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In the following examples the optative is caused by attraction : CP. 63. 19 Ac pinsige ælc mon hiene selfne georne, dylæs he durre underfon done lareowdon dæs folces da hwile de him ænig undeaw on ricsige ; Dial. 329. 6 þæt nænig man þær ne onfehð noht þære clænsunge hæle be þam læstum synnum, nymðe he geearnige ær þa hwile þe he on þysum life sy mid godum dædum. In all these examples, the indefinite and hypothetical character of the content of the temporal clause has much to do with the determination of the mode.
In this example the optative would seem to be due merely to the general character of the sentence, and not to any specific characteristic: CP. 6. 12 gedon dætte eal sio gioguð þe nu is on Angel kynne, friorra monna . . . sien to leornunga oðfæste, þa hwile þe, hi to nanre oðerre note ne mægen.
The reason for the optative in the examples which follow is not clear to me: Guth. 86. 1 þas þing þe ic ær nolde nænigum woruld-men secgan, þa hwile þe ic lifigende wære, ic hit þe wylle nu onwreon and gecyþan; HL. 198. 122 he a mid him wunian wolde þa while þe his lif ware and his lare geornlice hlystan.
NOTE 1. Prollius' alone, of all the writers on the syntax of OE. poetry, mentions the use of the optative in clauses denoting duration. He says: 'Derjenige temporale nebensatz, welcher aussagt, dass während der dauer einer realität eine andere realität stattfindet, also der temporalsatz der gleichzeitigkeit wird im ae. durch die conjunction benden eingeleitet, welche, wenn nicht besondere einflüsse vorliegen, den indicativ nach sich hat. ... Der conjunctiv steht, wenn der temporale nebensatz unter dem einflusse eines haupt. satzes ist, der enthält: 1. einen wunsch, 2. eine absicht, dies wird im hauptsatze ausgedrückt durch finales þæt.'
ber den syntactischen Gebrauch des Conjunctivs in den Cynewulfschen Dichtungen 'Elene,' Juliana,' und 'Crist,' p. 28.
D. THE MODE IN CLAUSES DETERMINING THE TIME OF AN ACTION BY REFERENCE TO A PRECEDING
As we should expect, the indicative is the normal usage for clauses expressing this time-relation. The optative, when found, is to be explained in ways such as we have already discussed. Examples follow.
Here the optative occurs on account of the command in the main clause: Sol. 45. 10 Siðdam he bonne þat gelæornod hæbbe þæt his eagan nanwyht þæt fyr ne onscyniað, hawie ponne on steorran and on monan.
Optative in an object-clause: CP. 445. 32 hit is awriten dat him wære betere dæt hi no soðfæstnesse weg ne ongeaten, donne hi underbæc gecerden, siðdan hi hine ongeaten.
The general optative nature of the whole sentence seems to lead to the choice of mode here: 0. 212. 28 Hit biþ eac geornlic þæt imon heardlice gnide þone hnescestan mealmstan æfter þæm þæt he bence bone soelestan hwetstan on to geræceanne.
Note 1. Furkertl notes the optative after siddan, and says: “Hier steht der Konjunktiv, da die Handlung in unbestimmter Zukunft liegt.'
E. THE MODE IN CLAUSES DETERMINING THE TIME OF AN ACTION BY REFERENCE TO A SUBSEQUENT
In clauses expressing this relation, the optative is the prevailing mode, as in all the Germanic languages. Probably originally this mode was used because of the element of uncertainty which attaches to an event still in the future. But the use of the optative be
· Der syntactische Gebrauch des Verbums in dem angelsächsischen Gedichte vom heiligen Guthlac,' 23.
came conventional in such clauses, and is used even in statements relating to past events, the reality of which could not be a matter of doubt, and which could not be influenced by any feeling of optativity.
Thus the use of the optative in this sentence, of which sort there are many in O., must be purely conventional: 0. 40. 11 Ær dam de Romeburg getimbred were syx hund wintran 7 fif, in Egyptum wearð on anre niht fiftig manna ofslegen, ealle fram hiora agnum sunum.
That the indicative is not found merely after a negative main clause hardly needs statement; but the principle seems to obtain in the other Germanic dialects, and has been supposed to exist for OE.
All the instances of the indicative with @r, or any other connective of this class, occur in statements of fact in past time. Schürmanno says: Wenn die Handlung als Faktum hingestellt wird, so steht hier der Indikativ. ... Soll dagegen dieselbe als beabsichtigte Folge oder als bloss gedacht hingestellt werden, so wird der Konjunktiv verwendet.'
Though this is not altogether true, for very often we have the optative in simple narrative of facts, yet I think the relatively small number of indicatives is to be accounted for on this principle. The feeling of the reality of the action of the cr-clause is, in these cases, so strong that it led to the use of the indicative, rather than the conventional optative.
The use of the indicative with mr is rare enough to have led even so capable a scholar as Mr. Sweet 3 into such a statement as this: “The conjunction or is always followed by the subjunctive, even in simple
1 Hotz, Use of the Subjunctive Mode in Anglo Saxon, p. 17.
statements.' However, about one-fourth of the total number of clauses I have noted have the indicative.
Some examples of wer with the indicative follow: Chron. 253. 16 des ylce geares ær se biscop of Lincolne com to his rice for bearn eall meast se burh of Lincolne; ÆH. 2. 96. 7 Se apostol Petrus hæfde wif and cild, and eac sume da oðre apostolas, ær hi to Cristes lareowdome gecyrdon; Wulf. 15. 11 forðam he nas na ær mann ær he for ealles middaneardes alysednesse sylfwilles menniscnesse underfeng þurh þæt clæne mæden Scā Marian.
Note 1. All the dissertations on the syntax of OE. poetry state the fact that the optative is the rule for clauses introduced by ær. Only three make mention of the use of the indicative in these clauses: Schürmann, whose words we have quoted, Prollius, and Hertel. Prollius' refers the reader to Hotz for an explanation of the indicative after a negative main clause, and concerning the indicative after a positive main clause says: 'die inhalte dieser nebensätze sind in der vergangenheit liegende thatsachen, welche für das die aussage machende subject des hauptsatzes volle realität haben, und von diesem objektiv als solche wiedergegeben werden, daher wohl der indicativ zu erklären.' Hertel? merely mentions the fact that we find the indicative with ær, and offers no explanation.
NOTE 2. In Modern English, the optative is occasionally found after conjunctions meaning before. This is, no doubt, due to the same causes which led to its use in OE., namely the feeling of uncertainty which attaches to an event still in the future. Some examples follow: Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors, V Kneel to the Duke, before he pass the abbey; Byron, Childe Harold 1. 90 How many a doubtful day shall sink in night, Ere the Frank robber turn him from his spoil, and Freedom's stranger-tree grow native of the soil ; Bulwer, Last Days of Pompeii IV. 15 I advise thee, Sosia,
1 Syntactischen Gebrauch des Conjunctivs in Elene, Juliana u. Crist, p. 29. 2 Der syntactische Gebrauch des Verbums in dem ae. Gedichte Crist p. 20.
to delay no longer, seize her ere she quit the garden. In Modern French we find the optative with avant que, under the same conditions that lead to its use with before. I quote examples: Gil Blas V. 1 Elle dit à Soliman: Seigneur, avant que vous prononciez mon arrêt, daignez m'écouter; Montesq., Cons. Rom. La religion chrétienne dégénéra sous l'empire grec au point où elle était de nos jours chez les Moscovites, avant que le czar Pierre 1er eut fait renaître cette nation.
NOTE 3. The optative is the rule in all the Germanic languages for clauses introduced by the respective equiva. lents of OE. ær, but in all of them the general principle also is that only after a negative main clause do we find the indicative. Even into Middle High German this rule persists, and examples of ær-clauses with positive main clauses are rarely met with before this period. Since examples with the optative have been quoted in the discussion of the particles, none will be found here.
F. THE MODE IN CLAUSES INDICATING THE TIME OF THE TERMINATION OF THE ACTION OF THE
The most common connective introducing clauses of this kind is oð dæt, and the prevailing mode is the indicative.
By far the greater number of optatives which we find in these clauses is to be explained by the presence of an imperative in the main clause, their occurrence in object-clauses, or by the principle of attraction.
There are cases, however, which call for another explanation. In clauses such as the following we find the optative, because the action of the temporal clause belongs to the future, and is felt as uncertain: CP. 425. 16 & swa swa we sigon ær on dæt unalief