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PRONOUNS, RELATIVE AND INTERROGATIVE. Who personifies irrational antecedents

Who personifies irrational antecedents. (bWho is often used of animals, particularly in similes where they are compared to men.

“I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan,
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death.

“Or as a bear encompass'd round with dogs,
Who having pinch'd a few and made them cry.

So 1 Hen. IV. v. 2. 10; 2 Hen. VI. iii. 1. 253, v. 1. 153; but also in other cases where action is attributed to them, e.g.

“A lion who glared.

“A lioness who quickly fell before him.

Who is also used of inanimate objects regarded as persons.

“The winds
Who take the ruffian billows by the tops.

So R. and J. i. 1. 119; i. 4. 100: "The winds . . . who."

“Rotten opinion, who hath writ me down
After my seeming.

“Night . . . who.

“Your anchors, who
Do their best office if they can but stay you.

“A queen
Over her passion, who most rebel-like
Sought to be queen o'er her.

So probably in

“Your eye
Who hath cause to wet the grief on 't.

i.e. "your eye which has cause to give tearful expression to the sorrow for your folly."

“My arm'd knee
Who bow'd but in my stirrups.

But is who the antecedent here to "me" implied in "my?" (See 218.)

“The heart
Who great and puff'd up with this retinue.

So V. and A. 191 and 1043, "her heart . . . who;" T. A. iii. 2. 9, "my breast . . . who."

The slightest active force, or personal feeling, attributed to the antecedent, suffices to justify who. Thus:

“The dispers'd air who answer'd.

“Applause
Who like an arch reverberates.

“Therefore I tell my sorrows to the stones
Who though they cannot answer, &c.

“Bushes,
As fearful of him, part, through whom he rushes.

So "her body . . . who," R. of L. 1740; "the hairs who wave," V. and A. 306; "lips who . . . still blush," R. and J. iii. 3. 38; "sighs who," R. and J. iii. 5. 136; "mouths who," P. of T. i. 4. 33; "palates who," P. of T. i. 4. 39; "her eyelids who like sluices stopped," V. and A. Sometimes who is used where there is no notion of personality:

“The world, who of itself is peised well,

where perhaps who is used because of the pause after "world," in the sense "though it." (See 263.) If there had been no comma between "world" and the relative, we should have had that or which.

Perhaps in this way we may distinguish in

“The first, of gold, who this inscription bears;
The second, silver, which this promise carries.

i.e. "the first of gold, and it bears this inscription; the second, (silver,) which carries," &c. In the first the material, in the second the promise, is regarded as the essential quality. [Or does euphony prefer which in the accented, who in the unaccented syllables?]

In almost all cases where who is thus used, an action is implied, so that who is the subject.

Whom is rare.

“The elements
Of whom your swords are temper'd.

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