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in, of, to (or vn-to), most often govern a dative in AngloSaxon, and may be considered as always governing a dative in Chaucer. The following are examples; lond', 9, tyme, 13, tonge, 35, grene, 54, tyme, 74, dor', 80, thomb', 83, 148, syd', 84, halle, 86, halle, 92, speche (c@sura), 94, speche (or spech'), 104, mynde, 109, heste, 114, droughť, 118, rote, 153, wound', 165, met’, 173, ere, 196, drede, 212, ende, 224. The French words conform to the same usage; e.g. courte, 171. The prep. ageyn may govern either dative or accusative, but tyde (142) is properly a dative form; so also, then, is shene, 53 (A. S. scínan from nom. scína). Style (106) is probably a dative, governed by ouer.
4. Genitive Cases. We must not omit to notice the genitive cases, answering to the A.S. genitives -e or -an. Instances are: sonne (A.S. sunnan), 53; halle (A. S. healle), 80.
5. Adjectives ; definite form. The definite form is used when the adjective is preceded by the, this, that, or a possessive pronoun. Examples: the hotë, 51, the yonge, 54, the thridde, 76, the hye, 85, this strange, 89, his olde, 95, the hye, 98, 176, this same, 124, his newe, 140, her moste, 199, his queynte, 239, the loude, 268, the grete, 306. So even with French adjectives; e.g. your excellente, 145. Note also thilke, 162.
6. Adjectives; plural forms. Ex. strange, 67, olde, 69, yong', 88, olde, 88, 206, 211, alle, 91, dep', 155, wyde, 155, diverse, 202, grete, 219, somm', 225, slye, 230, alle, 248, fresshe, 284. So also: whiche, 30, swiche, 227.
7. Adjectives ; vocative case. No example; see B 1874.
8. Adjectives; inflexion of case. Some adjectives occur in Chaucer which take final -e even in the nominative. Thus A.S. þic is in the definite form se picca; by confusion, Chaucer uses thikke even when indefinite; see 'a thikkë knarrë,' Prol. 549 ; in the Sq. Ta. we have : thikk’, 159. Note also liche, 62. The word blithe =A. S. bliče; Chaucer has blythe (with cæsura), 338. The
? Of is now regarded as a sign of a possessive or genitive case; but in Old English it invariably governs the dative.
notion of expressing a dative case by the inflexional -e extended even to adjectives; e.g. alle, 15.
9. Verbs; infinitive mood. Sey', 4, rebelle, 5, telle, 6, vndertake, 36, spek', 41, occupy', 64, deuyse, 65, pleye, 78, amende, 97, 197, seme, 102, soun,' 105, bere, 124, turn', 127, hyde, 141, here, 146, know', 151, answer', 152, knowe, (cæsura), 154, kerv', 158, byte, 158, close, 165, here, 188, rede, 211, comprehende,
10. Verbs; gerundial infinitive. To telle, 34, to biholde, 87, to pace, 120, to sore, 123, to were, 147, to winne, 214, to here, 271, to hye, 291, to seyne, 314, to done, 334. It is very significant that there is no case of elision amongst all these examples.
11. Strong verbs; past participles. Holde, 70, spok’, 86, com', 96, bore, 178, knowe, 215, yswore, 325, ydrawe, 326, ybore, 326. Only two of these are cases of elision.
12. Weak verbs; past tense. Examples have been already given; see art. 11 above, p. lxviii.
13. Verbs; subjunctive mood. First person singular: spek', 7. Third person singular : leste, 125, were, 195, liste, 327. Plural: reste, 126.
14. Verbs: various other inflexions; (a) 1 p. pr. indicative: deme, 44, trowe, 213, seye, 289, let', 290; (6) pr. pl. indicative, recche, 71, lere, 104, smyte, 157, mote, 164, 318, iangl’, 220, trete, 220, iangle, 261, deuyse, 261, gete, 343; (c) subj. pl. used as imper. plural: bidd', 321, trill', 321, trille, 328, ryde (?), 334. N.B. I believe it will be found that the inflexion of the first pers. sing. present tense indicative is very weak, and often dropped or neglected; cf. p. lv. Also, that the imperative plural is liable to confusion with the imperative singular ; cf. p. lii.
15. Adverbs. Whether the final -e in an adverb represents (a) an older vowel-ending, or is used (6) merely to form adverbs from adjectives, or represents (c) the A. S. ending -an, the result is much the same, viz. that the final -e is especially preserved in them. Examples: much', 3, yliche, 20, loude, 55, euer-more, 124, bryghte, 170, still', 171, lowe, 216, bothe, 240, sore, 258, hye, 267, sone, 276, 333, namore, 314, namor', 343. This rule being so general, we even find the -e wrongly added, by license, where we should not expect it; e.g. herë (A.S. hér), 145; therforë (A.S. þær and for compounded), 177. There is an example of a preposition in -e, viz. bitwixe, 333. We may note also adverbs in -ely, where e is a syllable; viz. richely, 90, solempnely, 179, diversely, 202.
The whole matter is much simplified by remembering that every case of the final -e can be characterised as either (1) essential, (2) superfluous, or (3) grammatical. To the two first of these classes the guide is etymology, to the last the guide is a knowledge of Anglo-Saxon grammar. For example, the final -e is essential where it represents an A.S. or Latin termination, as in stede from A.S. stedu, or diademe from Lat. diadema. It is superfluous or licentious, if used in a word like quene, B 3538, from A. S. cwén, or in a word like bitwixe, F 333, where the A.S. form is betwux or betweox; all such cases being rare. It is grammatical, if due to the usage of A.S. grammar. When grammatical, it must be either oblique (see classes 3, 4), adjectival (classes 5,6,7,8), verbal (classes 9-14), or adverbial (class 15).
The text of the present selection of the Canterbury Tales is founded upon that of the Ellesmere MS. as printed in Mr. Furnivalls Six-text Edition for the Chaucer Society. As the scribe of this MS. almost invariably writes th instead of þ, and y instead of 3, I have been able to dispense with the use of those characters without much varying from his practice. The text has been collated throughout with six other MSS., five of which are in the Six-text edition, and the sixth is the Harleian MS. 7334. The Ellesmere MS. (belonging to the Earl of Ellesmere) is denoted in the footnotes by E.; the others are the Hengwrt (belonging to Mr. Wm. W. E. Wynne of Peniarth), the Cambridge (marked Gg. 4. 27 in the Cambridge University Library), the Corpus (in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Oxford), the Petworth (belonging to Lord Leconfield), and the Lansdowne (known as MS. Lansdowne 851, in the British Museum).
denoted by the abbreviations Hn., Cm., Cp., Pt., and Ln. The Harleian MS. (in the Harleian collection in the British Museum) is denoted by Hl. The text may be best understood by remembering that it invariably follows that of the Ellesmere MS., except where notice is expressly given to the contrary by means of a footnote at the bottom of the page, which explains what other MS. has, in such a case, been preferred. Thus, at p. 1, l. 4, occurs the first variation; where the reading ystert, of E. Hn. (i.e. of the Ellesmere and Hengwrt MSS.) has been rejected in favour of expert, the reading of Cp. Pt. Ln. Hl.; the Cambridge MS. having a lacuna here. Thus the reader can judge for himself in every case whether the alteration made recommends itself to him or not. The numbering of the lines follows that of the Six-text Edition throughout, the Groups being denoted by the letters B, E, and F. Between each section will be found a short statement of whatever part has been omitted ; see pp. 6, 7, 28, 58, 101, 127.
Collation of the text with the other MSS. has enabled me also to improve the orthography in some instances; it was found impracticable to give an account of this, and such alterations are, for the most part, slight. The reasons for them are sufficiently obvious to any one who possesses the Six-text Edition, and will, besides consulting the other MSS., take the further trouble of comparing one part of the Ellesmere MS. with another. Speaking generally, the orthography represents, on the whole, that of the scribe of the Ellesmere MS., whose system was a very good one, and tolerably uniform. It may be observed that y is constantly used to represent the A.S. í, or is, in other words, the long vowel corresponding to that represented by i. The scribe also affects the use of oo to denote a long 0-sound, as in looth, B 91.
In a few cases where a final e seems to have been added by accident, it has been suppressed, where there was sufficient authority for doing so. Also, in the following words, though generally written, it has been omitted in order to prevent confusion, viz. in euere, neuere, here, bire, hise, which are printed euer, neuer, her, hir, his. The reason why euere, neuere, are common in MSS. is that they represent the A.S. æfre, nefre, but in Chaucer they are frequently equivalent in time to a mere monosyllable, like our modern e’er, ne'er. Here (A. S. hira, of them) is generally monosyllabic, and the same is true of hire (=A. S. hire, Mod. E. her), though a remarkable exception occurs in the Man of Law's Tale, B 460; see p. 12 of my edition, or Specimens of English, ed. Morris and Skeat, p. 260. It may be added that here and hire are constantly confused in MSS. ; I mostly keep the form her for of them, and bir for Mod. E. her. Hise is written in the Ellesmere MS, in the sense of his, before plural nouns; but there seems. no reason for supposing this -e to have been sounded by Chaucer, though it appears to have been so in the earlier poem of Havelok. Thise has been retained as the plural of this, for mere distinction; but it is always a monosyllable. In further illustration of the method adopted, I here note every variation from the Ellesmere text in the first stanza of the Monk's Tale, p. 32.
L. 3181. E. Hn. biwaille ; text, biwayle, suggested by Cm. Cp. bewayle, Pt. Hl. bywaile, Ln.' beweile. E. Hn. Cm. Pt. manere; text, maner, as in Cp. Ln. Hl.; the accent being on
L. 3182. E. Hn. stoode; text, stode, suggested by observing that the scribes seldom write oo except in the singular member.
L. 3184. E. Hn. Cm. brynge; text, bringe, as in the rest, because y generally denotes the long vowel i. E. Hn. hir; Cm. Cp. here; text, her, as in Pt. Ln. Hi.
L. 3185. E. þat; text, that. E. Fortune; text, fortune.
L. 3188. E. Pt. of; text, by, as in all the rest. This, being a real variation of text, is duly accounted for in a footnote.
It will thus be seen that the variations of the text from the Ellesmere Ms. are but very slight, that they can be justified by collation, and that pains have been taken to make a good useful text, on the principle of dist bing that of the Ellesinere MS. as little as possible. The text of the Man of Law's