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VERBS, INFLECTIONS OF:-- Participial prefix y-

The participial prefix y- is only two or three times used in Shakespeare's plays: "y-clept," "y-clad," "y-slaked." In E. E. y- is prefixed to other forms of speech beside participles, like the German ge-. But in Elizabethan English the y- was wholly disused except as a participial prefix, and even the latter was archaic. Hence we must explain as follows:

“The sum of this
Brought hither to Pentapolis
Yravished the regions round.

Shakespeare was probably going to write (as in the same speech, line 1, "yslaked hath") "yravished the regions hath," but the necessity of the rhyme, and the diminished sense of the grammatical force of the participial prefix, made him alter the construction. The y- is used by Sackville before a present participle, "y-causing." In M. of V. ii. 9. 68, and elsewhere, we find "I wiss" apparently for the old "y-wiss."

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