« PreviousContinue »
He that would see more on this subject, may consult Ammonius the Peripatetic, in his Commentary on the treatise De Interpretatione, where the subject is treated at large with respect to the Greek tongue. We shall only observe, tbat as all such speculations are at best but conjectures, they should therefore be received with candour, rather than scrutinized with rigour. Varro's words, on a subject near akin, are for their aptness and elegance well worth attending. Non mediocres enim tenebræ in silva, ubi hæc captanda ; neque eo, quo pervenire volumus, semitæ tritæ; neque non in tramitibus quædam objecta, quæ euntem retinere possunt.S
To conclude this chapter. We may collect from what has been said, that both number and gender appertain to words, because, in the first place, they appertain to things; that is to say, because substances are many, and have either sex or no sex; therefore substantives have number, and are masculine, feminine, or neuter. There is, however, this differen the two attributes: number in strictness descends no lower than to the last rank of species:' gender, on the contrary, stops not
fortune, virtue, &c. in Greek, Latin, French, approached withal so much and most modern languages, though they prose. are diversified with genders in the manner The following passage is from the same poem: described, yet never vary the gender which should intermitted vengeance arm again they have once acquired, except in a few His red right hand. Par. Lost, ii. 174. instances where the gender is doubtful. In this place his hand is clearly preferWe cannot say ý åpet) or 8 åpetti,“ hæc vir- able either to her's or it's, by immediately tus,” or “ hic virtus,” “la vertu,” or “le ver- referring us to God himself, the avenger. tu,” and so of the rest. But it is otherwise in I shall only give one instance more, and English. We in our own language say, quit this subject. Virtue is its own reward, or Virtue is her At his command th' up-rooted hills retird own reward ; Time maintains its wonted Each to his place : they heard his voice and went pace, or Time maintains his wonted pace. Obsequious : heav'n bis wonted face reneu'd,
There is a singular advantage in this And with fresh flow'rets hill and valley smild. liberty, as it enables us to mark, with
Par. Lost, b. vi. a peculiar force, the distinction between See also ver. 54, 55, of the same book. the severe or logical style, and the orna- Here all things are personified ; the hills mental or rhetorical. For thus, when we hear, the valleys smile, and the face of speak of the above words, and of all others heaven is renewed. Suppose, then, the naturally devoid of sex, as neuters, we poet had been necessitated by the laws of speak of them as they are, and as becomes a his language to have said, Each hill relogical inquiry. When we give them sex, tir’d to its place, Heaven renewd its wonted by making them masculine or feminine, face ; how prosaic and lifeless would these they are from thenceforth personified ; are neuters have appeared ; how detrimental to a kind of intelligent beings, and become, as the prosopopeia which he was aiming to essuch, the proper ornaments either of rhe- tablish! In this, therefore, he was happy, toric or of poetry.
that the language in which he wrote imposed Thus Milton :
no such necessity; and he was too wise a
The thunder, writer to impose it on himself. It were to Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage, be wished his correctors had been as wise Perhaps hath spent his shufts.
on their parts. Par. Lost, i. 174. * De Ling. Lat. 1. iv. The poet, having just before called the The reason why number goes no lower hail and thunder, “God's ministers of ven- is, that it does not naturlly appertain to geance," and so personified them, had he individuals; the cause of which see before, afterwards said its shafts for his shafts, p. 128. would have destroyed his own image, and
here, but descends to every individual, however diversified. And so much for substantives, properly so called.
CONCERNING SUBSTANTIVES OF THE SECONDARY ORDER,
We are now to proceed to a secondary race of substantives, a race quite different from any already mentioned, and whose nature may be explained in the following manner.
Every object which presents itself to the senses or the intellect, is either then perceived for the first time, or else is recognized as having been perceived before. In the former case it is called an object, tņs apótns yvóoews, "of the first knowledge, or acquaintance ;' in the latter it is called an object, tûs deutépas yvóc ews, " of the second knowledge," or acquaintance.
Now as all conversation passes between particulars or individuals, these will often happen to be reciprocally objects tñs TT putns Yorews, that is to say, "till that instant
unacquainted with each other.” What then is to be done? How shall the speaker address the other, when he knows not his name? or how explain himself by his own name, of which the other is wholly ignorant? Nouns, as they have been described, cannot answer the purpose. The first expedient upon this occasion seems to have been dei&us, that is, “pointing, or indication by the finger or hand,” some traces of which are still to be observed, as a part of that action which naturally attends our speaking. But the authors of language were not content with this. They invented a race of words to supply this pointing ; which words, as they always stood for substantives or nouns, were characterized by the name of ảvtwvuulat, or pronouns." These, also, they distinguished by three several sorts, calling them pronouns of the first, the second, and the third person, with a view to certain distinctions, which may be explained as follows.
Suppose the parties conversing to be wholly unacquainted, neither name nor countenance on either side known, and the
• See Apoll. de Syntaxi, I. i. c. 16. p. Synt. 1. ii. c. 5. p. 106. Priscian seems to 49; I. ii. c. 3. p. 103. Thus Priscian: consider them so peculiarly destined to the Interest autem inter demonstrationem et expression of individuals, that he does not relationem hoc; quod demonstratio, inter- say they supply the place of any noun, rogationi reddita, primam cognitionem os- but that of the proper name only. And tendit; quis facit ? Ego: relatio vero se- this undoubtedly was their original, and cundum cognitionem significat, ut, Is, de still is their true and natural use. Proquo jam dirit. Lib. xii. p. 936. edit. nomen est pars orationis, quæ pro nomine Putschii.
proprio uniuscujusque accipitur. Prisc. I. * Εκείνο ούν αντωνυμία, το μετά δείξεως xii. See also Apoll. 1. ii. c. 9. p. 117, 118. ή αναφοράς αντονομαζομένον Αpoll. de
subject of the conversation to be the speaker himself. Here, to supply the place of pointing by a word of equal power, they furnished the speaker with the pronoun I. I write, I say, I desire, &c.: and as the speaker is always principal with respect to his own discourse, this they called, for that reason, the pronoun of the first person.
Again, suppose the subject of the conversation to be the party addressed. Here, for similar reasons, they invented the pronoun thou. Thou writest, thou walkest, &c.: and as the party addressed is next in dignity to the speaker, or at least comes next with reference to the discourse, this pronoun they therefore called the
of the second person. Lastly, suppose the subject of conversation neither the speaker nor the party addressed, but some third object, different from both. Here they provided another pronoun. He, she, or it; which, in distinction to the two former, was called the pronoun of the third person.
And thus it was that pronouns came to be distinguished by their respective persons.
As to number, the pronoun of each person has it: I has the plural we, because there may be many speakers at once of the same sentiment; as well as one, who, including himself, speaks the sentiment of many. Thou has the plural you, because a speech may be spoken to many, as well as to one. He has the plural they, because the subject of discourse is often many at once.
w The description of the different persons Infandum, regina, jubes, renovare dohere given is taken from Priscian, wbo
lorem. took it from Apollonius. Personæ prono- From henceforward, for fifteen hundred minum sunt tres ; prima, secunda, tertia. verses, (though she be all that time the party Prima est, cum ipsa, quæ loquitur, de se addressed,) we hear nothing further of this pronuntiat ; secunda, cum de ea pronunciat, second person, a variety of other subjects ad quam directo sermone loquitur ; tertia, filling up the narrative. cum de ea, quæ nec loquitur, nec ad se In the mean time, the first person may directum accipit sermonem. L. xii. p. 940. be seen everywhere, because the speaker Theodore Gaza gives the same distinctions. everywhere is himself the subject. They Ipôtov (spóownov sc.) Tepléautoù opá- were indeed events, as he says himself, ζει και λέγων· δεύτερον, ώ περί του, προς
Quæque ipse miserrima vidi, δν ο λόγος τρίτον, ή περί ετέρου. Gaz. Et quorum pars magna fui. Gram. l. iv. p. 152.
Not that the second person does not often This account of persons is far preferable occur in the course of this narrative ; but to the common one, which makes the first then it is always by a figure of speech, the speaker, the second the party addressed, when those, who by their absence are in and the third the subject. For though the fact so many third persons, are converted first and second be as commonly described, into second persons by being introduced as one the speaker, the other the party ad- present. The real second person (Dido) is dressed ; yet till they become subjects of never once hinted. the discourse they have no existence. Again, Thus far as to Virgil. But when we as to the third person's being the subject, read Fuclid, we find neither first person nor this is a character which it shares in com- second in any part of the whole work. The mon with both the other persons, and which reason is, that neither speaker nor party can never, therefore, be called a peculiarity addressed (in which light we may always of its own. To explain by an instance or view the writer and his reader) can possibly two. When Æneas begins the narrative of become the subject of pure mathematics, his adventures, the second person imme- nor indeed can any thing else, except abdiately appears, because he makes Dido, stract quantity, which neither speaks itself, whom he addresses, the immediate subject nor is spoken to by another. of his discourse.
But though all these pronouns have number, it does not appear either in Greek, or Latin, or any modern language, that those of the first and second person carry the distinctions of sex. The reason seems to be, that the speaker and hearer being generally present to each other, it would have been superfluous to have marked a distinction by art, which from nature and even dress was commonly apparent on both sides. But this does not hold with respect to the third person, of whose character and distinctions (including sex among the rest) we often know no more than what we learn from the discourse. And hence it is that in most languages the third person has its genders, and that even English (which allows its adjectives no genders at all) has in this pronoun the triple distinction of he, she, and it.
Hence, too, we see the reason why a single pronoun to each person, an I to the first, and a thou to the second, are abundantly sufficient to all the purposes of speech. But it is not so with respect to the third person. The various relations of the various objects exhibited by this (I mean relations of near and distant, present and absent, same and different, definite and indefinite, &c.) made it necessary that here there should not be one, but many pronouns, such as he, this, that, other, any,
It must be confessed, indeed, that all these words do not always appear as pronouns. When they stand by themselves, and represent some noun, (as when we say, This is virtue, or DELKTIKÔS, “give me that,”) then are they pronouns. But when they are associated to some noun, (as when we say, this habit is virtue; or delKTIKÔS, " that man defrauded me,") then as they supply not the place of a noun, but only serve to ascertain one, they fall rather into the species of definitives or articles. That there is, indeed, a near relation between pronouns and articles, the old grammarians have all acknowledged, and some words it has been doubtful to which class to refer. The best rule to distinguish them is this: the genuine pronoun always stands by itself, assuming the power of a noun, and supplying its place; the genuine article never stands by itself, but appears at all times associated to something else, requiring a noun for its support, as much as attributives or adjectives.
» Demonstratio ipsa secum genus osten- biguous sentence, he caused him to destroy dit. Priscian. l. xii
. p. 942. See Apoll. him, we are told, with the proper distincde Syntax. I. ii. c. 7. p. 109.
tions, that she caused him to destroy it. 3 The utility of this distinction may be Then we know with certainty what before better found in supposing it away. Sup we could not: that the promoter was the pose, for example, we should read in history woman ; that her instrument was the hero ; these words: “He caused him to destroy and that the subject of their cruelty was him," and that we were to be informed the the unfortunate city. he, which is here thrice repeated, stood cach ? Quæritur tamen cur prima quidem pertime for something different; that is to say, sona et secunda singula pronomina habeant, for a man, for a woman, and for a city, tertiam vero sex diversæ indicent voces ? whose names were Alexander, Thais, and Ad quod respondendum est, quod prima Persepolis. Taking the pronoun in this quidem et secunda persona ideo non egent manner, divested of its genders, how would diversis vocibus, quod semper præsentes it appear which was destroyed, which was inter se sunt, et demonstrativæ ; tertia vero the destroyer, and which the cause that persona modo demonstrativa est, ut, hic, moved to the destruction ? But there are iste; modo relativa, ut, is, ipse, &c. Prisnot such doubts, when we hear the genders cian. l. xii. p. 933. distinguished; when, instead of the an
As to the coalescence of these pronouns, it is as follows. The first or second will, either of them, by themselves, coalesce with the third, but not with each other. For example, it is good sense, as well as good grammar, to say in any language, I am he, Thou art he; but we cannot say, I am thou, nor Thou art I. The reason is, there is no absurdity for the speaker to be the subject also of the discourse, as when we say, I am he; or for the
person addressed, as when we say, Thou art he. But for the same person, in the same circumstances, to be at once the speaker and the party addressed, this is impossible; and so, therefore, is the coalescence of the first and second person.
And now, perhaps, we have seen enough of pronouns, to perceive how they differ from other substantives. The others are primary, these are their substitutes ; a kind of secondary race, which were taken in aid, when, for reasons already mentioned,"
* Το άρθρον μετά ονόματος, και η αντω- merantes, fnitos ea articulos appellabant ; νυμία αντ' ονόματος : “the article stands ipsos autem articulos, quibus nos caremus, with a noun, but the pronoun stands for a infinitos articulos dicebantVel, ut alü noun.” A pol. 1. i. c. 3. p. 22. Avrà oor dicunt, articulos connumerabant pronomiτα άρθρα, της προς τα ονόματα συναρτή- nibus, et articularia eos pronomina VocaOews årootávta, els Thv ÚToteTayuévny bant, &c. Pris. 1. i. p. 574. Varro, speakårtwvvulay petaniNTEI: “now articles them- ing of quisque and hic, calls them both selves, when they quit their connexion articles, the first indefinite, the second with nouns, pass into such pronoun as is definite. De Ling. Lat. I. vii
. See also L proper upon the occasion.” Ibid. Again, ix. p. 32. Vossius, indeed, in his Ana"Όταν το άρθρον μή μετ' ονόματος παρα- logia, (1. 1. c. 1.) opposes this doctrine, λαμβάνεται, ποιήσηται δε σύνταξιν ονό- because he has not the same power with ματος ήν προεκτεθείμεθα, εκ πάσης ανάγκης the Greek article, o. But he did not enough εις αντωνυμίαν μεταληφθήσεται, είγε ουκ attend to the ancient writers on this subject, έγγινόμενον μετ' ονόματος δυνάμει αντι who considered all words as articles, which övbuatos napernoon: “ when the article is being associated to nouns (and not standassumed without the noun, and has (as we ing in their place) served in any manner explained before) the same syntax which to ascertain and determine their significathe noun has, it must of absolute necessity tion. be admitted for a pronoun, because it ap- b See these reasons at the beginning of pears without a noun, and yet is in power this chapter, of which reasons the principal assumed for one." Ejusd. l. ii. c. 8. p. 113 ; one is, that “no noun, properly so called, 1. i. c. 45. p. 96. Inter pronomina et arti- implies its own presence. It is therefore to culos hoc interest, quod pronomina ea pu- ascertain such presence, that the pronoun is tantur, quæ, cum sola sint, vicem nominis taken in aid ; and hence it is it becomes complent, ut quis, ille, iste : articuli vero equivalent to deifis, that is, to pointing or cum pronominibus, aut nominibus, aut indication by the finger.” It is worth reparticipiis adjunguntur. Donat. Gram. p. marking in that verse of Persius, 1753.
Sed pulchrum est dijito monstrari, et dicier, Priscian, speaking of the Stoics, says as
hic est, follows: Articulis autem pronomina connu- how the deitis and the pronoun are intro