Sayfadaki görseller
PDF
ePub

fect subjunctive in the same circumstances in Latin. We may refer it to the general tendency, as already seen in the uses of could, would, should, etc., to express conditionality by [with] a past tense ; or the indicative may be used as a more direct and vivid mode. Had may be subjunctive ; 'I had fainted' is, in construction, analogous to 'I should have fainted'; the word for futurity, shall, not being necessary to the sense, is withdrawn, and its past inflection transferred to have. Compare German würde haben and hätte."

In addition to the foregoing, we find in Prof. Bain's Composition Grammar the following:

“The case most suited to the subjunctive is contingent futurity, or the expression of an event unknown absolutely, as being still in the future : ‘If to-morrow be fine, I will walk with you.'

“Unless I were prepared,' insinuates pretty strongly that I am or am not prepared, according to the manner of the principal clause.

""What's a tall man unless he fight?'
"The sword hath ended him : so shall it thee,

Unless thou yield thee as my prisoner.'
“Who but must laugh, if such a man there be ?

Who would not weep, if Atticus were he?' 'I am to second Ion if he fail'; the failing is left quite doubtful. 'I should very imperfectly execute the task which [that] I have undertaken if I were merely to treat of battles and sieges.' Macaulay thus implies that the scope of his work is to be wider than mere battles and sieges.

'The subjunctive appears in some other constructions. 'I hope to see the exhibition before it close'; ‘Wait till the return'; 'Thou shalt stand by the river's brink against he come'; 'Take heed lest passion sway thy judgment'; 'Speak

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

to me, though it be in wrath'; 'If he smite him with an instrument of iron so that he die, he is a murderer'; * Beware this night that thou cross not my footsteps' (Shelley).

Again : Whatever this be'; 'whoever he be'; 'howe'er it be' (Tennyson); and such like.

“And as long, O God, as she
Have a grain of love for me,

So long, no doubt, no doubt,
Shall I nurse in my dark heart,
However weary, a spark of will

Not to be trampled out.' "The future subjunctive is given in our scheme of the verb as 'should’ in all persons: 'If I should, if thou should, if he should. In old English we have thou shouldst': 'If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities.'

“An inverted conditional form has taken deep root in our language, and may be regarded as an elegant and forcible variety. While dispensing with the conjunction, it does not cause ambiguity; nevertheless, conditionality is well marked.

"If you should abandon your Penelope and your home for Calypso,

-': 'Should you abandon

'Go not my horse the better, I must become a borrower of the night

For a dark hour or twain.' “Here had we now our country's honor roof'd

Were the graced person of our Banquo present. Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,

Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee.'

a

Come one, come all, this rock shall fly

From its firm base as soon as I.'--Scott.
"The following examples are given by Mätzner:

“Varney's communications, be they what they might, were operating in his favor.'—Scott.

Governing persons, were they never so insignificant intrinsically, have for most part plenty of memoir-writers.' -Carlyle. "Even were I disposed, I could not gratify the reader.

I -Warren.

“Bring them back to me, cost what it may.'—Coleridge, Wallenstein.

' And will you, nill you, I will marry you.'—Taming of the Shrew.

Were is used in the principal clause for should be or would be. *

= should be) a fool, not less than if a panther Were panic-stricken by the antelope's eye,

If she escape me.'-Shelley.
« Were you but riding forth to air yourself,

Such parting were too petty.'
He were[= would be] nolion, were not Romans hinds.'
“. Should he be roused out of his sleep to-night,

It were not well; indeed it were not well.'—Shelley. Had is sometimes used in the principal clause for should have' or 'would have.' +

««•I were [

*“So, in German, wäre for würde sein. 'Hätt' ich Schwingen, hätt' ich Flügel, nach den Hügeln zög' ich hin,' for 'würde ich ziehen.'"

+ "So, in German, hätte occurs for würde haben. Wäre er da gewesen, so hätten wir ihn gesehen,' for ‘so würden wir ihn gesehen haben.' Hätten is still conditional, not indicative. In Latin, the pluperfect indicative is occasionally used, which is explained as a more vivid form."

6

Had I known this before we set out, I think I had [E = would have] remained at home.'—Scott. “Hadst thou been kill'd when first thou didst presume, Thou hadst not lived to kill a son of mine.'

"If he
Had killed me, he had done a kinder deed.'
For once he had been ta'en or slain,

An it had not been his ministry.'-Scott.
“ ' If thou hadst said him nay, it had been sin.'

Had better, rather, best, as lief, as well, etc.,' is a form that is explained under this heading. Had stands for would have. The exploded notion that had is a corrupted would must be guarded against.

I had as lief not be.' That is, 'I would as lief have not (to] be'='I would as willingly (or as soon) have nonexistence.'

' Had you rather Cæsar were living—'? 'Would you rather have [would you prefer that] Cæsar were liv. ing?'

He had better reconsider the matter' is, 'He would better have [to] reconsider the matter.' “'I had rather be a kitten and cry mew

Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers ;

I had rather hear a brazen canstick turned.' “Let us compare this form with another that appears side by side with it in early writers. (Cp. Lat. ‘habeo' and 'mihi est.')

“ The construction of ‘had' is thus illustrated in Chaucer, as in (Nonne Prestes Tale, 300) :

[ocr errors]

а

“In principal clauses the inflection of the second person is always retained : 'thou hadst,''thou wouldst, shouldst,' etc. In the example, the subordinate clause, although subjunctive, shows 'hadst.' And this usage is exceedingly common.

“'By God, I hadde levere than my scherte,

That ye hadde rad his legend, as I have.'
Compare now:
' Ah me were levere with lawe loose my lyf

Then so to fote hem falle.'—Wright, Polit. S. “Here were is unquestionably for would be ; and the whole expression might be given by had, thus : 'Ah, I hadde levere -''[to] loose' and '[to] falle, changing from subjects of were to objects of hadde.

“So, in the Chaucer example above, if we substitute be for have, we shall get the same meaning, thus : ‘By God, me were levere -.' The interchange helps us to see more clearly that hadde is to be explained as subjunctive for would have." See INDICATIVE and SUBJUNCTIVE.

Such. “I have never before seen such a large ox.” By a little transposing of the words of this sentence, we have, “I have never before seen an ox such large," which makes it quite clear that we should say so large an ox, and not such a large ox.

As proof that this error in the use of such is common, we find in Mr. George Washington Moon's Dean's English and Bad English, the sentence, “ With all due deference to such a high authority on such a very important matter.” With a little transposing, this sentence is made to read, “With all due deference to an authority such high on a matter such very important.” It is clear that the sentence should read, “With all due deference to so high an authority on so very important a matter.”

The phrases, such a handsome, such a lovely, such a long, such narrow, etc., are incorrect, and should be so handsome, so lovely, so long, and so on.

“He is such an extravagant young man that he soon spent all his patrimony”; say, so extravagant a young man.

[ocr errors]
« ÖncekiDevam »