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power, useful at home, into a legislature to govern mankind." Burke.

It were better for him that a milstone were hanged about his neck and he cast into the sea than that he should offend one of these little ones." Luke, xvii. 2.

"Yet soon enforced to fly

Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king
Were dead, who sought his life."

Milton.

"Were it not better done, as others use,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair."

Ibid.

"I am not mad, I would to heaven I were,
For then 'tis like I should forget my selfe:

*

*

If I were mad, I should forget my sonne,
Or madly thinke a babe of clowts were he."
Shakspeare.

From the preceding remarks, it appears that English Verbs have no change of form by which to express any variation of Moods. In their simple state, they are all Indicative (or direct) assertions; and phrases become Imperative, Subjunctive, Potential, &c. in consequence of the arrangement and modification of the principal

Verb in its junction with other words: and, particularly, with the Auxiliaries which are tied to the Verb in the Conjugations of other tongues.

There is one general Rule with respect to these arrangements. When the phrase is a direct assertion, the Nominative precedes; and in other cases it either follows the Verb, or is understood. Thus in the Imperative we say 'Go home,' ' Bear thou with him,' 'Let him go,' &c. Those are, in fact, imperfect sentences, where the words 'I command,' I order,' I desire,' or some similar Verb is understood to precede, and which, if prefixed, would transpose them into the Indicative Mood. I command you to go home,' 'I request that thou wilt bear with him,' and 'I desire you to let him go,' are Imperatives in meaning but Indicatives in form. On further analysis it will appear that, in Imperative sentences, the Verb is always in the Infinitive, to which the auxiliary Do is either prefixed, or understood. The person is called upon to do the act, and is not in that state which can be recognized as an agent, or Nominative to the Verb, because the time for exertion is not yet come: the Noun is in the Vocative. The Imperatives of the Grammars, 'Love thou,' or 'Do thou love,' are, therefore, equivalent to 'O thou, do love!' 'I wish I command you, to love.' The arrange

ment of the English language, however, even in its simple phrases, is too arbitrary to be comprehended under any fixed Rule. It refuses restraint; and, provided the meaning of the sentence be preserved, the words may follow one another in any order that is most agreeable to the writer.

69

CHAPTER V.

ON PUNCTUATION.

The great advantages of spoken over written language are the accompaniments of tone and gesture:―advantages that are but poorly supplied by means of points and accents. The early alphabets of nations had only one set of characters; and the manuscripts of the fourth and fifth centuries are written in large letters, similar to those on medals and inscriptions, without points, aspirates, or accents; and even without any division between the words. The latter circumstance would appear, to us, to have rendered the writings almost unintelligible. To be sure, speech itself proceeds in an uninterrupted flow; but then the speaker, by the modulation of his voice, produces that variety of accent which is still more observable by the ear, than the separation of the words is distinguishable by the eye. In the early days of Greece, (and, indeed, of most nations,) every composition was chaunted, or sung. Rhythm was the soul of their language; and their letters and words, though linked toge

ther in appearance, would have been, in some degree, divided: in the same manner as we should be able to distinguish the versification of Milton, although printed in succession without separating the lines. Even now (and we may say the same of every Alphabetical tongue) the words of the Greek language are yet in many cases conjoined; for its compounds are extremely numerous.

The English seems, for a century past, to have been retrograding in this respect, seeing that we have now many compounds which were formerly separate words: such as himself, for him self; cannot for can not; farewell for fare well; nevertheless for ne ever the less, &c. The process is easy, and the manufacture is still going on. For example, the words well and bred, which signify 'properly educated,' were found to occur very frequently together; especially after their meaning was limited to that sort of education which teaches the common courtesies of social life, and hence became equally applicable to a gentleman, a lady, or a lap dog. This frequent occurrence was observed by the printer. These words had become a sort of compound adjective; and he, at first, ventured to conjoin them by a hyphen, (well-bred,) and, after a time, the hyphen was withdrawn. Such compounds are, generally,

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