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In sentences like the following, the adverb des retains its causal meaning: ÆH. 1. 156. 19 Ac hwæt dyde se blinda, þaþa þæt folc hine wolde gestyllan? He hrymde des de swiðor. The relation is not perfectly defined; but the implication is that the call for help grew more importunate because of, not in spite of rebuke.
GENERAL SURVEY. This study may fitly be closed by a rapid general treatment of the material analyzed in separate chapters, with a view to setting forth the broad characteristics of Old English prose, so far as they may be discerned from that material.
I The first topic to be considered is the relation of concessive expressions to the main aspects of sentencestructure. A review such as we have made leaves a strong impression of the explicit character of Old English syntax. There is far less compression of clauses, far less merging of a subordinate idea in the structure of the main sentence, in Old English than in Modern English. A concessive clause here and there, however, omits the verb. Examples: ÆH. 1. 94. 6 Ac gehwylce halgan andbidodon on Abrahames wununge buton tintregum, þeah on helle-wite, oðþæt se Alysend com; perhaps also LS. 2. 440. 252 ne mæg ic hine oferswiðan fordon swa deadne? In the inverted clause, suppression of the verb was plainly an impossibility, so long as word-order remained an essential feature of the constrnction. There are no concessions in Old English corresponding to the familiar absolute phrase,
day or night. On the other hand, the usual form of the swa ... swa ... swaeder construction is with but one verb instead of the possible two. In one passage there is no verb: Lchd. 3. 186. 4 swefen, swa wæder swa god swa yfel, gefremminge hit hæfð.
The concessive relation, as such, does not determine mode. In the case of certain constructions, such as indefinite concessions, modes vary; in the case of others, such as the deah-clause and the inverted clause, the mode is practically fixed; with others still, such as concessive relative and temporal clauses, mode is determined by other considerations, without reference to the concessive meaning given them..
With respect to word-order, the study of concessive constructions can add little of importance to the conclusions of Smith.1 Two facts, however, are noticeable. In cases of a double predicate in Jeah-clauses, there is a fairly strong tendency to turn from the transposed to the direct order, as in the following passage: LS. 1. 34. 161 þeah ðe þu wifes bruce and blysse on life. There is also a tendency to place substantive duet-clauses dependent upon a deah-clause after the rest of the clause, even when, apart from the dæt-clause, the concession has the transposed order.
As to the placing of clauses within the sentence, Old English was very flexible. Subordinate concessive clauses of all kinds may stand either before or after the main clause, or, less often, within it.
The use of tenses in Old English is, in general, dependent upon actual relations of time, and not upon purely grammatical considerations. 2 As a rule, then, the tense of the subordinate concessive clause agrees with that of the principal clause, for they usually have to do with the same time. When there is departure from this rule, it is usually because of an actual difference in the time of the two facts mentioned, as
· The Order of Words in Anglo-Saxon Prose. 2 Cf. Adams, p. 159.
in this example: Bo. 76.9 he bið anfeald untodæled, þeah he ær on mænig tonemned wære.
Another fact of interest is the great number of correlative constructions of one kind and another possessed by Old English, and employed in concessions : Jeah with its correlative adverbs, sam ... sam, the disjunctive inverted clause, and the various correlative constructions with swa-disjunctive clauses, definite and indefinite clauses of degree, and the progressive construction.
Passing from the form of the sentence in general to the separate constructions which have been studied, I will recapitulate briefly some of the more salient results.
1. The affinity between causal and concessive constructions is close in Old English, as is shown by the use of for in both senses, and by the use of causal adverbs in intimate combination with concessive clauses.
2. The concessive relation is often marked, not only by the connectives used, but also by contrasting abverbs of time, demonstrative pronouns, emphatic adjectives, or other antithetical expressions.
3. An adversative to a concessive clause or a clause concessively used almost never precedes it.
4. The Jeah-clause, while retaining its concessive force, may be substantive.
5. Several uses of deah are highly idiomatic, especially the nan wundor deah and the nat Jeah constructions.
6. Sam ... sam, though surviving into Middle English, disappears almost entirely from the literature after the time of Alfred.
7. The disjunctive question formed with hweder ... de or hwæder ... hwcder is not used concessively in Old English prose.
8. The antiquity of some locutions which are still or have recently been in use is a matter of interest. Shakespeare's “No marvel though' has its exact prototype in Old English. Other modern usages which can be traced to Old English are the concessive use of for, the employment of all as a strengthening particle with for or though, the phrase never so, the comparative phrase nevertheless, the use of definite as with an adjective or adverb, and the progressive construction with the ... the.
9. Though there is considerable Latin influence upon the concessive expression of Old English, as in the relative clause containing an adversative, the use of the concessive period with witodlice, and the occasional use of absolute and appositive participles, the independence of the native idiom is marked. This independence is exemplified in the persistent use of the optative with Jeah, no matter what the Latin constrution rendered, in the use of the indefinite swa ... sua with adjectives quite independently of the corresponding Latin idiom, and in the frequent substitution of full clauses for absolute and appositive constructions,
Our study has led to one or two conclusions which, in view of the general tendencies of language, would not have been foreseen: the small use of conditional constructions in Old English to express concession; and the use of the inverted concessive clause only in the disjunctive form, with a beginning of the simple form growing out of the use of odde. It is noteworthy also that the prose texts offer very little material for the tracing of hypotactic from paratactic forms. Unskilfully as the earlier prose-writers sometimes