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It is somewhat singular that there should be any
trouble whatever about the correct use of irregular verbs, and yet how often the transitive verbs lay, raise, and set, are confounded with the intransitive verbs lie, rise, and sit.
Set, set, set, and sit, sat, sat, are as simple as simplicity itself. We set a thing in its place, and we sit down when we are tired. The same simplicity is characteristic of lay, laid, laid, and lie, lay, lain; and yet Lord Byron, in one of the sublimest passages in Childe Harold, in speaking of man and his Creator, says :
“ And sendst him shivering in the playful spray,
And dashest him again to earth; there let him lay." Such errors as “he laid down,” for he lay down, are very common in conversation, but the best plan we have seen to avoid them is given by Mr. Butler. It consists simply of a table where the transitive verbs lay and set are conjugated by the side of the intransitive verbs lie and sit.
Dr. Webster contends that the phrase you was is correct but we fear few good writers agree with him. If you was is correct, it would be little use to argue that a verb should agree with its subject in number and person.
“The verb must follow its nominative. If that denotes unity, so does the verb." But there is not much unity in a pronoun of a second person requiring the verb of the third person.
Pinneo, in his grammar, says :- “In common conversation, and by the practised class, was in the singular is almost always used, and among the the more highly educated the tendency is increasing daily." Mr. Butler, in commenting upon this, observes : “If any unfortunate pupil should be led by this statement to the use of you was, he would soon find himself suffering the penalty of misplaced confidence."
Some persons seem to have great difficulty in seeing the difference between signification and form. No one contends that you always denotes more than one, as no one contends that we always denotes more than one,
that the German sie always refers to several persons spoken of. The question is simply about form.
If you is not always plural in form, let us say you art; even if we should follow the analogy of you was and say you is. And, according to the same principle, let the editor of the newspaper when he means only himself say we am, or we is. We shall then have everything, as Tony Lumpkins's friend expresses it, in “a concatenation accordingly."
The use of the plural we for I is comparatively of recent date. There certainly can be no objection to it, for it is nothing like as egotistical as the latter form.
A recent writer tells us that it originated with King John, who found out the art of multiplying himself, whereas his predecessors had been content with the simple ego. The use of we by editors when a single person is meant, is explained on the ground that the opinions expressed under this form are those of a class or party. This expression, however, has the same excuse as that of you for thou. It is republican in form and respectful in every sense, and avoids direct personality
A WONDERFUL BOOK.
"SEEN AND HEARD,” by MORRISON HEADY, the “Blind Bard of Kentucky," as he was called by the late George D. Prentice. A collection of poems by an author Blind and Deaf, would be of the highest interest, if its merits were only ordinary; but, as the work is one of true poetry, showing the writer to be a man of rarest endowments and high poetic genius, the surprise and admiration" of the veteran poet Whittier cannot be wondered at, and his assertion that he "knows of nothing in modern literature more remarkable" than this book, will be reëchoed by every person that reads it. The late Geo. D. Prentice, himself a distinguished poet and a worldrenowned Journalist and critic, adds new strength to Mr. Whittier's endorsement, by saying the people of Mr. Heady's State have a right to be proud of him. When I consider the disadvantages that have doubly rested upon him throughout nearly all his life, I cannot but wonder at what he has been able to achieve."
The volume is an elegant one, beautifully printed on the finest tinted paper, and richly bound in a novel style-an elegant ornament alike for the Parlor Table or the Library Shelf. Price $2,00. Sent Postage Free, upon receipt of price to any part of the country.
H. C. TURNBULL, JR.,
54 Lexington st.,
[Copy of a letter writlen to Morrison Heady, by the late Geo. D. Prentice.]
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Y'ov. 11th, 1869. MR. MORRISON HEADY,
Dear Sir:-Permit me to thank you very heartily for your recently published volume of poetry. I have read the whole of it with much pleasure, and a large portion of it with high admiration. It has passages that I think sublime. That such a book could be produced by a poet under the extraordinary disadvantages that rest upon you is to me a matter of wonder. Accept my best wishes for your happiness and fame,
GEO. D. PRENTICE.
[Copy of a letter received by the publisher from thelate Geo. D. Prentice.]
LOUISVILLE, Nov. 17th, 1869. MR. HENRY C. TURNBULL, JR.,
Dear Sir:--I thank you for a very finely printed and bound volume of the poems of Morrison Heady, the Deaf and Blind poet of Ken