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form was hét, but which appears also in the nobler form of heht, as on the Alfred Jewel; ALFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCEAN, Alfred me ordered to make. When in Mesogothic the same preterite appears as haihait, we see that a reduplication of the root had by the action of phonetic laws simplified itself first into heht and then into hét. The German ging, preterite of the verb go, indicates a reduplicate form which was lost in English. But next to heht, there is no example so striking as that of the verb to do, which is strong by its participle done, and yet in its preterite has the appearance of a weak form. It is redeemed from the appearance of inconsistency by supposing dyde, the Saxon form of did, to be a reduplication of the root do, and so of a piece with the strong preterites, only less altered. That reduplication has been resorted to in the growth of verbs as a figure of intensity for the expression of past time and acts really done, we know as a matter of fact from comparison not only of Gothic, but likewise of Latin and Greek verbs. Latin instances are didici, poposci, tetigi, pepuli. In Greek the most conspicuous instrument for the expression of past time is reduplication : τέτυφα, τέτυμμαι και πεποίηκα, πεποίημαι και πέπραχα, πέπραγμαι ; τετέλεκα, τετέλεσμαι.

286. In the antiquities of our race a preterite formed by reduplication is manifest, and in the fourth century this had still an energizing vitality, in the dialect of Ulphilas. But in the earliest traces of our insular language this appears only as the relics of an old formation peeping out of the new, while the new order of the verbal system is determined simply by an internal vowel-change of the root of the verb. The feature of this vocalic alteration, which we call by the German name of Ablaut, has already been described, 124. This new principle of order may possibly have sprung out of the old reduplicate forms by ordinary phonetic processes, but it had a root of its own independently of them, it established itself upon the ruins of reduplication, and within its overgrowth it has enclosed enough of the old unreduced stuff to guide the analytic and reconstructive eye of modern Philology.

2. MIXED VERBS.

287. The second class of verbs are those which may conveniently be called Mixed, because they unite in themselves the characters of the first and third classes.

Some critics would deny them the distinction of being a class at all. There are (say they) but two principles at work in the verb-flexions ; namely, internal change and external addition. And this is the fact. But then, the variety of relations in which two systems are ranged may easily give rise to a third series of conditions. When the sun peers through the foliage of an aged oak, it produces on the ground those oval spots of dubious light which the poet has called a mottled shade. Each oval has its own outline, and its own particular degree of luminousness; but where two of them overlap each other a third condition of light is induced. Such an overlapping is this sample of mixed verbs, a compromise between the strong and the weak.

288. In the formation of the preterite, they suffer both internal vowel-change, and also external addition. They form the participle in t or D. Such are the following :

PRETERITE

PARTICIPLE

PRESENT
bleed
breed
bring
buy
catch
clothe

bled
bred
brought
bought
caught
clad, clothed
crept

bled
breed
brought
bought
caught
clad
crept

creep

[blocks in formation]

meet met

met ought* pitch

red *

pight Teach raught

raught read

redd
(reave)
reft

reft
seek
sought

sought
sell
sold

sold
shoe
shod

shod
shriek

shright
sike

sighte=sighed
sleep
slept

slept
speed
sped

sped
spet *, spit
spat, spate

spytt
stand
stood

stood *
sweep
swept

swept
teach
taught

taught
tell
told

told
think
thought

thought
weep
wept

wept
wist *

wist *
work
wrought

wrought 1 In a few instances, such as dealt, heard, meant, read (preterite), the ordinary spelling has been departed from in order to exhibit to the eye as well as to the ear that there is a change in the internal vowel.

wot *

Remarks on the Forms signed with an Asterisk. 289. fet. Baker's Northamptonshire Glossary, v. Fet. Fought, participle. It occurs in Congreve’s Way of the World, iv. 4, where Sir Wilfull Witwoud says to Millamant

I made bold to see, to come and know if that how you were disposed to fetch a walk this evening, if so be that I might not be troublesome, I

would have fought a walk with you.—Ed. Tonson, 1710. lad. Spenser, Faery Queene, iv. 8. 2. ylad. Chaucer, Prologue, 532. Ought is historically the preterite of owe. But it is now a

preterite only in form : it is a present in its ordinary usage as an auxiliary. The present owe has not accompanied the preterite in its transition to this moral and semi-symbolic use. When the old preterite had deserted the service of the verb owe in its original sense, that verb supplied itself with a new preterite of the modern type, owed. The distinction between ought the old preterite, and owed the new preterite, is now quite established, and no confusion happens. But the reader of our old poets should observe that ought once did duty for both these senses. In the following from Spenser, the modern usage would require owed :

Now were they liegmen to this Ladie free,
And her knights service ought, to hold of her in fee.

The Faery Queene, iii. 1. 44. red. Spenser, Faery Queene, iv. 8. 29. spet. The Saxon form is spætan, spætte; whereby we see

that Shakspeare's spet is more genuine than the modern

'to spit.' 290. Stood. That passing of strong verbs over into the

ranks of the weak, which was the subject of remark in the last section, is often due to mere gregariousness, or the common human proneness to follow with the greatest numbers. But here we may quote an instance in which a like change belongs rather to an active than to a passive movement. In the sixteenth century there sprang up.

the form 'understanded,' and this form associated itself in a

6

marked manner with the contention of the time to have a Bible and Liturgy understanded of the people.' Thus a weak form was temporarily substituted for a mixed form, not by way of negligence, but by the emphasis of resolute

self-assertion. Wot, though it has been used as a present tense from remote

times, is really an ancient preterite of an old strong verb witan; and so far resembles the case of ought, except that wot is of far higher antiquity. It is in fact one of the ancient præterito-præsentia, of which mention will pre

sently be made. Wist is sometimes referred to a present I wis. See the

explanation above, 256. Wist the participle is more rare : it occurs in the phrase

'had I wist,' which see below, chap. xi. sect. iii.

291. These frontier verbs are a small class; and they do not admit of addition to their numbers any more than the strong verbs. They would seem to have been mostly the growth of a limited period; that, namely, wherein the transition of habit was taking place from the strong to the weak methods of conjugation.

But, insignificant as this class is in point of numbers, it contains within it a small batch of verbs of very high importance. It contains all those verbs which are commonly known as Auxiliaries. And these are little less than the whole remainder of symbolic verbs, after the two already mentioned in the previous section, which may be called the primary symbol verbs, namely, be and worth. The very fact that so well-marked a group of words is contained within this division of Mixed Verbs, offers a justification of the division.

These he verbs are very ancient group of so-called præterito-præsentia, that is to say, they are former preterites of strong verbs, which have taken a present-tense signifi

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