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such as might rise in poetry; and then the collocation would so far affect the impression communicated, that after all it could not be called a mere alternative, whether we would say hungry men or men hungry. The next thing is the placing of the article. The article stands immediately before the adjective:– The hungry man seeks victual. The healthy boy loves play.
The wise man desires truth.
This amplification brings out to view an important consequence of the order last observed. As we put our adjective before our substantive, it results that when the article is put before both, it is severed from the substantive to which it primarily appertains. The French, who can put the adjective either before or after its noun, have by this means the opportunity of keeping the article and noun together in most cases where it is desirable. This is a trifle, so long as it is confined to the difference between the wise man, a good man, and l'homme sage, un homme bon. But then the adjective being capable of amplification in its turn, the gap between the article and its noun may be considerably widened. An adverb may be put to the adjective, and then it becomes the truly wise man, a really good man. Or, as in the following:—
‘The inadequacy of our means to meet the spiritual wants of the annually increasing population of this colony.”—Letter of the Bishop of Adelaide,
1859. The severance between the article and its noun had not extended beyond such examples as these, until within the recent period which may be designated as the German era. Our increased acquaintance with German literature has caused an enlargement in this member of our syntax. We not unfrequently find a second adverb, or an adverbial phrase, or a negative, included in the interval between the article and its noun; thus, L
“In that not more populous than popular thoroughfare."—Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers, ch. xii.
“A young man, with some tints of academical training, and some of the livid lights of a then only incipient Rationalism on his mind.”—Edwin Paxton Hood, Lectures to Students for the Ministry, 1867.
“And is it indeed true that they are so plied with the gun and the net and the lime that the utter extinction of their species in these islands may be looked upon as a by no means remote eventuality?'
In a translation from the German which I happen to be now reading, the following illustrations present themselves:–
“A not altogether unsatisfactory picture.”
“There he puts down the varied and important matter he is about to say, according to a large plan and tolerably strictly carried out arrangement.'
This is now sometimes used by highly qualified English writers. In the following, from Mr. Weld's Vacation in Brittany, 1866, our stands in the place of the –
‘I have now travelled through nearly every Department in France, and I
do not remember ever meeting with a dirty bed: this, I fear, cannot be said of our happily in all other respects cleaner island.’
‘Douglas, in the Nenia, p. Io, is so far as I know the first who called attention to this passage of our great poet [Hamlet v. 1], as illustrating the very commonly to be observed presence of “shards, flints, and pebbles," in graves, into which it is difficult to think they could have got by accident.’— George Rolleston, On Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon Sepulture.
This expansibility of the noun applies equally to the subject and to the object; that is to say, it may take place either before or after the verb, or even both. It does not often happen that the two wings of the sentence are expanded in the same manner, because the effect would not be pleasing But the same order rules on the one side as on the other; and variety is sought only to avoid monotony. If we were speaking of the sense of liberty which is nourished in a people by the habit of discussing and correcting the laws which bind them, we might say,+
Deliberation implies consent.
A continuous deliberation on the law implies a continuous consent to the law.
A continuous deliberation on the law by the subject, implies a continuous assent to the law on the part of the subject.
So well established is the general order of collocation, that marked divergences arrest the attention, and have, by reason of their exceptional character, a force which may be converted into a useful rhetorical effect; thus, –
beauties the most opposite.
“Having been successively subject to all these influences, our language has become as it were a sort of centre to which beauties the most opposite converge.’—H. T. W. Wood, The Reciprocal Influence of French and English Literature in the Eighteenth Century, 1870.
And it occasionally happens that the surprise of an unusual Order becomes the evidence to our minds that there is such a thing as a usual order of collocation. In the following sentence the putting of the comparative clause before the verb is an illustration of this:—
“And this it is that I think I have seen, and that I wish, if I can be so
happy, to shew to those who need it more than myself, and who better than myself may profit by it.”—The Mystery of Pain.
When in the Idylls we read of the ‘Table Round, we experience a sort of pleasure from the strangeness of the collocation by which the adjective is put after its substantive: starting from the principle that the reverse is the true English order of collocation. This is one of the things H h
which we have adopted for use in poetry and in high style generally, and it is one of the traces which early French culture has left on our literature:–
“A spring perennial rising in the heart.”
‘Full many a gem of purest ray serene.’
‘Devastation universal.”—Henry Taylor, Natural History of Enthusiasm.
Some parts of speech exhibit what may be called, without too strong a figure, a jealousy of their position in the sentence. The adjective offers a ready illustration of this. The place between the article and the substantive is first and foremost the property of the adjective. An adverb may be there as attendant on an adjective, but not alone. To exemplify this we need a word that has changed from an adjectival to an adverbial habit. Such a word we have in only. As an adjective, the place of this word is between the article and the substantive—“The only path. In our early literature this word is usually an adjective, but at present it is usually an adverb. And this is why the reader is often checked by meeting this word in what seems an unintelligible position. Spenser has (The Faerie Queene, iii. 2. 38)
“But th' only shade and semblant of a knight'
where we should now say ‘only the shade,’ &c. If we preserve the order we must change the word, and say, “the mere shade.” When only had come to be an adverb, it was felt that its collocation required altering, so as to be outside the pale of the article and substantive. And as the adjective only, having acquired the habit of an adverb, had to shift from the place of the adjective to that assigned to the adverb; in like manner may we find cases where the same adjective might well shift its position from the adverb's place, for fear of the inconvenience of being accounted an adverb. In Psalm lxxxiii. 18 (elder version), it is said, ‘Thou art only the most Highest over all the earth.' So Richard Sibbes (Puritan Divines, vol. i. p. 92) has “which will only give us boldness,' meaning to say that which we should now express by this ‘which only (or alone) will give us boldness.’ To understand this only as an adverb would be to stultify the sense. How absurd would it sound to say that the Queen is only the supreme authority in the British Empire While only had no character but its original one of an adjective, the above order might stand without risk of confusion; but after the adverbial habit had developed itself, it became necessary, not only for the adverb to keep out of any place where it might be accounted an adjective, but also equally necessary for the adjective to keep out of any position in which it might look like an adverb. And therefore it must be thus collocated: ‘Thou only art,’ &c. Thus we see in the case of this word two contrary illustrations of its sensitiveness in matter of collocation. In the former case it has to move from the adjectival place because it can no longer sustain the adjectival character, having come to be reputed as an adverb; in the latter case it has to protect its adjectival character against adverbial appearances by moving from that position in front of an article which is the lot of the adverb. Before the development of flexion and symbolism, there was a dearth of means for expressing those modifications which are now effected by adverbs and adverbial phrases. In the collocational stage of syntax, the chief