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answering to the A.S. -ode, I cannot but suspect that the actual suffix used was considerably influenced by the form of the stem. In some cases this awkward ending (awkward for verse especially because consisting of two unaccented syllables) would most easily pass into the form -ed, and in others into the form -de, in pronunciation, whilst at the same time the most careful scribes would often write the ending in full. In a word like louede, for example, the easier way is to turn it into lov'de, and such I consider to have been Chaucer's usage, as seems hinted by the following lines in the Knightes Tale (1l. 338, 339, 340, 344)—
• For in this world he lov'dë no man so,
Duk Pérotheüs lov'dë wel Arcite.' So too we find 'I lov'd' alwey' in B 1847. In some cases we actually find -de written, as in answérdë, B 1170, E 299, F 599, from A. S. andswarode; and again preydä clearly stands for preyede, and rimes with deydi and leydë, E 548, although, in E 680, it takes rather the form preyëd.
Verbs of this character do not seem to be numerous, and the more common method was to omit the last e instead of the medial one; as shewn in words like swowned, F 443, eyled, F 501, &c., which are sufficiently numerous. But it is somewhat remarkable that the poet seems to have had some aversion for the suppression of this e, if we may judge by the numerous cases in which he contrives to make the following word begin with a vowel, which rendered the elision of the final -e more tolerable and regular. See, for example, peyntede, F 560, demede, 563, obeyede, 569, coueredle), 644. The full forms, unabridged and unelided, occur occasionally, e.g. seruede, E 640; and, in the plural, batede, E 731; refuseden, 128. This is an interesting point, and deserving one day of being fully worked out.
Particular attention should be paid to the forms of the past tenses of weak and strong verbs. The stem being monosyllabic, the past tense singular of a weak verb is of more than one syllable; but the past tense singular of a strong verb must necessarily remain monosyllabic. This is the more noteworthy, because the final -e in Chaucer is pronounced so frequently, and for so many reasons, that the student is apt to lose sight of the grammatical principles which are the best guide to the spelling and metre. Amidst the crowd of inflections, clear cases of non-inflection become both instructive and valuable, and recal the reader to a sense of the underlying regularity that governs the harmonious whole. Note then the monosyllabic nature of words like sey, B 1, took, 10, shoon, 11, stood, 1163, bar, 1652, and a large number of others. Even in the second person, where a final -e appears in the Oldest English, I find but few in Chaucer; see, e.g. thou drank, B 3416; thou yaf, 3641, though these cases are not decisive, because a vowel follows in both instances. In E 1068 we find Thou bare, but here again the word him follows, and perhaps the form bar may be preferred. However, bigonne (Group G, l. 442) is a clear instance,
Another class of words essentially monosyllabic is seen in the 2nd person singular of the imperative mood, though there are a few exceptions. Ex. tel, B 1167, help, 1663, ryd, 3117, eet, 3640, tak, 3641. The word berknë, 113, is no real exception, because the stem is herkn-, not herk-; it belongs to that interesting class of verbs which is best illustrated by the Meso-Gothic verbs in -nan, all of which have a passive or neuter signification. The plural imperative in -th or -eth occurs frequently. Ex. gooth, bringeth, B 3384, beth, E 7, precheth, E 12. But, as in addressing persons, the words thou and ye are sometimes confused (though in general well distinguished, as pointed out in the Notes), it is not uncommon to find the final -th omitted. For example, in the Host's address to the Clerk at the beginning of the Clerk's Tale, he endeavours to use the respectful terms ye and your, but once raps out the familiar thy (I. 14); and accordingly, we find telle, not telleth, in 1l. 9, 15, and keepe in l. 17. Similarly, after draweth in B 1632, we have in the next line passe and lat us. Cf. accepteth, E 127, with chese, 130. In the past participles of weak verbs, the final -ëd is usually a distinct syllable, as in parfourned, B 1646, 1648 ; but just as we saw above an occasional
tendency to turn -ede of the past tense into -de, so here we find the -ed turned into -d; as in apayd, 1897, fulfild, 3713, kembd, E 379; and even when it is written as -ed, it is sometimes sounded as -d, or nearly so, especially when a vowel (or h) begins the next word, as in ycaried hem, B 3240, wered it, 3315, wered al, 3320, &c. Sometimes the ending is written t, as in abayst, E 1011.
METRE AND VERSIFICATION.
Stanzas. The stanzas employed by Chaucer have already been mentioned. The seven-line stanza, derived from the French, is employed in the Man of Law's Prologue, in the Prioress's Prologue and Tale, in the Clerk's Tale, and in other Tales and Poems not here printed. The rime-formula is a babbcc; by which is meant (see B 99-105) that the first and third lines rime together, as denoted by a a (povértë, bertë); the second, fourth, and fifth lines rime together, as denoted by b b b (confounded, wounded, wounde bid); and the last two, cc, rime together (indigence, despence). This is Chaucer's favourite stanza.
At the end of the Clerk's Tale is an Envoy, in a six-line stanza. The rime-formula is a babcb, all the six stanzas having the same rimes. The Monk's Tale is in an eight-line stanza, also from the French. The rime-formula is a bab bcbc. Spenser's stanza, in the Faerie Queene, is deduced from this by the addition of a ninth line of twelve syllables (commonly called an Alexandrine) riming with the eighth line; according to the formula a ba bbc bcc.
The Rime of Sir Thopas is in imitation of a favourite ballad-metre of the period. The rime-formula is a abccb; but c often coincides with a, giving the formula a aba ab, which is, indeed, the commoner form of the two. Some stanzas are lengthened out by adding a tag beginning with a very short line, which introduces an additional half-stanza. The free swing of these stanzas is somewhat different in rhythm from all the other poems. Chaucer takes much care to elide the final -e in many places, and in other places disregards it, so as considerably to
reduce the number of faint additional syllables. On this account, instances where the final -e is preserved are the more interesting, and a list of them is here added, neglecting those which occur at the ends of lines. I include also the instances where the final -es, -en, and -ed form distinct syllables.
Final -es. The final -es is sounded in the genitive singular; as, goddes, 1913, bores, 2060, swerdes, 2066. In the plural; as lippes, 1916, herbes, 1950, 2103 ; briddes, 1956; sydes, 1967, 2026; stones, 2018; lordes, 2078; rómances, 2038, 2087; popes, cardinales, 2039. Note also the proper names Flaundres, 1909, Brugges, 1923.
It marks an adverbial ending in nedes, 2031.
Final -ed. The final -ed occurs in the past tense of a weak verb, viz. dremed, 1977.
Final -en. The final -en marks the infinitive mood in abyen, 2012, percen, 2014, slepen, 2 100, liggen, 2101; tellen, 2036, is a gerund. In one case it marks the plural of a substantive; viz. in hosen, 1923.
Final -e. In the following substantives (of A. S. origin), it represents the vowels 'a or e; stede (A. S. stéda) 1941, 1972, 2074; sonne (A. S. sunne, Mæso-Goth. sunna or sunno), 2009; spere (A.S. spére, Old Friesic spiri, spere, sper), 2071; also name (A.S. nama) 1998; but in l. 1907 it is monosyllabic, or nearly so. The word lake answers to the Dutch laken, cloth, 2048. The genitive mone for A.S. mónan in l. 2070 has already been commented on; p. xlix, last line. The final -e in a word of French origin appears in robe, 1924, answering to the Provençal and Low Latin rauba.
In the following adjectives we note the definite form used in bis faire, 1965; the softe, 1969; the sweete, 2041; his whyte, 2047 ; bis goode, 2093 ; his bryghte, 2102. The plural forms are wilde, 1926, bothe, 1946, 2030, 2082. In l. 1974 the word benedicite becomes ben'cite, as in many other passages, shewing that the final -e in O seinte marks the vocative case; unless indeed we pronounce the word seïnt as two syllables, as Mr. Ellis pronounces it in 1. 120 of the Prologue. The latter treatment is hardly required here.
In verbs we have -e in the infinitive mood, as in telle, 1903, 1939; meete, 2008; and in the gerundial infinitive to bynde, 1976. Also in the past tense singular of weak verbs; as coste, 1925, coude, 1926, swatte, 1966, dorste, 1995, seyde, 2000, 2035, dide (in the sense of put on), 2047, nolde, 2100. Also, in the subjunctive mood, as bityde, 2064. And lastly, we even find it in the first person singular of the present tense in the word hope, 2010: in which case we may observe that the A. S. verb is hopian, not bopan, and the A. S. first person singular present is hopige, not hope ; which accounts more easily for the result.
An e appears in the middle of the following words, and constitutes a syllable; launcegay, 1942, 2011; notemuge, 1953; wodedowue, 1960; softely, 2076.
All the above results should be compared with the rules in Dr. Morris's Introduction, pp. xlv-xlvii. They exemplify most of the more important rules, and may serve to prepare us for the consideration of Chaucer's metre as employed in his rimed couplets. The whole of the rules for scansion, as regards the poems printed in the present volume, may be roughly compressed into the following practical directions:
1. Always pronounce the final -es,-ed, -en or -e, as a distinct and separate syllable, whether at the end of a line or in the middle of one, with the exceptions noted below, and a few others.
2. The final -e is almost invariably elided, and other light syllables (especially -ed, -en -er, -es) are constantly slurred over and nearly absorbed, whenever the next word following begins with a vowel or is one of the words (beginning with b) in the following list, viz. be, his, him, her, bir, hem, hath, hadde, haue, how, heer. Ex. open, B 1684 ; ycomen, 1687.
3. The final -e is sometimes elided or ignored in the words haue, hadde (when used as an auxiliary), were, nere, wolde, nolde (used as auxiliaries), thise, othere, and in a very few other cases, best learnt by practice and observation. Ex. volume, B 60; richesse, 107; both due to the position of the accent.
These three rules will go a very long way, and when thoroughly understood, practised, and tested by the requirements of grammar, will only require to be supplemented by a few