[PW] John Dryden's grammar

Meredith Dixon dixonm at pobox.com
Mon Jul 30 18:14:42 PDT 2018


"If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law...."

Kipling's "use" is a full rhyme there, and he is using the word in the
same sense as Dryden: "are accustomed to do," not "make use of."

“From thy sleepy mansion rise,

And open thy unwilling eyes,

While bubbling springs their music keep,

That use to lull thee in thy sleep.”

John Cowan ably explained the heart of the problem, but since no one
has yet answered your exact questions:

> How is this passage grammatically parsed?
"Mansion", object of the preposition from, modified by "thy" and "sleepy."
Primary subject, understood "you".
Main verbs: "rise" (intransitive) and "open"
"Eyes" direct object of open, modified by "thy" and "unwilling".
"While" temporal clause signifier.
"Springs" subject of temporal clause, modified by "bubbling"
"Music" direct object of temporal clause, modified by "their".
"Keep" verb of temporal clause"

And now the part that no doubt really interested you:
"That" relative clause marker, modifying "springs"
"use" verb of relative clause
"to lull" complementary infinitive of relative clause.
"sleep", object of the preposition "in,"  modified by "thy".

> More specifically, is “use” a noun or a verb?
It is a verb, but it is pronounced like the noun you are thinking of,
i.e., to rhyme with "loose" or "goose" or "moose."

> If a verb, what is its subject? (“That” is a cop-out answer.  Who or what is “that”?)
Its subject is "that", which refers back to "bubbling springs."

In other words, Dryden is saying,
Rise, and open your eyes, while the springs that are accustomed to
lulling you to sleep hold back their music.


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