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IRREGULARITIES. Noun absolute

Noun Absolute. See also Redundant Pronoun, 243. Sometimes a noun occurs in a prominent position at the beginning of a sentence, to express the subject of the thought, without the usual grammatical connection with a verb or preposition. In some cases it might almost be called a vocative, only that the third person instead of the second is used, and then the pronoun is not redundant. Sometimes the noun seems the real subject or object of the verb, and the pronoun seems redundant. When the noun is the object, it is probably governed by some preposition understood, "as for," "as to."

“My life's foul deed, my life's fair end shall free it.

“The prince that feeds great natures, they will slay him.” B. J. Sejanus, iii. 3.

“But virtue, as it never will be moved,
So lust, &c.

“Look when I vow, I weep; and vows so born,
In their nativity all truth appears.

But this may be explained by 376.

“'Tis certain, every man that dies ill, the ill upon his own head.

“But if I thrive, the gain of my attempt
The least of you shall share his part thereof.

“That thing you speak of I took it for a man.

The following may be thus explained:--

“Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through our host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart.

“That can we not . . . but he that proves the king
To him will we prove loyal.

"He" being regarded as the normal form of the pronoun, is appropriate for this independent position. So

“But I shall laugh at this a twelve-month hence,
That they who brought me in my master's hate
I live to look upon their tragedy.

These three examples might, however, come under the head of Construction changed, 415, as the following (which closely resembles the first) certainly does:

“My lord the emperor,
Sends thee this word that, if thou love thy son,
Let Marcius, Lucius, or thyself, old Titus,
Or any one of you, chop off your hand.

In this, and perhaps in the first example, the "that," like δ́τι in Greek, is equivalent to inverted commas.

“May it please your grace, Antipholus, my husband,
Whom I made lord of me, . . . this ill day
A most outrageous fit of madness took him.

“The trumpery in my house, go bring it hither.

It is, of course, possible to have an infinitive instead of a noun:

“To strike him dead, I hold it not a sin.

For the noun absolute with the participle, see Participle, 376.

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