« IndietroContinua »
Here also I should range the adverbs in -ing or -ling, as
groveling = xapâče.
And the faire flowres that decked him afore :
The Faerie Queene, iii. 4. 17.
flatling. But it is worthy of memory, to see how the women of that Towne did ply themselues with their weapons, making a great Massacre upon our men, and murthered 500 of them in such spéedie and furious sort as wonderfull: wee needed not to haue feared their men at all, had not the women bin our greatest ouerthrow, at which time I my self was maister Gunner of the Admirals Gally, yet chained gréeuously, and beaten naked with a Turkish sword flatling, for not shooting where they would haue me, and where I could not shoote.'—Webbe bis trauailes, 1590 (Ashbee's Facsimile Reprint).
John Milton, Paradise Lost, iii. 39.
Instances of the gentive in -es, used as an adverbial sign, are upwards, towards, needs, eggelinges (edgewise, Chevelere Assigne, 305), eftsoones (Spenser, Faerie Queene, iii. 11. 38).
• Sen þou hast lerned by þe sentence of plato þat nedes Þe wordes moten ben conceyued to po pinges of whiche bei 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.
Mark xii. 7.
1611. When ye shall heare of warre . And when yee shall heare of and tydinges off warre, be ye not warres, and rumors of warres, be yee troubled; for they must nedes be, not troubled : For such things must butt the ende is nott yett.'
needs be, but the end shall not be yet.'
sonderlypes = severally.
R. Brunne's Chronicle (Lambeth MS.) 3876.
Early English Text Society.
upwards. One's general impression of a mountain is that it should have something of a pyramidal form. The differentia of a mountain is, I suppose, that the curves of its outline should be concave upwards, whereas those of a hill are convex.'
But the flexion which has obtained the greatest vogue is that in -ly; as, 'I gave him sixpence willingly.'
This adverb might appear to be nothing but a collocative adaptation of the adjective in -ly to the adverbial use. Had this been its history, it would still have deserved a separate place from the flat adverbs, because of the almost universal appropriation of this adjectival form as an adverbial inflection. But the fact is, that although the adjective and adverb in -ly have now the same external aspect, this is only a result of that levelling process of the transition period under which so many of our flexions disappeared. In Saxon the adjective was in -lic, as wonderlic, wonderful; and the adverb in -lice, as wunderlice, wonderfully. And this final -e was the case-ending of the instrumental case, and so resembled the Latin adverb from the ablative, as verò. When we consider how much has been absorbed in this
adverbial termination, we can understand why the last syllable of the adverb in -ly was pronounced so full and long down to the sixteenth century, as in the following:
• Ye ought to be ashamed,
Skelton, Colyn Clout. This adverbial form has become so exceedingly prevalent above all others, as almost to eclipse them and cause them to be forgotten : while, moreover, the great dominance of this form as an adverb has cast a sort of shadow over the adjective of the same form. Sometimes these functions come into an uncomfortable collision with one another; as, “Their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed,' where the first ungodly is an adjective and the second an adverb. The expression 'truly and godly serve Thee' is not quite free from the same disturbance.
What was said in the last section about social adjectives, applies also to adverbs, though in a more superficial way. Adverbs do not take the root that adjectives do. In the last generation a marked social adverb was vastly : thus, in Mansfield Park, when Edward was resolute that 'Fanny must have a horse,' we read :
Mrs. Norris could not help thinking that some steady old thing might be found among the numbers belonging to the Park, that would do vastly well.'
At the present moment it may be said that awfully is the adverb regnant. "How do?' 'Awfully jolly, thanks.'
Verily is an adverb in which a French base has received a Saxon formative. This adverb is a memorial of the bilingual period of our language. It has not undergone the usual process of formation through an adjective. There has never been an adjective verily: and I do not think the
adverb has been built upon very after its establishment as an English adjective; but rather that the termination -ly, as the established sign of adverbiality, has supplanted the French adverbial termination -ment.
Verily is our insular substitute for the French vraiment, Italian veramente, Latin, or rather Roman, verá mente. It is curious to observe that the Romanesque languages should have taken the word for mind as the material out of which they have moulded a formula for the adverbial idea; while the Saxon equivalent has
grown out of the word for body ; lic being body, German Leich.
Like seasoned timber, never gives ;
George Herbert. Before we pass from this, one of the most dominant forms of our language, we may glance for a moment at the feeling and moral effects with which it is associated. As the substantive is the most necessary of words, so the adverb is naturally the most decorative and distinguishing. And as it is easiest to err in that part of your fabric which is least necessary, so a writer's skill or his incapacity comes out more in his adverbs than in his substantives or adjectives. It is no small matter in composition to make your adverbs appear as if they belonged to the statement, and not as mere arbitrary appendages. Hardly anything in speech gives greater satisfaction than when the right adverb is put in the right place.
'Dickens, describing the conversation of two men at a funeral as they discuss the fate or prospects of various neighbours, past and present, says, with one of his happiest touches, that they spoke as if they themselves were "notoriously immortal.”
How happy is this ' notoriously'! how delicately does it expose that inveterate paradox of self-delusion whereby
men tacitly assume for themselves an exception from the operation of general laws! How widely does this differ from the common tendency to be profuse in adverbs, which is a manifestation of the impotent desire to be effective at little cost. The following is not a strong example, but it will indicate what is meant : • Most heartily do I recommend Mr. Beecher's sermons
they are instructively and popularly philosophical, without being distractingly metaphysical.'— The Pulpit Analyst.
As in art the further an artist goes in embellishment the more he risks a miscarriage in effect, so it is in language. It is only the master's hand that can safely venture to lay on the adverbs thick. And yet their full capability only then comes out when they are employed with something like prodigality. When there is a well-ballasted paragraph, solid in matter and earnest in manner, then, like the full sail of a well-found ship, the adverbs may be crowded with glad effect. In the following passage, how free from adverbs is the body of the paragraph; and when we come to where they are lavishly displayed at the end, we feel that the demonstration is justified. If we quoted only the termination of this passage, the adverbs would lose their raison d'étre.
• I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinions; but a right understanding of the relation between what be can do and say, and the rest of the world's sayings and doings. All great men not only know their business, but usually know that they know it; and are not only right in their main opinions, but they usually know that they are right in them; only, they do not think much of themselves on that account. Arnolfo knows he can build a good dome at Florence; Albert Durer writes calmly to one who had found fault with his work, “It cannot be better done;" Sir Isaac Newton knows that he has worked out a problem or two that would have puzzled anybody else ;-only they do not expect their fellow-men therefore to fall down and worship them; they have a curious under-sense of powerlessness, feeling that the greatness is not in them, but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them. And they see something divine and God-made in every other man they meet, and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.'