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this peculiar substantival usage of the verb, and verbal use of the substantive. In the ‘Glosse’ to the Shepheards Calender for the month of April, the word making offers an example in which this noun-form is identified with the infinitive verb. “To make, to rime and versifye. For in this word, making, our olde
Englishe Poetes were wont to comprehend all the skil of Poetrye, according to the Greeke woorde movesv to make, whence commeth the name of Poetes.’
The old Saxon title AF&eling for the Crown Prince, must find its place here. About the year 130.o, Robert of Gloucester considered this word as needing an explanation:—
TRANSLATION.—But the good true men of the land would have made king the natural bein, the young Chyld, Edgar Atheling. Whoso were next king by birthright, men call bim Atheling: therefore men called bim so, for by birth he was next king. In -ere, as baccere, baker; and boceras, for the ‘scribes’ in the Gospels, literally bookers. From this source we have also commer (as in ‘ale-conner'), dealer, ditcher, fiddler, fisher, sowler, grinder, harper, listener, -monger, skipper, Webber. Thus in Matthew xiii. 45, ‘Eft ys heafena rice gelic pam mangere,’ &c., which Wiclif rendered by a man marchaunt, and the Bible of 1611 by a marchant man. These terminations are of very high antiquity, and we can give no account of them as separate and independent words. It is otherwise with those other old formatives, -ness, -dom, -hood, -lock, -rick, -red, -ship. We know the meaning which each of them had in its separate state, prior to its becoming a formative.
-ness meant a projection, promontory, point of termination, headland. Thus in Beowulf 444, the forelands at sea are called saf-massas, or sea-nesses; and many a headland on our coast has still Ness attached to it, or some variety of that word: e.g. Denge Ness (Kent), Caithness (Scotland), Foulness (Essex); Furness (Lancashire); The Naze (Essex); Nash Point (Glamorganshire).
It is hardly possible to imagine a bolder figure, or one more apt to convey the idea of abstraction, than that which presents the concrete as elongated to a tapering point.
Examples:–composedness, goodness, heaviness, indebtedness, meanness, readiness, supplemess, usefulness, weariness, wilderness, &c.
“Innovations and new-fangleness.”—Preface to Book of Common Prayer.
charitableness, contentedness, peaceableness. ‘Charitableness, peaceableness, and contentedness.”—Proverbs iii, Contents.
“He that cannot abound without pride and highmindedness, will not want without too much dejectedness . . . . . Frame a sufficiency out of contentedness.”—Richard Sibbes, Soul's Conflict, ch. x.
composedness. ‘Spiritual composedness and sabbath of spirit.”—Id.
“But felt through all this fleshly dress,
“Glorious in His darknesses.’—Jeremy Taylor, Life of Christ, vol. ii. p. 59. Heber's ed.
There has been a period since the seventeenth century in which this formative has been less in vogue, whilst the Latin -ation has prevailed; but of late years it has been much revived, and has supplied some new words, as indebtedness. Indeed, the form has become a marked favourite, and new turns of speech are readily formed by help of it. In the bold novelty of some of them we may almost trace a spirit of rebellion against conventionality.
“Long lines of cackling geese were sailing far overhead, winging their way to some more remote point of northness.”—Dr. Hayes, Open Polar Sea, ch. xxxv.
“It is, I think, alarming—peculiarly at this time, when the female inkbottles are perpetually impressing upon us woman's particular worth and general missionariness—to see that the dress of women is daily more and more unfitting them for any mission or usefulness at all.’—Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing.
“The unaffected country naturalness of the lad.”—Doctor jobns, by I. K. Marvel, 1866.
“And there is a hopefulness and a belieffulness, so to say, on your side, which is a great compensation.’—A. H. Clough to R. W. Emerson, 1853.
“And if the Testament of Love is not in at least some parts a translation or paraphrase, Chaucer was not only a poet but a metaphysician. Otherwise no acquaintance with the philosophy of his time would have carried him safely over the sensitive ground which he sometimes touches with logical non-namelessness. ‘We may in this respect affirm that the non-namelessness of the historian is the beginning of historical science.”—History of Israel, by Heinrich Ewald, ed. Martineau, vol. i. p. 57. The philological value of such examples must not be measured by our admiration of them. We may safely assume that these words were viewed with complacency by their authors. And they therefore afford an indirect testimony to the prominence which is now given to the formative -ness as a binding and consolidating agent. If the evidence is exaggerated, it is not on that account to be rejected as worthless. Attempts of this magnitude are not made in the strength of -red, -lock, nor even of -hood or -ship. This termination is now frequently substituted for French or Latin terminations of like significance, and this even in words of Romanesque material. A lady asked me why the author wrote effeminateness and not effeminacy in the following passage. ‘1812, June 17th. At four o'clock dined in the Hall with De Quincey, who was very civil to me, and cordially invited me to visit his cottage in Cumberland. Like myself, he is an enthusiast for Wordsworth. His person is small, his complexion fair, and his air and manner are those of a sickly and enfeebled man. From this circumstance his sensibility, which I have no doubt is genuine, is in danger of being mistaken for effeminateness.’— Diary, &c., of Henry Crabb Robinson, vol. i. p. 391. Indeed, -cy and -ness are good equivalents, and hence they are often seen coupled or opposed, as decency and cleanliness. ‘Decency must have been difficult in such a place, and cleanliness impossible.”—James Anthony Froude, History of England, August, 1567. The collective or abstract -dom is a form of high an.tiquity, being found in all the dialects except the MoesoGothic. It seems to have originally meant distinction, dignity, grandeur, and so to have been chosen to express the great whole of anything. As a separate word it became doom, meaning authority and judgment.
sure-footedness in that remarkable book.’—Chaucer's England, by Matthew Browne, vol. i. p. 7.
“Nor Nature fails my walks to bless
Examples:—Christendom, heashendom, kingdom, martyrdom, serfdom, Shirisdome (Camden's Britannia, ed. 1607, p. 698), thraldom, wisdom. Altered form :—halidam.
The Germans make a variety of nouns with this formative, as Bistbum = bishopdom, ofteidstüum = richdom.
This form has recovered a new activity of late years, and it is now highly prolific. Thus we read of scoundreldom and rascaldom.
‘I doubt very much indeed whether the honesty of the country has been improved by the substitution so generally of mental education for industrial; and the “three R's,” if no industrial training has gone along with them, are apt, as Miss Nightingale observes, to produce a fourth ‘R’—of rascaldom.’ —Id. ibid.
The value of the formative has much altered in the case of Christendom. This word is now used to signify the geographical area which is peopled by Christians; but in the early use it meant just what we now mean by Christianity, the profession and condition of Christianity. William de Shoreham's poem De Baptismo opens thus:
“Cristendom his that sacrement
Morris, Specimens, p. I2 I.
Nouns in -red are, and always were, but few. The formative answers to the German rats in §eirats, marriage, originally meaning design, but in the formative having only the sense of condition. It seems to be the same as the final syllable in the proper names Ælfred, Eadred, Æbelred. Of this formation I can only produce two words that are still in current use.