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the Latin name of Adverb. It is the peculiar companion of the verb, as the adjective is of the substantive. It continues or intensifies the mental action raised by the verb, or couched in the adjective. And here having reached as it were the third and topmost storey of our edifice, we leave behind us the care for raw material, and think more and more of the arts and graces of architectural composition. We have done with the forest and the quarry, and we are absorbed in the contemplation of the effect. We may yet incidentally notice that an adverbial form has come from Saxon or other national source; but our main attention will be required by a division as truly inward to the adverbs themselves, as that which formed the plan of the chapter on verbs. And this internal division is the more worthy of consideration, as it is not limited to the adverbs alone, but is correlated to the general economy and progress of language.
(1) Of the Flat Adverb.
430. The Flat Adverb is simply a substantive or an adjective placed in an adverbial position. The same word which, if it qualified a noun, would be called an adjective, being set to qualify an adjective or a verb is called an adverb. The use of the unaltered adjective as an adverb has a peculiar effect, which I know not how to describe better than by the epithet Flat. This effect is not equally appreciable in all instances of the thing; but it may perhaps be recognised in such an expression as wonder great, which was common in the fourteenth century, or in the following:
W. Shakspeare, Tempest, iv. i. 247.
When spight of cormorant deuouring Time.
Laves Labour's lost, i. 1.4.
The uneasy young traveller in an American car, who (as Mr. Zincke relates) exclaimed 'Mother, fix me good,' gave us there an excellent example of this original adverb of nature.
Although this adverbial use of good is not admitted in literary English, the analogous use of gut is polite German. Indeed, the flat adverb is much more extensively used in German than in English, as fd)rei6en <Sie langfam, write slowly. We do also hear in English write slow, but it is rather rustic. In Jeremiah xlix. 8 there is a German example: 'Flee ye, turne backe, dwell deepe, O inhabitants of Dedan,' where the flat adverb deep is an imitation from Luther: gliefjet, rcenbet eucfy unb fcerfrtecfyet eud) tief, ifyr ©urger ju Debon.
431. Our English instances of this most primitive form of adverb will mostly be found in the colloquial and familiar specimens of language. In such homely phraseology as walk fast, walk slow; speak loud, speak low; tell me true; or again in this, yes, sure—we have examples of the fiat adverb. ' They are frequent in our early classics, and they are cherished by our modern poets. But the precise grammar-book does not allow them. Instead of just and right, as in the following passage from Shakspeare, we should now be directed to say ' exactly' or 'precisely':
At this fusty stuffe
That's done, as neere as the extreamest ends
Of paralels; as like, as Vulcan and his wife,
Yet god Achilles still cries excellent,
'Tis Nestor right. Troylus and Cressida, i. 3. (61.
Suffre yet a litle whyle, & ye vngodly shal be clene gone: thou shalt loke after his place, & he shal be awaye.—Psalm xxxvii. 10. Miles Coverdale, 1535.
He cherups brisl? his ear-erecting steed.
William Cowper, The Task, Book III.
Yet these each other's power so strong contest,
Oliver Qoldsmith, The Traveller.
I don't mean to hurt you, you poor little thing,
And pussy-cat is not behind me;
With eager spring the troutlets rise
E. W. L. Davies, Dartmoor Days, p. 81.
slow . . . best.
While the bell is cooling slow
May the workman rest:
Do what likes him best.
H. D. Skrine, Schiller's Song of the Bell.
We had an extraordinary good run with the Tiverton hounds yesterday. —Land and Water, January 15, 1870.
Of these our short and homely adverbs there are some few which did not always belong to this group, but have lapsed into it from the flexional group. Such are ill, still, which in Saxon are oblique cases, Ille, Stille (disyllabic).
To this group belongs a word, provincial indeed, but prevailing through the eastern half of the island from Norfolk to Northumberland, namely the adverb geyn, German gegen, meaning near, handy, convenient. Its use appears in the following dialogue taken from life :—
Where's the baby's bib, Lavina?
432. As a general remark on this section we would say, that perhaps there is no part of the language that more plainly forces on us the need of looking beyond the pale of literature and precise grammar, if we are to comprehend the Philology of the English Tongue. Within grammatical liberty we could muster but a very poor account of the flat adverb, and so the whole German adverb would seem to be without a parallel in English.
The flat adverb is in fact rustic and poetic, and both for the same reason—namely, because it is archaic. Out of poetry it is for the most part an archaism, but it must not therefore be set down as a rare, or exceptional, or capricious mode of expression. If judgment went by numbers, this would in fact be entitled to the name of the English Adverb. To the bulk of the community the adverb in -ly is bookish, and is almost as unused as if it were French. The flat adverb is all but universal ..with the illiterate. But among literary persons it is hardly used (a few phrases excepted), unless with a humorous intention. This will be made plain by an instance of the use of the flat adverb in correspondence. Charles Lamb, writing to H. C. Robinson, says:—
Farewell 1 till we can all meet comfortable.—H. C. Robinson, Diary, 1827.
433. This flat and simple adverb suffices for primitive needs, but it soon fails to satisfy the demands of a progressive civilisation. For an example of the kind of need that would arise for something more highly organised, we may resort to that frequent unriddler of philological problems, the Hebrew language. In Exodus xvi. 5 we read, 'It shall be twice as much as they gather dayly.' Instead of dayly the Hebrew has day day, that is, a, flat adverb day repeated in order to produce the effect of our daily or day by day. This affords us a glimpse of the sort of ancient contrivance which was the substitute of flexion before flexion existed, and out of which flexion took its rise.
But for a purely English bridge to the next division we may produce one of the frequent instances in which a flat adverb is coupled with a flexional one, as when the Commons, on the 18th of November, 1558, responded to the Chancellor's announcement with the memorable cry: 'God save queen Elizabeth; long and happily may she reign.' The following line wins some of its effect from this adverbial variation:—
Who sings so loudly and who sings so long.
Alexander Pope, The Dunciad, Bk. III.
(2) Of the Flexional Adverb.
434. When the flexional system of language had become established, and the nouns were declined Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Ablative—a new and effectual way of applying a noun adverbially was by adding it to the sentence in its