hyt felle,
      That Saddok was so slayne,
      Therof was he nothyng fayne.'

      Guy of Warwick, ed. Zupitza, 1498;

    • 'When he sawe dewke Raynere
      And the constabull Waldynere,
      How þer men were broght to grownde
      Wyth grete yre yn a stownde,
      Gye beganne to crye in hye.'

      ibid. 1967.

      For other instances in the same work, see Zupitza's note to l. 1497.

  • I aske þe ien of alle the men . . . þat þei be pikid oute,—Gesta Romanorum, p. 154; knowist thow not me, what I am?—ibid. 208; he weht to the sheldes where they lay, ibid. 235; and he had grete envie of þis childe þat þe emperour loved him so moche, ibid. 322.

Caxton and Malory are well acquainted with the old use. The following instances are equivalent in their structure to those quoted above:—

Syre, I knowe not your persone, what ye be, nor to whom I speke, Blanchardyn, 183/26; whan sadoyne, that was the same tyme lokyng out at a wyndowe wythin his castell of Cassydonye, and his wyf the fayr Beatryx by hym sawe the two oostes that they wold Ioyne togyder to batayl, he gaf hymselfe gret meruayl, ibid. 193/29; the lady, that was shette wythin, was full sore and wroth for her frende blanchardyn, that he was soo ferre from her, ibid. 197/30; (he) went to the ryuage of the water, and byhelde it that it ranne lyke a quarel out of a crosbowe, Charles the Grete, 157/26; byholde me how I am obedyent to the commaundements of the chyrche, ibid. 238/25; (he) came to the bataille and sawe his knyghtes how they had vaynquysshed the bataylle, Morte Darthur, 171/35; and we here knowe the wel that thou arte syre Launcelot du laake, ibid. 186/38;Page  xcvii and therfor alle the myssayenge that ye myssayed me fordered me in my bataill, and caused me to thynke to shewe and preue my self at the ende what I was,—ibid. 229/35; that shalle cause me that I shall not be knowen, ibid. 258/1; he knewe sir Blamor de ganys that he was a noble knyght, ibid. 303/17; syr Danadan knewe the knyght wel that he was a noble Knyght, ibid. 429/4; but euer sir Dynadan thought he shold knowe hym by his shelde that it shold be sir Tor, ibid. 429/18; he euermore desyred her to wedde her,—ibid. 575/34; anon the good man knewe hym that he was one of the knyȝtes erraunt, ibid. 671/33.

But the real meaning of this old construction seems already drawing to decay in Malory and Caxton; for in many instances that is no longer understood as a conjunction, but as a relative pronoun; consequently the personal pronoun is dropped, and the noun clause becomes an adjective one:—

Whan the kynge herde the prouoste, that soo grete offre made for to haue ageyne blanchardyn, He gaff hym self grete merueylle, Blanchardyn, 91/29; but ouer moche dysplaysed her to see her feyth-full frende Blanchardyn that wolde goo ayen out of the lande, Blanchardyn, 172/14; of that other part, he sawe his only doughter, that denyed and defended hym his comynge in to his cyte, ibid. 184/7; (Alymodes) sawe hym self bannyshed and chassed out of his towne and royalme, and also his doughter that was wedded to his mortayll enmye, ibid. 191/30; the kynge Alymodes, seeng his folke that fled . . . cam and yelded hym self in to the handes of blanchardyn, ibid. 195/16; he sawe his cheff banner ouer thrawen, and hym self enclosed of al sydes, his men that fled, and awayte non other but after the stroke of deth, ibid. 203/17; thenne whan Charlemagne saw his peres that were soo sore moved wyth angre agenste hym, he sayd to theym, Aymon, 485/21; and whan reynawd saw mawgis that dyde so well, he was glad, ibid. 516/19; neuertheles, Rychard beyng on a lytel montayn, and byhelde the hoost of the paynyms came ageynst hym with grete courage, ye may wel ymagyne in what estat his hert was, ibid. 150/29; feragus, beyng euyl contente for hys hors that was dede, took hys swerde for to smyte Rolland, ibid. 222/28.

(C.) Whenever the object noun-clause is at the same time an adjectival one, Caxton uses the old construction. Take for instance this sentence, 'He saw a shield that he knew to be his brother's.' Instead of using our accusative with the infinitive, Caxton says (as we also often do now): 'He saw a shield that he knew was his brother's':—

Page  xcviii

She commaunded that they sholde goo and arme them self for to resiste ayenst her enmyes at their commyng on lande, whiche she sawe approched alredy right nyghe, Blanchardyn, 56/19; and also for of the grete dysplesure that he had of the quene his wyffe, that suche a sorowe made for her entyerli beloued sone blanchardin whiche she wyste not where he was becom . . . ibid. 112/1; the fayr pucelle and proude in amours myght not seasse nor leue her sorowe ther fore, that she contynually made for her right dere frende blanchardyn; that for the loue of her she trowed that he had other be lost or ded,—ibid. 120/11; the pouere folke of prusse, that is to wyte, the barons and knyghtes that Sadoyne had brought wyth hym were sore dyscomfyted and full of sorowe for thabsence of their maystre, that they sawe was brought prysonner of the paynems, ibid. 171/30; I am he that thou knowe that dyd doo destroye rome your cyte, and slewe the Pope and many other, and bare awaye the relyques that I there founde, Charles the Grete, 52/30; fals creature that thou arte (whome I byseche god confounde), thou wendest to haue made me to muse in thy folyes, ibid. 119/8; and amonge them he sawe his broders sheld syr Lyonel, and many moo that he knewe that were his felawes,—Morte Darthur, 185/7; and so shull ye haue wel rewarded me of all that ye say that my brother and I haue doo for you and for your realme, Melusine, 153/1; and thanne all they that were there byan to sorowe and wepe for the pyte they had of the kyng, And also of the sorow that they sawe the virgyne, his daughter, made so pitously, ibid. 154/22.

§ 41. Change of direct and indirect speech.

It is a frequent anacoluthon in Old French, Middle High German, and Middle English writers to pass abruptly from indirect to direct speech. This occurs several times in Caxton, but Malory makes a most extravagant use of it:—

  • 'Wex derke, ðis coren is gon,
    Iacob eft bit hem faren agon,
    Oc he ne duren ðe weie cumen in,
    "but go wið us senden beniamin;"
    ðo quað he, "quan it is ned."'

    Genesis and Exodus, 2240;

  • 'The dewke clepyd Gye there,
    And bad, yf hys wylle were,
    That Harrawde schulde haue wyth hym eche dell
    Fyve hundurde knyghtys armed well,
    And wende forthe, wythowte fayle,
    Boldely them for to assayle,
    "And ye, syr Gye, a thousande
    Bolde men and wele bydande."'

    Guy of Warwick, ed. Zupitza, 1785;

  • 'He clepyd hys hunte to hym there
    And seyde, he wolde chace þe dere
    Page  xcix
    Erly in the morowtyde
    In the forest, þat was so wyde,
    Bothe at hartys and at hyndys,
    And wylde bestys of odur kyndys,
    "Preuely that hyt be wroght,
    That þe dewke wytt hyt noght."'

    ibid. 2328/29;

  • 'The emperowre asked then,
    What were all tho armed men.
    Oon seyde, hyt was syr Gyowne,
    "All in wrath goyth fro þe towne
    In odur stedde to do hys beste
    Wyth schelde and spere to fyght preste."'

    ibid. 3162/70.

  • Cf. Zupitza, note to l. 1785.

Than the messanger sayde to her that the kyng made to hym so harde and heuy countenaunce, that he wold nat heere speke worde, neyther of yow hys lady, neyther of youre chylde, in any maner that myght be, Trivet, p. 239 (Chaucer Society's Originals & Analogues); and syth whan she was come ayen to her self, that she had the myght to speke, she sayde to the prouost that soone and incontynent he shold go toward the kyng Alymodes for to wyte, yf for golde or syluer he wolde take to raenson þe knyght. And yf his playsure was to sende hym ayen to her, 'I shal gyue him for his raenson seuen dromadaryes al laden with fyn gold,' Blanchardyn, 90/2; he right reuerently salued hym, sayeng vnto hym, that he was come there for to beye ayen þe straunge knyght . . . thus right gladly she wolde haue hym ayen, yf your plesure were for to putte hym to raenson, ibid. 91/23; Alymodes ansuerd to hym, and sayd that it was more than a monthe ago that they neuer made noo yssue . . . and that they were made full symple, syth that the yonge knyght was taken, whiche I betok you for to be brought vnto the kynge of salamandrye, ibid. 116/14; Sadoyne departed and com to fore the kynge his fader, to whome in the best wyse that he myght or coude dyde shewe vnto him his wyll, and . . . that a lawfull and Iuste cause he had to do soo, for to gyue socoure and helpe the yonge knyght straunger, 'that thourgh his prouesse and grete worthynes hathe socoured you,' ibid. 126/1; the prouoste tolde to hym . . . that neuer syth that she receyued the letter that he dyde sende to her by hym, she had no Ioye at her herte, nor shal neuer haue vnto the tyme that she see you ayen, ibid. 156/33; thenne they auysed the kynge to send for the duke and his wyf by a grete charge, And yf he wille not come at your somons thenne may ye do your best, Morte Darthur, 35/25; the kynge commaunded II. knyghtes and II. ladyes to take the child bound in a cloth of gold, and that ye delyuer hym to what poure man ye mete, ibid. 59/6; (A squyer) told hym how ther was a knyght in the forest had rered vp a pauelione by a well, and hath slayne my mayster a good knyght, ibid. 68/25; Balyn told his broder of his aduenture of the swerd, and of the deth of the lady of the lake, andPage  c how kyng arthur was displeaysyd with hym, wherfor he sente this knyȝt after me, ibid. 83/8, 9; (Pellinore) charged the heremyte with the corps that seruyse shold be done for the soule, and take his harneys for your payne, ibid. 117/15. Cf. ibid. 119/5, 129/26, 136/3, 146/34, 149/28, 169/13, 170/32, 178/22, 183/22, 203/5, 208/4, 227/17, 231/17, 239/10, 240/9, 242/37, 247/8, 271/20, 281/6, 282/2, 315/21 and passim; for yf they had not be, the paynemys had dystroyed them all, or had constrayned to be conuerted to theire fals lawe, whiche had be to vs wers and heuyer than ony deth corporall, Melusine, 152/5, 6.

This freedom is very frequent in Berners, and occurs as late as the second half of the 17th century:—

(Huon) embrassyd hym and sayde how often tymys he had sene Guyer, his brother the prouost, wepe for you, and whan I departyd fro Burdeux I delyueryd to hym all my londes to gouerne, Huon, 62/31, 32; than the admyrall answeryd, and sayd how he wolde pardon hym on the condycyon that he shulde neuer after trespas hym, nor no man in his countre, and be syde that, to become my man, and to do me homage, ibid. 150/1; he founde Iuoryn, to whom he shewed ... howe he and his company founde the sayd knyght and your nece the fayre Esclaramonde, ibid. 163/18; than he called all his couent, and chargyd them, in the vertue of obedyence, to reuest them selues with crosse and myter and copes, to reseyue Huon, the ryghtfull enherytour to the countre of Burdeux though the kynges of fraunce be our founders, ibid. 219/11, 12; they alyghted and kneled downe before Huon, and requyred hym to haue mercy, and pyte of theym as to saue theyr lyues and put vs in pryson, ibid. 336/17; (Huon) commaunded him that incontynent he sholde go to the emperour, and say vnto hym that yf it be his pleasure to here spekynge of any peace, I shall condyscende therto, ibid. 342/10; then he sayd to kynge Arthur, 'syr, I wyll ye holde your peas, for if ye speke one worde more agaynst Huon the souerayne kynge of the fayry, that he wold condemyne hym parpetually to be a warwolfe in the se,' ibid. 602/21; they told him that they were poor pilgrims going to Zion, but were led out of their way by a black man, clothed in white, who bid us, said they, follow him,—Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress, 133/1.

§ 42. Adjective Clauses.

(A.) For the construction of adjective clauses, see 'Relative Pronoun,' § 15, B, p. xxxvii above.

(B.) Adjective clauses are sometimes used with a conditional sense (who would speak = if somebody would speak):—

Page  ci

Certes, who someuer brought her this sorowfull and pyteuose tydynge I doubte not but that she shold slee her self for grete displaysir, Blanchardyn, 155/30; and I promyse you, that who shall hange Richarde, I shall goo to Reynawde, and shall put myself in hys pryson, Aymon, 326/23; who that sholde speke of the bredern of reynaude and of theyr dedes, it were to longe to be recounted, ibid. 536/3; for who that might take them fro the sarasyns, none of them shuld neuer retourne foot, in sury nor in tharsy, Melusine, 169/32; 'By my hed,' said Anthony, 'who that shuld punysshe you ... ye were not puyssaunt to make amendes suffysaunt therof,' ibid. 209/26; 'but, fayre Cousyn, it is wel trouth, that who myght goodly tary the day of your weddyng it were your honour,' ibid. 238/1; and who that shuld enquire of me what folke they were, I shuld say it was one of Claude of Syon bretheren that camme toward his brother at his mandement, ibid. 249/5.

For the so-called figures of syntax, like anacoluthon, pleonasm, see the Appendix below, on Caxton's style, p. cix, &c.;


§ 43. Subject and Predicate (Inversion).

Compared with Early English, the inversion of the present language ranges over a very limited space. Caxton, in this respect, is very near the Modern English; in two cases, however, he has kept the Middle English.

1. Inversion used in emphatic sentences:—

Sore troubled of wyttis, and gretly vexed wythin her mynde as ye here, rode forthe the gentel pucelle,—Blanchardyn, 45/10; so smot they hem self wythin callyng vp a hyghe crye in to þe thikkest of their enmyes, ibid. 59/4; and syth made eche hem self to be armed hastely whan dressid and redy they were, they made their coursers to be had forth out of the stable, ibid. 60/33; and after that announced was there comyng, men made them to entre in to the chambre of parement, ibid. 76/27; to the rescue of blanchardyn cam also the gode prouost,—ibid. 166/23.

2. Co-ordinate sentences introduced by and are often inverted. This use may be traced to the pre-historic time of the English language. It appears in the oldest Teutonic dialects, and is still kept in Modern German, though learned grammarians are untiring in ridiculing this time-honoured use:—

Page  cii
  • Old English: Her Aeþel heard cyning forþferde and feng Cuþræd to Westseaxna rice, Chronicle, a. 741; ac monige sindon me swiðe onlice on ungelærednesse, þeah þe hi næfre leorning cnihtas næren, wilniað ðeah lareowas to beorne, and ðynceð him swiðe leoht sio byrðen pæs lareondomes, Cura Pastoralis, p. 24.

  • Modern English: Syon was sum hwile iclepet þe hehe tur of Ierusalem. And seið syon ase muchel on englische leodene ase heh sihðe, and bitacneð þis tur þe heh schipe of meidenhad, Hali Meidenhad, p. 5; and was his holie lichame leid in buriels in þe holie sepulcre, Old English Hom., II. 21; also hit bi þe wimman and bi sheawere. hie bihalt hire sheawere. and cumeð hire shadewe þeronne, ibid. 29; and gif hit is swo. me ðingð ne bringð no synful man quemere loc þene teares sheding for his sinnen. and wiste seinte peter, and Seinte Marie Magdalene, ibid. 65. Cf. ibid. 83, 127, 165, 213; Saules Warde, 249 (Old English Hom. I.);

    • 'And tanne comm he siþþen ut
      All dumb and butenn spæche,
      and toc to becnenn till þe follc,
      and space he nohht wiþþ tunge.'

      Orm. 224;

    • 'He made an aucter on godes name,
      And sacred he ðor-on, for sowles frame.'

      Story of Genesis and Exodus, 626;

    • 'ðo sente he after abram,
      and bitagte he him is leman.'

      ibid. 782;

    • 'It semet wel ðat ge spies ben,
      And into ðis lond cumen to sen,
      And cume ge for non oðer ðing
      But for to spien ur lord ðe king.'

      ibid. 2171;

    • 'And al ðis unweder ðor atwond,
      And wurð ðis weder sone all stille.'

      ibid. 3059.

Caxton offers several instances of this use:—

Thenne dylygently he demanded his mayster of the subtylnes of the werke, of thystorye and of the personnages. And first recounted vnto hym his mayster the puyssaunce the right grete cyrcuyte, and the noblesse of the cyte of Troyes, Blanchardyn, 15/9; the wawes wexed so bygge and so grete, that they semed to be mountayns. And was the tempeste so perelouse, that they were constreyned to enter into the brode see agayne, ibid. 136/11; Kynge Alymodes made the towne to be assayled, and was there made grete alarme and grete fray,— ibid. 152/23; and within a whyle they cam to the heremytage and took lodgyng and was there gras otys and breed for their horses, soone it was sped and full hard was their souper,—Morte Darthur, 111/7; for moche he langed that he myght there be arryued for to shew hym all the tydynges. And dured not long the scarmoushe, Melusine, 127/4; Uryan thanne made the standarde to passe fourth rydyng in batayll moche ordynatly and was Vryan before, hauyng a staf on hys fyste,Page  ciiiibid. 131/22; anoone camme there Vryan, whiche alyghted, toke hys speere, and so dyde hys folke moche appertly, and made hys banere to be dysployed abrode, and were the crosbowe men on bothe sydes of hym vpon the bridge, ibid. 131/30; and so moche they dide that the fals paynemes might gete nothing on them, but that they lost twyes asmoche more, and was scarmusshing moche fyers and peryllous, ibid. 137/20; and thanne Vryan smote hym vpon the helmet a grete stroke with all his might, and was the sawdan so sore charged with that stroke that he was so astonyed and amaysed that he neyther sawe nor herde, ibid. 145/28; and thene Vryan and his folke lodged them self in the paynems lodgys, and was the sommage of the cristen sent fore,—ibid. 146/18. Cf. 203/17, 214/7, 12, 215/13, 234/7, 240/6.

§ 44. The Predicative Verb.

The Predicative verb, especially the verb be, is, as a rule, placed at the end of adjective clauses, and exceptionally also in others:—

The knyght thenne beholdynge the Iouencell Blanchardyn, that right yong was, and sawe hym alone, Rose anone vpon his feet, Blanchardyn, 26/16; theire sperys (that sore bygge and stronge were) broke also all to pyces, ibid. 28/10; thenne her maystres, that sage and dyscrete was comforted her, ibid. 43/19; whan blanchardyn had wel loked and rede the verses that grauen were in the marbell vpon the gate, and well vnderstode theire sentence, a lytyl he bygan to smyle, ibid. 47/8; there beganne the trompettes, the hornes, the olyphauntes, and the busynes to blowe, that suche a noyse made, that the see and the erthe retentyssed wyth alle, ibid. 183/6. Cf. 41/29, 49/10, 51/18, 60/31, 62/20, 64/30, 88/27, 94/29, 97/6, 99/8, etc.

§ 45. Place of the Object.

(A.) The object, when a noun, precedes the verb: 1. in emphatic sentences; 2. in clauses, especially before past participles and infinitives:—

1. Your loue and lady I shal yelde vnto you this day, Blanchardyn, 25/2; so smot they hem self wythin callyng vp a hyghe crye in to þe thikkest of their enmyes, where they slew and detrenched many one, And dyuerse tentes and pauyllons they pulled doune, ibid. 59/6; for so helpe me god, as I loue you wyth all my veraye herte, and am so esprysed wyth your loue, that reherce it to you I can not, ibid. 9/34; he toke his way forth on, and folke he met ynoughe by the waye, ibid. 98/30; to the rescue of blanchardyn cam also the goode prouost, ibid. 166/22.

2. Thenne the proude pucelle in loue, after a lytyl musyng, vnderstode well by the wordes of the captayne, and by the cognyssaunce that he tolde her of his horse, that he was that self knyght that thePage  civ kysse had taken of her, Blanchardyn, 51/26; I shal suffre for this nyght hym that so grete a dysplaysure hath don to me this day, ibid. 51/31; Blanchardyn thanked the messager, and prayed hym curtaysly that he wold haue hym for humbly recomended to the goode grace of the noble pucelle, that so fayre a present had sent to hym, ibid. 82/6; the paynem knyght, that was full curteys, made a token to hym that his request he dyde graunte, ibid. 90/26; and for thys werke to conducte and brynge to an ende, I graunte you euen now, and chose you, for to be in oure behalue Conestable and hed captayne of oure present armye, ibid. 100/27; and none of them abode there, but that he was ded or taken excepte som that fled awaye, that this tydynges brought to Alymodes, ibid. 191/9; that god that created the firmamente, and made alle thynges of noughte for the people to susteyne ... kepe and saue the, Aymon, 24/19; I complayne me to you of the foure sonnes of Aymon, that hathe my londe dystroyed and wasted, ibid. 89/13; they coude no counceil gyue, but said they were bygge ynough, Morte Darthur, 47/10.

(B.) The personal pronoun as an object is not bound by this rule. In Old English its place was generally before the finite verb, as may be seen from the Blickling Homilies, where more than 80 per cent. of the pronouns in the oblique case precede the verb. In Middle English prose the modern arrangement carries the day, and in Caxton there are but a small number of instances exhibiting the old use; but even in these the French influence may have been of some effect:—

I me recommende ryght humbly vnto your good grace, Blanchardyn, 133/18; and to the surplus, to the playsure of oure lorde, and hym playsed ye shal vnderstande by mouthe ferthere of myn astate, ibid. 134/4; and yf I maye take hym, I shall not leue hym, for the duke Aymon that shamfully is goon from me, nor for his foure sones that I haue made knyghtes, wherof I me repente sore, Aymon, 38/21; the kyng gaaf hym ayen his salute, and hym demaunded what he was, ibid. 40/26; he called afore hym his barons, and to theym sayd, ibid. 104/18; ye knowe wel the grete dishonour thei have doon to me, wherof I me complayne vnto you, ibid. 183/15; I you supplye with al myn herte that now ye wyll rewarde me wyth a yefte that I shal desyre, Charles the Grete, 49/28; therof, madame, I you assure, ibid. 92/30. Cf. 127/1, 159/19, 160/15; God me spede, said Blamor de ganys, Morte Darthur, 306/26; the kyng rode euen to her, and salewed her, and said god yow saue, ibid. 541/5; I haue none other wylle than to endeuoyre me þerto, how be it certayn that I may not acomplysshe to the regarde of the grete honour that ye haue me shewed, Melusine, 152/13; but it augmenteth my doulour, wherfore I you commande that ye cesse of this heuynes, ibid. 155/8; but thePage  cv hauoir that is departed amonges my felawes I may not it rendre or yeld to you, ibid. 211/6.

§ 46. Place of the Attribute.

(A.) One attribute.

In Old and Middle English, adjectives (as a rule) precede the noun; this before-putting, though not unfrequent in poetry, occurs rarely in prose. In Caxton, adjectives—not only of French, but also of Teutonic origin, as well as present and past participles—follow the noun, and we may safely say that this is due to French influence.

(B.) Of two adjectives belonging to the same noun, the first precedes, the second follows it. This is nearly like the French use; but Caxton was far from copying his original, he simply kept a very old good English tradition:—

  • Old English: Gif ænig man hæbbemódigne sunu and rancne,—Deuter. xxi. 18; to gódum lande and wídgillum, Exod. iii. 8; wæron on þis um felda unríme gesomnunga hwíttra manna and fægerra, Beda, v. 13; he gefór ... gód man and clæne and swiðe æðele, Chronicle, 1056; þat se anweald ... becume tó gódum men and tó wísum,—Boeth. xvi. 1.

  • Middle English: heo wulle under fon swa heȝ þing and swa hali swa is cristes licome, O. E. Hom., 25; þet frumkenede childe and þet lefeste,—ibid. 87; non þe ledeð feir lif and clene,—ibid. 137; monie wundre and muchele,—ibid. 139; þat loðeliche ward, and ateliche, and grisliche,—ibid. II. 5; lomb is drih þing and milde,—ibid. 49; þe olde men þe þo weren and lif holie, ibid. 51; after summ apel man & good,—Orm. 611; Rihhtwise men and gode,—ibid. 116; ſull mehhtiȝ mann and mœre,—ibid. 806;

  • 'Of hem woren ðe getenes boren,
    Migti men, and figti, [and] for-loren.'

    Story of Genesis and Exodus, 564;

  • 'A michel fier he sag, and an brigt.'

    ibid. 951;

  • 'Ghe bed him gold, and agte, and fe,
    To maken him riche man and fre.'

    ibid. 2018;

  • 'Long weige and costful he ðor fond.'

    ibid. 3880;

  • Troye, þat god mon was and wys,—Robert of Glos., p. 10; a lute bal and round,—Wright, Pop. Treat. on Science, p. 137; Sire Emerde Valence, gentil knyght and free,—Polit. Songs, (Camden Soc.) p. 216; ful modi man and proud,—Anecd., p. 2; He was hardy mon and strong,—Alis., 4402; the foulest contree, and the most cursed, and the porest,—Maundeville, p. 129; a heȝe ernde and a hasty,—Gawayne, 1051; to knawe god and lonye,—Ayenbite, 88; soþe blisse and ziker,—ibid. 93; þa is guod lyf and yblyssed, ibid.; a gode zone and trewe,—ibid. 101;Page  cvi and namely with a yong wif and a fair,—Chaucer, II. 327; an old man and a pore with hem mette, ibid. III. 98; of such a parfyt God and a stable,—ibid. III. 6; in a foul stynkynge stable and cold,—Wyclif, 17; in grete fatte hors and nedeles,—ibid. 60; gaie houses and costy,—ibid. 61; open heretiks and stronge,—ibid.; new song and costy,—ibid. 76; an heuenly yiefte and gostly,—ibid. 82; here worldly lif and cursed,—ibid. 99; proude men and delicate,—ibid. 120; wide cloþis and precious,—ibid. 128. Cf. ibid. 129, 140, 145, 156, 181, 223. I am come of gret blode and riall,—Gesta Romanorum, 23; a strong man and a mighty,—ibid. 42; a wise man and a redy,—ibid. 148; a noble man, and a worthi,—ibid. 172; riche yiftes and fair,—ibid. 190; a worthy knyȝt and a riche,—ibid. 202. Cf. ibid. 251, 264.

  • CAXTON: and so grete a stroke and so heuy he gaffe hym, Blanchardyn, 62/22; god hath well kept hym from so moche an hap and so hyghe,—ibid. 75/24; that knewe hym for a trusty man and secret,—ibid. 81/23; he lete fall vpon daryus suche a stourdy strok, and so grete, —ibid. 86/17; a grete tempeste roose in the see, and so horryble,—ibid. 97/20; that was a fayr knyght and yonge,—ibid. 110/2; ye shall doo as a wyse woman and well counseylled,—ibid. 178/1; the best tyme and most entier,—ibid. 179/5; the grete strokes and the dangerous,—Aymon, 392/9; that was a worthy knyghte and a wyse, —ibid. 504/20; a myghty spere and sharpe,—Charles the Grete, 48/27; O ryche emperour and noble,—ibid. 84/16; I had had ſyue of the valyauntest erles of ſraunce and of the grettest,—ibid. 88/3; she ledde them by an olde gate and secrete,—ibid. 94/1; in spayne he had XVI grete townes and stronge,—ibid. 205/6; she was called a fair lady and a passynge wyse,—Morte Darthur, 35/7; that is a passyng true man and a ſeythful, ibid. 38/29; that was a passyng good man and a yonge,—ibid. 52/8; thou art a boystous man and an vnlykely,—ibid. 84/20; he was a likely man and a well made,—ibid. 94/27; the best knyght and the myghtyest,—ibid. 192/35; many in this land of hyghe estate and lowe,—ibid. 198/1; this is an horryble dede and a shameful,—ibid. 211/13; this is a fowle custome and a shameful,—ibid. 310/31; they ſoughte vpon foote a noble batail togyders and a myghty, ibid. 346/21. Cf. 353/5, 408/16, 412/25, 425/31, 432/2, 435/7, 442/20, 509/2, and passim.

§ 47. Place of the Adverb.

There is an evident tendency in Caxton to place the adverb before the verb, and very often even before the subject:—

Thenne dylygently he demanded his mayster of the subtylnes of the werke, Blanchardyn, 15/7; Blanchardyn toward the stables tourned his waye, ibid. 17/20; right thus ... cam the yomen & grommes of þe stable makynge grete noyse and crye for þe grete courser of þe kynge, whiche that night was stolen fro theim, ibid. 19/10; (Blanchardyn)Page  cvii founde a knyght that lay there on the grounde, armed of all pieces, the whiche full pyteously complayned, ibid. 22/18; for hir sake I wyl fight with you in fauoure of þe good knight her true louer, þe whiche falsly, as an vntrewe knyght, ye haue be trayd, ibid. 26/11; they ſounde þe knyght, that awayted after theym, that well and curtoysly saluted Blanchardyn, ibid. 33/5; of the teerys that from her eyen fyll doune, her gowne that she had on was therof charged, ibid. 43/16; Blanchardyn herkned the prouost, to whom boldly he answered, ibid. 48/15. Cf. 72/31, 85/8, 86/21, 87/21, 99/4, 101/5, 131/26, 133/17, 140/9, 145/7, 147/25, 151/7, 164/31, 169/25, 186/11, 194/12.

This is especially striking in passive constructions, where the adverbial combination, stating by whom something is done precedes:—

So was he by the two doughters brought in to a chambre, Blanchardyn, 50/21; of what dethe mygt I do make hym to deye for to gyue vnto hym his payment of the grete oultrage by hym commytted in my persone, ibid. 52/30; and seen the battaylles and scarmysshynge that by them of the towne and their enmyes were made, So began he to be ful of thoughte, ibid. 59/27; syth he also perceyued the black sleue that vpon his helmet was sette fast, ibid. 63/27; many of the gretest of hem had ben slayn or taken, yf by the vertue and strengthe of blanchardyn they had not be socoured, ibid. 66/13; I doubte not that yf by aduenture she were out of his remembraunce, and by hym putte in oblyuyon, that god forbede but that sholde dey sodaynly, ibid. 74/1; he called blanchardyn his new Conestable and tolde hym how, by hym and his barons, was ordeyned to hym the charge and conduyte of his werre, ibid. 103/21; he sholde neuere haue Ioye at herte tyll that the deth of his brother, and the damage that he had receyued were by hym auenged, ibid. 107/24; he awoke out of his slepe thurghe the pyteouse erye that of his men was made, ibid. 113/16. Cf. ibid. 142/34, 143/31, 159/19, 161/11, 194/8, 9, 10, 199/4.

§ 48. Apposition.

A word in apposition to a possessive genitive is, in Middle English, and still in Caxton, put after the noun governing the genitive (Cf. Skeat, notes to Piers Plowman, pp. 42, 157, 307, 329; Zupitza, Guy of Warwick, l. 687). This arrangement is very old, though the modern one may be found exceptionally as early as the Chronicle, about the year 890:—

  • Old English: for his wed broðeres luuen Oswi, Chronicle, 656 (Laud MS.); for Saxulfes luuen þer abbodes, ibid. (very frequent); on Torcvines dagum þæs oſer módan cyninges, Boethius, 16/1;Page  cviii be Cnútes dæge cinges,—Hickes, Dissert., ep. p. 2. (Quoted by Mætzner, Grammar, III., p. 355.)

  • Middle English: þurh daviðes muð þe prophete, Old English Hom., I. 139; in august time þe Imparour, Cursor Mundi, 11277; ion heued, þi prisun, ibid. 13167; in Kynges hous Arthor, Gawayne, 2275; þe duches doȝter of Tyntagelle, ibid. 2465; for marye loue of heuene, Piers Plowman, B I, 157; for the lordes loue of heuene, ibid., B VI., 19; the kynges metynge Pharao, Chaucer, V. 163; that was the kynge Priamus sone of Troye, ibid. IV. 108; and byd him that on alle thynge That he take up Seys body, the kynge, ibid. V. 159; the faire yonge Ypsiphile the shene That whilom Thoas doughter was the kynge, ibid. V. 321; to praye for my lordes soule,—Sir Thomas West, Early English Wills, 7/4, 5; on þe maydenys halfe Blanchflowre,—Zupitza, Guy of Warwick, 687; the dewkys men Segwyne, ibid. 2427; my lordes sone þe emperowre, ibid. 2827; the erlys doghtur Rohawte, ibid. 4005; the erlys sone Awbrye, ibid. 4339, 5352, 6054, etc.; goddes sone of heuen,—Perry, Religious Pieces, p. 2.

  • CAXTON: for syn that he was departed from his fadres house, the kynge of fryse, [he] had nothre eten nor dronken, Blanchardyn, 31/21; but wel he tolde hym that he sholde be well lodged in the prouostys house of the towne,—ibid. 46/3; here foloweth the ballade that was wryton vpon the gate of the prouostis place of Tourmaday,—ibid. 46/21; for right moche he desyred to shewe hymself, for his ladyes loue, doughter to kyng Alymodes,—ibid. 83/9; the kynges sone of Irelond,—Morte Darthur, 80/23; I loue Gweneuer, the kynges doughter Lodegrean,—ibid. 100/15; his name is syr gauayne kyng Lots sone of Orkeney,—ibid. 108/37; I am the lordes doughter of this castel,—ibid. 127/30; his name is Marhaus the kynges sone of Irelond,—ibid. 141/4; for the kynges loue of heuen,—ibid. 177/32; he sawe his broders sheld syr Lyonel,—ibid. 185/6, etc.; of the kyngis deth of Armenye,—Melusine, 178/14.

  • There are also two instances of the modern construction:—

    (They) gaff eche other soo vnmesurable strokes that the kynge of Polonye spere brake al to peces, Blanchardyn, 108/1; they ſonde three of þe kynge of frysys seruauntes,—ibid. 112/17.

§ 49. Contraction.

Instead of saying 'the ſather came, and the son came,' as primitive tribes still do, we use the contraction 'the father and the son came.' Caxton exhibits several interesting traces of that state of the language, which takes the middle course between the primitive repetition (anaphora), and the modern contraction.

  • 1. Two adjectives and one noun:—

    Page  cix

    The grete strokes and the dangerous, Aymon, 392/2 (instead of 'the grete and dangerous strokes.' See above, § 46).

  • 2. Two subjects and one predicate:—

    (He answered) that he sholde putte peyne that his honoure sholde be kepte, and his body ayenst hym, Blanchardyn, 48/19; hym semed, yf he wold be baptysed and all his folk, and to byleue in our feith, that the tempeste shold breke, ibid. 137/18; wold subyon or not, and all his helpes, the noble lady, proude of loue, was taken oute of his power, ibid. 197/20.

  • 3. One verb and two objects:—

    They were in a grete daunger of Subyon, that damaged theym ryght sore, and their place, Blanchardyn, 200/29.

  • 4. One object governed by two verbs:—

    But the knyght, that was ryght curteys, guyded hym and conduyted a whyle, Blanchardyn, 39/30.

To sum up:—Caxton's syntax, on the whole, is nearer Chaucer than Shakspere; and there is a still greater kinship between his prose and that of the fourteenth century, than that of the Elizabethan age. In reading Caxton's books, the general impression resembles very much that received by reading The Tale of Melibeus, or even Maundeville; and the results of a minute analysis agrees with that impression. It is true, many peculiarities of Caxton's language turn up also in Shakspere and Spenser; but we must keep in mind, that there is always a sort of tradition in poetry, which links together the remotest periods, while in simple prose, as in daily life, the distance of times is of great influence. There is a wide gap between the language in Spenser's Faërie Queene, not to speak of the Shepherd's Calendar, and his View of the State of Ireland.

Thus, the plural of abstracts is very frequent in the poem, but very rare in the prose treatise; the article is extremely often omitted in the former, while it is used in the latter, etc.

There are several points, which draw a very marked line between Caxton's syntax and that of the sixteenth century:—

  • 1. Ye, not you, is still, with a few exceptions, the nominative of the 2nd pers. plural personal pronoun. This is quite common in Berners. See p. xiii.

  • Page  cx
  • 2. Adjectives referring to preceding nouns are not yet followed by one. See p. xxviii.

  • 3. The personal pronoun, when a subject, is still very often omitted. See p. xxxiii.

  • 4. Self is still considered an adjective, as seen by the 3rd person plural: themselfe, never themselves. The latter becomes the rule about the middle of the sixteenth century.

  • 5. Who (in the nominative) as a relative pronoun is still unknown.

  • 6. The indefinite pronoun one is not yet used; in its stead we find men. See p. xlvi, §15.

  • 7. Constructions like 'we are banished the court' are not yet in use; there seems to be still a rigid observance of the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs, with regard to the passive voice. See p. lv.

  • 8. Agreement between tenses (consecutia temporum) is not yet strictly observed. See p. lviii.

  • 9. The infinitive absolute is still in use. See p. lxvi.

  • 10. The arrangement of words is much more free than in later times. See pp. ci—cix.



'IN his translation of this work, Caxton shows himself piously literal. Words and phrases, both foreign and unusual, he transferred bodily to his text; nothing ever deterred him, simply because it was French; he wandered along every winding of the sentences he was rendering, and brought them over with all their sinuosities into English. In consequence, his translation is perhaps one of the most literal that has ever been produced in the English language; and though to some extent stilted and even awkward, yet it is impossible not to admire his faithfulness to his original; and the very quaintness of those peculiarities of language sometimes adds a charm to his composition.'—Octavia Richardson, in the Introduction to her edition of The Four Sonnes of Aymon, E. E. T. Soc., p. vii.

Page  cxi

I don't think Caxton was such a pious slave. His translation of Blanchardyn, no doubt, is as 'quaint' and even as 'awkward' as that of The Four Sonnes of Aymon; but I cannot admit Miss Octavia Richardson's statement with regard to his 'piety.' On the other hand, I contend that he was as good and free a translator as any of the 15th century, and in his style certainly not inferior to Peacock, the greatest prosaist of his time.

What makes Caxton's style appear so awkward in the eyes of a modern reader, is his repetitions, tautologies, and anacolutha. But these irregularities are, for the most part, conscious sins, committed not only by him, but also by all the writers of his time. Read the following sentences from Malory, whose like never occurs in Blanchardyn or Aymon, and you will admit that Caxton was a very able translator, for his time:—

Well, saide Merlyn / I knowe whome thou sekest / for thou sekest Merlyn / therfore seke no ferther / for I am he, Morte Darthur, 36/16—18; and moche blood they bledde bothe / that al the place there as they ſaught was ouer bledde with blood, ibid. 71/26—28; but traueilynge men are ofte wery, and their horses to / but though my hors be wery / my hert is not wery, ibid. 96/21—23; for I haue sene many of their sheldes that I knowe on yonder tree / there is kayes shelde / & sir braundeles sheld / and syr Marhaus sheld, and syre Galyndes shelde, and syre Bryan de lystnoyse sheld, and syr Alydukes sheld with many mo, ibid. 195/36, 196/4; and toke his swerd redy in his hand, redy vnto bataylle / and they were al armed in black harneis redy with her sheldes, ibid. 206/18—20; but alweyes quene gweneuer preysed syr kay for his dedes / and sayd what lady that ye loue / and she loue yow not ageyne, she were gretely to blame, ibid. 122/15—17; thenne ther was a lady in that countrey that had loued kynge Melyodas longe / And by no meane she neuer coude gete his loue; therfore she lete ordeyne vpon a day as kynge Melyodas rode on huntynge / for he was a grete chacer / and there by an enchauntement she made hym chace an herte by hym self alone / til that he came to an old castel, ibid. 273/19—25; but as yet he may not yet sytt sure on horsbak / for he that shalle be a good horsman / hit must come of vsage and excercyse, ibid. 344/23—25; and as she wold haue ranne vpon the swerd, and to haue slayne herself / alle this aspyed kyng Marke / how she kneled doune and saide / swete lord Ihesu haue merey vpon me, ibid. 368/34, 369/2; now maye ye saye, sayd syr launcelot vnto youre frendes, how & who hath delyuered you, ibid. 199/24—26; thenne syr, he sayd, my name is Garoth, and broder vnto syr Gawayn of fader and moder,Page  cxiiibid. 218/21, 22; fy on you bothe, said sir Gahoryse, for a fals traitour / and fals treason hast thou wrouȝt / and he both vnder the fayned chere that ye made vs, ibid. 403/29—31; but the Kynge of Irland whos name was Marhalt, and fader to the good knyghte sir Marhaus that sire Tristram slewe, had alle the speche that sir Tristram myghte here it, ibid. 529/19—22; he told he of whens he was / and sone vnto Launcelot, ibid. 622/3, 4.

Of course, Caxton followed the drift of the narrative in his original as closely as possible; but so far as I am aware, there is no ground whatever for supposing that he slavishly sacrificed the genius of his native language to Latin or French. It will be seen by the Introduction that Caxton's Syntax is essentially English, as much so as that of Chaucer and Gower; his arrangement of words is, in spite of his original, truly Saxon; and even in his introduction of foreign words, he only continued what the preceding centuries had begun.

There are a very few decided Frenchisms in Blanchardyn; but these are rather slips of the pen, than intended or conscious innovations. Such are require, demand, governing the dative case, see § 6, p. xxiii; swear, with the accusative, see § 7, p. xxiv, A; the article used in the vocative case, § 7, a; the his, § 7, b, p. xxvi. Cf. Dr. Furnivall, Introduction to Eneydos, p. xix.

As strong evidence against Miss Richardson's opinion, I quote the fact that there is not one instance of the French moi = I being translated by 'me'! See § 4, p. xi. With regard to Caxton's style, its main feature is the tiresome tautology, which is apparently produced by the translator's desire to make as much as he could of his work, to render it as showy as possible;*. [Compare the American girl who liked creaky shoes because they announced her coming and made folk look at her.] his whole age was affected by this fashion of intolerable verbosity: to convey an idea through the medium of as many words as possible was considered as a beauty of style.

This appears first in the choice of words. Generally, one French expression is rendered by two consecutive synonyms; sometimes the first of these is the word of the original, sometimes another; sometimes one is French, the other Saxon; sometimes one strange, the other familiar:—

Page  cxiii

Regned in fryse a kynge of right benewred and happy fame (orig. de tres horeuse renomme), Blanchardyn, 11/10; but priuated and voyde he was of the right desyred felicite, 12/1; of lignage or yssue of his bodye (orig. lignie), 12/2; I leue to telle the bewayllyngis and lamentaciouns (orig. regretz), 12/4; by her self al alone in solytary places (orig. en lieux solitaires), 12/6; now it is soo that atte his byrthe and comyng in to this world (orig. a laduenement duquel), 12/12; sourded and rose vp (orig. sourdy), 12/14; prest and redy (orig. preste), 23/20; by his behauoure and contenaunce, men myght well knowe that he was departed and come of noble extraction and hyghe parentage (orig. haulte lignee), 50/16, 18; I holde hym so courtoys and dyscret, or wyse, 54/27; for bothe of hem loued sore blanchardyn, and right enamored they were ouer hym, 66/24; Amoures or loue serued her wyth a messe, 67/17; she sette neuere nought by amours and loue, 75/15; Blanchardyn sawe and perceyued the noble, 77/1; mouyd wyth grete wrath and yre, 92/7; she wolde not putte in oblyuyon nor forgete hym, 94/11; she myght see ne chuse the nauye, 135/28; she byganne to chuse and perceyue the saylles, 135/30; to gyue socoure and helpe vnto her, 150/16; the grete malyuolence or euyll wylle, 153/21; (the proude pucelle) mounted vp to a high toure for to see and beholde the batayl, 163/14; right grete was the effucyon or shedyng of blode, 165/22; wythout answer nor replye, 189/32.

It is, however, worth noting that the original too sometimes indulges in slight tautologies:—

Pourquay ne a quelle cause, 22/20; ne le sceut ne peult, 52/21, 66/10, 103/5, 122/20.

A second sort of tautology is Caxton's additions of his own, for which there is not the slightest necessity whatever. (But who of us doesn't like touching up other men's work?) Compare the following instances, to which many more can be added:—

Blanchardyn grewe in beawte, wytte, and goode maners beyonde mesure, and passed all other of his age, 13/10, 11; and recounted vnto him his mayster ... the right grete valyaunce of Hector of Troylus, Parys and Deyphebus brederen, and of Achilles, 15/15; after, he demaunded of his mayster, the names and blasure of the armes, 15/23; wythout that ony body coude telle any tydynges where he was becomen, 18/13; thenne Blanchardyn, moued of pyte, alyght from his courser, and sette fote on erthe, 23/9; to thees wordes sayde Blanchardyn to the knyght, and prayed hym that he vousshesauff to helpe hym, 24/1; he sholde auenge hym of his enmye, and that he shulde yelde ayen his lady vnto hym, 24/5; and that he shulde therfore dye shamefully in that place, 27/2; and yf thou auaunce, or haste not thy self, I shal doo passe this same spyerePage  cxiv thrughe the myddes of thy body, 27/17; O thou proude berdles boye (orig. garchon), 27/24; (Blanchardyn) syn departed, sore troubled atte herte for the pyteouse dethe of the two true louers, 31/1; (he) had nothre eten nor dronken, but onely that whyche he fonde vpon the trees growynge in the grete forest, as crabbes and other wylde frutes that are wonte to growe in wodes, 31/24, 25; (a marener) brought hym a boote goode and sure that from the knyght of the ffery was sent vnto hym, 32/26; right well it were your fayt and welthe for to goo rendre your personne vnto her, 38/10; she rydeth the lytyl paas vpon her swete and softe palfraye (orig. sa haguenee), 38/23. Cf. 44/1, 4, 12, 46/18, 26, 50/10, 52/3, 55/13, 20, 56/21, 58/30, 59/11, 63/12, 64/6, 65/34, etc.

There are very few passages in which Caxton is less verbose than the original. Cf. 24/16, 44/6, 65/16.

There are also few instances in which Caxton seems to have misinterpreted the French:—

For syth that by fayre meanes thou wylt not yelde agen the pucelle, thou most nedes deffende the nowe, ayenst me, the right that thou pretendest vpon her (orig. Il te conuient contre moi deffendre le droit que tu y pretendez a auoir), 27/15, 16. Cf. 29/1.

The sudden transition from one construction to another is pretty frequent in Caxton, and seems, to a certain degree, to have been considered as a figure of speech. Compare the following passages:—

For I confesse me not lerned, ne knowynge the arte of rhetorik, ne of suche gaye termes as now be sayd in these dayes and vsed, Blanchardyn, 2/11; soo that by his dylygence taken wyth an ardaunt desyre, fonde hymself nyghe her and of her maystres wythin a short space of tyme, 41/24; O thou free knyght, replenysshed wyth prowesse and of grete wordynesse, haue mercy vpon our fadre, 49/15; (then sayd blanchardyn) that hym semed yf he wold be baptysed and all his folk, and to byleue in our feith, that the tempeste shold breke, 137/18; I gyue my self vnto you, prayeng that ye wol saue bothe me and my cyte, and to take vs in to your mercy, 142/14.

Against the first important principle of modern composition, the unity of sentence, Caxton often sins. Such strong anacolutha as the following would be impossible nowadays; but Caxton and his contemporaries used them without any scruple.

  • 1. A principal sentence co-ordinate with a participle clause; a perfect tense being substituted for a participle, or having its conjunction and subject suppressed:—

    Page  cxv

    The knyght thenne beholdynge the Iouencell Blanchardyn that right yong man was, and sawe hym alone, Rose anone vpon his feet, Blanchardyn, 26/16; and euyn at these wordes cam the prouost tyl his owne knowlege ageyne, and vnderstandyng that he had lost the felde for cause of the stourdy stroke that he had receyued of the spere of blanchardyn, And sayde in this maner, 49/22; Alimodes, seeng his enmyes cam a lande, and in so fayre ordonaunce y-sette of that one part, and of that other syde he sawe them of the cyte that cam wyth a grete puyssaunce vpon hym and his folke, It is well ynough to be byleued, that he was not well assured, 162/24; Alymodes seeng his folke lose grounde, and were smytten ded doun right by the hyghe prouesse and grete worthynes of blanchardyn, desyred sore wyth al his herte to joyne hym self wyth hym, 167/20; the kynge Alymodes, seeng his folke that fled, his cheff standarde ouer thrawen and layng vpon the grounde, His barons all to bet adoune, and also sawe that Impossyble it was to hym to escape hym self quyk from the bataylle, wherfore, assone as he mygt, or euer that a more grete myscheff sholde happe vnto hym, cam and yelded hym self, 195/16.

  • 2. Direct speech interrupting an indirect one. See Noun Clauses, § 40, p. xcv.

  • 3. A principal sentence co-ordinate with a relative clause:—

    (She) douted leest he shuld sette his loue on one of the doughters of the prouoste, whom she hasteli sente for and spake to hym [= to whom she spoke] as it foloweth, Blanchardyn, 69/12; and of another part she sawe a grete noumbre of folke that retourned to the tentes, [and then she] thoughte wel, and also her hert Iudged and gaf it to her, that that was the worthy blanchardyn, 89/16; how sodayne toke leue of his fader the kyng, and [how] so dyde Blanchardyn, and [how both] toke the see wyth a grete naue, 125/16; he was cast in to an hauen of the see of the sayde lande, where he made grete wast, [where he] toke and slewe many men, and [whence] many he dyde brynge wyth hym prysoners, 145/15; certes, who-someuer brought her this sorowfull and pyteouse tydynge, I doubte not but that she shold slee her self, 155/30; he perceyued a right myghty nauey, wherof they that were comen vpon lande, he sawe hem in grete nombre, 162/3.

  • 4. Other instances:—

    (He) byganne for to desyre the goode grace of the same proude pucelle in amours, wythout makynge of eny semblaunt, nor to dyscouere [= or discovering] it to the knyght, Blanchardyn, 37/15; (she) commaunded hym to presente hit hastely from her behalue vnto blanchardyn prayng hym that for her sake and loue, to dye [= he would dye] the whyt coloure in to red, 168/21; whan the proude pucelle in amours sawe her frende blanchardyn departed from herPage  cxvi chambre, where she lened vpon a wyndowe that loked vpon the see, makyng full pyteouse rewthes for her loue that she sawe, nor neuer thens she wolde departe as longe as she myght see the shyppes, 174/28 [where she = she there].


The story of Blanchardyn and Eglantyne, not being connected with the great epic subjects of the Middle Ages, viz., Arthur and Charlemagne, has hitherto been but very little dealt with in the literary history of England and France. We therefore seem still rather in the dark about the origin and development of the story. Up to now, the following versions are known:—

  • I. In French verse, all in MS.:

    • 1. Bibl. Nationale, Fr. 375.
    • 2. Bibl. Nationale, Fr. 19,152.
    • 3. Turin, coté 44/158, I K 35.
    • 4. British Museum, Additional, 15, 212, ff. 197—266 b.
    • 5. Fragments, communicated by Paul Meyer, Romania, 1889.
    • 6. Fragments of a Middle High-German translation, or rather rehandling, communicated by Haupt, Germania, xiv, p. 68 ff.

  • II. In prose, 2 French in MS., 3 English in print:

    • 1. Bibliothèque Nationale, Fr. 24,371.
    • 2. Bibliothèque Royale, Brussels.*. [Michelant prints the chapter-headings of this in the Introduction to his Blancandin, pp. xiii—xviii.]
    • 3. Caxton, unique, 1489 (?): here reprinted.
    • 4. 1595, in two Parts, unique. At Britwell. For the ſull title, see p. 227.
    • 5. 1597. Part I., unique: Public Library, Hamburgh.

In 1867, H. Michelant published at Paris an edition of the French Romance, Blancandin et L'Orgueilleuse d'Amour, from the MS. 375 in Paris, and the Addit. MS. British Museum. The Poem had before been analyzed by Emile Littré in the Histoire littéraire tome xxii (1852), pp. 765—778, and Henry Ward has described the Museum MS. in his Catalogue of Romances in the B. Mus. (1883) i. 727-8. He says:—

Page  cxvii

BLANCHANDIN ET ORGUEILLOSE D'AMORS. A poem of adventures, in about 4800 octosyllabic lines. French. 'Blanchandin is the son of a king of "Frise" (Phrygia?). He has been kept in ignorance of chivalry, till he sees some figures upon a tapestry. He steals away from home, and, after a ſew adventures, kisses Orgueillose d'Amors, the Princess of Tormadai (apparently in or near Syria), out of sheer bravado. Her indignation is before long changed into affection. She is besieged by another suitor. Blanchandin is taken prisoner. He is shipwrecked on the coast of India. In the end he returns to Tormadai with Indian allies under a Prince Sadoine, and they relieve Orgueillose d'Amors.'

M. Michelant thus sketches the contents of the earliest version of the story in the St. Germain MS. 1239, of the 13th century, which contains 4,826 lines (p. v—vii):—

'Blancandin has fled from his Father's court—where the practice of arms was forbidden him—to seek adventures abroad. On his road, a knight advises him to go and kiss, in the midst of her retinue, the beauteous Orgueilleuse d'amour, whose name denotes her character. This audacious deed stirs most highly the wrath of the young princess. She vows she will take astounding vengeance on the culprit, who has fled. She recognises him next day in the middle of a tourney where he carries off the prize; but the valour and good looks of the young knight make love supplant hatred in her heart; and the two lovers have just avowed their mutual feelings, when an old Saracen king (Alimodes) arrives, who besieges l'Orgueilleuse d'amour, to force her to marry him, in spite of her repeated refusals. Blancandin offers to defend her, and distinguishes himself in the fight; but, overpowered by numbers, is taken prisoner. In vain is the highest ransom offered to the Saracen king. He has sworn the death of his rival, and sends him captive to a King of the Indies, whose brother, Blancandin had slain in battle.

'During the voyage, a storm rises, which wrecks the vessel, and Blancandin alone escapes. He arrives safe and sound at the court of a certain King of Athens, who is besieged by a powerful enemy. Blancandin offers his services to the King, and frees him. The King, from gratitude, wishes to marry Blancandin [to his daughter?], but Blancandin, faithful to 'the Lady-proud-in-love,' refuses. He conſides his secret to the King's son (Sadoine), with whom he is bound in firm friendship, and both embark to succour the still-besieged Princess. At sea, they meet some of her folk; and Blancandin, without making himself known, charges them to announce his speedy arrival, for the purpose of delivering her. But, in very sight of the harbour, a tempest drives them away, and Blancandin takes advantage of the terror of his companions, to convert and baptise them. He lands, with his friend Sadoine, in the very kingdom of the PrincePage  cxviii (Alimodes) who was besieging the Lady-proud-in-love, where his own Father was moaning in the direst captivity. Blancandin promises to give Sadoine in marriage the daughter of King Alimodes, a young and beautiful Saraceness who, in the customary way, at first sight falls in love with the Knight (Sadoine), whom she sees out hunting. Blancandin takes the city, kills the King's son Darie, gives his sister in marriage to his friend Sadoine, and sets his own father free. Then all retake the road to Tormaday, where the Lady-proud-in-love is besieged. She sends her Provost to know who the new-comers are, and to ask them for help. The Provost—who had formerly been Blancandin's host—recognises him, and announces his arrival to the Lady-proud. She wants to prepare a brilliant reception for him, while his foe Alimodes, on his side, makes ready for battle. In the middle of the fight, the Lady-proud, to encourage Blancandin, sends him her sleeve on the point of a spear; he redoubles his efforts, and puts his rival to flight. Alimodes re-embarks in all haste. And the two lovers, united at last, after so many thwartings, celebrate their marriage; and the wedding ended, every one, says the poet in concluding, goes home,

S'en vet en sa contrée.'

The end of the text is—Michelant, p. 208:—

Et quant la messe fut chantée,Tuit s'en vont en la tor quarrée.Mult i ot harpes et vieles,Et tantes melodies beles:Tuit li baron del païs né,Iiii jors i sont séjorné.Au quint departent lor mesniée,En lor terre l'ont envoiée.Le roi de Frise s'en revet,Et en sa contrée s'en vet.Arriere s'en revet Sadoine,A sa moiller en Cassidoine,Des or a Blanchandins amie,Sage et proz sans vilenie.Blanchandins est sires et dus:Li romans faut; je n'en sai plus.Explicit de B. et de O.

This, says M. Michelant (p. vii) is the original story. But we have two other versions of it which run almost side by side, and differ from the original romance by an addition of about 1200 lines.

The second version is that in the Turin MS. coté 44/158, I K 35, a small quarto of the 13th century (copied A.D. 1331), of which the first Part may have been taken from the St. Germain MS. 1239, with a few copier's changes, while the second Part is singularly close to the 3rd version in MS. 375 (formerly 6987) in the National Library, Paris, which Michelant has printed. The Turin MS. (Mich. p. 210) ends thus:—

XIIII jors dura la cours.Qant Blanchandins fu coronés,Sadoines est arrier alésO sa moillier de Carsidonie.Ensi se departi SadoineDe son compaignon Blanchandin.Nostre chanĉons prant ici fin.Explicit de Blanchandin.

Page  cxix

The story of the later addition to the first version of the Romance is thus told by M. Michelant on pages viii, ix, of his edition:—

'In the fight which ended in raising the siege of Tormadai, Sadoine, who had slain the brother of Alimodes, was taken prisoner by the latter, and sent to Cassidonie [Chalcedony], to be there put to death. Blancandin sets out to succour his friend, and delivers him at the moment he was to be strung up on a gallows, notwithstanding the prayers of the daughter of Alimodes, who begged in vain for pardon for her spouse. Alimodes is conquered again. But, during the absence of Blancandin, his Seneschal—in whose guard he had left the Lady-proud-in-love—gets together the chief Lords of the country, and plots with them to carry off at once both the Crown and Love of Blancandin, that he, the Seneschal, may force her to marry him. Two vassals who remain faithful, conduct Orgueilleuse to a castle, where the treacherous Seneschal besieges them. They, however, find means to warn Blancandin, who hastens to return to Tormadai to revenge himself. The traitor flees,—pursued closely by Blancandin and his friend Sadoine,—and takes refuge at a neighbouring brigand's, where he hopes to get rid of the two knights who have isolated themselves in the ardour of their pursuit. They, though received with apparent good-will, suspect a snare; they persist in keeping their arms, in spite of the most pressing invitations to give them up; and, seizing on a favourable moment, they cut to pieces the band of robbers, and carry off their leader and the Seneschal, whom they punish with death. After this exploit, Blancandin returns to Tormadai, where he celebrates his nuptials and those of his friend Sadoine, with the greatest magnificence.'

Such, says M. Michelant, is the new ending of the poem in the MSS. of Turin and the French National Library, 375. The differences of it in these MSS. consist only in this, that in the Turin MS. the episode of the amours of Sadoine with the daughter of Alimodes, the first interview of the two lovers, and the combats which precede the taking of Cassidonie are treated at greater length, and with details which are not found in the other version.*. [Does not this point to the Turin version being the later of the two?]

The chapter-headings do not agree, word for word, with Caxton's. They divide the Story into 3 Parts, and differ in expression, as the englishing of a few below will show:—

This present book contains 3 Treatises, of which the First speaks of the birth of Blanchendin; how he set out from the court (ostel) of his Father, and why; how he became a knight, and how he kissed l'Orgueilleuse d'amours: the which first Treatise is divided Page  cxx into 10 Chapters, of which the First tells of the birth of Blanchendin, of the joy which sprang from it, and how he was put to study as soon as he was of fit age (eut aage), and how he got on (profita).

The 2nd Chapter tells how, on the information (relacion) of his Master, and also because of his own inclination, his departure is settled (l. 125 of the Verse-text).…

The 10th Chapter tells in what manner Blanchendin managed to kiss (parvint au baisier de) the Proud-Lady-of-Love, and of the displeasure that she took at it (ab. line 687 of the Verse-text).

The Second Treatise tells how Blanchendin came to Tourmaday, and how he fought his Host; how and by what means he recovered the good-will of the Proud-Lady-of-Love, and of the imprisonment of the above-named; and contains 16 Chapters, of which the First tells of the sharp grief that the Proud-Lady-of-Love made on account of the aforesaid kiss; of the arguments between her, and her mistress who comforted her (ab. line 710 of the Verse-text).

The 2nd Chapter speaks of the threats of the Lady-Proud-in-Love to Blanchendin, and how Blanchendin came to Tourmaday to lodge; of the Provost, and the verses which he found on the Provost's door (line 781 of the Verse-text).…

The 16th Chapter tells how Blanchendin slew the King of the Giants; how Blanchendin was captured; of the grief which the Lady-Proud-in-Love made thereat; how she sent the Provost to (devers) Allimodes for the ransom of Blanchendin; and of the refusal of Allimodes, and how he had Blanchendin shipt off (fist enmener) by sea (line 1903 of the Verse-text).

The Third Treatise tells how Blanchendin behaved himself (se gouverna) at Athens towards the King; of his return; of the conquest of Cassidonie; how he recognized his Father; of the victory that he won against Allimodes and against the traitor Subiien; and is divided into 22*. [Michelant prints xii., but gives headings of xxij.] Chapters, of which the First says that Allimodes had Blanchendin shipt off; and how, by chance, he (Blanchendin) was saved from the dangers of the sea, and pretended to be a Saracen (line 2119 of the Verse-text).

The 2nd Chapter tells how Blanchendin was retained by the King of Athens, and brought to good end (lui acheva) a war that he had in hand (auoit). (line 2285 of the Verse-text).…

The 22nd Chapter tells how Subien thought to save himself; and the way he was taken, and then hanged (line 5954 of the Verse-text).

We evidently want an edition of the Brussels MS., to show its full differences from Caxton's original.

As to Blanchardyn pretending to be a Saracen, the Verse-text says (p. 75) that after escaping to land from the shipwreck,

Page  cxxi

Il est en .I. tertre montés:Devant lui vëoit tors assesHautes, qui furent Rubien,Un roi du lin Octevien.Octeviens fu rois de Grece;Rubiens fu roi de Losgece.Son barnage ot par grant poesteTrestout ensanle à une feste;Paiens i ot et Sarrasins.Lors se porpense BlancandinsComment il pëust escaper,C'arriere se puist retorner.Diu reclama, le fil Marie,Que il li puist sauver sa vie,Sarrasin dist qu'il se fera,Et lor langage parlera,Car il set bien Sarrisonois,Et bien Latin, et bien Grigois,D'une herbe son visage frie,Lors fu plus noirs que pois boulie.A tant s'en torne le marois.Devant sa tor sëoit li rois:Il ot la barbe et les grenonsDusqu'as orelles gros et lons …

To enable the reader to judge how Caxton's French-prose original expanded and altered the poem, the last 50 lines of M. Michelant's text are given below. The robbers arm to attack Blanchardyn and Sadoine:—

Lors sont li laron haubergié,Puis issent de la cambre hors.Selvains s'escrie, li plus fors:"Signor, prendes ces .II. glotons.Fremes les huis que les aions.Si me faites cel pont lever,Qu'il ne s'en puissent escaper."Blancandins voit le traïson,Et a dit à son compaignon:"Companis, dist il, nos sons trahi.Ce sont larron que je voi ci.S'or ne deffent cascuns sa vie,Jamais ne reverra s'amie.Veïstes mais tele aventure?Mult par est fols li hom qui jureDe rien qui avenir li doie."Lors recommence li harnoie.Li larron les dansiaus requierentEt cil as brans d'acier i fierent.Au premier colp ocist Selvain,Blancandin le fiert de sa main;Après a l'autre porfendu,Et Sadoines i a feruA une hace qu'il trova;.III. des ciés du bu sevra.Que vous feroie plus lonc conte?Tous les ocient à grant honte;N'en escapa viex ne kennus.Subiiens i fu reconnus;Nel vaurent pas illuac ocire,Ains l'enmenront à lor empire.Le matinet, à l'esclairier,Joste le fu le vont loier.Asses li font et duel et paine;Puis donent lor cevaus avaine,Et de la vitaille au larronSe courrerent li baron.Asses orent, et un et el,Et el demain wident l'ostel.Si enmainent lor prisonier;Tant penserent de chevaucier,Que repairié sont à lor gentQui d'aus estoient mult dolent;Mais deseur tot fait grant dolorMa dame Orgilleuse d'amor.Mais quant son dru voit revenir,A ses .II. bras le va saisir,Et cil le baise, et ele lui.Là s'entrespusent ambedui;S'es espousa .I. archevesques.Ases i ot abes et vesques,Et menestreus et ionglëurs. .VIII. jors entiers dura la cours, Et Blancandins fu coronés,Et Sadoines s'en est r'alésO sa moillier en Cassidoine.Blancandins se part de Sadoine.CHI FINE DE BLANCANDINS.

As another sample, take the incident of the kiss, and note how the prose writer has supprest much of the Maid-of-Honours' talk, and has made Blanchardyn kiss Eglantine only once, instead of threePage  cxxii times. Orgilleuse's barons are talking of the uselessness of suitors courting their mistress (p. 22, l. 633):—

Blancandins n'ot soing de lor feste,Ains chevauce, pas ne s'aresteDesor les mules Sarrasines:Là chevauchierent les mescines,Et si vont .II. et .II. ensanle.Li damoisiaus mult biaus lor sanleEt mult lor plaist à esgarder.L'une commenĉa à parler,Cele estoit fille au roi d'Espagne;Si le mostra à sa compaigne:"Ves quel dansel sor cel destrier!Com a gent cors per embracier!Ki'n porroit faire ses soulasA son plaisir, entre ses bras,Tos tans auroit joie d'amor;Jamais n'aroit nule paor.Car plëust ore au fil Marie,Qu'il fesist de moi s'amie!L'autre dist: "Ce seroit damage:Trop estes de legier corage.Si ne vous ameroit por rien;Mais en-droit moi seroit il bien,Car il est biax, et je sui bele,Virge de cors, gente pucele. Si ameroit miex mon deduitQue le vostre, si cum je cuit."L'autre pucele s'en aïre,Par mautalent li prist à dire:"Damoisele, trop estes baude, Et de vostre corage caude.Se or le voloit commencier,Ancui le porroit assaierLaquels feroit mix à plaisirU jou, u vous, à lui servir." Tant se sont entreamprosnéesQue andeus se fuissent mellées,Mais eles n'osent; si se tienent,Car Orgilleuse d'amor criementCascure forment le redoute,Et ele vient après sa route,Desor son palefroi NoroisDont li resne furent d'orfrois.La testiere fu bien ouvrée,.I. fevre i mist mainte jornée.Les clokes furent, et les serres,Aportées d'estranges terres.Li poitraus fu de mult ciere œvre,Mainte escalete d'or le cœvre.Toute la sele o le cevalFu covers d'un vermel cendal.De jouste li fu sa maitresse,Ki n'a perdue mainte messeEt mainte voie de moustierPor li et duire et castoier.Blancandins chevauce par forceTot .I. cencin, lés une roce,Et vit Orgilleuse d'amors.De li baisier fu angoissous,Et dist qu'il nel lairra por voirQue il n'en face son pooir,Coique soit ore del falir;Miex en vorroit après morir!Lors point son ceval, et eslesseEntre la dame et la maistresse,Jà nel tenra on por malvais.Cele part vint de plain eslais,Entre les .II. dames se mist,Et de l'autre tant s'entremist,Ains qu'ele fust bien acointie,L'ot Blancandins .III. fois baisie;Puis s'en torna grant alëure,Plus que galos ne amblëure,Mais tant comme cevax puet rendre,Car il n'a soing de plus atendre,Mais de l'escaper, se il pot.Ains se porra tenir por sot,Se Diex n'en pense, qui tout fist,Car Orgilleuse-d'-amor distQu'ele jamais ne sera lieDesi qu'ele ne sera vengie:"Car il m'a faite trop grant honte.S'il est fix à rois u à conte,Si perdra il demain la teste;Jà n'en ert de si grant poeste.A tant est këue pasméeDel ceval, sor l'erbe enversée.Mult en fu triste et courecieSa maistresse, plus ne detrie,De pasmison le releva.Oies comment le conforta…

Caxton's copy of his French original, which he sold to the Duchess of Somerset, and from which he made the present translation, was the same prose version which I have collated in Paris. InPage  cxxiii the table of contents, in the headings of the chapters, and in the whole drift of the narrative, both texts agree; there are but very slight differences, pointed out in the footnotes, which may be either due to the MS. which Caxton had before him, or, what is much more probable, to the translator's system of touching-up his original.

The only known existing copy of Caxton's work, in the Library of Earl Spenser, is imperfect. All the text after sig. M.iiij., and one leaf after B.i., are wanting; they are now supplied from the French original. See pp. 34 and 211 ff. Blades thus describes Lord Spencer's copy:—

No. 78.—THE HISTORY OF BLANCHARDIN AND EGLANTINE. Folio. Sine ullâ notâ (1489?).

COLLATION.—Imperfectly known. The introductory matter makes a 3n [ternion], signed i, ii, iii, the 6th leaf being blank. A B C D E F G H I K L M are 4ns [quaternions], and there were probably several other additional signatures.

TYPOGRAPHICAL PARTICULARS.—Without title. The Type is all No. 6. The lines, which are all of one length, measure 4 5/8 inches, and there are 31 to a full page. Woodcut initials. Without folios or catchwords.

The Text begins on sig. j recto, with a prologue by Caxton … [and] finishes on the verso of the same leaf … The table follows on sig. ij, with a 2-line initial … and finishes on the 5th recto, which, however, in the only copy known, is unfortunately in manuscript. This appears to have been copied from the very rare reprint*. [Why not from the chapter-heading on the last page of Caxton's Text?] by Wynken de Worde,*. [An imaginary book. I can find no trace of it in Herbert's Ames, Bohn's Lowndes, Hazlitt, &c.] the last 4 lines being:—

'How Blanchardin wedded his love the proude / pucelle in amours: And of the grete ioye that / was made there . and of the Kynge of Fryse deth. caplo liiijo.'

The 6th leaf is blank. On sig. Aj recto, the 1st chapter commences … As to the date there are only the typographical particulars to guide us, which, however, all point to about the year 1489.

The only known EXISTING COPY is in the library of Earl Spencer. It is, unfortunately, imperfect, wanting the 5th leaf of the preliminary matter, A5, Bij, and all after Miiij. It is in a fair state, and measures 8 3/4 x 6 3/4 inches.

One leaf (sig. L iij) has also been preserved among the Bagford collections in the British Museum (Harl. MS. 5919, fol. 3 b), and from this our specimen at Plate LIV has been obtained.

Page  cxxiv

Year.Sale Lot.Seller.AmountPurchaser.
1776783J. Ratcliffe360G. Mason
1799IV.261G. Mason2100Duke of Roxburghe.
18126360Duke of Roxburghe21550Earl Spenser

Blades, Life of Caxton, ii. 216-7 (1863.)

Of the edition of 1595—of which Mr. Christie-Miller has the only copy—there are, in the present edition, two long specimens under Caxton's text. Part I. of ed. 1597 is at Hamburg.

The shortest, and therefore the most ancient, version of Blanchardyn and Eglantyne is that contained in the MS. 19,152 of the National Library at Paris. In it the poet is kind enough to marry both Blanchardyn and Sadoyne after their return from Cassidonie, where they have killed Darie, the son of Alymodes, and conquered the entire kingdom. The whole story answers to Caxton's chapters 1—42, and half of 43.

The Paris MS. 375, and that at Turin, add the taking of Sadoyne in the Castle, Blanchardyn's setting out in order to save him and the treason of Subion, as related by Caxton in chapters 43—56.

Thus far the report of M. Michelant, in his edition of Blancandin et L'Orgueilleuse d'Amour (Paris, Librairie Tross, 1867), is right. But with regard to the prose versions he commits a very gross mistake. He believes the two only extant prose versions to be one and the same. After having given a description of the Brussels MS. he, referring to a short note dedicated to an unknown gentleman, says:—

'Nous crayons qu'il est ici question du Duc de Bourgogne, Philippe le Bel, qui à fait faire bon nombre de ces translations, notamment celles de Siperis, d'Hélène, d'Eric et Enite, que l'on trouve dans la même bibliothèque, bien que le second exemplaire de cette translation semble infirmer notre hypothèse. Ce dernier fait partie du fonds de Sorbonne No. 466, petit in-folio sur papier, aux armes de Richelieu, de cent cinq feuillets à longues lignes, d'une écriture du xve siècle, qui paraît postérieure à l'autre MS. La table dont la première manque, contient en tout 54 chapitres sans division de livres; elle diffère de la précédente bien que roman offre le même texte.'

I really cannot conceive how the editor could venture to put forward such a fallacy. The prose MS. of the Brussels Library hasPage  cxxv not the least connection with that of Paris. They are quite independent of each other, and differ not only in the Tables of Contents, but also in the text. The Brussels MS. is a brief abstract of the story,—as Michelant might have seen by the small number of leaves, —while the Paris prose version is a full rendering of the romance. Besides this, the former agrees with the poetic version as printed by M. Michelant, in every name, while the latter, or Paris MS., exhibits a most important alteration in the names of persons and places.

In the Brussels MS., as well as in Michelant's edition, Blanchardyn kills Rubion, the 'roy des Gaians,' and is sent by Alymodes to Salmandrie. During a storm he escapes, and comes to the shore of Athens. He presents himself to the king Ruban, who makes him 'senechal' of his army, against his enemy Escamor de Beaudaire.

This is quite different in the Paris MS., in which Blanchardyn is cast on the shore of Prussia, and comes to Marienburg. The king of Prussia is pleased with him, and appoints him (Blanchardyn) head-captain of his army. Meanwhile a wounded knight arrives with the news that the king of Poland has invaded Prussia. Blanchardyn, with Sadoyne, is sent against the Poles, and Blanchardyn unhorses the king, who gives himself up as a prisoner.

What induced the author of the Paris prose version to alter Athens into Marienburg? Probably he wanted a country better known to the people of that time as a scene of constant war, and in this respect his choice was very well made. After the Crusades to the Holy Sepulchre had lost their charms, the knights of England and France very often joined their colleagues of the Teutonic order, who were in a state of constant warfare with their heathen neighbours in Lettow (Lithuania), Ruce (Russia), and elsewbere. Compare Chaucer's description of the Knight:—

'At Alisaundre he was whan it was wonne;
Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bygonne,
Abouen alle naciouns in Pruce.
In Lettowe hadde he reysed, and in Ruce,
No cristen man so ofte of his degre.

The Prologue, 51—55.

Forthy who secheth loves grace,
Where that these worthy women are,
He may nought than him selve spare
Upon his travail for to serve,
* * * * * *
Page  cxxvi
So that by londe and eke by ship
He mot travaile for worship,
And make many hastif rodes,
Somtime in Pruse, somtime in Rodes,
And some tyme into Tartarie.'

Gower, Confessio Amantis, ii., 5 C.

I feel grateful to Lord Spencer and Mr. Christie-Miller for so kindly allowing their treasures to be used for this reproduction, and I thank Mr. Graves and the other Officers of the British Museum for the facilities they have afforded me. I am also indebted to Dr. Furnivall for adding side-notes and head-lines to the text.

Vienna, Nov. 14, 1889.
highlight hits: on | off