PREPOSITIONS. Upon. "It stands me upon"Prepositions transposed. "It stands me upon." This phrase cannot be explained, though it is influenced, by the custom of transposition. Almost inextricable confusion seems to have been made by the Elizabethan authors between two distinct idioms: (1) "it stands on" (adv.), or "at hand," or "upon" (comp. "instat," προσήκει), i.e. "it is of importance," "it concerns," "it is a matter of duty;" and (2) "I stand upon" (adj.), i.e. "I in-sist upon." In (1) the full phrase would be, "it stands on, upon, to me," but, owing to the fact that "to me" or "me" (the dative inflection) is unemphatic, and "upon" is emphatic and often used at the end of the sentence, the words were transposed into "it stands me upon." "Me" was thus naturally mistaken for the object of upon. Hence we have not only the correct form--
(So Hamlet, v. 2. 63, where it means "it is imperative on me." But also the incorrect--
“It stands me (dative) much upon (adverb)
To stop all hopes.
“It stands your grace upon to do him right.
where "grace" and "lives" are evidently intended to be the objects of "upon," whereas the Shakespearian use of "me" (220) renders it possible, though by no means probable, that "me," in the first of the above examples, was used as a kind of dative. Hence by analogy--
“It only stands
Our lives upon to use our strongest hands.
The fact that this use of upon in "stand upon" is not a mere poetical transposition, but a remnant of an old idiom imperfectly understood, may be inferred from the transposition occurring in Elizabethan prose: “Sigismund sought now by all means (as it stood him upon) to
“It lies you on to speak.
make himself as strong as he could.” NARES. Perhaps this confusion has somewhat confused the meaning of the personal verb "I stand on." It means "I trust in" (M. W. of W. ii. 1. 242), "insist on" (Hen. V. v. 2. 93), and "I depend on" (R. and J. ii. 2. 93), and in
“The moist star
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands.