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I think „,confusion and uncertainty" are terms more applicable to the opinion of Mr. Tyrwhitt than to the ancient use of the reflective pronouns. With regard to „himself, themselves“ neither Todd nor Tyrwhitt venture to deliver their distinct opinions. –

Even the far deeper learning of our German grammarians has failed to prevent them from being at variance with regard to this question.

Jacob Grimm (cf. German grammar Vol. III. pg. 5) inclines to consider „self in „myself and thyself as a substantive form; he explains it in the sense of the middle High Germ. „lip" or of the English „my body, thy body.“ Unable to explain himself, themselves in the same manner, he denounces them as solecisms which existed already in Old English. This was Mr. Grimm's first opinion; subsequently he has, however, adopted a new one. (cf. Germ. gram. Vol. IV pg. 360). Here he explains the forms „myself, thyself as genitive cases, sprung from the A. S. „mîn sylfes, þîn sylfes. In the same manner he considers the plural forms „ourselves, yourselves as genitive cases and he explains the ,,5" as the sign of the original genitive for the plural as well as for the singular number, quite conform to „ours, yours“ (A. S. úseres, úres, eóveres) where the ,,s" simply denotes the genitive case. The genitive ,,his of the third person of the personal pronoun being only used in a possessive sense, Mr. Grimm explains „himself as the dative case (,,him selfum“ used in preference to „his selfes“). In ,,herself" (hire selfre) the genitive and dative cases are blended, whilst „themselves“ derives from the dative ,,þâm.“ In „itself(hit selfe) alone the nominative case is preserved.

Mr. Grimm's views became the foundation on which our later grammarians more or less formed their opinions.

Mr. Fiedler (grammar of the Engl. language vol. I. pg. 228) is content to acquiesce in Mr. Grimm's opinion, avoiding the risk of delivering a decisive opinion of his own.

Mr. Koch (historical grammar of the Engl. lang. vol. I. pg. 470) is doubtful how to explain the Semi-Saxon forms „misilf“ and „mesilf“; he thinks it most probable that they sprung from the oblique cases and as a proof he alleges the Old English termination „en“ in yourselven".

„“ In „misilf, thisilf" he sees the beginning of the substantive use of silf“, in as much as these forms gradually become predominant about the time of Wiclyffe.

Mr. Mätzner (Engl. grammar part I. pg. 318) is for the most part inclined to adopt the opinion of Mr. Grimm. He considers it quite likely that the blending of the cases may have contributed to make the originally dependent genitives be used at a later period quite independently. The permutation of the genitive of the personal pronoun with the possessive pronoun being of frequent occurrence in Anglo-Saxon, he is, however, doubtful whether it be safe to discard entirely the ancient view of considering the pronouns connected with self" as possessives, in which case it is

“ pot at all necessary to regard „self as a substantive. The opinion

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of Mr. Grimm in taking the ,s“ in yourselves, yourselves“, as the sign of a genitive case, in conformity with the genitive form „ours, yours“, does not meet the approbation of Mr. Mätzner. He alleges that the Old English offers the forms self, selve, selven" for the plural as well as for the singular number. The form ,selves " must, therefore, needs be considered as the real sign of a plural which was introduced at a later period.

Having thus rehearsed the different opinions of the most renowned grammarians, both English and German, it will be necessary, before we can venture on pronouncing our own opinion, to develop the history of the reflective pronouns from their origin down to the present time. To this end we will divide our dissertation into two parts: in the first we will examine the etymology and inflection and in the second the syntax.






The reflective relation was expressed in Anglo-Saxon in three different ways:

A. By means of the simple personal pronouns.
B. By means of the personal pronouns connected with self,

silf, seolf“.
C. By means of self without a pronoun.

Singular {

A. By means of the simple personal pronouns.

I. Pers.

II. Pers.
dat. me

þe acc. mec, me

þec, þe
dat. unc

acc. unc (uncit)

incit (inc?)
dat. ûs

acc. ûsic, ûs

eóvic, eóv
III. Pers.

dat. him

hyre, hire

him Singular

acc. hine, hyne hi, hio, hie hit

dat. him, heóm the same for the fem. & neut. Plural




acc. hi


Dative sing. „me.“ Ne ic me svör fela âđa on unriht. Beóv. 2738. Naefre ic me ondraede dômas pine. Juliana 134 cf. ibd. 210. Ac ic me be healfe mînum hlầforde be svâ leófan men licgan

þence. Byrhtnôđ 318. In this last example „me“ might be considered as accusative, put in place of or attenuated out of „mec“; I believe it however, to be very doubtful, whether the construction of „þencan“ with an accusative cum infinit. can be proved, at least in Anglo-Saxon poetry, whilst a reflective dative, added to this verb, is frequently found.

Gebäd ic me tô þá þan beáme (crucem adoravi). Das heil. Kreuz 122. Ic þe nu hâlsige and gebidde me tô þe. Hymn. & Gebete 3,48.

Accus. sing. „mcc, me". Ic me sôfte mäg restan. Genes. 434. Ic me reste. Räthsel 82,5. Ic vende mec on väteres hrycg Caldêas sêcan. Sal. & Saturn 19.

Dat. sing. „Þe“. Nim þe pis ofet on hand. Genes. 518. þû meaht þe forđ faran. Genes. 543. Rite be be bissum feávum fordspellum. Bi manna môde 46.

Accus. sing. „Þec, þe“. þät þu þe ne belge viđ me. Genes. 18,30. Nelle þu ôđ ende yrre habban ne on êcnesse be âva belgan.

Psalm 102,9.
Cen þec mid cräfte (imper.) Beóv. 1219.

Dat. sing. masc. „him“.
Hết tô him anihtas gangan. Dan. 431.
Ac him Loth gevât of byrig gangan. Genes. 2591.
Visdom is se hêhsta cräft and se häfd on him feover ođre cräftas.

Boethius. Bosworth gram, pg. 298. Dol biđ se þe him his dryhten ne ondraedeđ. Seefahrer 106.

Dat. sing. femin. „hire, hyre". Sum heó hire on handum bär. Genes. 636. Volde hyre bûr atimbran. Räths. 30,5. Gevât hyre vest þonan. Räths. 30,10. Seó sunne häfđ þreó âgennesse on hire. Koch, gram. II § 315. And sät hire feorran. Genes. 21,16.

The dative of the neuter gender (him) is not used as a reflective pronoun.


The quoted passages are taken for the greater part out of Anglo-Sax. poetry (Grein, Biblioth. der A. S. Poesie I. & II. In order to avoid misconceptions we write down the titles of the poems as Mr. Grein gives them,

Accus, sing. masc. „hyne“. âhôf hine viđ his hearran. Genes. 263. þe hine ne varnađ. Genes. 635. þaer se rica hyne reste on symbel nihtes inne nergende lâd

Holofernes. Judith 44. Näs he faege på gyt, ac he hine gevyrpte, beah þe him vund

hrine. Beóv. 2976. . hwar he hine maege gerestan. Apoll. of Tyre pg. 18.

Accus. sing. fem. „hi, hio, hie". Seó hi deáfe déđ, dytteđ hyre eáran (se surdam reddit). Psalm 57,4. Micel biđ se meotudes egsa, for þon hi seó molde oncyrređ.

Seefahrer 103. (Seó eádge sâvl) forlaeteđ þâs laenan dreámas and hió viđ þam

lîce gedaeleđ. Crist 1668. Hât sîđian Agar ellor and Ismael laedan mid hie (secum). Genes. 2785.

Accus. sing. neut. „hit". þå gegaderode micel folc hit. Sax, Chron. 921. And reste bät folc hit on þam seofođan däge. Exod. 16,23.

Dual dat. „unc". Fordon he unc self bebeád, þät vit unc vite varian sceolden.

Genes. 800. Forđon vit laedan sculon teónvît of þisse stove and unc stađolvangas rumor sêcan. Genes. 1911.

Dual acc, „unc". Gif vit unc gedaelađ. Räthsel 82,7. Vit unc in aere burnan vađodan ätgädre! Höllenfahrt 1,32. Vit unc viď hronfixas verian þohton. Beóv. 540. þät vit unc eft in þam êcan gefeán on sveglvuldre geseón môstun. Gullậc 1159.

Dual dat. ,,inc". Ac niótad inc þäs ôdres ealles forlaetađ þone aenne beám, variađ inc viđ þone västm. Genes. 235.

Dual acc. „incit, inc". Restađ incit hêr! Genes. 2880. Ne cearađ incit ellor sêcan vinas uncûđe, ac vuniađ hêr. Genes. 2732. The passage „variađ inc viđ þone västm“ may also be regarded as accusative.

Plural dat. „ û s“. Ve þe éstlice mid ds villađ ferigan freólice ofer fisces båd efne

tô þam lande. Andreas 292. Is hit mycle sêlre... þät ve hine alysan of leođobendum ealle

ânmode (@fost is sêlost) and us þone hâlgan helpe biddan, geóce and frôfre! Andreas 1565.

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