* Zephyrs drive. l. 619. These lines were originally written thus,

Shade follows shade by laughing Zephyrs drove,
And all the chequer'd landscape seems to move.
but were altered on account of the supposed false grammar in using the word drove for driven, according to the opinion of Dr. Lowth: at the same time it may be observed, l. that this is in many cases only an ellipsis of the letter n at the end of the word; as froze, for frozen; wove, for woven; spoke, for spoken; and that then the participle accidentally becomes similar to the past tense: 2. that the language seems gradually tend∣ing to omit the letter n in other kind of words for the sake of euphony; as housen is become houses; eyne, eyes; thine, thy, &c. and in common conversation, the words forgot, spoke, froze, rode, are frequently used for forgotten, spoken, frozen, ridden. 3. It does not appear that any confusion would follow the indiscriminate use of the same word for the past tense and the participle passive, since the auxillary verb have, or the preceding noun or pronoun always clearly distinguishes them: and lastly, rhime-poetry must lose the use of many elegant words without this license.

 [ return to text ]