Imatges de pÓgina

grace,' afterwards shortened into the letter's' with an apostrophe, as 'God's grace,' has led to a corruption with which our printers seem most unwilling to part. I mean the transformation of 'is' into his.' Thus in Gen. xvii. title,‘Abram his name' and 'Sarah her name;' Deut x. title, ‘Moses his suit;' S. Mark v. title, Jairus his daughter,' Ibid. x. title, “Bartimæus his sight.' And it is a curious instance of the arbitrariness or incomplete accuracy which is apt to prevail in such matters, that while these three examples (and perhaps others) of the corruption in question are allowed still to remain in our Bible, two other examples which Bishop Lowth pointed out, viz. *Asa his heart,' 1 Kings xv. 14, and Mordecai his matters,' Esth. iii. 4, have been set right. The same usage occurs at the end of the Prayer for all conditions of men in the Prayer Book.

And this we beg for Jesus Christ His sake. In the Variorum Shakspeare I have noticed six examples; all, except one, after words ending in s: three in King Henry VI. Ist Part, one in King Henry V., and one in Troilus and Cressida. It is not a little remarkable that so great a master of the English language as Addison, and at a date so late as 1711, should have been under the impression that ' his ’ in these cases is correct, and intended to represent the pronoun. See Spectator, No. 135. If this were so, how could we account for our genitives plural, as children's bread,' and genitives singular of females or feminine

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names, as · Persia's king? See Lowth's Grammar, p. 42, note; who further observes that the direct derivation of this case from the Saxon genitive is sufficient of itself to decide the matter.' In one of the three examples in King Henry VI., Bowdler has very improperly altered the text · France his sword? into · France's sword,' not considering, probably, that France is there to be understood not of the country, but of the French king. If the alteration is to be made in one instance, it should be made in all.

5. Proceeding to the Pronouns, I notice first the elliptic use of the dative case of the pronouns of the first

person, 'me,''us,' instead of' for me,' 'for us ;' as in 2 Sam. xix. 26, I will saddle me an ass,' and in Josh. xxii. 26, Let us now prepare to build us an altar. The same is found also in the pronouns of the second and third persons, as in Deut. x. I, "Make thee an ark,' and again in the same verse, ‘Hew thee two tables of stone;' in Josh. xxii. 16,‘Ye have builded you an altar;' in Kings xiii. 27, “So they saddled him the ass,' and Judges vi. 2, “The

( children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains.' Examples of the first of these usages are not unfrequent in Shakspeare.

* Thus, Shylock in the Merchant of Venice :-

Go with me to a notary; seal me there
Your single bond.

Act i. Sc. 3.

* It is also classical, as in Horace:

Quid mihi Celsus agit?


of the usage.


In Othello, Act i. Sc. I:

Whip me such honest knaves. And in King Henry IV., Falstaff especially is fond

Doubtless examples occur also in our poet of both the second and third personal pronouns similarly used; but I have marked down only these that follow, of the second person—none of the third. In King John, Act iii. Sc. 4, Pandulf

says:John lays you plots. In Hamlet, Act v. Sc. I, the grave-digger:

He will last you some eight year or nine year,an idiom with which we are now quite familiar, The ambiguity to which such a manner of speaking may give rise, has been taken advantage of in the humorous scene between Petruchio and his servant Grumio at the door of Hortensio, in Taming of the Shrew :

Petruchio. Here, sirrah Grumio; knock, I say.

Grumio. Knock, sir? Whom should I knock? Is there any man has rebused your worship?

Petruchio. Villain, I say, knock me here soundly.

Grumio. Knock you here, sir ? Why, what am I, sir, that I should knock you here, sir ? Petruchio. Villain, I say, knock me at this gate,

rap me well, or I'll knock


Act i. Sc. 2. * Mr. Wise, in his elegant volume upon Shakspeare and his Birthplace, gives other instances, and speaks of it as an idiom still used in Warwickshire, p. 112, sq.

6. Formerly it,' the pronoun of the third

person, besides borrowing the form thereof' to supply the possessive case, was indebted for its declension to the pronouns of the second and third person, and instead of its, his and hers were used with reference to a thing * spoken of. Thus in Joshua iv. 18, 'The waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before. In S. Matthew xxvi. 52, Put up thy sword again into his place.' In Haggai ii. 3,''Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory?'

These examples † are sufficient to prove that our poet was guilty of no vulgarity, as then considered, when he put into the mouth of Cæsar the following words addressed to Antony :

Let me lament
That thou, my brother, my competitor,
The arm of mine own body, and the heart
Where mine his thoughts did kindle-

Antony and Cleopatra Act v. Sc. I.

Since the above was written, I observe that Dean Alford, in his Plea for the Queen's English, ascribes this idiom to 'a reluctance to attribute personality to things without life.' For my own part, I should ascribe it to the very opposite reason, viz. a desire to personify everything ; which desire prevails in the earlier and simpler stages of society and consequently of language. Compare the use of who for which ; see below p. The Dean informs us that its' never occurs in the English version of the Bible, and that it is said only to occur three times in Shakspeare, and once in Paradise Lost. See Good Words for 1863, p. 192.

† See also Exod. xxxvii. 17; Acts xii. 10; Rev. xxii. 2, quoted by Dean Alford. Gen. i. 11; Ps. liv. 7, quoted in Mr. Booker's


But it is curious that our translator of the Apocryphal Book of Ecclesiasticus should have so far differed at once from Shakspeare, and from himself, as to make the heart'not masculine, but first feminine and then neuter, as he does in xxii. 19, ‘He that pricketh the heart maketh it to show her knowledge.'

We find another example in the same play, where Euphronius says to Cæsar :

Such as I am, I come from Antony:
I was of late as petty to his ends,
As is the morn dew on the myrtle leaf
To his grand sea.

Act iii. Sc. io. The explanation of Steevens that by 'his' we are to understand its,' is, I believe, the true one.

7. We know that the neuter of the relative pronoun, which, was formerly used as masculine, or feminine ; as in “Our father which art in heaven,' where we should now say 'who. Again, in Gen.

Behold I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.' In Matt. xxvii. 55, 56, we have 'which’ for both (who' and whom :'-'And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee ministering unto him, among which was Mary Magdalene,' &c. Both usages are to be met with in Shakspeare. Thus in the Tempest, Act iii. Sc. 1, Ferdinand says "The mistress which I serve,'

, and in King Richard III. Gloster, the future king, to Prince Edward :

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xviii. 27,


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