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pronoun from the direct personal pronouns of the same form :
Men look with an evil Eye upon the Good that is in others, and think that their Reputation obscures them, and that their commendable Qualities do stand in their Light; and therefore they do what they can to cast a Cloud over them, that the bright shining of their Virtues may not scorch them.—John Tillotson, Against Evil-speaking (ed. 1728).
This manner of expressing the reflex pronoun is now only poetical : Mark ye, how close she veils her round.
Christian Year, Fourth Sunday in Lent.
470. We will close the subject of the personal pronouns with a brief conspectus of these pronouns as they appear before verbs in some of the most important sister-languages: SINGULAR.
M. F. N. MG. ik thu is si ita
jus eis ijôs ija Icel. ek thu hann hon that
ther their thær thau Dan. du han hun det vi
de AS. ic thu he heo hit
hi Engl. I thou he she it
(ye) you they Germ. Ich du er sie es
wir ihr sie Dutch ik hy zij het
The pronoun of the second person singular is, lost in Dutch ;-it is reserved for intimacy and devotion in German ;-in English it is used only towards God. The Germans share this dignified use of the pronoun with us, as a result of religious conditions which have affected both languages alike. The two great Bible-translating nations have natyrally, in their veneration for the words of Scripture, made this Hebrew idiom their own. It is only to be wondered at how the Dutch should have done otherwise.
The natural tendency of the western civilization, apart from other influences, would be to shrink from such a use of thou. The French have been led by this feeling, and in all addresses to God they use vous. It is not, therefore, from any radical difference, but only from the effect of circumstances, that the western languages are divided in this particular. A sensitiveness as to the social use of the second pronoun is common to all the nations of the West, but it exhibits itself in unequal degrees. We are influenced by it less than any of the other great languages. We have indeed dropped thou, but we remain tolerably satisfied with you, except when we wish to shew reverence. At such times we are sensible of a void in our speech, unless the personage has a title, as your Lordship. Here it is that the pronominal use of Monsieur and Madame in the French language is felt to be so admirable a contrivance. The substitution of any third-person formula meets the difficulty. In one way or another most of the great languages have done this. The German has done it in the directest manner by simply putting sie they, for ihr you. Not more direct, but much drier, is the (now I imagine rather obsolete) Danish fashion of calling a man to his face han he, as a polite substitute for the second person :—it is common in Holberg's plays. In Italian an abstract feminine substantive takes the place of the pronoun of the second person.
But the most ceremonious of all in this matter is the great language of chivalry. The philologer who goes no deeper into Spanish, must at least acquaint himself with the formula which it substitutes for the second person. To say vos you, is with them a great familiarity, or even an insult. At least, in the short form of os it is so. Something like this exists in Devonshire and Somersetshire, as regards the use of the second person Singular. “He thou'd me and he thee'd me' is in Somersetshire said of the last degree of rudeness. And in Devonshire, the phrase “I tell thee what' betokens that altercation is growing dangerous. Compare the yo os digo of the following vivacious interview.
The archbishop had remained, while the ambassador was speaking, dumb with anger and amazement. At last, finding his voice, and starting from his seat in fury, he exclaimed:
Sirrah ?! I tell you that, but for certain respects, I would so chastise you for these words that you have spoken, that I would make you an example to all your kind. I would chastise you, I say ; I would make you know to whom you speak in such shameless fashion.'
“Sirrah l’ replied Smith, in a fury too, and proud of his command of the language which enabled him to retort the insult, ‘Sirrah! I tell you that I care neither for you nor your threats.'
*Quitad os! Be off with you!' shouted Quiroga, foaming with rage; • leave the room ! away! I say.'
• If you call me Sirrah,' said Smith, “I will call you Sirrah.'— J. A. Froude, Reign of Elizabeth, V. 66.
Returning to our table, we call attention to an interesting question, namely, What are the affinities of the English she? We must identify it with the Mosogothic si, the German sie, and the Dutch zij; only then it is so strange that there should be no trace of it all through the Saxon period. The explanation is to suppose that it was all the time in popular though not in literary use, and that the disturbance of the Conquest afforded an opening for it;—while perhaps the feminine Demonstrative seo (487) made it the easier to change heo into sheo, and finally she.
A very ancient Demonstrative Pronoun. 471. Here we notice only the ancient Demonstrative so, leaving the modern that and this until we come to the
1 •Yo os digo.' Sirrah is too mild a word; but we have no full equivalent. “Os' is used by a king to subjects, by a father to children, more rarely by a master to a servant. It is a mark of infinite distance between a superior and inferior. •Dog' would perhaps come nearest to the archbishop's meaning in the present connexion.-Mr. Froude's note.
adjectival section. The Saxon form was swa, with a rarer poetic form se; and already in the earliest Saxon literature it had lost its independence. Then, as now, it occurred only in composite expressions, as SWA HWA SWA, whoso ; SWA HWÆT SWA whatso (518). There are other composites in which its presence is more concealed; namely as made up of all and so, in Saxon EALSWA; and such made up of so and which, in Saxon Swilc.
The Interrogative and Relative Pronouns.
472. Who, what, with their inflections, of which we retain only two, whose and whom, in their place', are now used interrogatively and indefinitely and relatively. But in Saxon they were only interrogative and indefinite, not relative. The Relative function was so great an addition as to give the pronoun a new character. This change of character took place in the great French period, and was a direct consequence of French example. For that language, in common with all the Romance languages, uses the same sets of pronouns as interrogatives and as relatives.
There are two main sources of Relative Pronouns, namely the Demonstratives and the Interrogatives. In the Gothic family the Relatives spring from the former group, in the Romanesque family from the latter.
The Saxon Relatives accordingly were from the Demonstratives, and we still use that as a Relative. It exists as a variant either for who or which, our French-trained Relatives. Thus we can say 'he who, they who' or 'he that, they that': also the thing that' as well as the thing which.'
1 Why, where, when, whence, are indeed inflections of who, what, and they are retained in the language; but they are moved to another place, namely, the company of the adverbs.
Where we now say that which, the Saxon was that that, þat þæt. We have an interesting relic of this demonstrativerelative in our ablative the with a comparative, as “The willinger I goe,' Milton, Paradise Lost, viii. 382: an ablative which runs often in couples, as, the more the merrier': The higher the storm, the happier he.
F. Myers, Peter of Russia. Advice, like snow, the softer it falls the longer it dwells upon and the deeper it sinks into the mind.-S. T. Coleridge.
The change to the Interrogative-Relative is more than superficial; it amounts to a transposition of internal relations in the fabric of our language. This and other organic changes into which we have been led by French example, must certainly be unperceived by those who go on affirming that the influence of French upon English has been only superficial.
473. Whom is now used only personally. But there is no historical reason for this, beyond modern usage. Time was when it was used of things as much as what, and examples occur in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The following is of the date 1484:
Item. I bequethe to the auter of saint John the Baptist and saynt Nicholas the which is myne owen chapell in the parish chirche of Newlonde in the Forest of Dene in whome my body shalbe buried In primis a crosse of silver, &c.—The Will of Dame Jane Lady Barre, in Mr. Ellacombe's Memoir of Bitton, p. 47.
Lest it should be supposed that such a use can only be produced from obscure writings, I may mention the Faery Queene, in a passage which is quoted above, 158, where whom refers to a ship.
Whose has long been used of persons only, but there is now a disposition, notably among our historians, to restore its pristine right of referring to things also :
The church of Canterbury, as designed and carried out by him, was not one of those vast piles whose building was necessarily spread over several