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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

In Anglo Saxon the absolute case was the dative


the nature of the connection between the two actions, we find good grounds for expecting _[`a] priori_ that the participle will be in the instrumental case, when such exists in the language: and when not, in some case allied to it, i.e., the ablative or dative.

In Latin the ablative is the case that is used absolutely. _Sole orto, claruit dies._

In Anglo-Saxon the absolute case was the dative. This is logical.

In the present English, however, the nominative is the absolute case. _He made the best proverbs, him alone excepted_, is an expression of Tillotson's. We should now write _he alone excepted_. The present mode of expression is only to be justified by considering the nominative form to be a dative one, just as in the expression _you are here_, the word _you_, although an accusative, is considered as a nominative. A real nominative absolute is as illogical as a real accusative case governing a verb.

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s. 520. The word _Prosody_ is derived from a Greek word (_prosodia_) signifying _accent_. It is used by Latin and English grammarians in a wider sense, and includes not only the doctrines of accent and quantity, but also the laws of metre and versification.

justify;">s. 521. Observe the accents in the following lines:--

Then f['a]re thee w['e]ll, mine ['o]wn dear l['o]ve, The w['o]rld hath n['o]w for ['u]s No gre['a]ter gri['e]f, no pa['i]n ab['o]ve The pa['i]n of p['a]rting th['u]s.--MOORE.

Here the syllables accented are the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 24th, 26th, 28th; that is, every other syllable.--Again,

At the cl['o]se of the d['a]y, when the h['a]mlet is st['i]ll, And the m['o]rtals the swe['e]ts of forg['e]tfulness pr['o]ve, And when n['o]ught but the t['o]rrent is he['a]rd on the h['i]ll, And there's n['o]ught but the n['i]ghtingale's s['o]ng in the gr['o]ve.--BEATTIE.

Here the syllables accented are the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 27th, 30th, 33rd, 36th, 39th, 42nd, 45th, 48th; that is, every third syllable.

s. 522. _Metre is a general term for the recurrence within certain intervals of syllables similarly affected._ The syllables that have just been numbered are similarly affected, being similarly accented. Accent is not the only quality of a syllable, which by returning at regular intervals can constitute metre. It is the one, however, upon which English metre depends. English metre essentially consists in the regular recurrence of syllables similarly _accented_.

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