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and a symbolic word: whereas the participle is never used but presentively. So that, although it possesses a participle, it differs not from the habit of the other auxiliaries, which (as auxiliaries) are destitute of the participle. This auxiliary has acquired its peculiar place in our language through our imitation of the French auxiliary faire. The power of expression which our language possesses by means of the auxiliaries has sometimes been undervalued. The great proportion of attention which men of learning have devoted to the inflected languages, has prevented our own verbal system from receiving the appreciation which is due to it. The following quotation from

Southey may not unfitly close this section.

‘I had spoken as it were abstractedly, and the look which accompanied the words was rather cogitative than regardant. The Bhow Begum laid down her snuff-box and replied, entering into the feeling, as well as echoing the words, “It ought to be written in a book, certainly it ought.”

“They may talk as they will of the dead languages. Our auxiliary verbs give us a power which the ancients, with all their varieties of mood, and inflections of tense, never could attain. “It must be written in a book,” said I, encouraged by her manner. The mood was the same, the tense was the same ; but the gradation of meaning was marked in a way which a Greek or Latin grammarian might have envied as well as admired.’—The Doctor, c. vii. A. I.


The third class of verbs are those which form both their preterite and their participle by the addition of -ED as, I hope, I hoped, I have hoped. In some verbs it takes the form of changing D into T, as send, sent, wend, went ; bend, beni. But here we must consider the NT as a commutation for NDED, or, as it was written in early times, NDE. The preterite of the Saxon sendan was (not sendade but) sende. This condensed formation takes place not only with verbs in -ND but also with those in -LD and -RD.

Other modes of condensation are used, as made, short for

maked, Saxon MACODE.

These succinct forms of the weak verb must not lead to a confusion with either of the foregoing classes. Most of them are contained in the following list:—


bend bleed breed build clothe feed gild gird have lay lead learn lend light #. pen rend send speed spend spill


bento bent
bled bled
bred bred
built # built
clado clad
fed fed
gilt" gilt
girt" girt
had had
laid laid
led led
learnto learnt
lent lent
lit lit
made made
pent pent
rent rent
Sent sent
sped sped
spent spent
spilt spilt
went# went

Those which are marked with an asterisk have also the form in -ed. Of the usual form of the weak verb it will not be necessary to give many examples.

They are of the following







injure - injured
joke joked
kindle kindled
laugh laughed
mention mentioned
oil oiled
present presented
question questioned
revere revered
succeed succeeded
tarnish tarnished
utter uttered
vacillate vacillated
wonder wondered
yield yielded

To this third class belongs the bulk of English verbs. It is regarded as the youngest form of verbal inflection, from the relation in which we find it standing towards the two classes previously described. It is the only verbal inflection which can be properly said to be in a living and active state, because it applies to new words, whereas the others cannot make new verbs after their own pattern. There is a constant tendency of the strong and mixed verbs to fall into the forms of the weak. Steele, in the Spectator, March 5, 1711, wrote, “the very point I shaked my head at.' Allan Ramsay, who in his Gentle Shepherd has preserved some rare strong forms, yet gives us also on the other side such forms as choosed and putted. In Horace Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, we find, “The sovereign meaned Charles, Duke of Somerset.' ‘The patriots meaned to make the king odious.” In Hume, History of England:— ‘Perhaps some secret animosities, naturally to be expected in that situation, had creeped in among the great men, and had enabled the king to recover his authority.’—ch. xvii. But while we consider this to be the most recent of the verbal inflections in our language, it is of a very high antiquity nevertheless. It is common to all the dialects of our family, and in the oldest records it is already established.

The D of the weak conjugation has been traced to the verb do, did; as if hoped were a condensation of hope-did". After what has been said at the close of each of the previous sections, it would seem as if this verb do, did, were about to claim a great place as the bridge which unites the three sorts of conjugation. Should this theory be confirmed, the thread of continuity which unites our verbal system, is discovered. And if it should after all prove untenable, it will not have been (probably) without its use, as temporarily representing the kind of link which philology teaches us to look for between the various formations of which language is composed.


... It has been shewn at p. 181, that the English language can turn a noun or other suitable word into a verb, and use it as a verb, without any alteration to the form of the word, such as would be caused by the addition of a verbal formative. This does not hinder, however, but that there always have been verbal formatives in the language, and that the number and variety of these is from time to time increased. By verbal formative is meant any addition to a word, whether prefix or suffix, which stamps that word as a verb independently of a context. Such is the suffix -en, by means of which, from the substantives height, haste, length, strength, are formed the verbs heighten, hasten, lengthen, strengthen. From the adjectives deep, fast, short, wide, are formed the verbs deepen, fasten,

* Science of Language, by Max Müller, M.A., 1861, p. 219.

shorten, widen. Other examples of this formative, are : slacken, lighten, frighten, madden, broaden (Tennyson), harden, christen, glissen. This verbal formative N is of Saxon antiquity; but it is quite separate and distinct from the Saxon infinitive form -an. Such again is the prefix be-, by means of which, from the substantives head, friend, fide, are formed the verbs behead, befriend, beside. This formative is still in operation, but is less active than it formerly was. It enters into sixty-seven different verbs in Shakspeare, as appears in Mrs. Cowden Clarke's Complete Concordance. They are the following:—

bechance, become, befal, befit, befriend, beget, begin, begnaw, begrime, beguile, behave, behead, bebold, bebove, bebowl, belie, believe, belong, belove (“more beloving than beloved,” Ant. and Cleop. i. 2), bemad, bemete, bemoan, bemock, bemoil, bepaint, bequeath, berattle, bereave, berbyme, beseech, beseek, beseem, beset, besbrew, besiege, beslubber, besmear, besmirch, besort, besot, bespeak, bespice, bestain, bested, bestill, bestir, bestow, bestraught, bestrew, bestride, betake, beteem, bethink, bethump, betide, betoken, betoss, betray, betrim, betroth, bewail, beware, beweep, bewet, bewitch, bewray.

Such again is the prefix un-, by means of which other words are made besides verbs, as the substantives and adjectives unbeliever, unjust, unmeet, &c.; yet it is also a verbal formative because it forms verbs which even without a context cannot be regarded as being anything else than verbs. Examples:—un/rock, untie, unlink, unlock.

The above examples of verbal formatives are all genuine natives: the next is after a French model. The suffix -/y is taken from those French verbs which end in offer, after Latin verbs ending in -sacere. Examples:–beatify, beautiff, codify, deify, dignify, dulcisy, edify, electrify, horrisy, modify, mollis), mortify, null/y, qualify, ratisy, satissy, scarisy, stullify, unify.

“He never condescended to anything like direct flattery; but he felicitously hit upon the topic which he knew would tickle the amour propre of those whom he wished to dulcify.’—Lord Campbell, Life of Lord Lyndhurst, 1869.


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