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8.1 Sona swa se Wisdom þas word hæfde swetole areahte, he þa siððan ongan singan.

Note 2. Sona swa occurs in Lagamon's Brut, thus : 2.521.6 Sona swa he Arður isæh, swa he on his cneowen bæh. We find sone so in Piers Plowman, as in this example: B. 10. 226 Was nevere gome uppon this grounde ... fairer underfongen ... than my-self sothly sone so he wist That I was of Wittis hous. In Middle English we find all conceivable variations between this and Modern English as soon as. Richard Coer de Lion' 5743 And also soone as he was come, He brak asunder the scheltrome. Piers Plowman 20. 63 Ac as sone so the Samaritan hadde sighte of that syke, He alyghte anon of lyarde. Chaucer, Prioresses Tale 136 For which as soon as it was dayes light, ... She hath at scole and elles wher him soght.

Note 3. In Modern English, soon as is sometimes used, but for the most part only in poetry. I quote an example or two which I have noted incidentally in my reading : Cary's Dante's Divine Comedy, Hell 3. 71 This shalt thou know, soon as our steps arrive Beside the woeful tide of Acheron. The well-known lines of Addison's hymn on Creation come to mind also: Soon as the evening shades prevail, The moon takes up the wondrous tale.

NOTE 4. Gothic suns-ei is a sufficiently close parallel to OE. sona swa, and I quote examples of its use: L. 1.44 Sai allis sunsei warþ stibna goleinais þeinaizos in ausam meinaim, lailaik þata barn in swigniþai in wambai meinai; John 11.20 Iþ Marþa, sunsei hausida þatei Jesus qimiḥ, wibraiddja ina. OS. offers only the divided form san . . . so, yet the parallel is very close, and the divided form sona ... Swa occurs a few times in OE. Heliand 3029 Tho warð siu san gihelid, so it the helago gesprah wordun war-fastun. This OS. construction lends support to the theory of the origin of the OE. conjunction advanced above. No exact parallel occurs in either Otfrid or Tatian, but analogous constructions do occur. So ... erist and so sliumo so are the commonest connectives in OHG. denoting that the action of one clause follows that

1 Weber, Metrical Romances, Edinburgh, 1810.

of the other immediately. Since the latter approximates the OE. sona swa, I quote an example: Otfrid 3, 20.60 gisah ih sar, so iz gizam, so sliumo, so ih iz thana nam.

1 b. sona swa swa.

In a number of cases we find swa at the head of the main clause, though da is more frequently met with. Sua in this position confirms the theory of the origin of this sort of temporal clause that has been advocated above. The sona swa having become to all intents and purposes a single conjunction, the second swa is introduced at the head of the main clause, because of a lingering consciousness of the originally modal character of the clause. We have, then, what we may regard as three stages in the development of the sona sua clause : first, the sona ..., swa . . . stage; then, the sona swa swa ... stage; and thirdly, the sona swa ... form, with or without a demonstrative temporal adverb at the head of the main clause. The modal element will be evident in varying degrees in the examples I shall quote: BH. 30. 2 sona sua hi ðæs landes lyft gestuncan, swa swulton hi; Bo. 141. 5 ac sona sua hi hiora mod onwendað from gode, swa weorðað hi ablende mid unwisdome; CP. 463. 34 Đæt is dætte dæt mod sona swa hit God forsihð, swa secð hit his agenne gielp.

Note 1. I have found only one example of this kind in the poetry: Phoenix 120 Sona swa seo sunne sealte streamas hea oferhlifað, swa se haswa fugel beorht of þæs bearwes beame gewited.

Note 2. Sona swa ... swa is found in Layamon's Brut: 2. 369. 12 Sona swa Vðer hine isæh, swa he him to-geines bæh.

1c. sona swa ... sona.

In a few instances sona is repeated in the main clause, usually not at its head, where da often appears, but in the body of it.


Its function is to bind the two clauses more closely together, and to emphasize the fact of the immediate sequence of the action of one clause on that of the other. Often the temporal clause is somewhat loosely related to its main clause; there is no such intimate relation as between the parts of a conditional or result period, for example, and devices such as this for emphasizing the relation are freqently met with. The examples quoted will illustrate the peculiarities spoken of.

LS. 1. 284. 21 and sona sua his earmas for unmihte aslacodon, sona sloh amalech and sige hæfde on him; Epis. 155. 414 da sona swa he me þær geahsode and him mon sægde þæt þær mon cymen wæs of Alexandres herewicum, þa het be me sona to him lædan. In the following example sona is evidently written for sona swa, for MS. G. has this reading; it also reads sona for mid dam: LS. 2. 30. 451 ac sona ic halige fæmne þines suna rode geseo, ic mid þam wiðsace þissere worulde.

I have found no parallels in either the poetry or Middle English.



1 d.

This form of the connective has already been spoken of, because of its bearing on the question of the origin of the construction. I have noted only five examples of it in OE., two of them in BH. Since they are so few, and throw so much light on the origin of the sona swa clause, I quote the five in full: BH. 46. 19 hi wæron sona deade, swa hi eorðan gesohtan; BH. 154. 34 sona on morne, swa hit dagian ongan, þæt he for on þone here þe him togegnes gesomnad wæs; LS. 2. 138. 210 and hit sona aras, swa hit hrepode þa stowe; Dial. 37. 18 þa semninga se ylca

swa sona swa.

Julianus, swa he geseah þone Godes þeowan, he forseah hine sona for his gegerelan. In this last example we have a yet further variation from the sona swa type, and the original force of swa is especially clear: BR. 126. 20 Swa se cuma cnocige, oþhe se pearfa clypige, he sona cweþe, &c.: Latin, mox autem aut ...

NOTE 1. In OS. only the divided form occurs, thus: Heliand 1741 Thea mugon gi san antkennean, so gi sie kuman gesehat ...


I have found only one instance of swa sona swa ; and this seems strange, since swa hraðe swa is the regular form for that connective. Probably the explanation is to be found in the difference in origin of the two — sono swa being modal originally, and swa hraðe swa developing from a comparative construction. That sona swa assumed the comparative form may be due to the influence of swa hraðe swa. But the better explanation, as it seems to me, is that the origin of the construction was forgot, and the feeling of comparison became prominent, as it is in Modern English

This is the unique example of swa sona swa in OE: LS. 2. 436. 184 secgað me swa sona swa ge on-cnawaþ þæt he cucu ne byð.

Note 1. Early in Middle English the comparative form became common?, and Modern English as soon as is the direct development of the form that we find in Layamon's Brut 2. 344. 6 Swa sona swa Vðer of þissen þingen iwarð war, færde he bad stronge.

as 800n as.

sona swa swa.


This form is due probably to a merely accidental repetition of swa. Since the other MS. has sona swa, and since it is the only example of the sort in OE., I content myself with quoting the example: Dial. 214. 12 sona sua swa Martinus gehyrde Benedictus word, he tobræc hraðe þone fotcops. 1g. swa . . . swa.

1 See sona swa, Note 4, p. 64.

Swa frequently has the meaning when, and sometimes denotes that the action of one clause follows that of the other immediately'.

I have noted two examples in which swa is repeated at the head of the main clause, and in which the timerelation of the two clauses is of this kind. I quote in full: 0. 172. 8 Swa þæt þa se oder consul gehierde Diulius, sua gefor he to dam iglonde. The Latin runs: Quod ubi Duilius, alter consul, audivit, cum triginta navibus adversus Annibalem profectus est. Bo. 57. 23 swa þu hine alætst, swa sprincð he up 7 wrigad wið his gecyndes. Swa properly denotes that the action of the two clauses is simultaneous; but in the nature of the case, in these examples, one must follow the other.


For a general discussion of sua temporal, the reader is referred to the paragraphs on swa introducing a clause denoting time when? We should expect swa to denote that the action of the two clauses was simultaneous; but often it seems to be equivalent to da or donne, and sometimes it is plain from the context that it is equivalent to sona swa.

This will be clear from a study of the examples that follow: Bo. 145. 25 Ac sio gesihð æt frumcerre swa þa eagan on besioð, hi ongitað ealle pone andwlitan dæs lichoman; Chron. 99. 4 þa hwile swyde rade æfter þam, swa oþre ham comon, þa fundon hi oðre floc rade þ rad ut wið Ligtunes; LS. 2. 340. 89 and swa he þone munuc geseah, þa axode he hine to hwi he come. · See swa, p. 52, 68.

* p. 52.


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