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Of these our short and homely adverbs there are some few which did not always belong to this group, but have lapsed into it from the flexional group. Such are ill, still, which in Saxon are oblique cases, ILLE, STILLE (disyllabic).
To this group belongs a word, provincial indeed, but prevailing through the eastern half of the island from Norfolk to Northumberland, namely the adverb geyn, German gegen, meaning near, handy, convenient.
Its use appears in the following dialogue taken from life :
Where's the baby's bib, Lavina ?
Well'm; I'm sure I laid it geyn ! 432. As a general remark on this section we would say, that perhaps there is no part of the language that more plainly forces on us the need of looking beyond the pale of literature and precise grammar, if we are to comprehend the Philology of the English Tongue. Within grammatical liberty we could muster but a very poor account of the flat adverb, and so the whole German adverb would seem to be without a parallel in English.
The flat adverb is in fact rustic and poetic, and both for the same reason- 1-namely, because it is archaic. Out of poetry it is for the most part an archaism, but it must not therefore be set down as a rare, or exceptional, or capricious mode of expression. If judgment went by numbers, this would in fact be entitled to the name of the English Adverb. To the bulk of the community the adverb in -ly is bookish, and is almost as unused as if it were French. The flat adverb is all but universal with the illiterate. But among literary persons it is hardly used (a few phrases excepted), unless with a humorous intention. This will be made plain by an instance of the use of the flat adverb in correspondence. Charles Lamb, writing to H. C. Robinson, says :
Farewell ! till we can all meet comfortable.-H. C. Robinson, Diary, 1827.
433. This flat and simple adverb suffices for primitive needs, but it soon fails to satisfy the demands of a progressive civilisation. For an example of the kind of need that would arise for something more highly organised, we may resort to that frequent unriddler of philological problems, the Hebrew language. In Exodus xvi. 5 we read, 'It shall be twice as much as they gather dayly. Instead of dayly the Hebrew has day day, that is, a flat adverb day repeated in order to produce the effect of our daily or day by day. This affords us a glimpse of the sort of ancient contrivance which was the substitute of flexion before flexion existed, and out of which flexion took its rise.
But for a purely English bridge to the next division we may produce one of the frequent instances in which a flat adverb is coupled with a flexional one, as when the Commons, on the 18th of November, 1558, responded to the Chancellor's announcement with the memorable cry: 'God save queen Elizabeth ; long and happily may she reign.' The following line wins some of its effect from this adverbial variation:
Who sings so loudly and who sings so long.
Alexander Pope, The Dunciad, Bk. III.
(2) Of the Flexional Adverb. 434. When the flexional system of language had become established, and the nouns were declined Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Ablative-a new and effectual way of applying a noun adverbially was by adding it to the sentence in its genitive or ablative or instrumental case. As this was the usual way of making adverbs in Greek and Latin, so also in Saxon. Of these we have little left to shew.
Genitival adverbs are now antiquated, and a certain obscurity rests even on those which remain in use. We will begin with one that savours strongly of antiquity, and which will hardly be found after Chaucer, viz. his thonkes, in the sense of willingly, or with his consent :
Ful soth is seyde, that love ne lordschipe
The Knightes Tale, 768.
We have in familiar and homely use the genitives mornings and evenings, but we have nothing to match the German mittags.
435. Other instances of the genitival adverb are eastwards, eggelinges = edgewise Chevelere Assigne 305, homewards, needs, northwards, southwards, upwards, westwards.
Sen pou hast lerned by be sentence of plato bat nedes the wordes moten ben conceyued to po þinges of whichę þei speken.—Boethius (Early English Text Society), p. 106.
TRANSLATION.—Since thou hast learned by the sentence of Plato that the words must needs be conceived (fittingly) to the things of which they speak.
Of the flexional adverbs formed from case-endings, this genitival is the one which retains most vitality, but it is little more than semi-animate. What vitality it has, tends not towards assimilation of fresh material, but towards symbolism. Many presentive instances have died out. There was an old genitiyal adverb days, for which we must now say by day' or 'in the day time.' In Gothic, yesterday is represented by a genitival adverb, gistradagis, Matthew vi. 30. In Shakspeare, Troylus and Cressida, iv. 5. 12, 'tis but early dayes,' the old genitive appears with something of adverbial effect.
436. Here I would range the adverbs in -ing or -ling, as darkling, flatling, groveling :
groveling = xapače.
And the faire flowres that decked him afore:
The Faery Queene, iii. 4. 17.
John Milton, Paradise Lost, iii. 39.
437. The Dative formation is well preserved in the oldfashioned adverb whilom or whilome:
It fortuned, (as fayre it then befell)
The Faery Queene, i. 11. 29.
The dative and ablative plural of nouns in Saxon was in -UM, as HWILE, while, time; HWILUŃ, at whiles, at times. This
is the form which we retain in whilom, whilome. As this can only be illustrated from the elder form of our speech, we will quote one of the proverbs of our Saxon ancestors : Wea bið wundrum clibbor,' that is, Woe is wonderfully clinging. Here the idea of wonderfully is expressed by the oblique plural of the noun wonder, and WUNDRUM signifies literally with wonders.
To this place we must assign also often and seldom, as if oft-um and seld-um. The simple seld is found in Chaucer and Shakspeare: Selde is the Friday all the weke ylike.
Canterbury Tales, 1541. i. e. Rarely is the Friday like the rest of the week.
Aia. If I might in entreaties finde successe,
W. Shakspeare, Troylus and Cressida, iv. 5. 150.
Historically the adverbs in -meal are datives, though they have now lost their case-ending. In Saxon they end in -MÆLUM, as STICCEMÆLUM, stitchmeal,' or stitch by stitch, meaning piece-meal; German Stuck piece.
Chaucer has stoundemele, meaning from hour to hour, or from one moment to another; German Stunde hour.
And hardily, this wind that more and more
G. Chaucer, Troilus and Creseide, Bk. V. 674. Which has been thus modernized by Wordsworth :
And certainly this wind, that more and more
The Clerkes Tale, init.