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with the preceding sentence or clause. The demonstrative adjectives usually assist in this effect.
• If there be one function more than another which seems proper to a king, it is that of maintaining and asserting the independence of his realm; yet this function Christ peremptorily declined to undertake'.
• To render the exertions of this body effective, the greatest abilities were required in the emperor.
These abilities Charles V. possessed'.
*My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for him'.
NOUN AND ADJECTIVE.
By a fortunate convention of our language, the simple adjective goes before the noun. This is the arrangement that is scientifically the most defensible. Before a thing is named, the mind should be prepared with all the qualifications and limitations, so as to conceive the thing at once as qualified and limited. “A white rose' is better than · rose white', as in thinking of the rose we already clothe it with the white colour, instead of thinking of it first as red perhaps, and then having to change to white. (See ENGLISH COMPOSITION AND RHETORIC, p. 47.)
To place the simple adjective after the noun makes an elegant poetical variety. It is a frequent mannerism of Milton: • Cambuscan bold'; 'mantle blue';
• that light un ufferable'; many a region dolorous'; 'of depth immrasurable'; those armies bright'.
Other examples : ‘the waters wide' (Byron); “his father old” (M. Arnold); ‘her sea-cave dim’; 'above the surges hoar'; Cocytus slow'; 'horror hideous '; error blind'; danger imminent'; a virgin desolate '.
· Next after her, the winged God himself
Subdueth to his kingdom tyrannous'. (Spenser.) There are a few expressions where the inverted order is
all but invariable: 'Poet Laureate', 'governor-general', 'lord paramount', 'knight errant’, ‘States General', 'court martial', 'body politic', 'notary public', 'sign-manual', * Theatre Royal ', • letters patent', `time immemorial ', ' heirs male', bride elect'.
Compare also these : "Lord-lieutenant', Queen- or duchess-dowager', 'Knight Templar', 'Lord Marcher'. The nouns have very much the function of the adjective.
Two or more adjectives are not unfrequently placed after the same noun: across the meadows bare and brown'; 'thirty steeds, both fleet and wight'; 'his short falchion, sharp and clear '; ‘his wife, stout, ruddy, and dark-brow'd, of silver brooch and bracelet proud'; 'gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust'.
When there are two nouns in close proximity, each qualified by an adjective, the poets are fond of variety in the order of the adjectives. The following are examples :
• Yet held her wrathful hand from vengeance sore (Spenser); '(the lightning) with dreadful force falls on some steeple high' (Spenser); ‘fruitful Ceres and Lyæus fat' (Spenser); "the still morn went out with sandals gray' (Milton); “to-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new'; 'fix'd fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute'; by wasting plague, by tortures slow' (Scott); 'with brawling threat, and clamour vain'; ‘his withered cheek and tresses gray'.
• Ne ever is he wont on aught to feed
(Spenser.) Also Faery Queen, I. 1, 8 and 9.
When an adjective is loaded with adjuncts of its own, it has often to be placed last : 'the lowest races of men can
not form a system worthy of the name of religion ; 'the mountain wooded to the peak'; 'all the details requisite for the house of a moderate gentleman'; 'voices high in altercation were repeatedly heard within the room'; 'no casuist, however severe, has denied this'; obstacles somewhat more serious'; 'a plant proper to almost all soils'; 'a man wise in his own conceit'; an incident worth lingering on’.
Of the other forms of noun adjunct, the possessive case comes uniformly first ; while the prepositional phrase almost uniformly follows the noun. The participle restrictive follows, the participle co-ordinating very often precedes, but oftener follows, the noun. The adjective clause comes after the noun. Examples of all these are abundant in every kind of composition.
Easy adjuncts are placed first; long or complicated adjuncts come after the noun, which is not willing to be too much suspended. Our usage compares favourably with the German usage, which would strike us as intolerably clumsy. • Ein durch Zufall von einem Unbekannten aus einer groszen Lebensgefahr geretteter Mann' is, literally, “A by-accident bya-stranger from-imminent-peril saved man': 'A man saved accidentally by a stranger from imminent peril'. So, ‘Dieser über alle Erwartung gelungene Erfolg '—'This beyond all expectation successful result'—'This result successful beyond all expectation': we might go as far as 'This surprisingly successful result'.
Mr. Earle (Philosophy of the English Tongue, $ 556, 2nd edition) quotes examples of the influence of the German construction on English authors. The absurd extreme is instanced in Thackeray—“The, I believe of Eastern derivation, monosyllable ‘Bosh'.
The number or the importance of the adjuncts may be such as to cause difficulty in the arrangement. A good method of relieving these cases is to give at once what qualifications can be satisfactorily given, and then to repeat the subject or an equivalent to support the remaining adjuncts.
• Many objections have been made to a proposition which,
COMPLICATED ADJECTIVE ADJUNCTS.
in some remarks of mine on translating Homer, I ventured to put forth ; A PROPOSITION about criticism, and its importance at the present day'. (M. Arnold.)
“I make the arrest—1, Henry' Bohun, Earl of Essex, Lord High Constable of England'.
*Thus it was that a traitor to the aristocracy had obtained the government of part of Spain, and had sworn to bring over his troops to the support of the Catilinarians ; A DANGER which had been only (misplaced] averted from the Government by his premature and suspicious death'. (Merivale.)
Corresponding to these statements is another, which represents Sokrates as one whose special merit it was to have rescued the Athenian mind from such demoralizing influences ;-A REPUTATION which he neither deserves nor requires'. (Grote.)
It is remarkable that in 440 B.C. a law was passed forbidding comic authors to ridicule any citizen by name in their compositions ; which prohibition, however, was rescinded after two years; AN INTERVAL marked by the rare phenomenon of a lenient comedy from Kratinus '.
There is no special rule for these complicated adjuncts. The entire sentence has to be viewed in the light of those principles that guide us in disposing of qualifying circumstances generally.
The three first, or the first three? I here append some farther examples bearing on these two forms.
The meaning to be expressed is, bring me the first, second, and third of a row; or bring me all from the first to the third. Desiring a shorter mode of statement, we are accustomed to say, 'the first three', or the three first’; neither of the forms admitting of being construed strictly.
The following occurs in Mätzner :-'In connection with first and other, the cardinal number is found before or after : • The four first acts' (Sheridan, Critic, I. 1); 'For the first ten minutes' (Cooper, Spy, 13); ‘Four other children' (Lewes, Goethe, I. 18); “ Other seven days' (Gen. viii. 12).'
The preference of grammarians is for the 'first three'; with regard to the 'three first’ they ask, how can three be first? The only answer is to retort that the first three'is inapplicable to the first, second, and third of a single file; it supposes a line of three abreast.
We find in good use such expressions as these : 'the tuo highest men’; “the two succeeding chapters'; 'the two next candidates'. Of a work brought out in two volumes, a critic said the two best volumes of light reading that have appeared this year'; this would have been a case for the best two volumes '.
Gibbon says of the history of Rome :-'The seven first centuries were filled with a succession of triumphs'. This is hardly to be imitated; no more can we commend the first seven centuries'. Better avoid the form altogether : *For seven centuries (from the first) the history was a succession of triumphs'.
The Article. So important is the rule for repeating, or not repeating, the article before a second noun, that I give additional examples.
"Wanted a nurse and housemaid' means that the same person is to be both. If two persons are wanted, one for each office, the article should be repeated.
* By the day or week', being supposed to mean an alternative of two periods, should be-' by the day or the week'. • The day or week' might mean that the names day' and ' week'were names for the same thing.
•The Town and County bank’ signifies one bank combining town business and county business.
It is not correct to say-' town and county orders attended to', if there are two distinct classes of orders. It should be—' Attention is given to orders both from the town and from the country'. Or repeat the noun, 'town orders and country orders'.
A virtuous and excellent people’ is a proper way of describing the same people as virtuous and excellent.