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'.piers mmtmim of the Origm aftd 6. , , 
luflueme on t/w P/tmml Power oj Stamiard 
English in Ob FomiaHve Penad 

IE FBtiow m 7m JOHNS iiorib> 



A Dissertation presented to the Board of University 
Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, for 
the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy 



Chapters Illustrative of the Origin and Growth of Romance 
Influence on the Phrasal Power of Standard 
English in its Formative Period 



J^at we ne be} alle of one }eode, 
Ne i-boren in one londe^ 
Ne one specke vnderstonde. 

Robert Grosseteste, Castel of Love, 








GusTAV KoRTiNG, writing in 1888 ^ expressed very truly — and 
his statement still holds — the imperfect nature of our knowledge 
of the relations of the French language to the English during the 
formative period that preceded the establishment of Standard 
English. * Die Frage/ he says, * nach der Art und dem Umfange 
des von dem Franzosischen auf das Angelsachsische ausgetibten 
Einflusses ist weit verwickelter, als es auf den ersten Blick scheinen 
mag, und zur Zeit wenigstens diirfte sie mit irgend welcher 
wissenschaftlichen Genauigkeit gar nicht zu beantworten sein/ 
Certain phases of the subject, it must be admitted, have been treated 
with scientific exactness. In the sphere of phonology we have the 
exposition of the phonology of thei French elements in MidE. in the 
treatises of Sturmfels' and Behrens', to mention only the most 
important. But on a subject closely allied with the phonology 
of loan-words in English, the influence of French upon the 
phonology of native words, we lack a definitive treatment. That 
this influence operated in word-stress is certain. Note, too, for 
example, that AS. nemnan appears in MidE. not only as nemnen, but 

* * Encyklopaedie und Methodologie der Englischen Philologie,' p. 74. 
Heilbronn, 1888. 

' * Der Altfranz. Vokallsmiis im Mittelengl. bis znm Jahre 1400.* Anglia^ 
viii. 201 ff. 

* * Beitrage zur Geschichte der Franzosischen Sprache in England.' Franz. 
StudieUf V. ii. 

A 2 



nempnen : theos meiden . . . wes iuliane inempnet,/«/., 4 ; theochinus 
inempnet, St, Mark,, i. Seth he let his name nempne, Holy Rode 
(Ashm.), 29. Similarly AS. samman appears not only as samn({)en, 
but also sampnen\ sompnin, Marh,y 15 (S-B); Wold he so sone 
sampne his host, R. B., Chron,, 4978. The abundant instances of 
m p n in similar position in OFr. point to the source of this conso- 
nantal group ; cf. dampner ( < damnare), dampne-dee { < domtne-deus), 
solempne {<solemnem). The character and extent of such influence, 
then, call for definition. In orthography, while we have the rough 
outline of the making over of our orthography in conformity with 
French orthography, and have many interesting details afforded 
us \ we are again without full and precise account of the process 
and its subsequent effects, though the history of words like corpse 
{e,g, OFr. cors > MidE. cors) Fr. corps > E. corps{e) ) makes one 
suspect the prevalence of a somewhat extensive influence. The 
problem of the introduction of French words into MidE. has received 
most attention ; witness the word-lists of Morris ^ W. W. Skeat, 
Miss Skeat Behrens, and Sturmfels, and, for individual works, of 
Einenkel*, Fritzsche', and others. But, while we have the lists of 
words, we have no systematic study of the semasiology of those 
words. Were the fine discriminations of the foreign language 
preserved ? If so, what a testimony to the intimacy of the English 
speaker with the language drawn upon I If, for example, the MidE. 
air in its various uses and shades of meaning closely corresponds 
to OFr. air in its uses and shades of meaning — which indeed 
it does — and if this conformity in meaning and use is sustained by 
a similar correspondence among the loan-words generally, we have 
a revelation of the subtle and far-reaching interfusion of the French 
and English spirit in the MidE. period. Again, how far can the 
French words taken into MidE. be regarded as essential to the 
expression of new ideas and manners consequent on a new order 
of civilization"? At times they were essential; witness the OFr. 

* Cf. Skeat, * Principles of English Etymology,' i. 302 ff. 

^ * Historical Outlines of English Accidence,' Append. Ill, 

' * Word-list illustrating the correspondence of Mod. Eng. with Anglo-French 

Vowel Sounds,' Dialect Soc, 1884 ; Tr. Phil, Sac,, Append. IV. 1884 (also 

W. W. Skeat, Phil. Soc, 1882, 1888-90). 

* *Ueber die Verfasser einiger neaangelsachsischen Schriften,* 48, 49, 93; 
Angliay v. 91 £F. 

* Anglia, v. 82. 

* Paul, * Grundriss der germanischen Philologie,* i. 8ia. 



titles of address which we adopted. Again, to what extent did 
the foreign vocabulary change or restrict the meaning of native 
words? Here, indeed, was a wide realm of change. Take, as 
examples, AS. pingy as influenced by cause, affaire ^ mati^re\ AS. 
^um as restricted in part by certain ; AS. prician, priccan^ to prick, 
as compared with its meaning in, ' Of pricking and of hunting 
for the hare,' Ch., ProL C. T'., 191, manifestly imitatino; OFr. 
poindre, prick, gallop, put spurs to: Mais Aiols point, Aioly 3103 
De quel maniere a els puindrunt, M. de France, Eli.^ 207. 

Nor can any one yet adequately define the part French played 
in the rapid changes that came upon AS. in the years immediately 
following the Conquest with respect to the loss or retention of in- 
flexions and the settlement of grammatical relations and of the word 
order in phrase and sentence. We still quarrel over elementary 
questions like s-plurals\ Something of course has been gained 
by special monographs in the realm of syntax : the influence of 
the French present participle absolute on the corresponding form 
in MidE.*; the influence of French on the MidE. relative *J>e 
which &c. Matzner, in his ' Englische Grammatik,' naturally 
noted the correspondences of OFr. and MidE. especially in the 
case of grammatical similarities such as the government of verbs. 
Einenkel*, too, shows a very keen sense for the recognition of 
French influence in MidE. syntax. Unfortunately his volume has 
special reference to the language of Chaucer. Dealing chiefly 
with the language at a time when most of its characteristics had 
passed their stage of growth and had become fixed in nature, 
Einenkel was not concerned with the historical view of his subject 
and offers us little beyond interesting examples and parallels. 
Of greater importance is his review of MidE. syntax which, 
though limited in scope, lays the first foundation of scientific 
knowledge in the department of which it treats. Kellner*, likewise, 
is advancing and co-ordinating our knowledge of OFr. influence, 
and his future work will, without doubt, make important con- 
tributions to the history of English syntax. 

1 Academy, 1893, Nov. 11, Dec. 9, 30; 1894, Jan. 13, 20, 27, Feb. 3. 
■ *The Absolute Participle in Middle and Modern English,' by C. H. Ross. 
Baltimore, 1893. 

« * Das Altenglische Relativpronomen,' von August Schrader, p. 23. Kiel, 1880. 

* 'Streifzuge durch die M.K. Syntax.' Munster, 1887. 
" * Paul's Grundriss/ i. 907 ff. 

• * Historical Outlines of English Syntax.' London, 1892. 


Lacking, then, the definitive works in many aspects of the pro- 
blem of French influence in MidE., we can easily see how defective 
and misleading the books of Thommerel Dickmann &c., are in 
professing to give an account of the rise of the English language. 
Morsbach's work on the origin of the new English literary lan- 
guage ' has a most inviting title and a most disappointing content 
Granting that the language of the earliest English documents of 
London is in substantial agreement with the language of Chaucer, 
when * language * is restricted to a basis of vowels, consonants, and 
inflexions, how much further are we towards understanding the 
rise of that new English literary language, which was marked not 
merely by peculiarities of phonology and morphology, but by 
most extensive changes in phraseology, idiom, syntax? 

Impossible as it is yet to write the history of the rise of Standard 
English, we are at least able to discern the truth in some par- 
ticulars of that history. No statement, indeed, concerning French 
influence in MidE. could be more false, however generally held, 
than that which Korting makes, to go back to the work first 
quoted, when he says: * Nur im Wortschatz ist das Englische 
halbfranziisisirt, im Uebrigen ist es germanisch geblieben, und wo 
es dennoch dem Franzdsischen ahnlich geworden zu sein scheint 
(wie z. B. in der Gleichformigkeit der substantivischen Pluralbildung, 
in der Comparationsumschreibung, etc.), ist dies nicht die Folge 
einer Angleichung an das Franzosische, sondern erklart sich 
durchaus befriedigend aus den der Sprache von jeher eigenen 
Entwickelungsneigungen ' *. 

There is reason to believe that the close and continued influence 
of one language on another, either in its colloquial or its literary 
form, will always affect the latter in ways more subtle than the 
mere borrowing of words. Latin constructions are a factor always 
to be considered in every AS. translation from the Latin. Latin 
itself borrowed many idioms and constructions from Greek. The 
Stanford Dictionary * devoted to the meaning and history of the 

^ 'Recherches sur la Fusion da Franco-Normand et de TAnglo-Saxon.* 
Paris, 1 841. 

' 'A Treatise on the Origin and Development of the English Language/ 
Gottingen, 1870. 

' ' ifeber den Ursprnng der nenenglischen Schriftsprache,' von Dr. Lorenz 
Morsbach. Heilbronn, 1888. 

* * Encyklopaedie und Methodologie,' p. ;^8 f. 

* * The Stanford Dictionary of Anglicised Words and Phrases,* by C. A. M. 
Fennell. Cambridge, 1893. 



foreign words and phrases which occur so frequently in English 
literature/ is a vast storehouse of illustrations of the extent to which, 
in modern times, English speakers and writers have availed them- 
selves of the phrasal resources of other languages. Every reader 
of MidE. and OFr. romances must be struck with their most exten- 
sive agreements — not merely in the conception of manners and 
life, in their general literary form — not in vocabulary alone, but in 
more subtle modes of expression, in the idioms used, in the turn of 
the phrases employed. The present dissertation aims to show 
that Middle English became, not only in its vocabulary, but in its 
phrasal forms, * halbfranz5sisch ' ; that its phrasal power is indeed 
pre-eminently Romance in character. It follows after those treatises 
of the French loan-words in the vocabulary of MidE. which we 
owe, as already stated, to Morris, the Skeats, Behrens, Siurmfels, 
Einenkel, Fritzsche, and others, seeking to establish a higher 
and more subtle romanization of our speech than that of its 

The truth is that Middle English underwent a romanization of 
its phrasal power more extensive than, and virtually as early as, 
the romanization of its vocabulary. Professor Earle gives us a 
wrong point of view in his striking picture of the new English when 
he says : * If we want to describe the transition from the Saxon 
state-language of the eleventh century to the Court-English of the 
fourteenth, ... it comes in fact just to this — That a French family 
settled in England, and edited the English language \' It would 
be a truer figure to say that the homely English family went to 
school to French masters, assimilated the modes of thought and 
forms of expression of a new civilization, and then, and by reason 
of that assimilated culture, made good its right, even as an English 
family, to enter into the literary and social life of the new times. 
The object of the present study is to show how, to what extent, and 
at what time the English language schooled itself to new phrasal 
expressions, which were often without equivalents in AS., but which 
sometimes displaced equivalent AS. expressions ; to show how far 
those phrasal changes proceeded under the influence of OFr. — 
a natural outcome of the relation of English, in its formative 
period, to French, in social life, in education, and in legal, 
ecclesiastical, military, and literary affairs j to show the chrono- 
* ' The Philology of the English Tongue,* p. 96 (5th ed.). 


logical movement of those phrasal changes so as to establish a 
comparison with the movement of change in the vocabulary; to 
draw from any ascertained results some conclusions respecting the 
character and chronology of the formation of Standard English. 

The chapters here published are significant parts of a wider 
survey of the field of work; they will be found, it is hoped, 
characteristic of various important aspects of phrasal influence, and 
sufficiently detailed to warrant the conclusions drawn. The cita- 
tions, with but a very few exceptions, are taken from the literature 
preceding 1400, by which time Standard English had been evolved 
and established. Of the works of reference obligations are acknow- 
ledged in especial to Bosworth-Toller, * Anglo-Saxon Dictionary ' 
(B-T); James A. H. Murray, *New English Dictionary' (ned); 
Stratmann-Bradley, * Middle-English Dictionary' (S-B); Gode- 
froy, * Dictionnaire de Tancienne langue fran9aise' (God.); La 
Curne, *Kctionnaire historique de I'ancienne langue frangaise' 
(La C.) ; Littr^, * Dictionnaire de la langue fran9aise ' (L.). 


The change of a language from a synthetic to an analytic base, 
necessitating the growth of phrasal forms for inflexions and 
conjugations, favours analogically the phrasal expression of verbal 
notions ; e. g. miserari, avoir pitt/. MidE. saw a profuse growth 
of verbal phrases overrun the language, which at times choked 
out the scanty verbal phrases of AS. origin. Two chapters are 
here presented illustrative of this phrasal growth in verbal construc- 
tions: (i.) AS. beran, MidE. beren; (ii.) AS. niman, MidE. nimen, 

I. Beran, b^cren, bear. 

AS. BERAN signified fsee B-T.): i. (i) bear, carry; (2) bear up, 
over ; (3) bear away ; (4) bear on one (of weapons, &c.) ; (5) wear 
on body; (6) sustain weight of; (7) tolerate; (8) march (?), lead(?), 
ELy 45. II. bring forth (i) of plants; (2) of mammalia. The 
various compounds of beran show no marked distinctions in 
meaning other than those conveyed by the compounded particle. 
This verb appears to lack, like its compounds, all traces of phrasal 
use other than in the epic phrases, as GewftatS forS beran | w^pen 
ond gewsedu, ic ^ow wfsige, Beo., 291 = * march forward.' 

Middle-English bear. The various senses of AS. beran were 
preserved, with the exception of i. 8. 1.(1) was e^ftended to 
immaterial objects', as 'to beren ure louerd ihesu crist on heorte,' 
Trin, ColL Horn., 47 (ned). i. (6) was extended to figurative use, 
* bear sway,* [He] scholde haue Ibore the heritage, Beketj 2409 
(ned); il (i) was extended to the earth (fig.) bearing minerals 
or vegetable productions. A very characteristic sense, very late, is 
of * thrusting through * (of weapons). Fresh senses of bear are 
very numerous (see ned). 

We are concerned here however chiefly with the phrasal uses of 
bear, which illustrate important differences of AS. and MidE. syntax. 

Phrasal uses of beren resp. OFr. porter, bear witnesa 
(ned, 2 c): Barr wittness to f>e folic, Orm., 18268. Ne ber f>ou 
witnes, C J/., 6478. Als f)e boke beres wytnesse, R. R. H., Pr, 
0/ C.y 51. Als J?e buk says and bers witnes, R. R. H., Pr, of C.y 
585; A.R,, 236; A. and M., 12S5; R.R.H., Lam.ySs; A. F. L., 
S/. Paula, F. and F., 59, 16; 97, 19; 141, 5. pou sail 
noghte bere false wyttnes, R. R. H., P. T., p. 11. 

* Cf., Kar je portal en murt sein tutes les iniquitez, Ps. Ixxxviii. 51 =portavi 
in sinu. 


OFt. offers earlier types of this phrase. Testemuine m*en poent 
cil de Fescamp porter, Wace, Rou, 1356. E bien li porterent 
tesmoing cil qui Ik furent, Villeh., 1 79. Porter lesmoign de bone 
vie, R. Rose^ i. 273. 

The AS. equivalents are : Ne b^o J)U on liesre gewitnysse ong^n 
}?fone n^hstan, Gr., Ex,, 20, i6=non loquerts contra proximum tuum 
/ahum testimonium. Lease sibbe ne sceal mon syllan, B, i?., p. 1 7, 
1. 7. Sw4 swd eall min msegtS me is to witan, M,^ Lives^ viii. 42. 

bear the flower, blome (ned, 3 b): Of alle knyghtes he bar 
))e blome, R.B., Ch,^ 4166. And wikked men wij> honoure | Schul 
her beo maistres and berebe floure, A, E, Z., St, Aug,, 1019 ; Fol, 
P,, i. 216; Ch., Monkes 71, 107; Torrent 0/ P,, 2491. 

OFr. offers earlier types of this phrase. De cortoisie et d'onor, | 
Portoit Engletere la flor, Wace, Brut, 10775. ^i®^ ^rit la 
flor I Ma dame cui j'aor, R, u, P,, i. 60, 64. Certes, dame, ne 
m'en chaut pas, | Que ge en ai porte la flor, ib„ i. 69, 47. 

bear the prize : Sat a tre . . . "Sat ouer alle otSre bered pris, 
G, and Ex,, 325. Of manhod he bar \>q pris, R. B., Ch,, 4172. 
And of beute bar ]?e prys, R. B., Ch,, 6180; Oct,, 398 (SE.); 
Ip', 156- 

OFr. affords the model of this phrase. De tutes les terres de 
la I porta le pris e la valur, M. de Fr., Mil,, 330. 

Through the association of los and prize as a stock phrase of the 
Romance poets as in : — Por los et pris d'armes conquerre, Fl, and 
Lir., 1 1 84. K'en totes terres ou entra(n)st | Le los & le pris [en] 
portast, Jpom,, 131, 1151, 1588— we get : 

bear the los : Of all the sennes tha thar beth, | Thos bereth 
that los, Wm. of Sh., 115. Of alle oure beleue she bare J?e los, 
R. B., Hand, S,, 868. pat ich day sir Arthour | pe los he bar & 
J?e honour, A, and M,, 2983. 

Le los & le pris [en] portast, Ipom,, 131. Ceste porte la sei- 
gnorie | E Texcellence e la maistrie, Ch, d, N,, 15130 (cf. Ch., 
Prol C. T., 165). 

According to ned a bell was sometimes given as a prize at 
tournaments, early proof of which is not adduced ; OFr. clocheteur 
(God., ix. 112) and even 'bell-wether' suggest a different origin. 

bear the beU : Off bounte bereth the bell, Ip,, 4782 ; 5893, 
And, let se which of you shal here the belle j To speke of love 
aright, Ch., TroiL, iii. 149. The phrase appears still later as ' win 
J>e gre,' Sir Egl,, 11. 

bear the face, &c. (ned, 3 c) : Towarde a foreste I here the 
face. Pearl, 6, 7. 

Cf., Tornds ount le vis, Pierre de L., ii. 150. Ne vus ni il n'i 
porterez les piez, Ch, de R,, 260. Porter le pid, Ch, d, N., 
ii. 13738. 

A parallel idiom is, & bar }?e breste on )?e by-fore, R. B., Ch., 4665. 



bear fellowship, company (ned, 3cI, i): Alle )>ai felauschip 
bare, CM., 12568. And I with yow, to here yow companye, Ch., 
Z. G. Art'ad,, 173. If eni so wod were, | That Seint Thomas 
consaillede and cumpaignye here, Beke/y 990 (ned); R. B., Ch,, 73. 

OFr. offers : Com je vous ai port^ mauvaise conpaignie, Ber/e, 
2182. De porter fei et conpaignie, Trote, 5847, &c. 

bear (an, on) in hand (ned, 3 e) : We wolleth the here an 
bond : that the ert his traitour, Beke/, 909. [= maintain an asser- 
tion against] (ned): Ye here me wrong on honde, C, M., 15922 
(Trin.). Bereth hir an hand that sche hath done this thing, Ch., 
M, of Z. T'., 522. Tithandis . . . that bare on hand. How . . 
Bruce, xvii. 82. 

The NED looks upon all these as an English imitation of Fr. 
maintenir, Med L. manutenere. This foreign influence is borne 
out by the phrase ' bear on hand '= carry on, maintain, which seems 
to point to *tenir sur main'= tnainienir: II n'est possible de tenir 
trois guerres sur main, Litt. de Louis XII, t. iv, p. 14 (in La C, 

bear oneself, deport oneself, behave (ned, 4) : Hu me schal 
beren him wiSuten, Jl. i?., 4. pe god queue gaf him in conseile, | 
To luf his folk bituene . . . | Bere him till his barons, R. B., Ch,, 98. 
Which of yow that beretS him best of alle, Ch., C. 71 ProL, 798 ; 
K. 7!, 589. Swa apertly and weille thame bar, Bruce, xiv. 77. 

The OFr. construction is similar. Que cis las dolereus Guil- 
laumes, | Qui si bien s'est vers moi port^s, FL et BL, 10695 (L.). 

bear arms, in technical sense of * be of age ' (ned, 6 * (special 
sense)): jif ich euer armes bere | And be of elde, B, of H,, 314. 
Al f>at mijt armes bere, RouL and Vern., 80. 

OFr. has early examples of this phrase. Et dhs qu'il pot armes 
porter, Bru/, 2265. 

The AS. expressions of this idea are : paera }>e to gefeohte faran 
mihton, Gr., Num., i. 45. pset he woroldwaepno waeg, Bl, Horn., 
213. ToSaem J>aet he sceolde woroldlicum waepnum onfon, Bl, 
Horn., 213. 

bear the crown = rule : Alle halely and his croun bere | Wele, 
and in pees with-outen were, Pr, of C, 408. 

OFr. examples : De tote Espaigne corone d'or portant, Aksc, 
7824. Qui d*or corone en cief portast, Brui, 2332 ; Ch, d. N,, 

bear likeness, visage, form (ned, 7) : Bot of his liknes J?at he 
bar, C. M., 18823 [ned]. Which bereth visage of mannes kinde, 
Gower, Confessio Aman,, i. 339 (ned). 

In OFr.: Figure porte de diable, Brut, 757 ; 8502. 

* In later MidE. 'bear,' to have in one's arms [heraldic], is ■= OYx. porter, 
* He bare of Aser^ a schyp of golde.' Sir Egl.y 1 186. 
' A cinq labiaus de gueules Tainsnes fils le porta/ Berte^ 3222. 


bear name (ned, 7 b) : After which planete the day berith his 
name, Ch., AsiroL, ii. §§ 12, 23. 

OFr. : Le nom k son oncle porta, Brut, 113. 

bear (with feelings, = harbour, entertain) (ned, 9) ; bear flaith, 
&c. (ned, 9) : Sail Su nojt tSe rijt-wise weren, | Or for hem Se totSere 
metS bereiiy G, and Ex., 1044. pat he sholden him god feyth 
bere, Hav,, 2853. Until his bro})or nith (var. read, ire) he bare, 
C. M., 1069 (ned). Ye ber him right nan aw {var. r, awe), 
ib., 12096 (ned). Berets hire menske, A, i?., 140, To 
Beues a bar gret envie, Bev, of H,, 839. pet bereth longe 
wre]>e ayens oJ>ren, Ayenb,, 8. To beran niS ne onde to nane 
cristene monne, 0. Z^, 125. For Sare gode trewtSe Se Su him 
bere, F. and F., 103, 31. And to all cristenei men | beren pais 
and luve bi-twen, and Ex., 7. 

OFr. has a rich variety in equivalent phrases : (^o dist Rollanz ; 

* Pur quel me portez ire ? ' Ch. de R., 1722 ; Trts., i. 29. Dont me 
ddust porter rancune, Renart, 406; also R. Rose, 1245. Si com 
tu sez que je t*ai foi port^e, Alesc, 2284. Quant k Deu ne por- 
tames foi, Adam, p. 31 ; also Troie, 1420; Mort Garin, 1789; 
M. de Yx.^Eli., 84 ; Eneas, 3318 ; Fab., iii. 73. Fei li porterent e 
honur, A. et A., -^2) A. N. Ch,, 228. Et foy et honnor se por- 
terent. Fab., i. 319; R' Rose, 1032; G.deP., 783; Machault, 
p. 117. A qui nos portum fei e amor, Ch. d. N,, ii. 8209; 
17327; 29834. Ne m'en deit porter maltalent, | Corroz ne ire 
longuement, Eneas, 9969. Si que Deus ne t'en port haine, 
Ch. d. N., ii. 14837. Li porterent mult grant en vie, ib.y ii. 
22554. Ains li porterai loiaultei, R. u. P., i. 70, 40. Que Ten 
doies porter homage, Wace, Brut, 2399. Ki ne porte a hume ne 
fei ne amistie, Rou, ii. 3479. Feut^ | A porter mais \ son a^', 
Brut, 6078. Que pais et foi li porterons, ib., 13547. 'Porter la 
foi et homage ' was the oath of the vassal to his lord, Du Cange 

In AS. simple verbs represented many of these notions : Ne tyn 
J?u )?fne n^ahgebUras, Gr., Lev., xix. 18. The Authorized Version 

* bear a grudge ' = MidE. beren niS = OFr. porter ire, rancune. 
Note: *bear company' was expressed by gej^^odrsedene niman 
wiS (associate with, B-T) : Gif hwylc br68or . . . gedyrstlaectS, J?aet 
he on aenije wisan aenije 3eJ)eodr»dene nime wiC Jjone amansume- 
dan, B. R., 50, 10. 

Chronology. Bear, in phrasal use, is not in evidence before 
1200; 1 200-1 250, bear witness, Orm.\ bear oneself, A. R.\ 
about 1250, G. and Ex. shows bear the prize, and begins the use of 
bear with feelings ; 1 250-1 300, bear faith, Hav. ; 1 300-1 350, bear 
the los, Wm. of Sh. ; bear the flower, R. B., Ch. ; bear company, 
C. M.\ bear arms, B.of H.\ bear likeness, C, M. ; bear in (on) 
hand, jff^-^^/, C. M.) 1 350-1 400, bear the face, Pearl', bear name, 



Ch. These phrases are uniformly antedated by their exact equi- 
valents in OFr. 

Conclusion. AS. beran, virtually phraseless and narrow in its 
range of meanings, undergoes great development of meaning and 
phrasal use in MidE. The close similarity of MidE. and OFr. in 
phrasal uses of bear, resp. porter, even to the copying of precise 
phrases like bear the los, bear the flower, bear good faith, bear 
witness, together with the supplanting of certain AS. expressions 
for such phrases {e,g, sibbe syllan), establishes OFr. as the para- 
mount influence in the phrasal extension of this verb. The 
chronology of the extension shows the beginning of the influence 
in the early part of the thirteenth century ; its full sway in the first 
half of the fourteenth century. 

II, Niman, nimen, resp. taken, take. 

AS. nimaN had (B-T) as its significations : (i) take, receive, 
get; (2) take, keep, hold ; (3) take, catch (not figuratively); (4) 
contain ; (5) take (with one) = carry, bring ; (6) take forcibly, seize, 
carry off. 

It entered into many verbal phrases : — andan niman, take 
offence ; bysne niman, take example, warning : And bysne niman, 
JE., Lives, XX iv. 66 ; casum niman, take a case (in grammar) ; eard 
niman, take up one's abode ; feorh beniman, take away life : 
Heora feorh him benam, Gr.,/«</., viii. 2 ; frdondrsfeden niman, hold 
friendly intercourse with ; friS niman, make peace with : se consul 
genam fri}> wiS Ispanie, Oros.y 5, 14; 46, 7; gel^afan niman, be- 
lieve ; graman niman, take offence ; nam to malche fulne graman, 
M.y Lives y xxiii. 694 ; Idre niman, receive instruction ; lufe niman, 
take affection for; m6d niman, take courage; naman beniman, 
take one's name : J)onnebenimS Wisle Ilfinghire naman, Oros., 20, 
1 1 ; nfode niman, take pleasure : . . . niode naman, Beo., 2 1 17 ; 
sibbe niman, make terms; sige niman, gain the victory; ware 
niman, take care ; wsepna niman, take up arms ; wed niman, take 
pledge : Gif f>u wed nime, Gr., Ex,, xxii. 26 ; weg niman, take one's 
way ; wfcst6wa niman, pitch camp. Add to these certain phrases 
in which prepositions enter : on gemynd niman, to bear in mind ; 
on haeft niman, to take captive, &c. 

MidE. NIMEN continues the sense of AS. niman, but develops 
new meanings, steadily following in the wake of the wider signi- 
fication of OFr. prendre. The introduction of ON. taka, take, 
seize, catch, grasp, reach, &c., which constantly won ground on 
nimen during the MidE. period, contributed much to the growth 
of phrases, but the evidence of the chronology and of the authors 
here cited shows that in the main we have to reckon with French 


influence and not Norse in the extension of the phrasal use of take 
during the period of which we treat. The definition of ON. 
phrasal influence is much to be desired. 
The chief developments of meaning are : — 

1. Seize upon one (of desire, sickness, &c.): Hunger him nam, 
G, and Ex,^ 1490. But yef suche thurst take you, Rath, 0. R,, 
280. A romance, and hit me took | To rede and drive the night 
away, Ch., Duch,, 48 f. Him tok seknes, A, E, Z., SL Aug,y 1635. 

OFr. parallels : Somel li prist, dormir se vot, TV., i. 64. Piti^ 
m'en prist, i. 26. Merueillouse pite li prist, Jflav.^ 580. Talenz 
li prist d'aler chacier, M. de Fr., 76 ; Chat,, i. Comme se 
fievre m'estoit prise, 844. 

2. Capture (of towns, &c.), conquer : pe nimtJ casteles, V, and V., 
129, 4. 

In OFr. : Jerusalem prist ja par traVsun, Ch, de R,, 1523. Ja 
prist-il Noples, 1775. 

3. Begin (with infinitives): Take]>]> nu to fullhtnenn, Orm., 
18269. (ON. usage.) 

OFr. : EvruVn prist a castiier, St. Leger, § 18. Li uns en a pris 
Tautre a araisnier, Aioly 1958. Quant il Tot mort, sel prent 
a chasteier, Cour, Z., 135 (Const., Chres,^ p. 65). Prist sa face k 
noircir, Alexand, {Elect), 156. 

4. Assume (with *upon'): Take upon me more than ynough, 
Ch., ProL Mill, 21, 52. They wole taken on hem no thing, R. Rose, 
6107 = sur eus riens n'en prendront, 11 743. OFr.: Tot 
le p^chid del mostier pren sor mi, Cour. Z., 1688. Sor lei en 
prist lo greingnor fes, Trote, 2084. Vous le prendrez sur vous 
pour trestout amender, Hugues Capet, v. 3320 (L.). 

The chief phrasal uses of nimen, resp. taken, showing Romance 
influence are : — 

take advantage : He that . . . wolde | Take avauntage, Gower, 
Con/., iii. 322 (ned). 

Prendriez vus nul avantage, Yr.-Bk, Ed, I,, p. 119 {anno 1292). 

take the air : Bruce, vi. 304. 

Pour I'air avoir nouvel et prendre, God. de P., 308. 

take amends : And tok a-mendis at thair hand, Bruce, xii. 382. 

Que j'en puisse prendre amendise, G, de P., 889. 

take arms [= be knighted] : How he toke armes of kyng 
Calomond, Torrent of P., 2168. 

Que d'autrui ne uuel armes prendre, Cligh, 121. 

take arrivage : And prevely took arrivage, Ch., H,ofF,, 223. 

A Cotenois rivage prist. Brut, 5238. En mer se met, si ot bon 
vent I En Crete prist arrivement, De Josaph., Rich., 1553 (God.). 

take avis: Sche . . . took avis by hirself, Ch., MeL, p. 189. 
* Es estoiles prent son avis. Gen., Best,, B. M. (in God.). 

take baptism : And baptism tok, Scot, Leg,, iii. 247. 



Un crestiens ne prist batesme, Ch, d, N,, ii. 30337. Mais 
prent batesme, J^onc, p. 145 (L.). Et prendront baptestire veraie- 
ment, Awl, 408. 

take battle: ^if men habbeth bataile i-nume, O, and N*, 1195. 
And y schal for pe take bataile, A, and A,, 11 12. 

Vers cui il a pris bataille, CItg/s, 574. Bataille ne prendrei pur 
Sarazin, FitzW.y p. 163. 

take blood : 7 nome blod 7 ban i ]>at meare meiden, y^//., p. 63. 

Et sane et char i presistes per nous, Elie^ 1374. Et car et sane 
presis en la dinge moUier, Aiol, 6185. 'take flesh.' 

take comfort : tat no cumfort wolde he forJ> take. A, E. Z., 
Amh,, 422. Nor comfort noon unto hir take, R, of R,^ 318. 

Ne sai oill nul confort pregne, Couci ix (L., valloir): Od tel aviez 
pris solaz, Ch. d, N,, ii. 25892. Je y prend grant plaisance, 
grant confort et grans d^duis, Machault, p. 135; p. 137. 

Cf. AS., Teah him elnunge to, Lives, xxiii. 524. 

take counsel: Ac lebbe and nime godne red, O, E. H,, *ji. 
Swo hi nomen conseil betuene hem, O, K, Serm,, p. 26. King 
uter nom is conseil, R. G., C/i,, 3254. Who knew euer any kyng 
such counsel to take, G. and G. A!'., 682; St. Marg., 136. 

A voz Franceis un cunseill en preistes, Ch. de R., 205. Conseil 
en prist od li meesme, Ch. d. N., ii. 13003. Si en soit jk li 
conseil pris, 7r., i. 33; i. 113. Altre cunseil vus estuet prendre, 
M. de F., 2 Am.. 10 1. Lors pristrent consoil qu'il porroient 
respondre, /<?j. of A.y 239; Gaimar, 3070; Hav., 688. 

AS. niman to rsede : And nam him to rsede, M.y Lives, iii. 230. 
This construction persists in MidE., as in : Hwi nulleS hi nimen 
heom to rede, 0. and N., 1762. Hii nome hom to rede, R. G., 
Ch., 9758. Heo nomen heom to )>am rede, 0. E. H., p. 91. The 
later expressions : Has tane to rede that he vald nocht, Bruce, xii. 
389 ; And till purpoff haft tane ] Till wend hamward, ih., xvi. 471, 
are French. 

take course: Tak }>y cours wif> schafte, Libeaus Des., 334. 
Othere toke f)at cors on haste. Sir Ferumh., 3152. 

Ne devrunt lur curs prendre, St. Brandan, 234. Similar to 
AS. : weg niman, OFr. chemin {vote) prendre. 

take the cross [= become crusader] : pe cross nom, R. G., 
Ch., 346. 

Pristrent la croyx, Liver e de Reis, 244. 

take crown : Uterpendragon coroun nam, A. and M., 2049. 

Pran la corone, rois devien, Wace, Brut, 16816; Ch. d. N., ii. 
20108. AS. f6n to rke. 

take cure : But ye the rather take cure, Ch., Comp. Pit., 82. 

Ja sor toi cure n'en prandrai, Wace, Brut, 6727. A deu prie 
qu'en prenge cure, M. de Fr., Gui., 200. Del sujumer ne prist 
cure, St. Brandan, 162 ; Best. Rich., 859; Troie, 11 761. 


take day : And toke day at \>t monihys ende of pleyn batayle, 
OcL, 1497. 

Un jor qui fus nomez et pris, Cltg/s, 4629. Et pristrent jor des 
noces fere, Fab,, iv. 114. Cf. also, Et pris terme des noces ffere, 
tb,, i. 46; Troie, 27726. 

In AS., daeg settan, Ps., Th., Ixxv. 7 (B-T). 

take death: l>et he nimf) f)ane dyaj>, Ayen., 3a. Ffor f>at 
Walwes his de)? )?er tok, R. B., C^., 6100. Oure louerd hi self 
tok strong def), St. Marg,, 105. 

D'icele croiz il Deus prist mort, Ch, d, N,, ii. 23295. Ja mais 
n*en penras mort tant com en dura uns, EltCy 740. 

take discipline : NemetS discipline of all "Se misdades t^e ^e 
deS, F. and F., 125, 29. 

Et desipline iloques prisent, Wace, Brut, 14904. 

take ease : But vachis, tak thair eilT and ly, Bruce, vii. 306. 

En ce mortel monde ne faut y prendre ses aises, Al. Char., Con, 
trots V. (God.). 

take endt The dragon hatJ tan hys jynde, Sir Eg!,, 756. Or 
that 5our purposs ende haf tane, Bruce, iv. 660. Hit ne me 
neauer mare lutlin ne wursin ne neome nan ende, O, E, H,, 
p. 265. 

Des que la u la mer e la terre prent fin, Wace, Rou, ii. 2689. 
Ne prist cesse ne fin, Ch. d. N,, ii. 27215. Pristrent fin ne ces, Trote, 
1 167. No cantefable prent fin, Auc, et N,, 41, 24. Quel veie 
e chemin I O tuit prenent fin! Reimp,, § 125; Aiol, 2370; 
Brandan, 720; Gaimar, 266. 

take entent : But euermore heo tok entent . . . Hire mouj) to 
stoppe, A. E, L,, St, Paula, 151. Now tak here-to good entent, 
A, E. L., Kindj,, 277; A, and M,, 1968. CL prendre cure, 
prendre garde, &c. under * take heed,' q. v. 

take example: NimetS nu uorbisne hu god . . ., A, R,, 254. 
To nime ensample afterward, R. G., Ch., 8975. To take ensaum- 
pille of }?ame, R. R. H., P, T,, 37 ; Ch., Monkes T., 249 ; Scot. 
Leg., Prol, 29. 

Cil devra Tom essample prendre, Ch. d. N., ii. 12 641. Ki bien 
voldreit raisun entendre | ici purreit ensample prendre, M. de Fr., 
313' prendre example bel et gent, Fab,, i. 26; Hav., 4. 
Similar to AS. bysne niman. 

take flesh, humanity : manhede \>2X toke flesshe and bone, 
R. B., Hand, S., 661. To takenn ure mennisclegge, Orm., 85. 

E pur nus de la pucele char prist, Man. Pech,, 1348. Com 
vos preites char en la Jos, 0/ Arm,, 11 77. Cf. : Pregnent 
ja mais cors, Eneas, 2886. Prendent humaine figure, Wace, 
Brut, 7639. Incarnassion | Prist, ib,, 15297, Humanity | Piist, 
Boron, Graal, loi. Prist-il no vie, 141. 

Cf. AS., and flaesc under-feng, JE,, Lives, xxx. 64. 




take flight : tat dper dragoun his flijt nome, B. of (or), 
2641. He hath takyn flyght, Ip.^ 8623. I will nocht tak flicht, 
Scot. Lep:., Paulus, 217; Bruce, xiii. 279. 

Et k Londres son vol prendroit, Wace, Brut, 1686. Si je 
n'^ trop loing pris mon vol, La Poire, 2252. II prit son vol (of a 
hawk), p. 164 (L^). Purquei d'iloec preignent fuite (take 
retreat). Si. Brandan, 1163; TrisL, 148. 

take going : Out of f>e chauncel tok his going, A.E.L., Am,, 1050. 

Prent soun aler, Pierre de L., i. 78. Prent soun voyage, id., 8. 

take gram : Whare many of the Normandes tok mekil grame, 
Minot, in Pol, P., i. 70. Cf. take ire, Ch., C Mars, 132; and 
pris haine, Ch, d, N., ii. 5180. AS. graman niman. 

take habit [= become a monk]: Whon Bernard had taken his 
abyt, A. E. L., St, B„ 287. 

Prist dras de moigne, Gaimar, 1566. E prist Tabit de muniage, 
Josaph,, 114. 

take harbour, inn, &c. : Askede here if jhe migte taken | 
Herberje for hire frendes sake[n], G. and Ex., 1391. And toke 
them herboure thare, Ip., 309. For}? him wente sire Benoun | And 
tok is in in J?at toun, B» of H,, 1133. 

Herberges unt purprises, PU, de Ch., 109. Perneit la nuit 
herbergement, M. de Fr., Chi^v., 34. Ostel prisent, bien s'atombrent, 
Wace, Brut^ 2056; Concept., p. 6o, Prist-il herberjaje, Alesc, 
2325; herbergerie, ib., 2332. 

take haven: .Hauene he tok at Porcestre, R. B., C^., 5397. 

R. B. here translates : Port et terre prist k Porcestre, Wace, 
Brut, 5020; Troie, 3271; Trist., i» 43, Que il prendroient port 
- a Corfol, Villeh., 56. 

take heart: Ac gode hert to 30U take^?, A. and M., 2090. 
[For] to do this, so that thou take good herte, Ch., of F., 603. 

Tel cuer prenez et tel corage, Troie, 13556. Mes pren bon 
cuer et si t'avance, R. Rose, i. 228. Cf. AS. m6d niman. 

take heed : Whan men of hir taken noon hede, R. of R., 418. 
Nimen hede, P. PI (B.), xi. 313. Tac hede of })e werke \oxi, 
A. E. L., St. Aug., 1259.: To ri3t and law that ssold tak hede, 
Pol S, 197. 

Lusiane sa fille si s'en prist garde, Aiol, 1990. II fust assez 
qui guarde en prist, M. de Fr., Lan., 545. Conques garde ne 
m'en pris, R. u. P., i. 39, 39. 

The AS. idiom is ware niman. 

take keep : And f)e mare sorow when f>ai tuk kepe, Pr. of C, 
381. And or that Arcyte may taken keep, Ch., K. T., 1830. 
Haid 3e tane keip how at that king, Bruce, i. 95. 

Mais a Rome dist al sdn^ | Que de la mer garde prendroit, Wace, 
Brut, 5509 ; Ch. d. N., ii. 25486. Ipomedon guarde n*en prist, 
Ipom., 3808 ; R. Rose, 412. 



take land : JEt Dovre he J?ohte nimen lond, Laj., 9737. On 
vest half, toward dumfermlyne | Tuk land, Bruce^ xvi. 550. 

A paine avoient t^re prise, Wace, Bruty 4059. Lk pristrent 
terre o Deus les volt mener, Alesc.y xvi. (L.). Cf. prist rivage, Wace, 
Bruiy 5238. Also ON., land taka. 

take leave: Nom leaue }?ereof, A, i?., 230. Joseph of 
Aramathye tok leue at Pylate, R. R. H., Med,, 369. And nime 
leve, O, and N., 457. Horn tok his leue, Horn, 463 ; R. G., C^., 
300; Oa. (SE.), 529; A. and A., 131, 974. 

Prenent cungied, k eel mot s'enturnent, C*^. de R,, 2764; Trtst,, 
ii. 61 ; Hav,, 552. De son seignur ad pris congid, A, et A,, 52, 
245 ; Jos. of Arim,, 968, 1460, &c. 

This phrase is interesting as showing the development of AS. 
l^af, leave = permission, licence ; but not farewell. Cong^ in 
OFr. had both senses; OFr. had not only donner congi 
[= permettre], AS., liaf syllan\ but also prendre congi 
take leave, to say farewell to. MidE. extends AS. Uaf to agree 
with OFr. 

take life : Bynym nought thy sonnys lyf, Seven Sages, 705. 
A maint paien en a le jour la vie prise, Bu. C, 3792. 
AS. feorh beniman. 

take lordship, mastery : &e lordschip of J?is lande )>ai namen, 
R. B., Ch., 36. I>e maistrie from Maxcence he nam, ib,, 6240 ; 
Ch., Frank, T,, 19. 

Desus Bier prist la maistrie, Wace, Ron, i. 236. 

take mercy: On us eny mercy take, A. E. L., C. de C, 120. 

De ceste terre quar praigne piti^, Ch, d, N,, 568; Wace, 
Nicholas, 98. Volentiers preist grace, kar de prendre a mes[tier], 
Wace, Rou, ii. 4424. 

take order : je ne tok neuer as i trowe | Of knijthod \t hordere, 
W, of P,, 4461. And ordurres non will take, Torrent, 48. Order 
of knijt, ih., 51. To take }?e ordre of Sistewes, A.E, L,, St, Bern., 
146. Loke how many orders take | Onely of Christ, for his service, 
Pol, P,, i. 329. 

Qu'il volt a Jumeges (prendre) ordre de moniage, Wace, Rou, \u 
1756. C'est nostre compere Ysengrin | Qui de nouel a Ordre pris, 
Renart, 2163. 

take part: Beo heo dal neominde of heofene riches blisse, 
a E. H., 47. 

Tiel en prist part, pas n'en joi*, A, N, Ch,^ i, 16. 

take purpose: When I had takene my syngulere purpos, 
R. R. H., P, T,, p. 5. He toke his purpose hole to wende, Ip,, 

Et quel porpans an porra prandre, Wace, Conception (God.); 
Rou, i. 630. 



take reed : Of hir tunge ho nom red, O, and N,, 1 07 1 . See 
* take counsel/ 

take rest: & wolde take her reste, Wm, of P., 2236. & t>er 
token aise & rest, A. andM,, 8209. Besyde Acrys yn a boschayle 
)>ey token rest, OcL, 1607 (SE.). And toke rest tyl hyt was daye, 
Seven Sages y 2197. 

La nuit, quant repos doivent prendre, CL d^A,, 3. Sanz repos 
prendre et «ans s^jour, JR, Rose, 362. Entresqu'ad Ais ne voelt 
prendre sujur, C. de i?., 3696. 

take right [= justice] : Neme riht of Se seluen, V, and F., 

Que mors son droit des cors prendra, La Rose, 8170 (L.). Et des 
felons iustise prist, Hav., 974; Ch, d, N,, ii. 19771. 

take the sea: per he |>a sae nom, La^., 4966 (translating il 
prit la mer (S-B)). 

take sorrow: Such sorwe this lady to her took, Ch., Duch,, 95. 
In heuerlc birShe sorge numen, G. and Ex., 368. See * take comfort/ 

take standing : He went and tok his stondyng, A. E. L., Amb„ 

Pur vostre amur ici prendrai estal, CK de R., 2139. Drias 
returnee prent estal, Ip,, 5830; Alexand, (^En/ance), 257. 

take tent : There to wold he take no tente, Ip., 519. Take je 
tente to 50W, and to al the flocke, Wic, Deeds, 20, 28. See * take 
entent, heed, keep/ 

take truce : Quhill trewis at the last tuk thai, Bruce, xiv. 96. 

Quar prenez truies, que n'i enterrons. Prise d'Or., 1043. 
A quinze dls triue prendreient, En,, 6004 ; Mori Garin, 838 ; Ch, 
d, N,, ii. 24625; Gaimar, 2563. 

take turn: From |?e tyme he took his tourne ffram Rome, 
Alex, (Laud 622), 343, 

Puis prist son tor par Alemaigne, Wace, Brut, 3928. 

take vengeance : Whan God took wreche of Kaymes synne, 
R. B., Ch,, 202. Nimen wreche, G, and Ex,, 1042, And brende 
& slug & wreche nam, G, and Ex,, 2668. And tuke na vengeance 
of us, R. R. H., P, T,, 38. On Surriens to take high vengeaunce, 
Ch., M. Z. T„ 865. 

Quidez vus prendre de RoUant venjaisun, Ch, de R,, 401 f. 
Mult grant venjance en prendrat TEmperere, Ch, d, N,, 1489. 
Que d'aus venjance querre et prendre, G, de P., 6492. Que tu 
nen vausis prandre venjance, 0/ Arm., 591. 

take way: Ne take f>e ways of lyfe certayne, R. R. H., Pr. of 
C, 7242. To his felawes in he took his way, Ch., N, P, T., 206 ; 
Monkes T„ 364 ; Oct, 1041 (NE.), &c. 

Lor droit chemin ont pris vers la citeit, R. u. P„ i. 5, 27. 

AS. weg niman. 

B 2 


take jeme : Ne neme"S neuer jeme, A, R,, 230. Neme michele 
jieme, V, and F., 87, 27. Nim jeme to me n\iiSey/uL, 75. Nim 
jeme & understond J?et he . . ., A. i?., 184; F. and F., 4, 29; 
aS"/. Marh,^ p. 4 ; ZT. Maid., p. 3. All based on prendre cure, 
prendre garde. ' AS. gfmzxi or d6n g^men : G^mene d6 se Abbod 
= curam gerit abbas, B, i?., interl. 27, Lye, in B-T. 

take wife : Or he eni wif take, HorUy 553. 

Madan prist feme et ot deus fis, Wace, Brut, 1489 ; Ch, d, N,, 
ii. 8862. Qu'Anna prfet autre mari, Wace, Concept,, p. 55. 

Also AS, : S6 forma nam wff, Luke, xx. 29. 

take agame: Ther-for ye oghte haue som compassioun | Of 
my disese and take it noght agame, Ch., C Mars, 277. 

Prendre k jeu, = consid^rer comme une plaisanterie : Que je 
puisse prendre | Tes grosses parolles k jeu, Deda/ d. L nourr,, 
ATF., ii. 421 (God.). 

take agrief : He tok it . . . agref, K. Alu, 3785. Take it 
nought agreef, Ch., R, Z, 73. Ladi, tak hit not a gref, R. R. H.j 
Lam,, 12^, Madame, takes not a-greeve. Sir Deg,, 467. Sire 
emperour, take nowt a-greef. Seven Sages, 53. Also, take at greffe, 
II. Ip,, 197, on greue, Sir Am,, 30. 

Cf., tenir h grief = to feel offended : Cassibelaus qui tint a grief, 
Brui, 3982. X tort le prent, Alisc, 11 59. And prendre en gr/ 
is very common = receive favourably ; Ton service prendre en gr^; 
R. Rose, 2035. 

take in cure, keep : Quwich ... I tak not in my cure, 
Lane, 266. 

Que ie vos praigne toz an garde, 0/ Arim,, 1384 ; Ch, d, N:, 
ii. 20226. L'afaire a pris en cure, Bu, de C, 1411. Se Diex et 
vous ne me prenez en cure, Machault, p. 57. 

take in disdain: But take it not, I prey you, in desdayn, Ch., 
Prol C, T,, 788. 

En desdein prist la Deu verba, St, Brandan, 531. 

take in good intent : She taketh in good entente the wil of 
Christ, Ch., M, L, T,, 726. And took it in good entent, Alex. 
(Laud, 622), 336. 

Trop prent en gr^ quanque li fait, Ch, d, N,, ii. 16876. Le prent 
pour Dieu en gr^ et loiaument le sert, Berte, 871. Si les maux en 
gre m'en prent, R, u. P,, iii. 2, 39. Mais en bon grd le prennent 
pour Dieu, Bu, de C, 1015. *De bon gr^' is very common 
in adverbial constructions. Cf. Lat. : in bonam (malam) partem 

take in mercy : And thai talk thame in thair mercy, Bruce, 
xiv. 414. Analogous to take in disdain, &c. ; but cf., Ne les prist 
\ mis^ricorde, Machault, 69. Prengne \ merci, Enf, Og,, 197. 

take in patience : He tok in pacience to live or dye, Ch., 



C. Mars, 40. They most take in pacience a-night, Ch., M. Z. 7!, 
612. This worthy Monk took al in pacience, Ch., Pr, Monkes 71, 
77. Wal take it into pacience, Ch., Mel., p. 160. 

Apres, Amis, en pacience | Dois penre et avoir soufisance, 
Machault, p. 93. Prit en patience, y«z;w. Ch., vi. 1380 (L.); Pol, 
Songs, Bel Eyse, 153. 

take in thank : Tharfor this seknes and this payne | I tak in 
thank for my trespaff, Bruce, xx. 176, = prendre en gri, see * take 
in good intent.' 

take in vain : Nim godes name in ydel, Ayen,, 6, Take naujt 
hys name in ydelschepe, Wm. de Sh., 93. That takes not her lyf 
in vayne. Pearl, 58, 3. pat Cesar tok his preyejr in veyn, R. B., 
Ch,, 5240. 

Vus ne prendrez mie en vain le non nostre seignur, Rubric, Man, 
Peek., f. 131 1, 

In AS. on ydel was freely used for * in vain,' but not with niman. 
In Deut. we read: Ne nemne ge drihtnes naman on fdel, Or., 
Deut., V. II = non usurpabas nomen domini dei tui frustra. For 
pam )?e ne bi8 he unscildig, se f>e for fdelum )>inge his naman nemt5 
= qui non erit impunitus, qui super re vana nomen ejus assumpr 
serit. Cf. also, Se ]?e his naman on ^del nemS, Gr., Ex,, xx. 7, 
= non assumes nomen domini tui in vanum. 

The Latin of course frequently used in vanum, Cf. Non habebis 
nomen dei tui in vanum, Ne have J)u f)ines drihtenes nome in nane 
aSa ne in nane idel speche,' 0, E, H,, i. 1 1. 

take to heart : pat word tok he yuel til herte, R. B., CK, 2317. 
pat nam he most to herte, Wm, 0/ P., 1 203. 

Cil en relieve la roine | Qui a cuer prent mult son afaire, G, de 
P,, 5297. Lit en un livre, mais au cuer ne Ten tient, R, u, P,, 
i. 3» 2- 

take to ill: The kyng wold gretly take it to ille, Ip,, 1996. 
Y pray yow take hit not to ille. Sir Deg., 442. =* taKe agrief,' q. v. 

Pour cou le tient a mal | Qu'il . . ., Alexan, {Clzns), 105. S'en 
prist k tort, God. de P., 3165. 

take to purpose : And till purpoff haff tane | Till wend ham- 
ward, Bruce, xvi. 471. See 'take to rede/ 

take to rede, counsel [= to think advisable] : Hy nome sone 
to rede, St. Nicolas (Delius), p. 92. Has tane to rede that he vald 
nocht, Bruce, xii. 389. 

Nos vos dirons ce que nous avons pris k conseil, Villeh., 14. 

take to wife : To f>i wif Jju me take, Horn, 536. And took 
hyr to hys make anoon, Seven Sages, 3281. 

Feme son oncle, son seignor | Prist k feme, Wace, Brut, 13435. 
Prist k mollier, Trisl., i. 123, Si le prendrai a feme, a per et a 
niollier, Aiol, 6900, 


An AS. construction as well : t6 gemaeccan niman, to suna 
niman, &c. Similarly, take to party : Cam took Aufryk til his partie, 
R. B., Ch,y 228. Take to prisoner : He toke him there to presun- 
nere, Av, 0/ A,, 33. 

take (to) witness : {a) Vor -oure godes ich take to witnesse, 
R. G., Ch., 1257 ; P. PL (a.), xi. 41. God i take to my witnes, 
A. E. L., St, Paula, 8. (3) I take witnes of seint Poule, 22 ; 
(1382) PoL P,y i. 250; Torrent, 1220. 

In AS. the sense of these phrases is expressed : Ic haebbe to 
daeg to gewitnisse heofen and eorSah, Gr., Deut.y iv. 26, Ic clipie 
me to daeg to gewitnysse, ib,, xxx. 19. God to gewitan haebbende, 
M., Lives, xxiii. B, 78. God him to gewitan . . . foresettende, 
ib,, xxiii. B, 270. And .Crist me is gewita, ib., xxx. 359. 

Though * to gewitan niman ' apparently does not occur in AS. it 
is a possible construction : cf. 7 hu Bretlaine namon Maximianum 
him to casere ofer his willan, Oros^y 7, 11. 

The French construction is rather trat're h iesmoin : A tesmoig 
en trairoie maint franc home gen til, Aiol, 10, which is imitated in : 
To wittnesse ich drawe echone, R. G., Ch,, 694. Phrases like (b) 
are scarcely contracted forms of {a) ; they are analogical to bear 
witness, &c., porter t^moin. 

Chronology. The verb niman had in AS. a fair amount of 
phrasal power. The extension of the phrasal power of nimen 
resp. taken in MidE. begins in the first half of the thirteenth century, 
when take is found in phrasal use with blood, counsel, end, land, 
leave, part, right, sea, jeme. The second half of the century sees 
the phrases with battle, intent, harbour (inn), sorrow, vengeance. 
A large extension is noted in the first half of the fourteenth century : 
take amends, the cross, comfort, day, death, flesh, flight, habit, 
haven, hunt, Seep, lordship (mastery), purpose, rest, standing, agrief, 
in vain, to heart. A somewhat greater influence is found in the 
second half of the fourteenth century : take the air, advantage, arms, 
arrivage, avis, baptism, cure, course, ease, mercy, order, tent, truce, 
agame, in cure, in good intent, in patience, in thank, in disdain, 
in mercy, to ill, to rede, to purpose. 

Conclusion. The AS. niman on its phrasal side was in part in 
accordance with OFr.; e.g. bysne niman, prendre example; ware ni- 
man, prendre garde ; weg niman, prendre chemin ; wff niman, prendre 
femme. It was not difiicult for such phrases to survive the struggle 
of the transition period. In some cases, e. g. the phrases friS niman, 
sige niman, the AS. phrases, unsupported by French parallels, dis- 


the negative particle strengthened by (Goth.) wafht, * thing/ corre* 
spending to our use of nothing. 

On the Latin side the most complete treatment I have met is 
that of Alfred Schweighaeuser (see infra), A more recent and, in 
respect to the ultimate force of nihili, malli, a more trustworthy 
treatment is by Wolfflin in his article in the Archiv, 1894, i, 
^ Der Genitiv des Wertes und der Ablativ des Preises.' The use of 
nihili [= ni hili, not a thread], of flocci, a flock of wool, nauci, an 
empty nut, pili, hair, hettae, and of various coins — terunci, semissis, 
assis, dupondii, tressis — with the verbs non facere, pendere, putare, 
deputare, habere, censare, aestimare, or in popular speech existi- 
mare, shows the extent to which the figurative negation had its 
roots in Latin, especially in the familiar correspondence, the comic 
dramatists, and popular speech. The * homo trioboli * of Plautus, 
translated directly from the not uncommon Gk. Tpioi>^\ov ^ior, 
illustrates the ease with which one language will adopt the current 
phrase of another. 

For the French brief mention is made by Grimm, * Deutsche 
Grammatik'; Raynouard, * Grammaire compar^e/ p. 370 ; Diez, 
'Grammaire des langues romanes,' iii. 935; and D. Gilles, * De 
Temploi de la negation dans la langue fran9aise,' Bruxelles, 1877. 
Very full, though, to judge from my own collections, still very 
incomplete treatments are made by Alfred Schweighaeuser (S.), 
in an article * De la Negation dans les langues romanes du midi et 
du nord de la France,' published in the * Bibliothfeque de I'ficole 
des Chartes,' Paris, III. ii, iii (1850, 1851); and by F. Perle, 

* Zeitschrift fur Romanische Philologie,' ii. 408 ff. Definitive treat- 
ments of the figurative negations in the various Romance languages 
are miich to be desired. 

For MidE. we have the work of Dr. Hein, referred to below. 

The AS. negations. — The negation in AS. was very simple. 
In general, ne with the verb was sufficient to express the negative. 
It might be strengthened with some form of wiht, originally 

* creature,' * thing/ or in the very late days of AS. by j?ing. A few 
negative adverbs, such as nalles, nateshw6n, were in use. These, 
and a trace, perhaps, of a figurative formation in hand-hwfl, 
moment, and the very late use of f6t with a verb of motion, 
virtually comprise the negative adverbial expressions in AS. : — 
Ne sleh 8u, Gr., Ux., xx. 13; Ne Jjurfan 5^ n6ht besorgian hwset 
30 sprecan, Bl. Hom.^ p. 163 ; Ic ne maeg wuht oncnawan, Cd., 26 


(B-T). And se penda (this Penda) ne cutfe be criste nan J)incg, 
M.,LweSy xxvi. 153; Nelle ic . . . oferfleon f6tes trem, Beo., 2525 ; 
f6tmil landes, By,, 275; Swa sceal mafeg d6n, | nealles inwit-netj 
dSrum bregdan, Beo,, 2167; pa nolde Seon pQ cyning ndteshwon 
him tlSian, Gr., Num., xxi. 23. 

In contrast with this paucity of negative adverbial expressions, 
the wealth of MidE. is striking. Objects from organic and 
inorganic nature, plants, animals, parts of the body, fruits, articles 
of food and clothing, measures of value, weight, &c., all are put 
into service in a vivid colloquial style. The change is startling, 
and forces one naturally to seek an explanation for it in the language 
most closely associated with MidE., and in which the figurative 
negation shows a most luxuriant growth. 

The OFr. negation. — Even in the earliest stages of the French 
language the French negative was thoroughly figurative — the 
negative particle was constantly strengthened by words used 
tropically. All or almost all the tropical value had, even in early 
French, been lost in negations with mie < mtcam : II ne s'esveillet 
mie, CA, de i?., 724 ; pas < passum: Ne Tdevez pas'blasmer, Ch, 
de R,, 681; point < pundum \ Respont Roland: ne sui point 
empir^, Rone, p. 92 (L.); mot < muitum : II n'en set mot, n'i ad 
culpe li ber, C\ de R., 1173 ; rien < rem : Mais en enfer ne me 
valt rien, St. Brandan, 1456 ; goutie < guttam : Et gute ne vedeit, 
Rots, p. 48 (L.) ; pted < pedem : Del regne la meitii . . . Ja n'en 
aurai, dist il, ne plein pas ne plein pi^, Rou, 658 ; det < digtium : 
Tant cum Tiebalt tendra de ma terre plein dei, ib., 4325. 

In addition to these, in which in more than one case a strong 
trace of the figurative value of the expression is to be noticed, there 
are very many negative phrases in which the figurative value is the 
chief characteristic. It is necessary, in order to understand the 
character of French during the period of its early influence on 
English, to bring these forward. The examples that immediately 
follow are restricted to dates anterior to 1 200, consequently before 
the first indisputable occurrence of the figurative negation in MidE., 
and are taken in most cases from Norman texts : c. 1040, Alexis, 
17 f Que Torgueil de ce monde ne prisoit un fromage; c. 1060, 
Fit. de Ch., 575, N'en i remaindrat ja pesant une escaligne 
[= onion]; c. 1080, Ch, de R,, 3338, Tute lur lei un denier' ne 
lur valt; ib, 1879, En la bataille deit estre forz e fiers, | O altrement 
ne valt quatre deniers; 11 00 + , Char, de N,, 626, Ja de la moie 
n'auroiz m^s plain un gant; ib. 278, N'i ai conquis vaillant un fer 
de lance ; ib, 428, N'en ai ^u vaillant un oef pel^ ; 1 133 + Ste, Marg, 
116, Ne prise pas une chevele | Quant que li ai dit ne promise ; 
CI 1 50, Cour, L.y 156, N'a veve feme vaillant un angevin [small 
coin]; ib. 909, La vielle broigne ne li valut un paile; ib, 2372, 
2394, 2418, Mar i perdra vaillant une maaille; ib, 838, Ne pris-ge 
mie n^s un trespas de vent; ib. 1049, Ne I'enpira vaillant un 


esperon; ilf, 1052, Ne valent mhs ti cop un haneton; c. 11 50, 
Clef <f Amour, 1169, Quer homme ne vaut un bouton; c. 11 50, 
Prise (fOr.y 15 13, Par Mahomet! ne vaus un romoisin [small 
coin] ; c. 11 50, Alesc, 377, La soe force ne vaut pas un bouton ; 
td. 1687, Ne li valut la targe une espani^re, | La vielle broigne, 
rain d'une fochi^re; td, 4918, Ne li pesoit le rein d'un olivier; id. 
16, Mhs ne li monte le pris de .ij. besanz ; td. 310, Par mi son 
elme, mhs n'enpire un festu; td, 6268, Ne crient cop d'arme vail- 
lant un panoncel; td, 6754 li sont com un pant d'auqueton [' sorte 
d'^tofFe, drap'l; td, 6473, Et Apolin, qui ne vaut un festu, | Ne 
Tervagan la fuelle dun s6u [elder]; c. 1160-74, Pou, 4144, 
Eureues ont perdu, n'i prist vaillant un peis ; c. 1 1 66 + , JEliey 2 1 1 1 , 
Onques nel sorporta vaillant une chenele (= haw); id, 2088, Ne 
Tempirist il ia le monte d'une nesple [medlar] ; c. 1165 + , Mor/ 
Garin, 2075, Tot ce ne pris une poire porrie; id, p. 240, Onques 
n'i prist la monte d'un espi, &c. 

This list, by no means complete, will suffice to represent the 
fullness of growth of the figurative negation in French in the early 
literature of that language. 

MidE. negations and OFr. parallels. — Dr. J. Hein, in his full 
and in almost every respect trustworthy work \ has given a syste- 
matic presentation of the occurrences of the negation in MidE. poetry. 
For not a few of the examples here adduced (marked H.) I am 
indebted to that admirable work. In seeking psychological grounds 
as the immediate cause of the growth of negative expressions 
in MidE., Dr. Hein has, for lack of the comparative method, been 
led into error. On the other hand, the French influence, which he 
suspects to have probably had no inconsiderable share in bringing? 
about this growth ^, is the immediate source of inspiration, the model 
of its form, and in almost every case the content of its thought. 

In the presentation of the English negatives, Hein's article 
permits me to restrict the number of illustrations. 

apple : Ne worth an appel for to lowe, R, of R,, 4532. 

Ne crient assaut une pome par^e, Alesc, 4230 (also Proven9al). 
Certes, ne priseriez mie | Vostre eise une pomme pourrie. Boron, 
Graalf 4001. Qu'el ne prise pas une pome, R, Rose, p. 217 ; also 
Troie, 3085. De che n en poise pas sa vie | Vaillant une pume 
pourrie, Fad,, ii. 77 (also Pro ven9al). Ki riche hume ) S'il ne valt 
une bele pume, Ip,, 8407. Je ne pris mon niari mie | Une orde 
pome porrie, R, u, P,, i. 49, 55. 

bean: Lete abbe ir franchise, and al nas wurth a bene, R. G., 

' * Ueber die bildliche Vemeinung in der mittelenglischen Poesie,' Anglia, 
XV. 41 fF., 391 fF.; also sep. ed., Halle, 1893. 

" Dr. Hein*s position as respects possible French influence is as follows 
' Denn Franzosischen, dessen Vemeinung ausschliesslich eine bildliche ist, ist 
wohl kein geringer Antheil an diesem Wachstum, bcsonders bei den mil nach- 
folgendem (Jenitiv stehenden Bildern zuzuschreiben,' Anglia, xv. 471. 


Ch,y 10223. His helme was not worthe a bene, Ip,, 6238. Ther 
is no rijch man that dredeth God | The worth of a bene, Time 
of Ed, IL, str. 47, lo-ii [H.]; Ch., Mar. 7!, 19. 

Ne le mentir line feve ne prisent, Chans. MSS. du C*® Thibaut, 
p, 16 (La C). See pois = haricots, in many dialects (La C). 

blenk: And nogt a blenk mu3t he se, C. M. (Fairf.), 19648. 

Blenk = gleam of light (ned). lloeces gis, n'i ai luur, St. 
Brandan, 14 18. n'i verra chandoile n^ luor, Cov, Vtv., 549. 
11 ne voit plus ne luor ne clart^, Ronces., 91 (L.). The usual 
equivalent is goutte. 

briar: It is not worth acroked brere, R, o/R,y 6194. 

Onques n'i prist la monte d'une espi, Mort Garin, p. 240. Le 
roy vit que sa force n'i valsit .ij. espis, A, N. Ch,, iii. 188. Qu'il 
donnast vaillant un espi, Fah,y ii. 175. 

bristle : No is wor)> J>e brust of a swin, Roul and Vern.y 561. 

Ne lessierent poll ne pelet, G. de Coinci, Mir. (God., pelef). 

butterfly: Such talkeinge is nought worth a boterflye, Ch,, 
Fr. N. P. T.y 24; Mar. 71, 12304. 

De lui n'ai garde ne que d'ung papillon, Gir, de Ross , 3260. 

button : Ne vailede him nou^t worJ> a botoun, ^. 1004. 
It no vailed botoun, Tris/,, 1448 [H.]. 

La soe force ne vaut pas un bouton, Alesc.y 377 (also Proven9al). 
Quer homme n'y vaut un bouton, CI. d'Am.y 1169. Apollin ne 
prise mes valiant un bouton, St. Auhariy 334. Je ne donroie un 
bouton I D'amors ne de sa fiert^, Gillebert de Berneville (Trouv. 
beiges), p. 89. Ne donnas-ge deus boutons, R. Rose, p. 321. 

elide [= burr ?] : Ne gyffe i noghte a elide, Oct., 779 (NE.). Of 
al Fraunce 3af nou^t a cleete (1377), Pol. Poems y i. 217, [' A piece 
of wood,' Wright ; ' burdock,' S-B.] 

Exact equivalents in OFr. I have not yet found. 

cod: I telle not worjje a cod, for alle )3i faire is faynt, R. B., 
Ch. (ed. Hearne), p. 289. 

Cf. alie = * gousse d'ail.' Que I'escus de son col ne li vaut une 
alie, I Ni li haubers del dos une pume porrie, AymoUy p. 48. Qui 
vaille point la monte d'une alie, Mort Garin, 2080. Mes ce ne li 
valut la monte d'unne alie, A. N. Ch., iii. 189. 

com: Nought but the mountance of a corn of whete, Ch., 
Pr. T.y 402. 

Trestout estoit bien ; D'Angloys ne leur train | Ne me challoit 
grain, Martial de Paris, Vig. de Chart. VI I. , fo 23*^, ed. 1493 (God., 
who gives many other examples), 

(cherry) stone : Thereof give Y nought a chirston, G. of W., 
p. 367, V. I? [H.]. 

Ne prisa a une cerise, Lives Ed. Conf, p. 116. Ne valt mie 
une pifere, Fab., ii. 249. 


cress : For anger gayneff the not a cresse, Pearl, 29, 
Wisdom and witte now is nou^t worth a carse, P. PL, B. x. 17. 
Of paramours ne sette he nat a kers, Ch., MiL 7!, 568. 

Cf., Et si ne prise pas ii. mauves (= mallow) | Homme ne femme, 
Fad., ii. 49. Que grant cols de perre cornue | Ne prise un ramet 
de cegug, Best, Rich., 1662. Ne pris pas un rain de segue 
(= parsley, hemlock), Ruteb., ii. 197 (L.). Tout le sang li remue | 
Out de ris ne de jeu ne cure une latue, Bekker, Fragments y p. 15 (S.). 
Ne laira Alixandre ki vaille une laitue, Alexan, (Altx.), 6. 

dice: Ne neuer dere hym a dyse with no dede efte, Destr, Tr„ 808. 

Sire, ce dit Bertran . . . visez-vous k Tavoir ? Je n'y acompte 
un d^, GuesCj 15930 (14 cent., L.). Qu'il n'a lessie vaillant .i. as| 
Fors de ces murs, Chev, au Z., 3885. N'eut de tut Engleterre qui 
valsist un seul as, Th, le mart,, 113 (L.). 

drop: No drope of favour hight, Ch., C of L,, 319. 

Soleil n'i luiet, n'i cort goute de vent, Prise dOr., 463. Juifs 
qui ne voient goute | En nostre loi, God. de P., 3005. A negation in 
frequent use. 

egg: J>is lond nis worj) an ay, Trist., 3167. 

N en ai du vaillant un oef pele, Char, de Ny., 428 (also Pro- 
ven9al). Tot I'altre ne prisent un oef, Eneas, 800. Que ne prise 
home qui soit .1. oef pele, Auheri, 4, 9. Icist conseil ne vealt 
un oef, Adam, p. 48. Que tiele creance ne valt un eof, Man, 
Peck,, 1 116. Ne plus que por .i. oef de quaille, Fab., iv. 174. 

farthing (groat, penny) : Eche jer a thousand marc. & nou^t 
a ver)>ing lasse, R. G., Ch., 10432. That can noht a ferthing 
worth of god, unnethe sing a masse, Fd. II., Pol. Songs, p. 328. 
That in her coppe was no ferthing sene | Of grece, Ch., Prol. C, T,, 
134. With-held he nouth a ferjjinges nok, I/av,, 820. 

The figurative use of coins in OFr. is very common. Florin, 
maille, angevin, paresis, denier, besant, sol, tartre, are the chief coins 
employed, for which farthing, groat, penny, are the general equi- 
valents in MidE. : Tute lur lei un denier ne lur valt, Ch. de P., 
3338 (also Proven9al). En la bataille deit estre forz e fiers, | O 
altrement ne valt quatre deniers, ib., 1879. Ja n'aurez des nor- 
mailz vaillant vn sul denier, Pou, 2231. Ne vaut le cercle un 
denier mon^e, Alesc, 11 15. Asaus n'i valt la monte d'un denier, 
Mort Garin, 4367. Mfes tu es morz, n'en dorroie un denier, Cour, 
Z., 143. II n'i laissa vaillissant un denier, Mort Garin, 4360. 
Li turneiz d'her | N'amunte pas a un dener,ij^., 5357. Ne tint plet 
ke vaille un dener, Josaph,, 304. Ne se puet grever .ii. deniers, 
Fab*, ii. 259. Ne pris .i. seul denier vaillant, ib», ii. 101/ Ne 
vaudroit-il pas deus deniers, R, Rose, ii. p. 95. n*en prendrai 
une maille, Jr., i. 140. De moi n'enportera qui valle | .i. sol 
sterlint n'une maalle, ib., i. 189. Mar i perdra vaillant une 
maaille, Cour, Z., 2372, 2394, 2418. Onques de 11 n'aprirent 


maillie ne denr^e, Berte^ 2486. Ke nesun de tuz al fel vaut un 
maille, PoL Songs, p. 294. N'a vfeve feme vaillant un angevin, 
Caur, Z., 156. Ne perderoie vaillant un angevin, Mort Garin, 13. 
Ne li valut vaillant un angevin, tb., p. 6, also 4688. Onques n'en 
eut del nostre vaillant une angevine, Elie, 898. As autres biens 
qui sont forains | N'as-tu pas vaillant deux florins, R, Rose, 5354 
(variant). Que tu n'avoies pas vestu | Vaillant .iii. sols, Fad., ii. 
259. Mais ainc n'en vorrent prendre la monte d'un soller, Ber/e, 
133. Par Mahomet! ne vaus un romoisin, Prise (fOn, 15 13. 
Tu puisses conquerre vaillant .i. paresis, £h'e, 161. Moult 
a ocis de Turs et de Persanz | Mhs ne li monte le pris de .ij. 
besanz, Aiesc, 16 (also Provencal). Se il aidoit au due la monte 
d*un besant, Aymon^ p. 5, p. 1 9. De si faite vantise ne donroie un 
besant, PoL P., i. 21. N'avez mie ensanble | Qui vaille .x. tornois 
clavez, Fab,f iii. 60. Qui ne valurent une tartre, R, Rose, 13426. 

flsather : Or ]7at acounted conscience at a cokkes fetber or an 
hennes, P, PL, B. xix. 10. 

Ne li haubers la plume d'un poucin, En/. Og., 5954. Cf. 
Proven9. Shavian col de ferr o d'acier | Nols valria une pluma de 
pan [= peacock's feather], P. Vidal, Dragoman (S.). lis ne criement 
I'assaut, le creste de 11. cos, Alexand. (fiaL des Grecs), 363. 

fig : Ffor ]?is ilke resoun : nys noujt wor}? a fyge, BarL and Jos., 
974 [H.]. 

Tu ne sez vaillant une figue, Fab., i. p. 5. (Also Provencal.) 

fern : No jaf he ther of nou3t a feme, A. and M., 8866. 

Que li haubers ne vaut une espanifere | Nd li escuz le rein d'une 
feuchi^re, Alesc, 640. Ne li valut la targe une espanifere, | La 
vielle broigne, le rain dune fochifere, Alesc, 1687. 

flUe [ = chervil, wild thyme] : Vor icham of kinges icome & 
})0U nart worJ> a fille, R. G., Ch., 2722. Anuge hire worJ> a fille, 
St. Mark., 146. Ac, \o he was henne idrive, hit uas not worJ> a 
fille, Patr. 572 in A. E. L. ed. Horstmann, p. 202 [H.]. 

French equivalents are analogous : mauve, glai, ctgui', seu[=^ 
sureau], &c. A cesti n'en savons la montance d'un glai, Berte, 1390. 

flower (roseflower) : They woll not giue a rose floure, PoL P., 
i. 326. 

Dont li menor ne prisent tot le mont une flor, Alexand. {Assauf), 
21. Car ne vaut lur poisance un butun d'eglenter, SL Aub., 167 1. 

fly, gnat. Ywys no^t worj) a flye, R. G., Ch., 8815. We 
wolde nought gyue two flyes, R, Coeur de L., 2502 (Web.) [H.]. 
Aleyn. answerd, * I count it nat a flye,' Ch., Rev. T., 272. And all 
thaire fare nojt wurth a flye, (Minot) PoL P., i. 59. 

Ne valent mhs ti cop un haneton, Cour. Z., 1052. Beax fils, ne 
pris un henneton | losange n'amor de bricon. Fab. et Cont. 
.(Barbazan), ii. 65. 


fonk [ = spark] : pat was not worth a fonk, R. B., Ch,, Hearne, 
i. 172 (ed. 1825). 

Ne espandi ni rai ne XwmQxtySLAubm, 255. Cf. *blenk/ Mueur,' q.v. 

glove: Bot til unskil noght worth a glove, C. M. (Cot) 26991. 

Jk de la moie n'auroiz plain un gant, Char, de Ny,y 626 (also 
Proven9al). Unkes 11 granz servise ne li valut un gant, Rou^ 2022. 
Ne valt la coiffe un viez gant descosu, Alesc,^ 127 1. Sanz lui ne 
pris ma vie un gant, G, de -P., 2800. Que je ne pris mie un gant, 
R, u. P.f iii. 14, 40, Ne feroie pour Karles la montance d'un gant, 
Aymon, p. 19. 

gnat : Nought worth to the as in comparisoun | The mountauns 
of a gnat, Ch., Man, T,, 150. Such matters be no worth a gnatte, 
Pol P.y i. 317. See * fly, gnat/ 

grain : Get no greyne of his grete wittis, P, PLy (B.) x. 139. 

Ce ne vaudroit un grain de poivre, R, Rose, i. p. 192. See * corn/ 

groat : I uolde sette at al this noyse a grote, Ch., 7r. a» Cr,, 558. 
And not to grucchen a grott | Ajeine Godis sonde, PoL P,, i. 370. 
See ' farthing/ 

gru = atom? or more probably OFr. gru= grain, q. v. 'les 
bles, orges, grus, pois, feves' (God.), 1391. Cf. Du Cange, grust 
(14 cent.), grutum, grudum, malted grain. I schal gruch )>e no grwe, 
G, and (z. JT., 2 45 1 . And not one grue lenger, De Erk, ,319. And 
of )>e godness of God nojt a grew traisted, Alex, (Ashm.), 3270 [H.]. 

hair: That nis worth one of hire heare, O, and N,, 1548. 
Helpeth nou^t to heueneward one heres ende, P, PL, (B) x. 334. 

Ne prise pas une cheuele | Quant que li ai dit ne promise, 
Ste, Marg., 116. 

haw : Bi men of religion, and al nas wur)> an ha we, R. G., 
Ch,, 10767. Of alle ]?ine mite ne yeued ho word an hawe, 
Meid, Marg., 70, in A. E, L,, N. F., ed. Horstmann, p. 491 [H.]. 
Bote Jjat availede not an hawe, Alex,, 581. But al be of j^e newe 
aget, hit is not wor)> an hawe, A Disp,, 282. 

Nel prisast il une cenele, Cligis, 6634. Onques nel sorporta 
vaillant une chenele, Elie^ 2 1 1 1 . 

hay : It be nought worth a hotel hay, Ch., Mane, ProL, 1 4. 

Cf. ' botteler du foin,' ' botte de foin.' Vnc ne dutai chaste! 
plus qu'un muilun de fein, Wace, Rm, ii. 497. 

hen : He jaf not of that text a pulled hen, Ch., Prol, C, T,, 177. 
Arrogaunce is not worth an hen, Ch., W, of B, T,, 256. Her 
estate is not worth a hen, R, of R,, 6858. 

Cf., Nel puet tenir haubers ne c'uns poults, Bu, de C, 3541. 
* pulled/ which has been a crux, is well explained by a corre- 
sponding use of in French. Cf. ' Pois pilez/ peu de chose 
(Oudin) (La C). Je me tieg a pois pilez, Poet, av. 1300, ii. p. 835 
(La C). Cf, also * oef pele/ Char, de Ny., 428. 


herring : Hit nere on ende wrj> on heryng, Luve R,, 86 ; EETS. 
45, P- 95 [H.]. 

Qu*il n'ont pas vaillant une sfeche, R, Rose^ ii. p. 17. Que je ne 
pris sa franchise une truite, Machault, p. 89. Je n'ai vaillant une 
vendoise, Barbazan, Fab, et ConLy iv. 480 (S.). 

hip : Of hem ne yive I nowt an hepe, Seven Sages, 2535 (Web.) 
[H.]. Cf. ' rose (^glantier) flower/ and Proven9., No s prezaria un 
aguiien, Pierre d'Auvergne, Chantarat, 

herbs (panier of) : I counte nokght a panyer ful of herbes | Of 
scole termes, Ch., Mar. 7*., 324. OFr, expressions are analogous. 

jane (Genoese coin) : Ay ful of clappyng, dere y-nough a jane, 
Ch., CL r., 61. Cf. 'farthing/ 

leaf, ivy-leaf: That all nis worth an yvy lefe, Gower, Con/, 
Aman,, P. ii. p. 21, 14 [H.]. 

Ne li valut pas une rueille d'iere, En/, Og., 5439. Tout ce ne 
prise Berte une fueille de mente [= mint], Berte, 2685. Cor ne 
sevent sans lui le montant d'une fuelle, Alexan. {MaL d'Altx.), 
106. Ne vaut ... la fuelle d'un s^u (elder), Alesc, 6473. * J^o 
ne me pris/ dist Rou, une fuille de col, Wace, Rou, ii. 347. 

leeky leek's blade: Thi voyage es noht worth a leke, MeL 
Hom,^ Sm., p. 54, 1. 10 [H.]. Sche seyde: *My lyf ys not wor]> 
a lek/ OcLy 13 13 (SE). And seyde, they yeven noght a leek, Ch., 
H. o/F,, 1708. 

N'i avez vaillant une cive, R. Rose, i. 177. Vaillant un ail, ib,, 
72 ; God. de P., 3094. Qu'il ne vaut 1. pourrit ognon, Machault, 
(EuvreSy p. 82. 

' leek's blade ' : Ys not worth a lekys blade, Child, 0, Br., 8 
(Hazl., p. 1 1) [H.]. Cf. use of brin, festu, paile, for * blade/ 

* leekes clof. Clove = gousse d'aie = aillie, alie ; Des or ne pris 
mes un alie, Wace, Nicholas, 1257. N'i dorroie une alie, Ch. de 
Ny,, 1307. See * cod.' 

louse : Him semede it nas nogt wor)> a lous | Bateyl wy}? him 
to wage, Ferumb., 439. 

OFr. parallel not noted ; cf. turd. 

mite [= small copper coin of Flanders, La C] : Thomas, that 
jape is not worth a myte, Ch., Sompn. T,, 253; K, Tale, 700. 
Schal no deuel at his def)-day deren him worJ> a myte, P. PL, A. 
viii. 54. Thy mendez mountez not a myte, Pearl, 30, 3.. Never 
to weld of worldes mer}?e J?e worj) of a mite, Wm, 0/ P., 2017. 
Half a mite, ib., 5348. 

. Le renclus a un povre hermite | U il n'avoit tite ne mite [1288], 
Ren, le Nou., 7607, Mdon (God.). Mes tu n'as vaillant quatre 
mites, R. u. P., iii. 60, 68. See also OFr. equivalents under 
* farthing.' 

mote: pa3 no schaft mugt J^e mountaunce of a lyttel mote, 


vpon \>2X man schyne, Pa.^ 456. pat no man mi3t of hem finde 
a mot, Body and Soul, 163. 

Cf. OFr. neg. mie ( < micam), crumb, small particle. 

needle : Soche willers witte is not worth a nelde, Po/. P., i. 327. 

Fors le Mans n ot plus une aguille, G. Guiart, MS. fol. 9 R** 
(La C). Son paVs ne proisse une agulle, (1243) Mouskes, 
Chronique, 17056. 

nut: He ne yaf a note of his oJ>es, Hav,, 419. Haue Jjou 
nouth ]?er-offe douthe | Noulh f>e worth of one nouthe, 1331. 

Ne mei ne riens qui a mei teigne | Lo vaillissant d une chas- 
taigne, Trote, 16851. Que tout ce ne vaut une nouiz, Boron, 
Graal, 1930. Ne prisent une noiz de coudre [= walnut] | Bone 
amor ne sa seignorie. La Poire, 1260. Que le vaillant d'une 
castaigne | De vos moebles ne vos remaigne, A.N, Ch,, iii. p. 45 
(also Proven fal). Ne pris tant ne quant | Ne q'une noisete, R, w. 
-P., ii. 71, 59. Li Escuiers ii nois ne prise | Tout ce . . „ Fab., ii. 55. 
Car ne prisoit pas une amande, ib,, iv. 137. II ne donroient de 
vo danger .ii. nois, Auberi, 27, 4. 

oyster : But thilke text held he nat worth an oistre, Ch., ProL 

c. t:, 182. 

Suggested by : Car ne prisent le munde la montance d'une oistre, 
Jean de Meun, Testament, ed. M^on, 1167. 

pan: The begger that the crust ssal hab, | Wei hokerlich he 
lokith theran : | Soth to sigge, and nojt to gabbe, | Rijt nojt he is 
i-paiid a pan, PoL S., p. 204 (0« the Time), 

Hein treats 'pan' under ' Geratschaften und telle derselben.' 
This is rather panne, AS. panne < L. ? patina, of which see 
pumerous examples in S-B. But pan(e) < OFr. pan{e), panne 
< L. pannus = piece, patch, garment, pane, and so is used in 
a parallel way with : Ausi le trenche com .i. pan de cendal, y4//^^r/', 
219, 14. Ausi li trenche com i. pan de burel, ib,, 225, 31. Ne 
li volut la targe une espani^re, Alesc, 1687. Ausi li ront com un 
pant d'auqueton, ib., 6754. The expression may, however, be 
simply OFr. k pan, thoroughly. 

pear: For euery gadlyng not wurj> a pere, R. B., Hand. S., 
769. And al thaire pomp n03t worth a pere, Pol, P., i. 59 (Minot). 
It shulde not apeire him a peire, i. 372. Ne schalt j?ow 
lese nojt ]>e worthy of a pere, Ferumb., 5721 [H.]. I charge it 
not a pere, P, of Sus., 247. 

Tot ce ne pris une poire porrie, Mort Garin, 2075. La mort 
ne crains ny enfer une poire, Les Marg. de la Marg., f. 66 (La C). 
Que ja n i aura gaaingni^ | A son oes vaillant une poire. Fab., 
iii. 42. 

pease r A pese nys worth thi riche slander, Alis. (B), v. 5959 
[H.]. Al )>is worldes blisse | Nis nout worj? a peose, Body and 
Soul, 241. And sain, the pope is not worth a pease, Pol. P., i. 339. 



Vostre escondit n'i vaut un pois, Tr., i. 40. Qu'el abatist de 
Telme tant | ki amontast un peis pesant, Eneas, 4433. Eureues 
ont perdu, n*i prist vaillant vn peis, Wace, Ron, ii. 4144. Tu ne 
sai pas vaillant un pois, Fab., i. 6. Ne . . . deus chiches, R, Rose, i. 
p. 324. Que Tescus ne Tauberc ne li valent .i. pois, Aymon, p. 76. 
Ge nepriseroie trois chiches, R, Rose, i. 230. N'il nedoit or prisier 
ii. chiches, Machault, p. 103. 

penny: Nolde ich yeven enne peni for his weden alle, ReL 
Songs, p. 71. 

For French equivalents see under * farthing.' 

pie-hele [ = pie-crust] : I nolde ^eve for }?i pardoun one pije 
hele 1 P. PI. (A), viii. 181. (B), pies hele. 

Cf., Ne mie ne croste = rien du tout, Jeh. des Preis, in God. 
Souffrir ne veult qu'il en ait crote, ou mie, Eust, Desch., Pofis. 
Mss., fol. 44 (La C.). De tel noblece ja deux miches | Ne don- 
nassent se I'avoir n'eussent, Ch, de Pisan (God., miche = miette). 
This use of mie has remained in Normandy. Lor gens n'i valu 
L gastiel, Ph. Mouskes, 168 13. Note, however, that OFr. pie = 
un rien : N'ot pas une pie, Jeh. des Preis, in God. Li haubers 
de sen dos ne li vaut une pie, Alexand, {Bat, des Grecs), 112. 

pilling [ = bark] : He sett |>e lawes of Cristj antee nott at a 
pillynge of a tree, Row, and Oi„ 129. 

Ne prisids trestout une escorce, R, Rose, i. 256 (also Proven9al). 
Qu'il ni prisent fust ne escorce. Ph. Mouskes, Ch,, 12832. 

pin: pou spekest not worth a pynne, Ch., C, of L,, 1078. 
O, said he, noe matter a pin what they preache, Comp, v. Cons,, 
117 [H.]. 

Qui onques n'i conquesterent la montance d'une pine, Gesie des 
dues de Bourg,, p. 260 (Chron. belg.) (God.). 

point, prick: Was nojt a poynt to })at fairnes, Pr, of C, 8700. 
That in so mekyll fayrenes forgete | That ne hade poynte of 
prowes sete, Ip., 693. Off dede was not a poynte to }?is, ib,, 3852. 
Ne mei nout gon furSer a pricke. A, R,, 228. 

Mais li cuers lui failloit, ou n'ot point de faintise, Berte, 805. 
Sans point de delaie, Fab,, i. 235. Qu'il n'est point de chalaunge, 
Pol, Songs, Bel Eyse, 49. This is, of course, the most usual 
emphatic negation in OFr. 

rake's steel: But that tale is not worth a rake's stele, Ch., 
W, ofB, T., 93. 

Cf., N'i ai conquis vaillant un fer de lance, Ch, de J\y,, 278, 
Qui n'a argent. Ton n'en tient compte | Nem plus que d'une 
vieille pelle. Dialogue du Mondain, cited by Roquefort, Gloss., ii. 
p. 232 (S.). Ne I'enpira vaillant un esperon, Cour, Louis, 1052 ; 
Wace, Rou, ii. 1697. 

rush : Heo J>at ben Curset in Constorie— connte]? ... not at a 


^ussche, P, PL (A.), iii. 137. Ne doute)? he kynd or Emperour 
}?e value of a ryssche, Ferum,, 124. No more for the faire fole, 
then for a rissh rote, Av, o/A., 552. 

Ne li valut un jonc marage, G, de P., 6617. 

scale, shell : J>aire spectre is nojt worf) a shele, C, M, (F.), 23, 
828. In G. note-schell. 

Ne li valu 11 haumes une escaille, En/, Og., 5419. Vostre orguel 
ne vaut une coque, i?, J^ose, i. 216. Ne prisi^s trestout une 
escorce, id,, i. 256. 

shoe: It is not worthe an old scho, Debate of Carp, Tools, 
182, Haz., Remamsy i. 85 [H.]. For though a widewe hadde 
noght 00 schoo, Ch., ProL C, 7!, 253. 

Chevaus, or et argent leur fist-on presenter | Mais ainc n'en 
vourent prendre la monte d'un Soulier, Berte, p. 9. Ecil li respondi : 
Ne me pris une bote | S'ancois ne vois al branc commencier une 
note I C'onques encor Bretons ne fist tele en sa rote, Alexand. 
{Fuerres), 142. 

sloe : This lives blisse nis wurdh a slo, ReL S,, ii. Of me ne 
is me nouth a slo, Hav,, 849. Sir, J?er of jiue y nougt a slo, 
A, and A., 395. 

Que je loi lais vaillant une parnele, Raoul de Camhrai^ 48 (L.). 

stick (of bread) 2 We ^eveS uneSe for his luve a sticcke of ure 
brede. Poem. Mor,, 191 {O.E, Misc), 

Cf., Ne ne le prisera ii. pains. Fab., iii. 158. Li escus de sort 
col ne li valu un pain, Rom. Alexandre, p. 164 (S.). 

stick, a flr-stick : Was nouth worth a fir sticke, Hav,, 966. 

Par foi n'i donroie une bille | Ce dit Tibert, en els n'en tof, 
Roman de Renart, iii, p. 31 (S.). A dont ne le prise une bille, 
Fab,y iii. 56. N'i prisent fust ne escorce, Ph. Mouskes, Ch,, 12832. 
Tout ne me vaudrait une bille, R, Rose, i. p. 310. Ne lesserent 
une bille, Pol, S,, p. 62. Ne pris . . . un fuisel, Su, de C, 2633. 
Une astele, En/. Og,, 5968. 

stime ( = glimpse ?) : Nol?er he ete J?wa three dais time | Ne 
he iwiss moght see a stime, C. M, (Cot), 19649. Also smite, 
in the same sense ; cf. * blenk,' * funk.' 

scaloun [onion, ModFr. ^chalote, Eng. shallot] : He seyde, Hy 
ner worJ> a scaloun', Oct,, 13 13 (SE.). For thy lyff and thy 
barouns | He wyll not geve two skalouns R, Cceur de L,, 6834. 

N'en i remaindrat ja pesant une escalingne, PH, de Ch,, 575. 
Qu'el n'aime mie un' escaloigne, Fab,, i. 305. Chi ne ferds vous vos 
besoigne | Vaillant le pris d'une escaillor\ge, ib., ii. 52 ; En. Og., 5457. 

straw: perof ne jaf he nouth a stre, Hav,^ 315. He wold 

* Sarrazin explains as * Schilling, nicht bei Stratmann. Vergl. Rich. Cceur de 
Lion, y. 6834.* Hein follows Sarraziii's error, classing * scaloun * under * Munze,* 
Anglia, xv. 144. 


nocht pris his liff a stra, Bruce, vi. 505. I sette not a straw by thy 
dremynges, Ch., N, P, T,, 270. For he counted not thre strees | 
Of nought that Fortune coude do, Ch., Duch,, 718. By his sare 
set he noght a stra, and G,y 2685. 

La veille broigne ne li valut un paile, Cmr, Z., 909. Ne don- 
roient de moi la monte d'un festu, Berte, 1293. Ki n*ot cure de 
leur desrois | Ne qui lor grevast uns festue, Mouskes, fol. 81 (La C ). 
Par mi son elme, m^s n'enpire un festu, Aksc.y 310. Mais ne lor 
vaut lor forche valissant festu, Eh'e, 789. L'entreprise qu'il 
maintient ne m'est un seul brin agr^able, £>om, F/or, de Grece, 
fol. 137 (La C). 

tare : Ne sette I nought the monntance of a tare, Ch., K, Tale, 
713, Of al here art ne counte I nat a tare, Ch., Reves T,, 136. 
ModFr. ivrate was not used before 1 6th cent. (L.), but another sort 
is vesce, see * vetch,' 

thread : Nes j?e }>wong noht swiSe braed : | buten swulc a twines 
}?r3ed, La^.y 14220. 

Que vos ne troverez des mois | Conte, prince ne chasteleine | 
Qui vos forface un fil de leine, Rom, de Ren,, 10844. 

turd: A tort ne jiue ich for ow alle, O. and N., 1684. Thy 
drasty rymyng is not worth a tord, Ch., Pr, to MeL, 12. 

OFr. equivalents I have not found — the absence is significant. 

twinkling, wink: Ne lasteth not the twynkelyng of an eye, 
Ch„ Camp. 0/ M., 222. 

Esvanouir ^ un clin d'oeil, Pasq., Rech.^ iii. xxix. (God.). 

twynte = iota ? And tymed no twynte but tot'led her cornes, 
Rich, Red., iii. 81 [H.]. 

French equivalents cannot be adduced until the meaning of 
twynte is established. 

vetch : This seyde is bi hem that ben nought worth two fecches, 
Ch., Tr, and Cr„ 887. 

Ne li lairai de tiere valiant un grain de vecce, Le Roman d' Alex- 
andre, p, 412 (L., suppl.). 

wing (goosewing): pei ne gyueth nougte of god one goose 
wynge, P, PI, {B), iv. 36. 

Cf., One vaillant Vhle d'un pingon | N'oi je voir, se de Tautrui non, 
Rom, de Renari, 13035. Ne je ne pris un bee de jay, Machault, 
(Euvres, p. 7. 

. Chronology. The close concord of MidE. with French, even 
as late as 1400, at which date I cease quotations, is remarkable, 
and, considering the infinite number of objects which might have 
been drawn on, if English had pursued an independent course, a sure 
proof of the influence of OFr. This agreement is still more 
Striking if we view the parallel expressions chronologically. I limit 



the English lists at (a) 1250, (b) 1300, (c) 1350. By 1350 the 
native genius had achieved full consciousness of its own individuality, 
and the language become a conscious artistic medium. The in- 
vention of new negative phrases is henceforth a matter of rhetoric. 

(a) English examples 1 200-1 250, and earlier French parallels: 
fille, Mark,] c. 1150, cf. feuchfere, Alesc, hawe, Meid, Mark.; 
c. 1165, cenele, Clig^s, Elie, heryng, Luve R,) 1 100-1300, 
vendoise, Fabliaux] 1277, seche, R, Rose, sloe, Oris.\ 12 cent., 
parnele (= prunelle), Raoul de C, stick of bread, Poem, Mor, ; 

12 cent., pain, Alexandre; 11-13 cent., pain, in Fabliaux, thread, 
Laj. ; c. 1 200, Rom, d, Ren, 

I omit handhwiU given by Hein, as having no figurative value. . 

(b) English examples 1 250-1 300, with earlier French parallels: 
1 250-1300, here, O, and N,\ ist third of 12 cent., chevele, Vie de 
Marg, c. 1 280, fir stick, Hav, ; c. 1 263, bille, PoL S, c. .1 280, straw^ 
Hav,\ c. 1150, paile, Cour, L, c. 1280, note, Hav.', c. 1260, 
castaigne. La Poire, 12 75-1 300, groat, Kind, Jes,) c. 1150, 
maille, Cour, Z. ; c. 1080, denier, Ch, de R, 1 250-1300, penny,. 
Relig, S.\ c. 1 1 50, angevin, Cour, L, c. 1280, farthinges i>ok, 
Hav, ; c. 1150, maille, Cour, L, 1 250-1 300, tort, O, and N, 

From Hein's list I except * foot,' as a measure of space, devoid 
of figurative value; and 'twinkling' as not used negatively in 
extant literature before Chaucer. 

(c) English examples 1300- 13 50, with earlier French parallels : 
c. 1 300, flye, R, T, \ c. 1 1 50, haneton, Cour, L, 1 303, gloue, 
C, M, ; c. 1 1 50, gant, Alesc, ; Rou, 1320-30, botoun, G,of W,\ 
c. 1 1 50, bouton, Clef ^ A, 1320-30, brustle, R, a, Vern, ; before 
1236, poil, pelet, de Coinci. c. 1340, clete, Oct, NE. ; (no OFr. 
parallel noted). 1320-30, feme, A, and M,\ c. 11 50, fouchbre, 
Alesc, c. 1338, cod, R. of Brunne, Ch,\ 12 cent., alie (of 
garlic), Mori Garin, c. 1300, bene, R, G,\ 1225-40, feve, 
poems of Thibaud; 1160-74, peis, Rou, 1320-1330, ay (egg), 
Trisi, ; ist third of 12 cent., oef, Ch, de Ny, 1303, shell, C, M. ; 
1167-1200, escaille,Z«/a«r^j 6jf/<fr. c. 1340, scaloun, Oct,\ c, 1060, 
escaligne, PU, de Ch, 1320-30, hepe, Seiien Sages \ 1236- 
50, cf. butun d'eglenter, St, Aub, -1350, pese, Body and 
Soul; 1160-74, peis, Rou, Beg. of 14 cent., pan, On the Time; 

13 cent., pan, Auberi. c. 1340, mite, Wm, of P,; 1288, mite, 
Ren, le Nouv, c. 1338, fonk, R. B., Chronicle; 12 cent., lueur, 
Cov, Vivian, 1340-8, point, Pr, of Con, \ 12 cent., point, 
1320-30, cherry-stone, G,ofW,; 11-13 cent., pierre, Fab,\ cerise, 
Lives Ed. Conf. 1303, stime, CM,; 12 cent., cf. lueur, goutte, 
etc., Cov. Vivian, 1303, smitte, C, M,; 1303, blenk, ib,\ 12 
cent., lueur, Cov, Vivian, 1310-30, wynk, Met, Hom, ; clin d'oeil, 
Pasq. 1320-30, lekes clofe, G,ofW,; ist third of 12 cent., alie, 
Ch, de Ny, 1303, rush, C. M, ; c. 1205, jonc marage, Gu, de P. 


I omit ' trenchur,' in Hein's list, as not a figurative negative. 

Form, In addition to the evidence of content of expression 
and the uniform priority in point of use of the French expressions, 
there is the evidence of a remarkable agreement in the form of the 
negative expressions of MidE. and OFr. : — 

I. de worth : (a) Al nas wurth a bene, R. G., Ch,, 10223 ; (b) Ne 
vailede him noujt worJ> a botoun, B. of H,, 1004. valotr: (a) S'il 
ne valt une bele pume, Ip,, 8407 ; (b) Onques nel sorporta vaillant 
une chenele, Elie, 2 1 1 1 . 

II. mountance : Nou3ht but Jje mountance of a corn ofwhete, Ch., 
Pr, 7'., 402. montancei Mais ne li vaut la montance d'un pois, 
R, de Cambr,^ 339 7« 

III. give, &c. : No ^af he ther of noujt a feme, A. and M,, 8866. 
donner, &c. : De touz lur manaces ne dorrai un denier, Pol, Songs, 
233 (Ed. I.). 

IV. Verbs of estimating, such as se/: I sette not a straw by thy 
dremynges, Ch., N, P, T,, 270. pn'ser: Ne prisa mais noz deus 
k valur d'un gant, S/, Auh,, 1162. 

V. As negative expressions limiting verbs of action : Ne he iwiss 
moght se a stime, C, M,, 19652. Et gute ne vedeit, Rots, p. 48 (L.). 

Negations ofMHG, The almost parallel conditions of MHG. fur- 
nish evidence by analogy. For the fifty or sixty figurative negations 
of MHG. that Zingerle brings together, exact French equivalents can 
in almost every single instance be adduced, and of any earlier date 
than the time at which the German expressions occur. * Derartige 
Negationen,' says Zingerle, * drangten sich erst gegen das Ende 
des 12. Jahrhunderts vor. Friiheren Dichtungen, z. B. dem Alex- 
anderliede [c. 1130], der Kaiserchronik [goes to 11 4 7], Wernher's 
[t 1266] drei Liedem, u. a. waren sie beinahe noch unbekannt. 
Allein selbst im 13. Jahrhunderte, in dem diese bildliche Verstar- 
kung ihre gr5sste Verbreitung erlangte, drang sie nicht tiberall 
gleichmassig durch. Am zahlreichsten begegnen sie uns bei den 
hofischen Dichtern, die dem Beispiele des bewunderten Heinrich 
von Vedecke, der selbst solche Bilder (blat, bast, ei) liebte, auch 
hierin gefolgt sind,' u. s., p. 477. French influence was, it is well 
known, paramount throughout the whole period from the Alexander- 
lied, and most effective in the court poetry. Zingerle notes the 
geographical distribution of these negations : * In Baiern, Franken, 
Schwaben und Osterreich kamen diese bildlichen Verneinungen in 
lingeahnter Ftille vor, wahrend sie in Mittel- und Niederdeutsch- 
land viel sparlicher sich fanden.' Grimm supposed the German 


influenced the French : ' Mir scheint die ital. und span. Sprache 
seien in solchen bildlichen Negationen enthaltsamer als die provenz. 
und franzOsische, woher ich wiederum den naheren Einfluss der 
deutschen auf letztere anschlagen mttchte/ *Deut. Gramm.,' iii. 
750. Instead of that being the case, the character and chronology 
of MHG. negations give the strongest grounds for explaining 
their origin from the immediate influence of the French. 

Conclusion. To resume: On the one hand, Gen. Germanic 
strengthened its negation ne by (Goth) (nf-) wafht, < *wihti-, 
meaning probably * thing ' (Kluge, Wt'M), AS., at its latest period, 
advanced beyond that only to substitute ping for wiht It approached 
a true figurative negation only in the term handhwil used affir- 
matively: *It is not for you to know the hour or the moment 
(fiandhwit) that my Father hath appointed,' Thorpe, Horn, i. 294, 26 ; 
and in using f6t with a verb of motion. On the other hand, Latin 
possessed these figurative negations in some abundance, which the 
Romance languages developed to an immense extent ^ Again, the 
character and chronology of MHG. negations, which show a parallel 
development with English, point to their French origin, just as the 
literature in which they first show themselves has in the main Ro- 
mance substance and colouring. Finally, we have the phenomena 
of the MidE. negations, (i) that they show themselves slightly in the 
early years of the thirteenth century, increasing in number during the 
second half, but attaining great variety and power only at the close 
of the century and during the first half of the fourteenth century, 
being therefore in substantial agreement with the movement of Fr. 
loan-words into English ; (2) that, before they begin to occur in 
MidE., Norman French swarms with figurative negations ; (3) that 
the E. MidE. negations stand in complete agreement of form and, in 
spite of the temptation of genius or the caprice of individual writers, 
in most substantial agreement of content with OFr. negations : 
it is therefore certain, I believe, that our figurative negations are 
an immediate result of the paramount influence of OFr. on MidE. 
Doubtless the English language of itself could have developed this 
form of expression, but — to parallel Dr. Boteler's remark concerning 
the strawberry — doubdess the English language never did. 

^ Parmi ces negations [i. e. of Latin], quelqaes-unes sont k noter plus sp^ciale- 
ment, parce qu'elles semblent etre le germe d*expressions tr^s-analogues, en 
grand usage plus tard dans les langues romanes,* Schweighaeuser, p. 206 (vol. of 


English has shown in its borrowings a special partiality for nice 
modifications of verbal notions, especially those in phrasal form. 
French i-phrases have been peculiarly acceptable to it, witness the 
many adoptions in the modern language : h. bas ! k bras ouvert, 
k cheval, h contre-coeur, k discretion, k fond, k la fran^aise, k la 
mode, k merveille, k outrance, k propos or apropos, k ravir, &c. 
(see the 'Stanford Diet/). In the formative period of English, 
OFr. k, possessed of a vast phrasal power, met in AS. set an ineffec- 
tive instrument of translation, for the phrasal power of set was far 
less extensive, far less subtle. A portion of the phrasal wealth 
of k was taken over by 'to,' the usual native equivalent of it, 
whenever k conveyed the idea of motion towards. But, on the 
other hand, the on-phrases of AS. tended in part to become at- 
phrases, doubtless because of the slight phrasal value of OFr. sur, 
2^nd the virtual restriction of its notion to position above. In some 
cases the OFr. k-phrases seemed to have been passed into MidE. 
without change : — d, I'arme : alarme I alarme quaj) )?at Lorde, Lang., 
Pi (C), xxiii. 92. OFr., Si tost c'om crie k I'arme 1 Brun de 
la M,j 3075 (God.), t part: Adrow him apart Jeanne and saide, 
Sir Ferumb,y 636. And drinke piement and ale apart, Pol. P., 
i. 316. OFr., A done se tirent chascun a part, fiers et esmeus Tung 
contre Tautre, Perce/.y iii. f. 5 [La C.]. A une part ont le roi trait, 
TV., I. 31. force: pan ffelle it a-fforse to ffille hem a3eyne, 
Lang., Rich. Red,^ iv. 21. OFr., L'en a fait k force mener, Jr., 
48. A force ne pr^ist, Wace, Brut^ 331 1« And even & bandon in 
the early instance cited below (p. 44). But in the main our language 
undertook to assimilate a great part of the phrasal power of k, an 
effort furthered, it may be, by the not inconsiderable phrasal use 
of ON. at. As a result of this effort we see in MidE. a vast ex ten- 


sion of its plural use, under the stimulus and after the example of 
OFr. ^-phrases. 

AS. iET. -^t in AS. was confined in use almost entirely to the 
expression of nearness in local and temporal phrases. Its uses may 
be classified in detail as follows :— i. Nearness in local position » 
(i) a. with common nouns: JEi ]?9ere sse l^ran, Marky iv. i. Ac 
heora gef^ran aet ham fuhton, iE., Lives , xxv. 455. 3. with proper 
nouns: aet M^retune, AS, Ch. (Parker), 871. Idiomatically with 
dat. pi..: *8e mon hset set HaetSum/ Oros.^ i. § 19. Cf. * Atterbury ' 
in MidE. (2) At an occurrence or event, present or participating : 
Baed hine blftSne * aet ]?sere b^or-j^ege, Beo,, 618. (3) Indicating 
the part of an object affected : Hire aet heortan laeg aeppel unsafelga, 
Caed., Gen,y 636 (ned). (4) Indicating the relation of an attribute 
to the part affected: Waes s^o tr^ow lufu hdt aet heortan, Chr,^ 
539 (B-T). (5) Indicating the part or point at which entrance 
or exit is effected: pa t6 duru ^odon drihtlfce cempan ond aet 
6'5rum durum Ordldf ond GutSlaf, Bat. of Finnib., 14. (6) Attain- 
ment of position, with verbs of motion : a, to, — Ge ne comon 
aet me, Matt, xxv. 43. h, as far as, — And hine besencton on )5a 
fyrenan aet his cneowa, B, Hom,^ p. 43. (7) Motion directed 
towards, often with hostile intent : Ne mihton hi dwiht aet me sefre 
gewyrcean,/'j. (Th.) cxxviii. i (B-T). DeatSes wylm hrdn aet heortan, 
Beo,y 2271. (8) The source from which anything comes, at which 
we seek it. Hence especially used with verbs of asking and de* 
priving: Ic gebdd grynna aet Grendle, j^^t?., 931. And J^a bysena 
J?e hie aet his daedum gesawon, B, Horn., p. 119. Hwaet axast "5u aet 
us, M,y Lives, xxv. 112. (9) Hence with * gelang ' to indicate depen- 
dence : ^t f)am waes gelang call heora foda, M., Lives, xxiii. 218. 
(10) The idea of nearness is conjoined with that of source: paet 
deofolseoce aet his reliquium waeron gelacnod, Bede, 14, 26. WeartS 
dcweald aet his witena handum, M,y Horn, Ass. St. John, (i i). 
The idea of source passes to that of agency (of persons) : Waeron 
gemartyrode aet J^am manfullan nero, ^E., Lives, xxix. 116, (12) 
The idea of nearness, approach, passes to that of application: paer 
hi aet lare waeron, M., Lives, xxix. 10, (13) Hence the destination, 
object : Neb bitS hyre aet nytte, Rd., 12, 5. (14) The idea of nearness 
involves effect on (= * with respect to ') : ponne hwaej>ere aet j^aere 
halgan Elizabet seo hire gebyrd naht gemunan, B. Horn., 163. — 
II. Temporal relations. (15) Nearness indicated by words marking 
periods of times ; such as, aet ]?a endlyftan tfd J^aes da^ges, B. Horn., 
p. 93; aet f>aem ytmestan daege, ib., p. 51 ; aet sumum cyrre [at 
certain season], M., Lives, xxiii. 16; aet sefen, B. Horn., p. 91, 
(16) By words indicating a regularly recurring action or state, hence 
used as time-marks: aet sunnan setlgange, B. Horn., p. 93 ; aelce 
niht aet uhtsange, B. R., 39, 16. (17) By words indicating action 
or state : Fylston ^ow aet n^dj^earfe, Deut., xxxii. 28. (18) Or indi- 


eating a stage in the progress of an action or state : pu us aet ende- 
staefe mycel here-reaf geh^te, B. Horn., p. 85 ; set frumsceafte, at the 
beginning; set ende, at end. (19) Note here the use of certain 
superlatives : And nicdnor set fruman feoll )?aer ofslagen, M», Lives^ 
XXV. 632. And het 8a set nextan f>a haeSenan cwelleras . . . ingan, 
xxiv. 61. -^t ^restan, Laws of K, Alf., pol. i. And nti 
set sfSestan sylfes feore | b^agas gebohte, Beo.y 3014. (20) Here 
belongs a superlative of extent [cf. 6 3] : JEi laestan 1. scyj)a, ^.S*. 
Ch,t 1049. 

MidE. at in new phrasal uses. I. Conformity to ones will, 
pleasure i judgment , ^r. At will : Weder stod at wille, Laj., iii. 
12, 19 (2nd text) ; first text (native English), on wille. Wind stot 
ate wille, La^., i. 47 (2nd text) ; first text, an willen. And in hir 
armes weld him at hir wille, Ch., Monkes T,, 272. 

Pur bien manger e h, talent, PoL Songs, Bel Eyse, 57. Ja rien ne 
voldrat | n'ait a volenti, Reimpr,, § 106. Avoyent vent et temps 
k lour volunte, Fr, Ch. Lond,, p. 76. Fist couper a sa volenti, 
fos., 1624. E eurent vent ^ souhait, Tr,, i, i. 6. 

at avis: \>ty diden alle at his auys, R. B., Ch., 2739. Off 
best shall ye haue | Chosse at your own avyce, Ipom., 3750. Wyl 
je do all6* at my rede. Hand. S., 949. 

Por lui morrai, au mien avis. Rose, 4135 (God.). A mon entende- 
ment, Bu. de C, 571. Que' a lur cunseil femme prendra, M. de 
Fr., Le Fr., 339. 

AS. used sefter: ^fter d6ma Sfnum gelfffsesta me, Secundum 
judicium tuum vivifica me, Ps., Lamb., cxviii. 149. 

at devioe : Nother to softe ne to faste | Bot at his owne devyce, 
Ip., 356. And names gaf at J^eir deuis, R. B., Ch., 224. And 
seruyd f)e quene at hyr devyse, II. Ipom., 716 ; Bruce, iv. 264. 

Si tu vius faire a mon devis, Ogier, 113 10 (God.). Tut ert fet 
a ma devise, /i?^., 1248 ; Boron, Graal, 34. Tut besoine unt fait 
a devise, Lives of Ed. Conf, Rolls s., p. 26. 

at pay, liking : When ]?ey had chosen at f>er pay, R. B., Ch., 
1299. And do weile mare at my lyking, Scot. Leg., Pet., 276. 

Et s'il estoit i son plesir | Vos k prendre, Tr., 1. 108. Ont le 
bois ^ lor talent, ib., i. 85. Ele Ta tut a sun plaisir, M. de Fr., 
Von,, 227. Or put aler seurement | La beste tot a sun talent, 
G. de P., 7239. De lor bien dire ^ lor plaisir, Troie, 2009. 
Victoire ^ sun desir, Lives Ed. Conf, Rolls s., p. 143. 

at gre : For to go at f)i gre, me gaynez non o]?er. Pa., 348. 

Jamais ^ gr^ n'en aront pes, Wace, Brut, 529 ; Rou, ii. 4321. 
A gre servir e merciSr, M. de Fr., Chai., 28. A sun service e ^ 
sum gr^ I Seras e i sa volenti, d. N., ii. 6419. 

at guise : For he can maken at his owne gyse ... as that him 
best devyse, Ch., K. T., ^^i. 


Engleis dient en lur langage | A la guise de lur vsage, Wace, 
jRou, i. 103. Cheuals quistrent e armes a la guise franceise, 
td,y ii. 555. Arni^s k leur guise, Froiss., i. 34. Chacun h. sa guise, 
Cot. Cf. also: Cum ^ custume faire solt, 7r. (Douce 2), ii. 115. 
A la custume del pais, M. de Fr., Fbn.j 477. 

Late MidE. at my jernynge, S& £g», 104, is OFr. k souhait, 
Fad,, iv. no. 

I. a. Con/ormtty, hut implying amount, at will : Wellys fele & 
water at wyl, A, E, Z., Kindh.J,, 98. He wolde gyve hym land 
at wille, R. B., C^, 764 ; Wm, cf P., 1800; II. Ipom,, 416. 

Car et poisson eurent plenty | Et bon vin ^ leur volenti, Bl. et 
ph,, 4554. Or et argent aura a son plaisir, Mort Garin, 3466. 
Tresors vos ert \ raon9on, Troie^ 11699. Comanda qu ele fust 
guarde tot \ talent, Fitz FT., p. 38. E eurent vent \ souhait, 
TV., i. 6. 

AS. usage would require t6 or aefter in this sense: t6 Sfnum 
willan, according to thy will. 

at one's power, might : In of>er gude werkes doynge, vn-to alle 
f)ine even cristene at f)i myghte, R. R. H., Pr, 71, 29. J)att ]:>u beo 
swincfuU att tin mahht, Orm,, 4730. And help him at his mycht 
lely, Bruce, xx. 349. And at thar mychtis merry mak, Bruce, iii. 190. 

Ele me dira sun voleir | E jol ferai a mun poeir, M. de Fr., Eli,, 
617. Ne savrifez rien comander | Que ieo ne face a mun poeir, 
M. de Fr., Lan,, 124 ; 7r., 2, ii. 32. 

The exact equivalent in AS. is on (t6) geweald : He haefde ealle 
Asiara on his geweald, Oros,, 28, 29. Haebben hf minne lichaman 
to gewealde, JE., Lives, xxiii. B, 356. Cristene men drehte swa 
he swiSost mihte, ib,, xxiii. 194. 

I. h. Conformity, hut implying a standard, at measure : And 
portrait weill at all mesure, Bruce, x. 281. 

M^s parlez .1. poi k mesure, CheVi de la Ch,, p. 47; Ch, d, N,, 
ii. 13569. Faites ^ mesure et k point, Fah,, i. 329. Tailliez fu 
bien k sa mesure, Troie, 1807. Qe sisterent \ mesure, Pierre de 
L., ii. p. 428. A desmesure, M. de Fr., Mil,, 128. 

Cf. AS. : Put J)u symle be J?inre mae8e g6d gefremme, -SI., Lives, 
xii. 148. 

at degree(8) : So fair so good at all degree | Was non levand to 
her, Ip,, 179 ; ib., 8873. And seide, * I am a lord at alle degrees,' 
Ch., Mil T,, 536. 

Te rois mounta tout k son ayn degr^, Pierre de L., ii. p. 430. 

at witting, knowing : I wra]?J)ed J)e neuere, at my witand, Ps, 
of S., 250. By Cry St, at my knowynge, | Mede ys worthy, P, PI, 
(C), iv. 285. 

Mfes gie quit au mien escient | Que n'i serra pas longuement, 
Troie^ 1497. Et tut a sci^nt, Reimpr,, ii. § 49. Que Deus fist tel 


a escient, Cltg/Sy 822; Brut, 3529; M. de Fr., Chai,, 130. Non 
au mien escient de Ik jusques en Gale, Berte, 738 ; Aymotiy^, 19; 
R, Rose, i. p. 303. Au mien espeir, Trote, 5719. 

at point, at all point(s) : Certas at po) nt, and debonar, Bruce, 
X. 283. He was arayit at poynt clenly, ib., vi. 406. At all 
poynt armyt weill and dicht, ib,, xvi. 374. & algate alisaundrine, 
at alle poyntes hem served, Wm, of P., 1064. At alle maner 
poyntes, tb., 3278, 3332. 

Et je irai la chose tout k point aprester, Ber/e, 575. Qui join- 
drqnt as pi^s si k point | Que de fronce n'i aura point, R. Rose, ii. 
92. Toute la cose k point lor vint, Fab., iv. 26. Car il fet tout 
a point e a ligne e a rieule e a plounc e a livel, Lprenz, p. 59. 

at point device : With lymes wrought at poynt deuys, Rom, of 
Rose, 830. That saw in drems, at point devys | Helle and 
erthe, and paradys, Ch., H. of F,, 917. And hym arrayeth gay, 
at point devys, Ch., Mill. T,, 503. 

Mr. Skeat, 'Etymol. Diet/, p. 453, regards this phrase as a trans- 
lation of OFr. k point devis, in which devis is p.part., devised, 
imagined. But OFr. deviser means to determine (al jor devis, on 
the day set), plan, and not imagine. Unfortunately, too, 1 find no 
instance of the occurrence of k point devis, though it probably was 
used— cf., Lors ont la chose tout k point devisee, Enf Og., 177. 
It is evident that the original sense is exactly, perfectly ; cf. * at 
point * and * at device ' < h devis, exactly, — Nof cenz e dosze ans 
^ devise, Ch. d. N., 6858. Si vus dirai tot a devise, Trote, 307. 

II. Subjection to, under the control of, guided by : at abandon : 
To beon moder of swich sune ... & habben him so abaundune, 
Ureisun God Al,, 203 (ned). Leyr was al at f>er bandoun, R. B., 
Ch,, 2385. 

Molt par li a ^ bandon mis | Or et argent et vair et gris, TV., i. 
1 40. Ele a les sajes et les fos outr^ement a sun bandon, R, Rose, 
1046. Le fruit des arbres lors m^is k bandon, Cour, L., 977. 

at (one's) will : Att thy wille )5ou woldyst vs have, V. and V,, 
1983. And for to hauen alle at his cri, | At his will, at his merci, 
Hav,, 270. Haue alle f)ing at my will, A, E. L,, Amb,, 471. Dude 
hem hoppe for hope to haue me at wille, P, PI, (A), iii. 193. 

Trestot met a ta volenti, G, de P,, 8270. Kant ad baron a 
volente. A, et A,, *]2d^, 

at (one's) mercy : And for to haue alle . . . at his mercy, Hav., 270. 

Venqus sui, k ta merci vien, Wace, Brut, 8123. Et plus tost a 
merci vendras, R, Rose, 1898. II n'est nule qui si tost mete | A 
merci dame ou damoisele, ib., 1836. A mis^ricorde, Mouskes, 

at command, bidding, request : We be at )?i comaun dement, 
Ass. Mar,, 232. Sai, a seide, icham at hire heste, B. of H., 145. 


At my bode, Pa.^ 134. We haf heir with vs at byddyng | Weill 
threty thousand men and ma, Bruce, xi. 279. That sche walde 
be at his commaundement, Ch., Mt7I, T., 106. At request and 
prayere, Ch., JK, T,, 346. Cf. also, He hadde wenches at his 
retinue, Ch., Fr. T'., 57. 

Mult le deit servir e amer | e estre a sun comandement, M. de 
Fr., Gmg.y 494. Tute est a sun comandement, M. de Fr., Zan., 
220; Berie, 141 3; -5"/. Alexis, § 11 ; Ch. d, N.y ii. 9792. A la 
requeste et k Tinstance | De tous, God. de P., 7549. 

at choice : That hit be atte your choys to go, Rath, O. i?., p. 283. 
Avoir et grans richeses orent tout k leur chois, Berte, I497. 
Celes rendron tot a lor chois, Eneas^ 6601 ; 6055. 

at cry, at summons, at challenge, at word. And for to 

hauen all at his cri, Hav.y 269. But to be redy at his somown, 
B. 0/ H.y X, ^2%. That ^e be to morow erely ] At f>e chalenge of 
J>e lady, II. Ipom., 1233. Al is wrojt at ]?i worde, C/., 348. 

Ja mais a sun acort n'en iere en mun viuant, Wace, Rou, ii. 2539. 
Se il n'en est k lor otrei, Troie, 10446. Chascun rois sist a sa 
demande, TV., i. 194. A la request des dit Comunes . . . acorde 
est et establis, Liber Albus, p. 510 f. Puny al discrecioun de 
Maire, ib,y p. 466. Estre ... a son jugement e a son ordene- 
ment, Livere de Reis, p. 222. A son siervice, Mouskes, 737. 

AS. phrases of a similar import are rare ; perhaps in jElfric we see 
the native equivalent : And habben hi minne lichaman to gewealde, 
JE., Lives, xxiii. B, 356, 

at hand (of horses) : At hand = under guidance. For thar na 
horlT is in this land | Sa [wycht], no jeit sa weill at hsind, Bruce, ii. 119. 

Mais son cheval n'estoit pas si k main que on ne povoit nulle- 
ment avoir ne tenir, Froiss., xiv. 230 (La C). Under control, 
generally : Tute escience orent k main, Ch, d, N., i. 473. 

III. State, condition, at ease, at malease : made him at ese, 
Cl„ 124. Wei at ayse. A, and M., 9640; St, Nich, (Delius), 
p. 93. Thei that ben yuel at eese, Wic, Mark, ii. 17. Alle that 
were at male ese, Wic, Matt,, iv. 24. Yvel at eese, Mark, ii. 17. 
He neuer better at ese was his lyve, Ch., Z. G, W,, Dido, 174. 
Ful wel at eyse, Somp, T,, 402. 

A aise fut, sanz point d'anui. Vie des anc. P., Dou Juit,, 224. 
Ne fu plus a mesaise, Ch, iV., ii. 28474. Ne soiez \ malese, 
Cour, L,, 264. A mal else, Ch, d, N„ ii. 960. Mais^met^s vostre 
cuer ^ aise, Bl, et Jeh,, 1321 ; La Poire, 2884. A grant aise, 
Ch, d, N,, ii. 14862. Cf. sunt k leisir, ib,, ii. 7524. 

at grief: So that ye take it not at greffe, II. Ip„ 197. 
De Tenor, s'il la tient, non m'est a grieu, Ger, de Ross,, p. 369, 
Michel. ^God.). See * take agrief, p. 20. 

at mischief: To se at myscheiff sic a knycht, Bruce ^ xix. 


77. The Erl and his thus fechtand war | At gret myscheiff as 
I 50U say, tb,, xi. 603. 

Einsi del tot a meschief fui, Chev, au Z., 521. Berte la debon- 
naire \ moult grant mescief ere, BertCy 1063. Et trait, por moi 
metre k meschief, R, Rose, 1831. 

at peaoe, at repose : Richard set that lond at peace, Rich. C, 
de Z., 2438. 

A paiz seit, a paiz viegne, a paiz alt laburer, Ron, 1227. Quant 
il ot tote k pais la terre, Brut, 1039 1 ; 9964 ; Eneas , 10076. 
Or sui en pais et a repos, Eneas, 8015. 

AS. idiom is represented by: p3et hie ealle on sibbe waeron, 
BL Horn,, 225. 

at large : Whyl ichof hem is athis large, Ch., H, of F., 745. Goon at 
his large, K. T., 468. That at his largess wes all fre, Bruce, vii. 378. 

Or est au large et k I'essor, Ch, d, /. Ch., p. 177. Cf. mis a 
deliverance, Wace, Rou, ii. 2364. * Estre k son large,' Froiss., xvi. 
39 (La C). * Je vas au large ' I go abrode, as one doth that is 
delyvered out of prison. Cot., 569. 

at sure, at certain : Men moste be atte certein for hey and 
provender, Rafh. O. R., p. 278. 

A certain | Jk ne seront mais net sanz bain, 2>„ i. 184. Sot 
que le rois le fist k certes, Wace, Brut, 4488 ; Ch. d. N., ii. 21048. 
Quant a setir fu de s'amur, M. de Fr., Le Fr., 285; Fon., 128, 
Ceste guerre sera a certes, Cltg/s, iioo. Lat., ad cerium. 

III. a. State, condition, especially indicating posture, at bay: 
And euer dogge at ^e hole held it at a baye, Wm. of P», 46. 
He sterryd as here at baye, Ip., 5845. As boistous as is beare at 
bay, Pol. P., i. 307. 

Le quel est a present aux plus grans abbois du monde, Caq. de 
Taccouch., 3© fourn. (God.). Un sanglier mis aux abois de tous 
COSI&, Louis XI, Nouv., 1 9 (L.). 

at defense: With his sword he stode at devence, B. of H., x. 
1213; Ch., CI. T., 1139. 

Se pristrent i defense, e les escriaint, Songs, 277; Pierre 
de L., p. 224. 

at (the) above, at under : Quha mast [at] their abovin mycht 
be, Bruce, xv. 56. [They] schal have )?e better ende and be at 
here aboue [Lat. prcBvalere\ Trevisa, Higden, ii. 29 (ned). For 
he ves put at vndir swa | That he ves left all hym allane, Bruce, 
vii. 365. And had ihame fast at vndir ay, ib., xvii. 20. 

S'il al desus de toi venoit. Brut, 2855. S'll al desus venir 
pooient, ib., 4244. De lui fust sempres al desus, Troie, 22664. 
Bien voi que tu es au desus, Fab., i. 108. Celi dont Ten est au 
desseure, R. Rose, 3294. Les Sessons tut a desus et les Bretons 
tut a de suz, Livere de reis, p. 38. Soit pour la guerre k son 
deseure | Et a son dessous au tournoy, Machault, p. 1 1 1 . 


That the French idiom is taken from the wheel of fortune seems 
evident from the lines : Icil sunt al desos torn^ | Qui el desus orent 
est^, Brut, 4768. But cf. Lat. supra ^ subter, 

Anglo-Saxon expressed a somewhat similar idea by bH/an and 
beniSan — And )?u bist ^fre bufan and ni. benitSan, Gr., Deut,^ 
xxviii. 13. Plainly an imitation of the Lat. ' semper supra et non 

III. b. Condition, existence, implying mutual relations, at ac- 
cord, at assent: We ben at on acord, Coeur de Z., 1369 (ned). 
Make yondur knyjtes at a-cord, Av, of A.,\ Thenne sex are 
atte one assente, Av, of Ar,, § 39; A, and M., 9217. Grete 
lordys were at the assent, Sir Fgl., 1096. Thay were al at on 
red, Seven Sages, 2064. AUe f>ai were at on asent, A, and M,, 

Ne trairion h. un accort, Ck. d, N,, ii. 8146. Si que la volente e la 
reson soient a un acord, Lorenz, p. 61. Poi se tienent ^ un acort, 
Troie, 24701. Se tenoient a lor acort, Villeh., 58. Retornons 
k acort, God. de P., 570. Furent ^ accordement, id., 4134. 

at discord, at debate: The baronnys thus war at discord, 
Bruce, i. 69. pat sal ay stryfe and be at debate, Pr. of C, 9425 ; 
^'K 3473 ; Ipom., 344 ; Ch., Mill, Tale, 44. 

Sa feme mise ^ tel descort, Tr,, i. 106. De ce sont il \ discort, 
Orisme, Eth. iv. (L.). Chevacies a force et a estris, Les Z., fo 9e(God.). 

AS. idiom is represented by : And hie htd\p on feounge ealle for 
minum naman, BL Hom,, p. 171 = at enmity, discord. J)e ]?a 
ungejjwaere and ungesibbe betweonum waeron, ib,, p. 225 = at 
variance, at strife. 

at one: Make the wel at one with him, E, Eng, Psalter, 
p. 152. So ]?at hi were at OTi,fuL, 7. Alon he was with the king, 
King Horn, 925. And quen we departed we weren at one. Pearl, 
32, 6. So at the last hereof they fel at one, Ch., Troil,, iii. 565. 
Thus thay were at on alle, Seven Sages, 388. And we schulle ben 
at oon, thou most graunt this, Gam,, 156 ; ib,, 166. 

At once is an adverbial development from anes (AS. 4ne) = 0Fr. 
k un, = AS. ra)x)st, BL Hom,, p. 183. Ne ne nime, at enes, to 
ueole disceplines, A, R,, 420. pey smitte to him at ones, Libeaus 
Des., 1 1 98. 

The literal expression occurs in OFr. : xxv graille i sonent tot 
\ un, Cour, L,, 1190. Mielz vos vendreit k un morir, Troie, 
24990. La genz des deus reis vint k une | En la forest oscure 
e brune, Ch, d, N., ii. 19961. The figurative meaning in: Tot 
fust \ un, se il volsist, Troie, 26875. Tant dura la chaple 
commun | Que tote I'ovre unt mis \ un, Ch, d, N., ii. 16352, 28298 ; 
Troie, 9281, 23743. Ne s'acord^rent miekun, Wace, Brut, 14087. 
Cis se sunt, par consel qu^mun [= commun] | Tot assambl^, et 
pris k un, ib,, 2893. II ne pensent mie estre a un, Livere de Reis, 
p. 220. Le pays d'Angleterre n'est pas bien k un [= in concord],. 


Froiss., iii. p. 347 (La C). Vous ne pov^s bonnement faire ce 
voiage, si TEglise n'est a ung, td,, xiv. 281. lis parlbrent tout 
k un (= unanimously), td.^ iv. 319. 

IV. Manner of acting, at leisure : Att leyser speke, 4656. 

Sa custume est qu'il parlotet \ leisir, Ch, de R„ 141 ; Jr., 2. ii. 
§6 ; M. de Fr., Mil,, 483 ; Pel de Ch., 445. 

AS., On emtan to smeageanne, Bede, 2, 3. 

' at (a)bandon: And schot on tham at abandoune, BrucCy 
XV. 59. 

E lairai les destriers aler a lur bandun, PeL de Ch,, 502. Si ont 
querpi tot a bandon, Eneas, 3742. Entrent a bandon, Troie, 956. 
Ore chevauchent . . . k bandon, TV., i. 142. I. saut a fait tot k 
bandon. Fab,, iv. 55. Qu'il se cuidoient de randon | Parmi les 
trez metre a bandon, Clig/s, 1741. 

Cf. also Late MidE. at random : And thei rennen to gidre a 
gret randoun, Maund., Travels, p. 238. 

Lez le cost^ li passe k tel randon, Cour, Z., 967. Et le sang 
de mon cors i grans rendons iscir, Alexan, {Fuerres), 497. 
Courent k raundoun, Pierre de L., i. p. 88. Siglent al randoun, 
id., ii. p. 36. 

at adventure : And say led alle sees at aventur, Pol, P,,\, 216 
[1377]. Armed them, all at aventers, Caeur de L., 2188 (ned). 

Aller k leur avanture, comme aventures sont par toutes les voyes 
qui pourroit greuer leurs ennemis a leur perils et fortunes, Le Jouv., 
p. 514 (La C). Au hazard du combat, Mont., i. 15 (L). Nagerent 
a vent et a fortune, Waurin, Rolls s., p. 31. 

at fall : May savely go at )?e fol, C, M,, 4008 (T.) (ned). Cf. iii, 
State, Shal she (the moon) been euene atte fuUe, Ch., Frank, T,, 341. 

Ensi doit ilh ferir al plain | Des esperons, Jacq. de Baisieux, 
Trouv, Belg,, p. 179 (God.). 

Cf. ON. at fullu ; AS. on fullum m6nan, at full moon (B-T). 

at right: V hundreth armyt weill at rycht, Bruce, xiii. 291. 
Wele armyde at alle righte, Sir Per., 1139. Y-armed at ryghtes, 
Sir Deg,, 372. At all ri3tes, Libeaus Des,, 167 1. 

Rou fist alkes a dreit, Hasteins fist a enuers, Wace, Rou, ii. 13. 
Chastel-FaV fu dit k droit, Tr, (Douce 2), ii. 95. Mais se tu 
veus estre sages a droit, Lorenz, p. 21. Si les avrez k droit paiez, 
Fab., iv. 190. 

at (one's) cost: pat non myght scape at no cost, R. B., Ch., 
1054 (Pet.). Shal haue a soper at our aller cost, Ch., Prol., 
799. Right at myn owene cost, and be your gyde, ib., 804. 
To dwel at hys costage | At bouche and court and wage, Sir 
Deg., 997. 

A toz dix mil homes k sa despense, Villeh., 48. Cil qui le plet 
maintint k son coust, Beaum., xii. 24 (L.). Procurer les besognes 


de lor mestres ^ lor coz, id,, 82 (L.). Ferra ent execucioun, a ses 
costages, Ltber Albtis, p. 511. Aler ^ ses coustages, Pierre de L., 
J. p. 474. 

at guess : pes wymmen answerede al at gesse, R. B., Hand, -S*., 

Cf., Dites vos k gas [in jest], Fab,y iv. 23. Car soit a certes ou 
a gas, I Par aucuns I'amiraus 1 orroit, Fl. et BL, i. 812 (God.). Ne 
guidez pas, | A gius n'k certes n\ agas, Ch, d, N,, ii. 3367. Cf., 
Garde toi . . . de toi bouter h, tel azard, Songe dor/ (L.). Parians 
k raison, Bu, de C, 3343. 

at peril : At all periles, quod f)e prophete, I aproche hit no 
nerre, Pa,, 85. At al perils wil I go, Sir Ferumb., 3485. 

A mal iront et k peril, | Et li plosor en lone eissil, Troie, 4139. 
Grever leurs ennemis k leur perils et fortunes, Le Jouv., p. 514 

V. a. Mode and manner and means, at a brayde, at a ftrape, 
at a shot, at a titte, at a swap, at a wap, at a mase, at 
a dent : & uche best at a brayde ^r him best lykey, C/„ 539. 
Scho brayd hit a-don at on brayd. Seven Sages, 483 (Morris com- 
pares ON. at bragdi, at once). Bot al wor flayd at o frape, R. B., 
Ch,, 1 1 48. Al holyke cam j>er flote j In Dertemuthe, at o schote, 
^^-i 1737' Yf J)at tre war tite pulled oute | At a titte with al f>e 
rotes oboute, R. R. H., Pr, of Con., 1914. Weved at )5e fyrst 
swap as J>e snaw }?ikke, CL, 222. Me fleing at a swappe he 
hente, Ch., H. of F., 543. To Mark bi middel at a Mase \yar. 
maste] in more then in f>re, Ps. of S., 320. He frust down at 

dent, A. and M., 6286. Bot at a wap hit here wax & away at 
ano]?er, Pa.^ 499. 

OFr., \k un coup, \ un brin, \ un flat, \ un trait, \ un vol, \ une 
frusse : Qu'il ne i'^ust k un sol cop tu^, Alesc, 5324. Que ces 
chiens et ces hommes tout \ un coup perdi, A. N. Ch., iii. 207. 
Dont bien m'est, \ un cop, faillis | S'il ne vous plaist \ trouer voie, 
Bl.etfeh., 1834. A un coup li ferai la teste trebuchier, Berte, 
597. A un cop tuent, Machault, p. 98. Et veez chi un castiel qui 
a nom Denis . . . que nous prendrons au premier cop, Ch. de R., 
10 1 (L.). X un sol coup, Ch. d. N., i. 590. A voiz s'escrient toz 
ensemble k un brin, Alesc, 1664. Les -iij* en giete contre terre 
\ un flas, ib., 3988. A un seul trait en a but, ib., 3929. Et cil 

1 chiet tout k -i- vol | La lance et Tescus dou col, Chev.d. I. Ch,, 
p. 25. X une frusse si fort retornayent, Pierre de L., i. 482. 

at a trice : Pluckid downe dere all at a tryse, Ipom., ii. 392. 
Mr. Skeat does not know this phrase (see his * Etym. Diet.,' * trice '). 
He derives trice from Span, tris, noise made by the breaking of 
glass, short space of time, instant ; venir en un tris, to come in an 
instant. The presence of the word in MidE. makes it necessary 
to connect * tryse,' Ipom., ii. 392, with MidE. trisen, to haul, pull; 



see Ch., C, T. B., 3715, ' Out of his sete i wol him trise/ MidE. 
* at a tryse ' is therefore a parallel to * a un trait/ AlesCj 3929. 

at a word, at one mouth, at one voice: Hi seid at one 
moiijje, E, E, Ps,, p. 15, 1. 85. Vp Pilax hi cried apan eu[ri]chon 
at one vois, tb„ p. 15, 1. 87. pat wrojt alle f>ynges ... at a worde 
one, Pa,, 208. To tell ... at 00 worde, Ch., Duch., 306. 
Tel me, lord, at wordis breue, A, E, Z., C de C, 104; at wordes 
lite, B. and 189. 

Tuit cil de Rome s*en issent ^ un hu, Cour, Z., 1196; 
Prise dOr,, 112; Elie, 788. L'assaut comence tot ^ une hu^e, 
Chans, </ Ogier, fol. 205, v., col. i, 1. 50 (La C). Voire de mil tout ^ 
i sible I Tappeloient le roy paisible, . Machault, p. 106. Crierent 
\ une voix, Boron, Graaly 496. & s'escrierent tout ^ une voix, 
Villeh., 17. E Franceis les enchalcent e a hu e a cri, Wace, 
Rou^ ii. 895. Enmi les els lor sont sailli | A une vois et ^ un 
cri, Wace, Brut, 12300; Ch. d. N,, ii. 2506; Trote, 22124. 
A un sofle fust tot perdu, Eneas, 7712. Vaspasyens a un seul 
mot j Fist des Juis ce que lui plot. Boron, Graal, 2285. Respunent 
k un cri, S/. Aud., 1105. Ne boive pas a une alaine j Ne henap 
plain ne cope plaine, P, Pose, ii. p. 89. 

V. d. Insirument used in action : play at tables, checker, ball, 
dice, buckler, chess, &c. : Wif) pleynde atte tables o)?er atte 
chekere, R. G., Ch,, 3965. How he played at f)e bal. A, E, Z., 
.Sy. Aug,^ 706 ( = ludebat ad pilara, J. de Vorag.) ; Av, of Ar,, 
§ 24. At )?e echesse i con wel pleye. A, E, Z., St, B,, 734 ( = ad 
taxillos ludere, J. de Vorag.). To pleyen atte dys. Gam,, 20. 
A play atte bokeler, tb.y 126. Thare lered men the Normandes 
at bukler to play, Minot, in Pol. P., i. 70. 

As tables juent pur els esbaneier | Et as escbas li plus saive e li 
vieill, Ch, de P,, iii. Et dan Guillaume qui jeue k Teschequier, 
Cov, Vi'v., 990. To pleye at j^e ches or at ]>e Tablere, R. B., 
Hand, 1043 ; translating as echeks ou al tabler, Man, Pech,, 
1531. Ansi com jue k la pelote. A, N, Ch., iii. p. 131. N'est 
mie a billette juer, Ipom,, 2404. As eschas jvent li plusor \ Au 
geu del mat ou au mellor, Wace, Brut, 10841. Esbaneier, as dez, 
as eschez, et as tables, Troie, 11 79. joent k hazart, Brut, 10837. 

This use of at with verbs of playing is also the construction in 
ON. AS. plegan was used transitively or absolutely. With an 
object the construction with the accusative of the object was usual : 
plegan plegiajj, plaegiendra timpanum, &c. (B-T). 

Instrument : at spur : Thowe moste spede at the spurs, Morte 
Arthur, 449. pey spede at J?e spoures, ih,, 483. Pre stedes 
heddes doun rijt | He slou; at strokes pre, Libeaus Des,, 1239. 

Que n'i allons \ esperon | Lui deraisnier, Tr,, i. 201 ; ib., 2, ii. 39. 
Et cil s*en torne \ esperon brochant, Cour, Z., 2442. Le roi le 
suit a esperon, G, de P., 103. Al bois s'en turne a esperun, 


Ipom., 6326, 6839. Cf. also, A glaive les ocoient, Bru^, 1042, 
Corut a sigle et £ nage, td., 8401. Pristrent al heri9on, Eneas, 
3752. Seel^ ^ cire, h. clox, 7r., i. 34. Prent . . . al piege, Wace, 
J^oUy ii. 6i I. Defendre al fer e a Tacier, i*^., ii. 3219. 

V. c. Vivid adverbial adjunct : at eye : Then they may seen at 
eighe or elles preve, Ch.,/'r. Z. G, W., loo. This maistow under- 
stande and seen at eye, Ch., II. 7!, 1458. 

Co dit Dithis, qui'l vit as ielz, Troie, 26927. Car chascuns pot 
veoir II I'ueil | De lune esclipse, Machault, (JSuvres, p. 68 ; Joinv., 
222 (L., voir). Cf. mostr^ au dei, Troie, 8608; id,, 10539. 

VI. A/, with words expressing estimation of value \ If I hit lukked 
oJ>er set at lijt, Gaw. and G, K,, 1250. Set hem at lyttel, C/., 
1 7 10. pei sett it sof>li at nou3t [= set no account by], Wm, of P., 
3467. And sette my wurdus atte lijte, Sir Am,, 14. That al the 
worlde he sette at no value, Ch., Z. G, W,, Cleo,, 23. Thai sold 
set all their fais at noucht, Bruce, xiii. 88. Jakke, thi lewid pro- 
phecie | I preise not at a peese, Pol, P., ii. 46 ; ib., ii. 47. He 
spatt on hym & sett hym all at noght. A, E. Z., Eras., 52. 

Ne prisa mais noz deus a valur d'un gant, St. Aub., 1 162. Sire, 
je *s esme k treis milliers, Ch, d, N., ii. 22223. Dame, nul mai 
que j'aie, Ne tieng fors k legier, Cot4ci, viii. [L.]. Suz ciel n'ad rei 
qu'il prist ^ un enfant, Ch, de P., 2739. Les chevalers d'Engle- 
tere sunt nonbrez k 111^, Fitz W,, 19. Tel conseil prist \ l^ger, 
A, N, Ch., J. 97. Son ^age a 'Xx- ans puis prendre, BL et feh,, 69. 

The corresponding idiom in AS. is represented by : And tellaS 
mfn wedd for ndht, Gr., Deut,, xxxi. 20. To hwon )>u sceole of 
owiht J>ysne man habban, B, Horn. 179. Hfe hfe selfe t6 n6hte 
bem^tan, Oros,, 3, 7. 

VII. Measure, extent, especially with superlatives, (ct) quantity, 
lb) quality, (c) time, {a) at all : To J>is bestes mercy -i- bowe me 
at alle, Wm, ofP,,^^i\, perfore, couherde, i )>e coniure & comande 
atte alle, ib., 283. Sche is a schrewe at al, Ch., Pr. Mar, T., 
10; Fr. T., 936. 

Que sa fille k tout bien taill^e, R, Rose, i. 186. 
AS. eallunga: Eallunga Codes rfce on ^ow becymj), Lk., Bos., 
II, 2o[B-T]. 

at overmuch: At over-mekyll in travell has )>ou bene, Tfom., 

Mbs au surplus ja ne b^ait, Ch. de la Ch., p. 80. 

at the least: (a) with numerals; {fi) as adv. modifier of 
verb, (a) eihle reisuns et te leste. A, R,, 164. (3) Yet at the leste 
renoveleth your servyse, Ch., C. Mars, 19. The sentence of the 
compleynt, at the leste, ib., 24. Shiild dighe, or at f>e lest tyn hir 
witt, Pr. of Con,, 2322. 

(a) Desi qu'a xv jorz al meins, Troie^ 25541. II a jk bien 
cine ans, au mains, R. Rose, 47. Au mains une, ib,, 1640. 

D 2 


Jusqu'a quinzaine a tot le mains, au Z., 3076. (fi) De la 
bele dame veoir | Au moins, C/iev. au Z., 1539. Ceci au meins 
bien cuidions, Boron, Graal^ 3536; Wace, Brut^ 1200. 

In AS. set Isestan, without the article, was used in limiting 
numerals, Ch,, 1049; but in the limitation of the sense of verbs 
huru = at least : ForSi me sceolan habban huru eadmodnysse, 
Lives, xii. 283. 

The use of the article, which is uniformly employed in MidE., 
and the extension of the use of *at the least* for verbal modifications, 
are best explained by the constant influence of OFr. au moins, 

{b) at the best : Treuli twenti )?ousand a-tired atte best, Wm, 
0/ P,y 1949. And dronken euer strong ale atte best, Ch., Rev. T,, 
227. And wel we weren esed atte beste, Ch., ProL C, 7!, 29. 

Ele fut corunee al plus bel e al mielz, PeL de Ch.^ 6. Furent 
arbres au plus bel del munt, Jos,, 1967. Et fai al mius que tu 
saras, Wace, Brut, 6754. Al mielz qu'il sot et au plus dreit, 
Troie, 1841. Je la salu au plus bel | Que jou poi raisnier, R, u. 
P,y iii. 26, 13. 

AS. used * best ' as super, adv., but I do not find *2et bestan. J)u 
scalt libben aire best, O, E, Horn,, i. p. 7. 

MidE., as far as my notes show, does not adopt equivalents for 
OFr. al plus bel, Ch, d, N., ii. 569 (but cf. 'at the best'); al plus 
tost, Wace, Rou,\\. 1942 ; Ch. d. N.j ii. 15148 ; au loncg, Fear-Bk, 
JEd. 7, i. p. 26, or ^ long, but cf. at schort. Lane, 135 ; au plus 
dreit, Troie, 1841, &c. ; au plus, A, and N,, 18, 28 (AS., be 8am 
mafestan); au pis. A, N. C, iii. 150. 

{c) at first, at the first : Him behove)? ate verste ] pet he habbe 
prudence, Ayenh,, p. 127. A gret fiss at J>e ferste | Mi net he 
jnakede berste, Horn, 661 (669 ed. Wissmann, QueL u, Forsch,, 
45). Rimnild sede at f)e ferste: | herte, nu J)u berste, Horn, 1191 
(Wissm., 1213). At the furste up he drough, Alis,, 2636. 

Tel[s] quida altre abatre ki al premier chai, Wace, Rou, ii. 788. 
Au premier quant de li parlai, Bl, et Jeh„ 4708. Qui au premier 
fu vostre dame, ib,, 4920. 

The AS. set fruman, aet sferestan, on forman {BL Horn,, 127, 20), 
were carried into MidE. : Ac ich 30U telle J)0 at arst, A. and M,, 
2333. For now at erste shul ye here, Ch., H of F,, 512. Louerd 
spareS a uormest f)e ^unge. A, R., 220. On aire erest hwon ^e . . ^ 
ib„ 64. 

The simple superlative adv. was likewise used, arst, erst. 

The preference manifested for ' at the first,' using at rather than 
on, and adding the article, shows the steady influence of the 
French expression with al, au. 

at the last : And at the last forgat thai noght, Minot, in Pol. P., 
i. 77. Rest at ]?e laste, CI., 446 ; Ch., ProL C. T., 707 ; R. o/R., 
193 ; Sir Per., 2259 ; R. R. H., Pr. of C, 86 ; Libeaus Des., 1 506. 


Garin li dus tot au derr^ain vint, Mor/ Garin, 3805. Mes al 
d[e]rain se tent a cest, Ip«, 1247 ; ^''•> 2, ii. 6 ; Wace, Rou, ii. 356. 
Pesa al darrennier k'il tant fu esparni, St, Aud,, 1528 ; Trote, 6078. 
Or li proi qu*el ne m'escondie | Au darrenier d'un petit don, La 
Poire, 2988. Al dreyn torna la perte a Yervand, I^t/z PF., p. 23 ; 
Gaimar, 189 (Ep. L. D.). A darrien, Boron, Graal, 3830. 

AS. aet sfeestan is like set serestan in lacking the article. It does 
not appear in MidE., which has partly availed itself of * on ende * to 
express the notion. On ende, — J>eonne is )>e muchele joie, A. R,y 
218. In finem, on ende, ib., 146. 1 drede on ende quat 
schulde byfalle, Pearl, 16, 6. = Lat. and Fr. in finem, en fin. AS. 
on lengtSe, — On lengtJe mid him he begeat ealle J)a eastlond, Oros., 
144, I — scarcely appears in MidE. There is a very rare case, 
On lenche als him likes, Pierre de L., p. 236. The AS. * latest' 
= at the latest, Wulfst., 208, 5 (B-T), could not affect * set sftSestan.' 
On the other hand, ON. at lesti no doubt aided in the establishment 
of the phrase. At (the) last could arise from {a) ON. at lesti, (b) by 
analogy with aet sferestan, under the influence of al derein ; in either 
case the presence of the article points to OFr. influence. The 
earliest occurrence in Laj., * at ]>an laste/ 3765, is in harmony with 
this view. 

The loss of AS. aet nehstan, recently, lately, finally, at last, Oros,, 
30, 12, seems due to the absence of a supporting phrase in OFr. 
■ Chronology. The earliest evidence of the influence of OFr. iin 
MidE. phrasal use is found in the first half of the thirteenth century, 
when la, at one's might, appears in Orm,, II, at wille in K and V., 
Ill b, at once, and VII a, at /he least, in A, P. The use of abaun- 
dune in O.KJI,^ c. 1225, is significant of the colloquial familiarity 
with Ji-phrases in EMidE. The article is also added to * at last ' 
as a phrase of time in Laj. The second half of the century extends 
the at-phrases but slightly. I, at will, is found in Laj. (2nd text) 
replacing the AS. on of the first text ; III b, at one, VII c, at the 
first, appear in Horn ; at few words in P. and S, The flourishing 
time of at-phrases is the first half of the fourteenth century : I b, at 
point, Wm. o/P.; Ill, at aise. A, and M., at the full, C. M. ; III a, 
at defence, Pev, of H,\ Illb, at debate, Pr, o/C) IV, at guess. 
Hand, S,] Va, at o dent. A, and Mr, Vb, play at table, R. G. ; 
VI, (set) at nought, Wm. o/P,; VII, at all, tb,', Vila, p, 
superlatives (quant.) with the, at the leste, Pr, of C. ; VII b, (qual.) 
at the best, Wm. of P, The last half of the fourteenth century 
extends this phrasal growth somewhat further : V b, at the spurs, 
MorU Arthur-, Vc, at eye, Ch. But the chief extensions for MidE. 
had been established. Authors like Robert of Gloucester, Robert 


of Brunne, Richard Rolle of Hampole, Dan Michel, the writers of 
the versions A. and M. and Wm, o/P,, all having Fr. afl&liations, are 
the chief exponents of the new phraseology. 

Conclusion. The history of at in ME. shows very many remark- 
able phenomena. An expression like be ]?lnre maetSe became 
at thy measure; on tSfnum gewealde, at thy command ; on feounge, 
at discord; on emtan, at leisure; hwylcumhwega wordum, at few 
words ; tellatS . . for naht, set at no value ; a simple word such 
as eallunga, entirely, may be rendered by a phrase, at all; the 
simple superlative adverbs msest, laest, &c., are preferably rendered 
by phrases, at the most, at the. least, at the best, &c. ; new phrases 
are coined, at bay, at point, at my knowing, at abandon, &c. — in 
short, AT undergoes in MidE. a great development of meaning, 
encroaching on the sphere of other prepositions and entering into 
phrases previously unknown in the language. These changes are 
paralleled with the utmost exactitude by the use of in corre- 
sponding syntactical phrases in OFr. They occur for the first 
time chiefly in works having French originals. Hence it must be 
concluded that this development of meaning of at and the exten- 
sion of its phrasal power are the direct result of French influence 
upon the native language. 



The juxtaposition of MidE. and OFr. made some modification 
of the Teutonic noun-compounds inevitable ; for the facility of AS. 
in creating compound nouns was restricted to so-called * flat ' and 
flexional syntax ; while the facility of OFr. was essentially in phrasal 
syntax. In some cases OFr. influence modified the flat compounds 
of English without perceptible need in point of expression, as in the 
case of head- resp. master-, chief- ; in some instances new phrasal 
nouns appear, at times supplanting the AS. equivalents, at. times 
expressive of new notions ; in others, as in the construction with 
* manner of,' the mind's view of the phrase changed, and the OFr. 
construction won a distinct victory over the native idiom. 


In AS., expressions corresponding to MidE. * mayster-wryth,' 
A, E. L,,Ktndh,J,j 635, * chef church,' Wm, of P,, 1955, involved 
the use of h^afod, head: Ow twam h^afod-burgum, M.y Lives y ii. 
320. Seo burh Asor wajs . . . manegra burga h^afod [= principa- 
tum tenebat], Gr., Jos,, xi. 10. pa hdafod-menn, M,y Lives, xiii. 
139. hdafod-wyrhta, h^afod-mynster, h^afod-stede, hdafod-gylt, 
deadly sin ; hdafod-leahter, a capital offence. 

Compounds with heaved < kfa/od continue through MidE. pe 
seouen heaued sunnen, A, R,, 194. AUe heued-sennes, V, and F., 
81,21; 3, 29 ; 67, 34. Nu beoS viii heafod mihtan, O, E, H,, 
p. 103. 

But MidE. early shows compounds with (i) master and (2) chief, 
immediately due to the influence of OFr. maistre and chief in 
equivalent expressions. 

master : Wimmen welten weres mester = master-men, fiends 
(M), G, and Ex,^ 532. Meister burg, ib,, 3381 ; meister prest, ib,, 
3386. pe mayster-wryth. A, E. Z., Kind, J,, 635. pe maister 
jailere, C. M,, 4434. pe maister chefe iailer, ib, (MS. 1340), 4434. 
The maister budel, PoU Songs y 151. A mayster J)ef, R. R. H., 


Lam., 330. A maister heretyk, A, E, Z., Ambr, 299. Meires 
and Maister luges, P, PL (A), viii. 171. The maystre strete, 
Ch., Z. G, W., An'ad., 80. The maistre temple, Z. G. W., Dido, 
91. Maistre toune of al Colcos, Vsyph,, 224. A wise maister 
carpenter, Wic, i Cor,, iii. 10. 

Mestre cuisinier, Alesc, 3845. Li maistre clerc, Pou, S^j^j. Maistre 
gardeins, id,, 3238. Mestre confesseur, A. N, Ch., iii. 177. Le 
maistre tor roial, G. de P., 4652. Son maistre cor, Alesc, 7058. 
Son maistre conseillier, Berie, 3174. Mestre dais, Tr., ii. 101 ; 
£n., 839. Ce est la maistre siez d*enfer, 2701. Mestre limonier, 
Char, de N,, 126^, Mestre bacheler, th., 1223. Maistre roche, 
Aymon, 133. Mestre donjon, ib.^ 121. Maistre chambre, ib., 
III. Maistres v^n^res, tb., 97. As maistres porz, Ch. 2939. 

chief: Oure chefe kyng, R. B., Ch., 15. pe maister chefe iailer, 
C. M. (MS. 1340), 4434. pe chef chyrche, R. G., Ch., 4758. pe 
chief Cite, E. E, Ps., 49. pe chef cherch, Wm. of P., 1955. 
Chife goddes and qwene, Ch., Fr, T,, 1046. Cheefe-pasture, 
Pol. P., i. 321. Chefe lorde. Sir Per,, 2135. My chefe herte, 
Sir EgL, 305. 

The earliest instance of OF. chief, in this use, cited by Liltrd 
is : Le chief seignor dou reiaume Jerusalem, Ass. de J., 12 15 (date 
1250, G. Paris). Chef bailifs, Tr. d'Ec, c. 7 (God. ii. 121). Chef 
seygnur, Pierre de L., p. 182. Chef justiser, id,, p. 258. Chef 
justize, Liver e de Reis, p. 252. Qe estoit fait chief gardein du 
roy, Fr. Ch. Lond., p. 62. 

It is especially noteworthy that MidE. ' master ' in these expres- 
sions is imitated -from OFr. ; and that when in OFr., at a time later 
by a century than the use of maistre, chief is used, MidE., at 
a correspondingly long time after the use of master, turns to employ 
chief. The history of this expression is somewhat parallel to that of 
cors, referred to in the Introduction. 


I. MidE. shows a remarkable growth of phrasal nouns of the 
type of man of arms, man of law, for which AS. employed either 
the simple noun, e. g. cempa, or the flat compound, e. g. lahman- 
II. It exhibits, too, a partiality for the genitive of quality, especially 
in certain conventional terms favoured in OFr. poetry. The latter 
construction was not new to English, as AS. frequently used it, 
especially when accompanied by an adjective ; e. g. maesse-preost 
maeres lifes, JE., Lives, iv. 229. The first type is essentially 
Romance by origin. 

man of arms, &c. Men of armes, R. B., Ch., 1025 ; ib., 154I4 
Godmen of armes, Wm. of P., 1069. Kni3t of armes, ib., 11 98. 
Harroldys of armes, Torr., 2365. Man of werre, Ip., 3869. Men 
at horse, Maund., xxii. 245 (ned). 


Hommes d'armes, Berry, J^ec, de N., 357, 370 bis. Chevaliers 
d*armes, Ch'g/s, 2687. Sergaunts d'armes, Fr, Ch, Lond., p. 83* 
Bone genz des armes, Pierre de L., i. p. 218, B. Consauls d'armes, 
Machault, p. 108. Gens d'armes. Berry, l^ec, de N,, 306 et pass. 
Gens de guerre, tb,^ 26S e/ pass, ; CI, d'Am,^ 2000. Airaulx 
d*armes, J. d'Auton, Ch. (God.). Archiers k cheval, Berry, I^ec, de 
N,, 347, 371. Serjanz e k escuz e k arcs, Quatre Liv, des R,, iii. 
27. Un grand sire as armes, Pierre de L., i. 196. Gens as armes, 
id,y i. 218. 

merchant of wool, &c. — a favourite phrasal construction for 
nouns of trades and professions : Marchantes of woUe, P, PL Crede, 
289. Men of laghe, Pr, ofC, 5942 ; Ch., Mel, p. 164. Sergeant 
of lawe, ProL C, T,, 309. Doctour of phisik, 411. Man of 
religion, Wm. de S., 65; SL Alex, (v.) 23; E, E. Wills, 3, 12. 
Renkez of religion, C/., 7. Men of ordre, A, E, Z., St, Aug., 
1043 ; St, Alex, (Laud, 622), 86, &c. Man of holichirche, R. G., 
Ch,, 9659. 

Merchant de chevax, de vin, ouvribre de sole, tailleur de robes, 
&c., Taille de Paris, anno 1313. Marchdanz de dras. Fab,, ii. 126. 
Mestres de theologye, Pierre de L., ii. 346. Gent de religiun, Ron, 
783; Fab,, ii. 172; Livere de Reis, p. 58. Dames de religion, 
Machault, p. 147. Gent d'ordre, Ruteb., 42 (L.). Gens d'eglise, 
Berry, Rec. de N,, 297, 358. 

man of price, &c. An excellent instance of the transference of 
set phrases from OFr. to MidE. is afforded by the expressions made 
with price in a relation of genitive of quality : No no gentil man of 
priis. A, and M,, 2831. His yonge men of prys. Gam,, 803. In 
Troye was a Due of prys, R. B., Ch,, 459. pe twelue dosze-peres 
of pris, ib,, 1601. & Kni^tes of pris. A, and M,, 6062. A castel 
. . . of pris, R. B., Ch,, 161 2. Gyftes of pris, ib,, 3748. Hors of 
priis. A, and M,, 681 1. 

Bons serjens de priz, Mort Garin, p. 4. Li bon vasal de prise, 
Aymon, p. 11. Li barons de pris, Cliges, 4630. c. homes de pris, 
Alesc, 8019. Chevaus de pris, Cligis, 416. 

point of death. This expression exemplifies the supplanting of 
the native idiom by the borrowed phrase : Be noght fulfilled at J>e 
dedes poynt, R. R. H., Pr. of C, 3303. pou bytawte in to J?i 
faderys handys at ))e poynt of J>i deth J?i gloryouse gost, R. R. H., 
Med, de P, D,, 338. At point of dede was hir stat, A, and M,^ 
8458, In poynt of dethe we both hathe ben, Ip,, 7032* 

E quant vent al point de la mort. Best, Rich,, 3835. Naufre^ 
an poynt de mort, FiizWar,, p. 70. Qu'il vient al destreit, | Al 
point de morir, Reimp,, § 68. 

The AS. expressions of the notion were : -^t his daga ende, 
£1, Horn,, p. 225 ; ealdres at ende, Beo.^ 2791; and orwena lifes 
iaeg aet fortS-siSe, M., Lives, iii. 301. 


brother germain, brother-in-law, &c. It is not remarkable, 
when MidE. adopted OFr. terms for family relationships like uncle, 
aunt, cousin, that it should also owe expressions of the type of 
cousin germain and brother-in-law to the same source. Brother 
germayn of uader and of moder, Ayen,, 146. No bretheren, ne 
cosins germayns, Ch., MeL, 168. He is mi germain cosyn, G, of 
W.y A., 912 (ned). 

Qui estoit ses freres germains, Cltges, 2539. Sa suer germainne, 
Chev, au Z., 3909 ; serors germainnes, R, u, P., i. 5, 2. .ii. cousins 
germains, Fab,^ ii. 54. Germains cousins, Alexan, {Fuerres)^ 645. 

He was Daries brother in lawe, Alts,, 4399. And son-in-law 
wes to the king, Bruce j xvii. 219. Agains Pompeius, fader thin 
in lawe, Ch., Monkes 71, 690. 

The AS. expressions for brother-in-law, &c., were dSum, swegr, 
snoru. The new forms are certainly Romance. In OFr. en loi 
de mariage was a set formula in the expression of such relation- 
ships : P^re en loi de mariage = beau-p^re (La C. * loi,' also God., 
ib,). Me pren par loy de mariage, Meiam, Ov, (Bartsch), 643, 
29. Vos iestes tuit mi fil et mes fiUes en \o\yjos. of Ar., 1380. 
Poures jeunes hommes, | Freres en lay k cause de leurs femmes, 
Reg, 130 Chartoph, reg,^ ch. 127 (Du Cange). The ned notes as 
the source the legal Lat. frater in lege, citing, however, no example 
earlier than 1425, while the MidE. expression is found in 1300. 


MidE., in addition to tautological groups carried over from AS., 
shows fresh groups transferred from OFr. These are: verbal 
groups, like grant and give, A. Z., St, Aug,^ 1357 ; adverbial, 
like fair and well ; adjectival, like safe and sound ; or nominal, like 
those adduced below. In some cases an English equivalent word 
replaces a French word in one member of the phrase, and the 
whole takes on a semblance of bilingualism, for which the history 
of the phrase in question affords no justification. 

cause and matter : That men mowe haue cause and matiere 
to prayse you, Ch., MeL^ p. 196. 

Ne truisse cause ne reson, CI, d'Am,, 2923. 

custom and use (haunt): Als ))e custom ]?an was and ]>t 
usage, R. R. H., Pr, of C, 4054. His custume & his haunt, 
R. B., Ch., 6648. 

Si comme il est costume et us, Wace, Brut, 6912; id,, 3243. 
Si com or est us et costume, Cl^h, 4531. Si come il est coustume 
et us. Fab,, i. 112. Par le coustume et par Tusage, G. de P., 8907. 

hue and cry : Wyf> mykel noyse & cry & heu, R. B., Ch,, 11 984. 
Oure peple made an hu and a crye, Cax., God, Bol,, 268, 11. 

E Franceis les enchalcent e a hu e a cri, Wace, Rou, ii. 895 ; 
Brut, 3128; /i^., 8710. Et la bataille, et li hus, et li cris, Mort 


Garzn, 238. Li sun des cors, li hu, li cri, A. N, Ch,, i. 200. Li 
huz et la criee, Troie, 9535. Et cri et hu, Wace, Brut^ 3128, 
8710. Lievent le cri, lievent le hu, Ch, d, N., ii. 5142. 

leisure and space : Gif God will me gif | Laser and space so 
lange till lifF, Bruce, xx. 233. 

Quant il ont else et leu et tans, Cliges, 3864. Se vos li donez 
leisir e tens, Ch. d, N., ii. 21060. N'ont unc mais aise ne leisir, tb., 
17968. Or ont assez terme et leisir, Troiey 22335. Leu e leisir, 
Ch. d. N., ii. 17800. 

lord and sire (master): Humbald was f>er-in lord & sire, 
R. B., Ck., 6421. 

De lui firent seignor et maistre, Eneas, 77; Boron, Graal, 3350- 
Qui est damour sire et maistre, En. (D.), 734 (Append.); G.deP,, 
2478 ; Hav,f 1086 ; Trote, 490. Mestre et sire, 2*3., 837; 22330. 

Ids and price : Ye, for to gette them losse & prise, Ip,y 6046. 
For to Wynne price and loos, B, of H.^ x» 22. 

Por los et pris d'armes conquerre, F/, et Lir., 1184; 7r., 2, 
42. Grand pris et grans los, Wace, Brut, 130 15. Le los & 
le pris [en] portast, Ip., 131, 11 51, 1588. Out le los e pris 
(Adgar), Mar. Leg., 39/52. 

peace and concord : Pesful felagheship and concord, R. R. H., 
Ps. cl. 4 (ned). Concorde nor peace, Caxton, En,, xl. 132. 

pais et Concorde, Wace, Brut, 1293 ; Ch. d. N., ii. 645; tb., 
8500. Concorde e pais, Ch^ </. A^., 23179 ; ib., ii. 6317. 

right and reason : For as by right and resoun, ther may no 
man take vengeaunce, Ch., Mel., 169. 

Mout lor fet bien reison et droit, Clig/s, 534 ; Ch. d. N., ii. 
23560; Wace, Rou, ii. 2749. Raison et droiture. Fab., i. i. Dreiz 
est e raisun. Mar. Leg., 46/155; Cour, L., 1897; Troie, 24404. 


The expression of the notion *what kind of was usually made 
in AS. by means of cyn in the genitive : Feower cynna gefeoht, M., 
Lives, XXV, 705. iElces cynnes treow = L. omne lignum, Gen., ii. 9. 
Cf. also : gehwylces hddes men, men of all ranks, Bl. Horn., p. 47. 
pa nftenu of eallum cinne, Gen,, vii. 8. 

This native idiom passed into MidE. ; sumes kennes (lean), 
V. and v., 11, 32. Monie kunnes remedies, A, R,, 120. Two 
cunne ancren, ib., 128. Ones Kunnes treow, ib., 150. Alles 
cunnes pinen,/«/., 18. Nanes cunnes blisse, ib., 21. 11c kinnes 
beste, G. and Ex., 220. Oj>res kennes teares, V. and K, 147, 8. 
Alle tSes kennes eueles, ib,, 103, 2, Noskinnes labour, Ch., ff. of 
F., 1794. Us forto were fra alkins ill, Stk Holy Rood, 60, 

* See also Kellner, ' English Syntax,' pp. 103 IT. 


In examples like the last cited we see already alles cynnes 
losing caste as a noun and passing into an indeclinable adjective. 
This tendency was strengthened by the form cynne, originally the 
genitive pi. cynna; hence: Whatkyn fru}^:, Fr. of C, 923. Alkyn 
thyng, ib.^ 3248. Nankyn chance, Bruce, ii. 168. This kyn vis^ 
lA, iv. 743. Fele-kyn hues, C/., 1483. Even Whatkyns a Godd, 
Sir PerCj 242. On J>is kin wise. Finding of the Cross y 33. 

The OFr. expression by means of mani^re, esp^ce, emphasized 
the class rather than the content of the notion : Tote manere de 
pecche, BesL Rich,, 1516. Une manere est de serpent, ib,, 1634. 
Toutes mani^res d'autres vivres, 7r., i. 32. Autre meniere d'angin, 
Jos. of A,, 862. Mainte maniere | E de virgenes et d*inocens, 
Mouskes, Hist de Fr., p. 296. iii manieres de franchise, Lorenz, 
p. 24. Vint e treis manieres de herbes, Adgar, 31, 86. Tute 
maniere de musches(= omne genus muscarum), Ps, Ixxvii. 45. 
Also, but less frequently : Joiaus de maintes manieres, Fab,, ii. 125. 
Roses de diverses guises, CL d'A., 2147. 

MidE. early imitated the OFr. : Crabbe is an manere of fissce, 
0,E,H,, 51. How fele maners ... of fleande brides, QuesLM.,\t. 286. 
pe maner of crucyfyyng, Med. Pass, Lord, 628. Al maner of 
trespas, Med. Sov. Lady, 1104. Another manere of drynk, Pr, of 
C, 6750. Sere maners of gys, ib,, 1532. Through the analogical 
influence of the singular constructions, aided by the native unin- 
fleeted collectives, we have : Seven manere of blysses, Pr, of C, 
8168. Kind stands at times as the native equivalent of manere: 
Vnder what kynde of tre, Ps. of S., 336. Al kynde of fissches, 
Wic, Matt, xiii. 48. Even what-kyn is influenced : Breve me, 
bryght, quat-kyn of treys, Pearl, 63, 11. 

Manner assumed at times the late native (uninflected) construc- 
tion of cyn, hence : Of each maner evil, Holy Rode (Ashm.), 67. 
Some maner comfort, Ch., Mill. T,, 495. Such maner doctrine, Pr. 
T., 47. All maner fusoun, Libeaus JDes., 112. On the other hand, 
the native construction seems to have reacted on late AngN. : Al 
rays est acordez de totes maners ennuys, Pierre de L., i. 492 ; also 
Fr, Ch, de L. Latin influence as well was at work, the appositive, 
instead of the partitive genitive construction with pars, genus, &c., 
being common in non-classical Latin (Draeger, Hist. Syntax, i. 3). 


AS. place-names, in addition to the simple form, such as Brytene, 
Lundene, Temese, were frequently composite, i. A genitive of pos- 
session entered: Edmundesburh. NorSmanna land, Oros,,i9^, 24. 
West Seaxna rice, AS, Ch., 1 . Angelcynnes lond, ib,, 96. Baldewines 
land [Flanders], ib., 305. Andredes ceaster, ib., 24. Brunnanburh, 
ib., 200s Ascanmynster, ib., 86. -^gelesford, ib.y 279. ^sces 
diin, ib,, 139. In rare cases, under immediate Latin usage, the 
genitive replaced what logically was an appositive relation : Alex- 


andrian byrig, iE., Lives, ii. i8i. ii. The appositive relation of 
name and common noun was the common and native idiom: 
Romeburh, Oros,, 28, 25. Eoforwicceastre, AS, Ch., 48. paet 
land Arabia, Oros., 10, 35. Seo da Danai, td., 8, 16. Brytene 
igland, AS, Ch., 3. On J>am dene Mambre, Gen,, 18, i. pa 
muntas Caucasus, Oros,, 130, 16. -ffithiopica westenne, t6,, 12, 26 
[= Aethiopica deserta]. iii. The common noun may be extended 
by the use of the article or periphrasis : Nilus seo da, Oros,, 12, 19. 
pam wsetere seo da hatte Tamese, AS, Ch,, 5. On Antiochia, 
lb., 9 = On Antiochia Caere ceastre, tb., 8 = on Antiochia ceastre, 
ib,y 9. IV. The Norse construction with set is found : To J^am porte 
]?e mon hset set HseJ^um, Oros,, 19, 23. 

The MidE. period offers abundant instances of the native con- 
structions: To lond mesopotanie fer, G, and Ex,, 1360. Fro 6e 
riche flod eufrate, tb,, 1256. To tSare haljan ceastre constantino- 
polim, Holy Rood, 34, 28. lordanen J^sere se, tb,, 18, 26. Wyrol- 
hram J>e cite, R. B., Ch,, 9616. pe Louh Lumyne { = Lomond), tb,, 
10 1 95. pe hil Teynewyk, tb,, 10165. Two watres, Marne & 
Seyne, ib., 10832. Inne Winchsestre tun, Laj., (b) 400. 

Early in MidE. there appears, however, a new construction 
destined to win supremacy over, though not to oust, the native 

* flat ' appositives : Igland of Orcanie, AS, Ch,, p. 1 1 (MS. Cott. 
Domit., A. viii, dated (Thorpe) c. 11 50; earlier MSS. Orcadus ))a 
ealond, Orcadius J>a ^aland). De desert of refachim, G, and Ex,, 
3352. Out of \>Q montayn of Synay, ib., 224. pe hul of Calvary, 
Holy Rode {K^hm.), In J^e londe of Asye, *SV. Marg,, 18. 
The Cite of Damace, Bev, of Ham,, x, 1042, The rayalme of 
Fraunce, ib,, 2602. pe water of Teyne, R. B., Ch,, 10161. Ilde 
of Albyon, ib., 1745. The cape of Fynestere, Ch., ProL, 408. The 
toun of Athenes, K, T,, 115. The mount of Setheron, ib,, 1078. 

It is worth notice that the first instance of the occurrence of this 
new construction bears with it a trace of its origin. The form 
Orcanie in the AS, Ch, is the Romance form as against the semi- 
Lat. Orcadus or the native Orcaneg. The construction is, of 
course, Romance. Instances of it are not unknown to Latin : 
Urbem Patavi, Virgil, JB,, i. 247. Asturae fiumen, Livy, viii. 13, 
&c. (Draeger, * Hist. Syntax der latein. Sprache,' i. p. 466, § 202 
(2nd ed.).) In Med. Latin this took the form villam de Bertiniaca, 
which became the general Romance construction (Stolz-Schmalz, 

* Latein. Grammatik,' 417, § 65). Terre de France, mult estes dulz 
pais, Ch, de R,, 1861. La terre d'Engleterre, Ch, d, N,, ii. 27940. 
Le pais de Vermendeis, ib,, ii. 18261. La duchde de Normandie, 
ib., ii. 1 131 1. Fieu de Normendie, ib., ii. 28101. Le reaume de 
France, ib,, ii. 24473. ^^'^ d'Avalon, Wace, Brut, 9516. La citd de 
Rome, Ch, d, N,, i. 1300. La riverede Somme, ib,, ii. 12272. Al 
fluie de Ette, ib,, ii. 9321. L'eue de Gironde, ib,, ii. 4814. La cyte 
de Loundres,7>-d?/>, 23249. Le flum de Humere, Livere de Reis, p. 44, 


The same history holds with the appositives of month. The 
native names of the month gave place in AS. to Latin names, 
used either alone : lanuarius, MenoL (Fox), 19, Martins, 73, 
Mains, ih.^ 155 ; or in apposition with monaj) : se sol-monat$ . . . 
Februarius, ib,^ 3 iff.; monaS . . . lunius, 210 ff . ; Aprelis 
tnonaS, ib.y 112; BlotmonatS . . . Nouembris, ih.^ 387 f. The 
genitive is rare, if indeed this be not a variant analogical nom. : 
monaS to tune Decembris, 436 f. The new MidE. usage, 
following the introduction of the OFr. names, is : the monthe of 
Aueril, R. G., Ch.^ 506; the monJ)e of feuerer, 8238; J)e 
monjj of June, Libeaus Des,, 1303. 

This imitates OFr. : Le mois de Mars, Berry, Rec, de iV., 239. 
Le meis d'Avril, Trote, 23249. El meis de Averil, Gaimar, 3247. 
Le mays de August, Pierre de L., i. p. 26, &c. 

Chronology. The influx of noun phrases is first noted in the 
appositive construction with of, which appears as early as the 
middle of the twelfth century; about a century later master- 
frequently replaces head- in compound nouns. The real flood 
of new phrasal nouns begins with the fourteenth century. From 
1300 to 1350 we note the introduction of chief- for master-, 
month of, manner of, man of arms, man of law, man of price, 
brother-germain, brother-in-law, point of death, and the tautologies 
custom and use, hue and cry, lord and sire, los and price. The 
second half of the century extends these groups by man at arms, 
merchant of wool, and additional tautologies. 

Conclusion. The establishment of Romance influence in 
nominal phrases as exemplified above seems warranted by the 
indisputable influence of master-, chief-, on the native habit of 
compounding with h^afod, and by the direct translation of fr^re en 
loi, supplanting AS. dSum. The expression of the appositive re- 
lation by OF is essentially a Romance, not a Teutonic construction. 
It is interesting to see, in the case of * manner of,' what is abundantly 
illustrated elsewhere, that the foreign word tends to bring into 
the language that adopts it its own construction. The instances of 
conventional tautologies are part of those stylistic imitations of 
OFr. characterizing nearly all the fourteenth-century literature 
of MidE. The full history of these phrases would disprove what 
indeed the phrases here adduced suggest, that MidE. tautologies are a 
matter of style or of habit, not a conscious adjustment of language 
to the needs of speech in a bi-lingual people. (See Earle, Philology, 
pp. 84 ff., 5th ed., contra,) 



It has been shown that OFr. exercised an extensive and powerful 
influence on the development of the meaning and phrasal uses of 
important MidE. verbs, at times to the detriment of the native 
idiom; that the same influence told in a characteristic feature of 
MidE. expression and style, the figurative negative, which, virtually 
unknown to AS., found its inspiration, form, and content in OFr. ; 
that in subtle syntactical relations, as in the use of prepositions in 
adjectival and adverbial phrases, there was a marked growth of 
new constructions, accompanied by a modification or giving up 
of old constructions, all under the influence of OFr. syntax ; that 
existing nominal compounds in MidE. were affected, formations on 
new types entered, conventional nominal phrases were borrowed or 
imitated, tautological phrases were naturalised, appositive relation- 
ship expressed by of in place-names, &c. — all after the example of 
OFr. usage. We must therefore conclude : — 

I, That a great factor in the changes which distinguish MidE. 
from AS., and which persist as characteristics of Standard English 
in Chaucer— changes that affect the phraseology, idiom, syntax, 
style — is found to be the influence of OFr. 

The attitude of modern scholarship may be represented by the 
sentence already quoted from Professor Korting: * Nur im Wortschatz 
ist das Englische halbfranzosisirt, im Uebrigen ist es germanisch 
geblieben, und wo es dennoch dem Franzosischen ahnlich geworden 
zu sein scheint ... ist dies nicht die Folge einer Angleichung 
an das FranzSsische, sondern erklart sich durchaus befriedigend 
aus den der Sprache von jeher eigenen Entwickelungsneigungen.' 
This, too, was the opinion of Scheibner : * Von einem directen Ein* 
flusse des Franz5sischen auf das Englische wollen die meisteii 
Philobgen nichts wissen ; nur Keane [* Handbk. of the Engl&b' 
Language,' London, 1875] nimmt an, dass die Tendenz des Eng- 
lischen, die Flexionsendungen abzuwerfen, durch die Beruhrungeu 
mit der franzosischen Sprache theilweise bestimmt oder beeinflusst 
worden ist \' With these we must class, perhaps, Kellner, though 

* *Ueber die Herrschaft der franzosischen Sprache in England,* p. 21. 
Annaberg, 1880. 


his position is somewhat vaguely defined : * The influence of 
French on Syniax Proper has been overrated. English syntax, in 
the main, is still Germanic, just as English sounds, inflexions, and 
word-formation are ^/ This opinion we consider no longer tenable. 
!Einenkel represents a sane recovery from the extreme negative 
view, which was itself a reaction from the rash generalisations of 
Thommerel. *Der Einfluss des Afrz. auf das Me. zeigt sich 
mittelbar in einer Beschleunigung des Triebes zur Analyse, un- 
mittelbar in der Nachbildung zahlreicher, oft idiomatisch-roma- 
nischer Ausdrucksweisen 

2. From the chronology of the changes it is made manifest that 
there is a law in the time of their appearance. These modifications, 
due to OFr. influence, show an almost imperceptible trace in the 
twelfth century, appear to a slight extent in the early years of the 
thirteenth century, gain slight ground during that century, but only 
in the first half of the fourteenth century do they manifest them- 
selves in anything like the strength and fullness that characterize 
Standard English as against Early MidE. In this respect Einenkel's 
view is corroborated: *Das 14. Jahrh. ist der Angelpunkt in der 
Entwickelung der engl. Syntax Hence : — 

3. These changes are in essential respects in effective strength 
before the time of Chaucer and Wycliffe, who must be regarded as 
masters and not creators of their language. In this respect Mors- 
bach's view, gained by an examination of the phonology and 
inflexion of London documents, is upheld : * Sie (die neuengi 
Schriftspr.) ist weder von Wyclif noch von Chaucer geschaffen*.' 

4. These changes, as respects chronology, are parallel with the 
growth of the French elements in the vocabulary of MidE., as 
stated by Morris, Sturmfels, and others. *Die Ausbeute aus den 
me. Denkmalem des 12. und der ersten Halfte des 13. Jh. fallt 
Sparlich aus . • . Eine grossere Aufname afr. Worter fand erst in der 
v8n Scheibner richtig als Zeit der Gallomanie charakterisierten 
fcriode nach der Mitte des 13. Jh. (von Eduard I. ab) statt V 

^ * Historical Outlines of English Syntax,' p. 308. 

* * Paul's Grandriss der ger. Philologie,' i. p. 907, 
3 lb., p. 930. 

* * Ueber den Ursprung der neuenglischen Schriftsprache,' p. 168. 

* Sturmfels, * Afr. Vokalismus im Mittelenglischen,' pp. 9 flf. 



'JAN i C