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VERBS, MOODS OF:-- INFINITIVE: to omitted, inserted

Infinitive. "To" omitted and inserted. In Early English the present infinitive was represented by -en (A.-S. -an), so that "to speak" was "speken," and "he is able to speak" was "he can speken," which, though very rare, is found in Pericles, ii. Prologue, 12. The -en in time became -e, and the -e in time became mute; thus reducing "sing-en" to "sing." When the en dropped into disuse, and to was substituted for it, several verbs which we call auxiliary, and which are closely and commonly connected with other verbs, retained the old licence of omitting to, though the infinitival inflection was lost. But naturally, in the Elizabethan period, while this distinction between auxiliary and non-auxiliary verbs was gradually gaining force, there was some difference of opinion as to which verbs did, and which did not, require the "to," and in Early English there is much inconsistency in this respect. Thus in consecutive lines "ought" is used without, and "let" with, "to." “And though we owe the fall of Troy requite,
Yet let revenge thereof from gods to light.” Mirror for Magistrates (quoted by Dr. GUEST).

“You ought not walk.

“Suffer him speak no more.” B. J. Sejan. iii. 1. “If the Senate still command me serve.” Ib. iii. 1.

“The rest I wish thee gather.

“You were wont be civil.

“I list not prophesy.

“He thought have slaine her.” SPENS. F. Q. i. 1. 50. “It forst him slacke.” Ib. 19.

"Stay" is probably a verb in

“How long within this wood intend you (to) stay?

“Desire her (to) call her wisdom to her.

“As one near death to those that wish him (to) live.

“What might'st thou do that honour would (wished) thee (to)

“That wish'd him in the barren mountains (to) starve.

So M. for M. iv. 3. 138; M. Ado, iii. 1. 42. Hence "overlook" is probably not the subjunctive (see however 369) but the infinitive in

“Willing you (to) overlook this pedigree.

So after "have need:"

“Thou hadst need send for more money.

“Vouchsafe me speak a word.

“To come view fair Portia.

“We'll come dress you straight.

“I will go seek the king.

We still retain a dislike to use the formal to after "go" and "come," which may almost be called auxiliaries, and we therefore say, "I will come and see you."

We cannot reject now the to after "know" (though after this word we seldom use the infinitive at all, and prefer to use the conjunction "that"), but Shakespeare has

“Knowing thy heart (to) torment me with disdain.

A similar omission is found in

“That they would suffer these abominations
By our strong arms from forth her fair streets (to be) chased.


“Because, my lord, we would have had you (to have) heard
The traitor speak.

To is inserted after "let" both in the sense of "suffer" and in that of "hinder."

“And let (suffer) no quarrel nor no brawl to come.

“If nothing lets (prevents) to make us happy both.” Ib. 256. On the other hand, to is omitted after "beteem" in the sense of "suffer:"

“He might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly.

After "durst:"

“I durst, my lord, to wager she is honest.

The to is often inserted after verbs of perceiving,--"feel," "see," "hear," &c.

“Who heard me to deny it?

“Myself have heard a voice to call him so.

“Whom when on ground she grovelling saw to roll.” SPENS. F. Q. v. 7. 32.

“Methinks I feel this youth's perfections
To creep in at mine eyes.

“I had rather hear you to solicit that.” Ib. iii. 1. 120.

“To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
And profound Solomon to tune a jig,
And Nestor play at push-pin with the boys.

This quotation shows that, after "see," the infinitive, whether with or without "to," is equivalent to the participle. "Whipping," "to tune," and "play," are all co-ordinate. The participial form is the most correct: as in Latin, "Audivi illam canentem;" modern English, "I heard her sing;" Elizabethan English, "I heard her to sing." The infinitive with to after verbs of perception occurs rarely, if ever, in Early English (Mätzner quotes Wickliffe, St. John xii. 18, but ?). It seems to have been on the increase towards the end of the sixteenth century, for whereas Wickliffe (St. Matt. xv. 31) has "The puple wondride seynge dumb men spekynge and crokid men goynge, blynde men seyinge," Tyndale (1534) has "The people wondred to se the domme speak, the maymed whole, the halt to go, and the blynde to se;" and the A. V. (1611) has to throughout. This idiom is also very common in North, and Florio's "Montaigne." We have recurred to the idiom of Early English.

Compare William of Palerne, l. 871: "and whan he sei<*> bat semly sitte him bi-fore," i.e. "and when he saw her in her beauty sit before him." In this quotation we might render "sitte" by the participle "sitting," as the girl is regarded as "in the state of sitting." This opens the question of the origin of the phrase "to see great Hercules whipping." Is "whipping," by derivation, a verbal abbreviated for "a-whipping." as in 93, or a present participle? The common construction after "see" and "hear" in Layamon and William of Palerne seems to be neither the participle nor the verbal, but the infinitive in -e or -en. Probably, when the infinitive inflection died out, it was felt that the short uninflected form was not weighty enough to express the emphatic infinitive, and recourse was had to the present participle, a substitution which was aided by the similarity of the terminations -en and -ing. This is one of the many cases in which the terminations of the infinitive and present participle have been confused together (93), and the -ing in this construction represents the old infinitive inflection -en. This may explain:

“I my brother know
Yet living (to live) in my glass.

i.e. "that my brother lives."

Hence, perhaps, also -ing was added as a reminiscence of the old gerundive termination -ene, in such expressions as

“Put the liveries to making.

Similarly we find, side by side, in Selden's "Table Talk," "He fell to eating" and he "fell to eat."

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