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moter influence. (Their commemoration) • To commemorate them' by the pens of historians and poets (awakens) 'is to awaken ’ in distant bosoms the sparks of kindred excellence.'
Its value consists', 'the value of it consists '. • Whatever name we give to the absolute case, (its form) 'the form of it' is the same as the nominative'. Or, 'in form, it agrees with the nominative'.
'No sooner was the town threatened than the king hastened to its rescue': 'to the rescue of it', or 'to rescue it', or simply to the rescue'.
The extreme range of the possessive gives rise to ambiguity. 'His bust' may mean, first, a bust in his property or possession, the primitive meaning of possession; second, a bust of him; third, a bust of some one else executed by him.
His books' means either his library, or the books composed by him. In this sense we speak of 'John's Gospel', which is felt to be a contracted expression for the gospel composed by John.
The mariners' compass' is a condensed expression for the compass used by mariners to steer by. It is a great liberty taken with the possessive inflection.
For many of these remote extensions of the possessive, the preposition 'of' is better. * On her own account', 'on account of herself'. 'Owen's praise' means, in the first instance, the praise bestowed by Owen on some other person, for the other meaning, we say the praise of Owen’.
• Then shall man's pride and dulness comprehend
His actions', passions’, being's, use and end'. In the first line, the possessive is legitimate; a man's mental qualities are allowed to come within the compass of his belongings. The second line indulges in two kinds of licence: the nouns are not personal; while' use and end' cannot be admitted as property.
The first question of the Shorter Catechism exemplifies the ambiguities of these possessive constructions. What is the chief end of man ?' leaves it uncertain whether the compilers meant the end that man proposes to himself, or the end that
CONSTRUCTIONS WITH THE POSSESSIVE.
some other being proposes with reference to him ; the last view being perhaps the most suitable to the construction with 'of'. Unfortunately, however, the answer, instead of repeating the same form, gives the possessive case :• Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever'. This would seem to decide for the first view-the end proposed by man for himself; of the two constructions ‘his love', the love of him', the first means that he loves some one, the second, that some one loves him. Yet we have reason to think from the tenor of the Catechism that man is the passive and not the active subject under 'end'. If this be so, the question might run thus :- What end did God chiefly propose to himself in creating man ? The end chiefly proposed by God in creating man, was that man should glorify God and enjoy him for ever'.
The possessive case of the relative 'whose' subject to similar considerations, with this difference, that'whose' is applied to things as well as to persons. This gives it a much wider application; it includes ‘his, her(s), their(s), its'. It is not limited, therefore, to such attributes as may legitimately belong to persons. *The moon, whose orb', is the same as 'its' orb.
As 'its' is often conveniently changed into 'of it', 'whose' may be changed into ‘of whom', 'of which', 'and of him', “and of it'. "The king made an image of gold, (whose height) the height of which', 'and the height of it', was three score cubits'.
CONJUGATION OF THE VERB.
The main and characteristic use of the Verb is to express action, which it does by affirmation or denial : ‘Romulus founded (or did not found) Rome'. It is often necessary to specify circuinstances that accompany an action, such as time, place, or manner. The Adverb is contrived to supply this want; and a scheme of Adverbs might be given sufficient for every variety of circumstances. But there grew up in the early languages (with some exceptions) the method of compounding the root verb with particles for expressing some of the more permanent circumstances, such as time. What are called the TENSES of the verb are the changes made upon the root to express some leading variety of Time; the distinction between Present and Past being marked by inflections in all the languages of our family; while in many languages, futurity is also expressed by modifications or additions to the root verb—'come', 'came'; amo (present), amavi (past), amabo (future).
As an incident of Time, or a variety of action closely connected with it, expression is given in the inflected languages to the difference between unfinished or imperfect action and finished or completed action : scribo, I am now going on writing; scribebam, I was going on writing; scripsi, I completed certain writing in some past time. There is a neat brevity in stating this circumstance by inflection, as in Latin and in Greek, when we consider the number of words that are needed to give the same thing in English : scripseram, 'I had been going on writing '-'I had completed the act of writing'.
It is quite necessary to have some means of giving the time of an action, as well as the complete or incomplete performance; but it is not necessary that this should be done by inflections. The most elaborate scheme of inflections still leaves something unexpressed, so that we are driven at last upon the device of using additional words, either adverbs or what are called auxiliary verbs.
Some circumstances in the MANNER of an action have also been embodied in the changes made in the root verb. For example, when an action is stated not absolutely, but conditionally, the verb is differently modified, and a series of tenses is formed, for present, past, future, complete and incomplete, of the conditional verb. This is the subjunctive MOOD, which exists in full force in the old languages, but is a mere remnant in ours. The machinery is too great for the occasion; we find that conditionality can be given by a con
junction—'if' or 'though'-and need not be repeated in the verb.
These two facts—Time and Conditionality—must be expressed somehow. The other varieties of the verb, namely, Voice, Person, Number, are quite superfluous; they express nothing that is not already provided for; they are more or less convenient, but in no wise necessary.
The change of the verb for VOICE consists in the invention of a Passive variation of the verb, for stating the same action in a different form: 'lightning struck the spire', 'the spire was struck by lightning', are not two facts, but the same fact, with mere reversal of the order of subject and object. To repeat all the tenses and moods of the verb, under a different termination, merely to exhibit a difference such as this, seems a great waste of power. It is all the more gratuitous in the classical languages, where the subject may be placed first even with the active verb. We may say mundum creavit Deus, which is in every respect the same as mundus creatus est a Deo ; the benefit of bringing forward the object to the beginning of the sentence is gained without a duplicate scheme of moods and tenses for the passive voice.
Our language does not permit, as a rule, this inversion of order, and we must seek it in some other way; and the way adopted is to manufacture a passive voice by help of auxiliaries. To express the fact of creation, putting the object first, we have no choice but~'the world was created by God'.
The conveniences of the passive voice are these. In the first place, an action may have occurred, and the agent be unknown. We cannot accommodate the active voice to this situation, except by our indefinite pronouns; we cannot say created the world', we may say
some one' did it. Our old pronoun, 'man', might have done for us the same service as 'man' in German or 'on' in French. What we do is to surmount the difficulty at the expense of a passive scheme of the verb: 'the world was created'. While we can omit from the passive construction the expressing of the agent, ‘by him', we cannot leave a verb without a subject.
In Latin, the subject of the verb is often suppressed, but is yet assumed to be known; we could not write creavit mundum', unless we understood who was the subject of 'creavit'.
Again, in many cases, the importance of an action is entirely confined to the effect; the cause or agent is of no practical consideration. 'London is built on the Thames' is a great fact, whoever the agent or agents may have been. Even if we knew the founders of London, we should seldom think proper to mention them.
When an event is reported, the reporter is of very secondary consideration; the event itself is what engages our attention. When some conspicuous person dies, we hear it said that his death ‘is announced',
In a complex sentence the same person or thing is sometimes subject in one of the clauses, and object in another. Clumsiness is avoided by our being able to vary the forms of the verb so as to dispense with a plurality of subjects. 'A physician was consulted, and gave his opinion' compares favourably with "
consulted a physician, and the physician (or who) gave his opinion'. 'The Atlantic, blown over for hours by the hurricane rose, in mountains'; for the hurricane blew over the Atlantic, and the Atlantic (or which) rose in mountains '.
As a mere alternative form, the passive voice gives variety. It also enables, on occasion, the object to be brought into a leading place. In enumerating the functions of Deity, we say, inter alia, 'God created the world'; in making the world a subject, we say · The world was created by God'.
The inflexion for PERSON, so fully worked out in the classical languages, and almost wholly omitted from ours, is a harmonic or echoing form; it repeats in the verb what is already stated in the subject. When any one uses the pronoun 'I', he makes known that he is the speaker; there is no necessity for stating the fact again in the verb by an ending confined to the first person—'I am'. So 'thou' is quite enough to point out who we are addressing, without the special verb forin art'. These harmonic or sympa.