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plural of this demonstrative, took the place of hi as personal pronoun of the third person plural (they). And, to pursue this transition to its consequences; a place was now vacant, the demonstrative required a plural of its own. Here we have a beautiful example of the innate resource of language, which often is most admirable in this, that a new want is supplied out of a mere nothing. The sister demonstrative this had a plural which was grammatically written tha's, and with this full d it was pronounced so as to be very like our those, which is indeed its modern form. But people whose education had been neglected were apt to make a plural in their own way by just adding on a little vague e to the singular this, so they (the ungrammatical people) made a plural this-e. After a certain period of confusion, during which both demonstratives admitted a great variety of shapes, they at last settled down to this, that the word those, which was the original old plural of this, should pass over to the other side and become the plural of that, while this should make its plural these according to the later popular invention. 489. What was at the root of all this stir appears to have been the newly-felt insufficiency of the distinction between the singular he and the plural hi. And perhaps it should be added, the want of distinction between the singular dative him and the plural dative, also written him, though sometimes heam or hem. In the following passage, Mark vi. 48–50, we find him three times, and in every case it corresponds to the modern them:—
And he geseah hig on rewette swincende; him was wièerweard wind : and on niht ynabe pa feoróan watccan, he com to him of er pa sae gangende, and wolde hig forbugan.
pa highine gesawon of r pasa gangende, hig wéndon past hit unfale gast ware, and hig clypedon:
hig ealle hine gesawon and wurdon gedrefede. And sona he spraec to him, and cwacS: Gelyfa’, ; ic hit eom; nelle ge eow ondraedan.
So that the English language, about the time of its national restitution, gradually substituted they, their, them, in the place of the elder hi, heora, him. This change was not quite established till far on in the fifteenth century. In Chaucer we have still the elder forms, hi, hir, hem, in free use, or at least the two latter. For the nominative he generally uses they:— Vp on the wardeyn bisily they crye, To yeue hem leue but a litel stounde, To go to Mille and seen hir corn ygrounde: And hardily they derste leye hir nekke, The Millere shold noght stelen hem half a pekke
It may not be amiss to add that when in provincial Engglish we meet with 'em in place of them, it must be regarded as an elided form not of them, but of hem.
490. These two pronouns have held a great place in our language. We can hardly omit to notice what may be called their rhetorical use. This has a rhetorical use expressive of contempt. It was by means of this pronoun that Horne Tooke expressed his contempt for the philology of Harris's Hermes:—
There will be no end of such fantastical writers as this Mr. Harris, who takes fustian for philosophy.—Diversions of Purley, Part II. ch. vi.
Thal, on the other hand, is a great symbol of admiration :
The face of justice is like the face of the god Janus. It is like the face of those lions, the work of Landseer, which keep watch and ward around the record of our country's greatness. She presents one tranquil and majestic countenance towards every point of the compass and every quarter of the globe. That rare, that noble, that imperial virtue has this above all other qualities, that she is no respecter of persons, and she will not take advantage of a favourable moment to oppress the wealthy for the sake of flattering the poor, any more than she will condescend to oppress the poor for the sake of pampering the luxuries of the rich.-House of Commons, March II, 1870.
Both of these uses are to be paralleled in Greek and Latin, as the student of those languages should ascertain for himself, if he is not already familiar with the feature.
491. But a more peculiar interest attaches to this pronoun from the circumstance that out of it has been carved the definite article. The word the is generalized from the more prevalent cases of that, and perhaps the French le has exercised some influence in the way of shaping the.
And not unfrequently we experience in the course of reading, especially in poetry, a certain force in the definite article, which we could not better convey in words than by saying it reminds us of its parentage, and calls the demonstrative to mind. It is one of those fugitive sensations that will not always come when they are called for; but perhaps the reader may catch what is meant if the following line from the Christian Pear is offered in illustration:—
The Man seems following still the funeral of the Boy.
The same thing may however be shown in a manner more agreeable to science. We find cases in which the same text is variously rendered according as the interpreters have seen a demonstrative or a definite article in the Original :— Ezekiel ix. 19.
That stony herte wil I take out I wil take the stonie herte out of youre body, & geue you a fleshy of their flesh, and will giue them an herte. heart of flesh.
There is a case, and that rather a frequent one, in which /he is not a definite article at all, but either a demonstrative or a relative. It is the instrumental case ths of the Saxon declension above given, and answers to the Latin quo. . . eo
before comparatives, just as that that in Saxon was equivalent to the Latin ad quod.
The more luxury increases, the more urgent seems the necessity for thus securing a luxurious provision.—John Boyd-Kinnear, Woman's Work, P. 353. 492. Yond, yon, yonder. Saxon GEOND, German jemer:— Mene. See you yond Coin alth Capitol, yond corner stone? W. Shakspeare, Coriolanus, v. 4. I.
But looke, the Morne in Russet mantle clad,
Hamlet, i. 1. 167.
Caesar saide to me, Dar'st thou Cassius now
julius Cæsar, i. 2. IoA. Near yonder copse, where once the garden smil’d. Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village.
Saxon, from yonder mountain high,
493. The interrogative which, Saxon Hwilc, is composed of Hwi an old ablative or instrumental case of Hwa, Hwa.T., our modern zoho, zwhat ; and the formative LIC, modern / Ke. Thus which originally meant who- or whal-like P
This pronoun was originally an interrogative ; and its use as a relative is imitated from the French qui and que: also we imitated the French leguel, laquelle, in our formula the 70%ich :—
I will not ouerthrow this citie, Ie ne subvertirai point la ville de for the which thou hast spoken.— laquelle tu as parlé.—La saincte Genesis xix. 21. Bible, Rochelle, 1616.
It belongs, however, to the nature of imitations that a large proportion of them are short-lived. They differ from the native growth as cuttings differ from seedlings. Only a reduced number gets well and permanently rooted. We proceed to notice an instance of this. The relative which, as a personal relative, is no longer used, and it is a well-known peculiarity of the English of our Bible, that it is so common there. Instances of this use are indeed numerous beyond the pages of that version. The following is from a brass in Hutton Church, near Westonsuper-Mare:— Pray for ye soules of Thomas Payne Squier & Elizabeth hyis wife which departed y” xv" day of August ye yere of or lord god m.ccccc.xxviij. In the following passage Pope put Whom as a correction in the place of Which :— Welcome sir Diomed, here is the Lady Which for Antenor we deliuer you. Shakspeare, Troylus and Cressida, iv. 4. Io9. Another French-trained faculty was once enjoyed by zohich, but is now obsolete. This was the admirative or exclamative power, like the French quel, quelle ! In the following instances we should now put what instead of which :—
And which eyen my lady had,
But which a visage had she thereto. Id. 895.
Whether = which of two 2 was in Saxon an adjectival pronoun, declined in the three genders; whereas now it has not only lost its concordal faculty, but has almost dropped out of knowledge as a pronoun altogether (537). In the seventeenth century it was still used. Strafford, writing to Laud of his opening speech, says:–
Well spoken it is, good or bad. I cannot tell whether; but whatever it was, I spake it not betwixt my teeth, but so loud and heartily that I protest unto you I was faint withal at the time, and the worse for it two or three days after.—J. B. Mozley, Essays, “Lord Strafford,' p. 27.