previous next

VERBS, INFLECTIONS OF:-- Third person plural present in -es

Third person plural in -s. This form is extremely common in the Folio. It is generally altered by modern editors, so that its commonness has not been duly recognized. Fortunately, there are some passages where the rhyme or metre has made alteration impossible. In some cases the subject-noun may be considered as singular in thought, e.g. "manners," &c. In other cases the quasi-singular verb precedes the plural object; and again, in others the verb has for its nominative two singular nouns or an antecedent to a plural noun (see 247). But though such instances are not of equal value with an instance like "his tears runs down," yet they indicate a general predilection for the inflection in -s which may well have arisen from the northern E. E. third person plural in -s.

“The venom clamours of a jealous woman
Poisons more deadly than a mad dog's tooth.

“The great man down, you mark his favourites flies,
The poor advanced makes friends of enemies.

Here the Globe reads "favourite;" completely missing, as it seems to me, the intention to describe the crowd of favourites scattering in flight from the fallen patron.

“The extreme parts of time extremely forms
All causes to the purpose of his will.

"Manners" is, perhaps, used as a singular in

“What manners is in this?

“Which very manners urges.


“Whose church-like humours fits not for a crown.

"Riches" may, perhaps, be considered a singular noun (as it is by derivation, "richesse") in

“The riches of the ship is come ashore.

But not

“My old bones aches (Globe, ache).

“His tears runs down his beard like winter-drops (Globe, run).” Ib. v. 1. 16.

“We poor unfledg'd
Have never wing'd from view o' the nest, nor knows not
What air's from home (Globe, know).

“And worthier than himself
Here tends (Globe and Quarto, tend) the savage strangeness he
puts on,
Disguise the holy strength of their command, &c.

“These naughty times
Puts (Globe, put) bars between the owners and their rights.

“These high wild hills and rough uneven ways
Draws out our miles, and makes them wearisome.

“Not for all the sun sees, or
The close earth wombs, or the profound seas hides. (Globe, sea.

“The imperious seas breeds monsters (Globe, breed).

“Untimely storms makes men expect a dearth (Globe, make).

Numbers, perhaps, sometimes stand on a different footing:

“Eight yards of uneven ground is three score and ten miles
afoot with me.

i.e. "A distance of eight yards;" and compare

“Three parts of him is ours already.

“Two of both kinds makes up four.

But no such explanation avails in

“She lifts the coffer-lids that close his eyes,
Where, lo! two lamps burnt out in darkness lies.

“Whose own hard dealings teaches them suspect
The deeds of others.

“Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits
Thy beauty and thy years full well befits.

There is some confusion in

“Fortune's blows
When most struck home, being gentle wounded craves
A noble cunning.

On the whole, it is probable that though Shakespeare intended to make "blows" the subject of "craves," he afterwards introduced a new subject, "being gentle," and therefore "blows" must be considered nominative absolute and "when" redundant: "Fortune's blows (being) struck home, to be gentle then requires a noble wisdom."

“Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives,

in a rhyming passage.

It is perhaps intended to be a sign of low breeding and harsh writing in the play of Pyramus and Thisbe.

“Thisbe, the flowers of odours savours sweet.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: