Changes and specimens of the English language — страница 3

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as the Bible and other grave books used only the latter, a clear distinction obtained, between the solemn and the familiar style, which distinction is well known at this day. Thus we have, He runs, walks, rides, reaches, &c., for the one; and, He runneth, walketh, rideth, reacheth, &c., for the other. About the same time, or perhaps earlier, the use of the second person singular began to be avoided in polite conversation, by the substitution of the plural verb and pronoun; and, when used in poetry, it was often contracted, so as to prevent any syllabic increase. In old books, all verbs and participles that were intended to be contracted in pronunciation, were contracted also, in some way, by the writer: as, "call'd, carry'd, sacrific'd;" "fly'st, ascrib'st,

cryd'st;" "tost, curst, blest, finisht;" and others innumerable. All these, and such as are like them, we now pronounce in the same way, but usually write differently; as, called,carried, sacrificed; fliest, ascribest, criettst; tossed, cursed, blessed, finished. Most of these topics will be further noticed in the Grammar. 2 ENGLISH OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY 1.Queen Victoria's Answer to an Address.--Example written in 1837. "I thank you for your condolence upon the death of his late Majesty, for the justice which you render to his character, and to the measures of his reign, and for your warm congratulations upon my accession to the throne. I join in your prayers for the prosperity of my reign, the best security for which is to be found in reverence for our

holy religion, and in the observance of its duties."--VICTORIA, to the Friends' Society. 2.From President Adams's Eulogy on Lafayette.--Written in 1834. "Pronounce him one of the first men of his age, and you have yet not done him justice. Try him by that test to which he sought in vain to stimulate the vulgar and selfish spirit of Napoleon; class him among the men who, to compare and seat themselves, must take in the compass of all ages; turn back your eyes upon the records of time; summon from the creation of the world to this day the mighty dead of every age and every clime; and where, among the race of merely mortal men, shall one be found, who, as the benefactor of his kind, shall claim to take precedence of Lafayette?"--JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. 3.From President

Jackson's Proclamation against Nullification.--1832. "No, we have not erred! The Constitution is still the object of our reverence, the bond of our Union, our defence in danger, the source of our prosperity in peace. It shall descend, as we have received it, uncorrupted by sophistical construction, to our posterity: and the sacrifices of local interest, of State prejudices, of personal animosities, that were made to bring it into existence, will again be patriotically offered for its support."--ANDREW JACKSON. 4.From a Note on one of Robert Hall's Sermons.--Written about 1831. "After he had written down the striking apostrophe which occurs at about page 76 of most of the editions--'Eternal God! on what are thine enemies intent! what are those enterprises of guilt

and horror, that, for the safety of their performers, require to be enveloped in a darkness which the eye of Heaven must not penetrate!'--he asked, 'Did I say penetrate, sir, when I preached, it?' 'Yes.' 'Do you think, sir, I may venture toalter it? for no man who considered the force of the English language, would use a word of three syllables there, but from absolute necessity.' 'You are doubtless at liberty to alter it, if you think well.' 'Then be so good, sir, as to take your pencil, and for penetrate put pierce; pierce is the word, sir, and the only word to be used there.'"--OLINTHUS GREGORY. 5.King William's Answer to an Address.--Example written in 1830. "I thank you sincerely for your condolence with me, on account of the loss which I have sustained, in common

with my people, by the death of my lamented brother, his late Majesty. The assurances which you have conveyed to me, of loyalty and affectionate attachment to my person, are very gratifying to my feelings. You may rely upon my favour and protection, and upon my anxious endeavours to promote morality and true piety among all classes of my subjects."--WILLIAM IV, to the Friends. 6.Reign of George IV, 1830 back to 1820.--Example written in 1827. "That morning, thou, that slumbered[48] not before, Nor slept, great Ocean I laid thy waves to rest, And hushed thy mighty minstrelsy. No breath Thy deep composure stirred, no fin, no oar; Like beauty newly dead, so calm, so still, So lovely, thou, beneath the light that fell From angel-chariots sentinelled on high, Reposed, and