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this distinctness, there must be periphrasis. Il faut que je venir, Jái dessein de venir. The verb devoir is also combined to give the futuritial must. The German Werden, which is made use of as an auxiliary even to itself, merely certifies what the party is in due time to become, or to perform. The Hebrew future is most indefinite, because it has to serve the purpose of a potential and subjunctive mood : and it may require the signs to be understood of may, can, might, would, should, could. Whatever may be the degrees of futurity intended by the Greek tenses,—the first implying an earlier, the second a later, action, to say nothing of the Paulo-post* future in the passive voice, which seems to point out the very next moment as its time,-still all three are silent, whether it is inducement of determination or necessity. Every school-boy in his Latin exercise has to utter the same alternative,-a perplexing licence when he commences translating,-I shall or will. The happy convenience, which is now adduced, is this: we can announce our future with an intelligible exposition of the certainty on which that future is founded: we can declare why, and how, it is to take place.
It will be best, at the outset, to examine these powers, Shall, and will. Shall has its primitive in Sceal (Sceal), a Saxon word, signifying to owe, any thing that is owed or ought : that is, what is due, or whatever we are bound to undertake. Will is the decision of our inclinations, the freedom of the affections with their bent. Though Pillan (Willan) is found in our Saxon lexicons and writings, it is rather a Latin word, velle ; which it is curious to trace back to the Greek, Bourouar, Bouin, turning the B into v. This prefix, of course, most generally denotes resolve. Literally, then, if we shall do a thing, we are compelled : if we will, we are determined. These auxiliaries, it is obvious, give rise to the conditionals of should and would. We must certainly allow that whatever conduces to the accuracy of any vehicle of thought,—which gives to the thought, so to speak, the most colourless medium and clearest transparence, is a desirable thing. Shall does not serve the end of will, nor can will reflect the force of shall. By almost an intuition we so shift and alternate them, that sound and judgment alike assign their place, and dictate their difference.
* This tense only once occurs in the New Testament. Οι λιθοι κεκραξονται. Luke xix. 40.
Yet what is their rule? Shall is certainly something more than an index of the future. It is often peremptory-it is the sanction of command : You shall ! Thus Coriolanus is represented by Shakspeare exclaiming, to the stern employment of this term by Sicinius Velutus, the Tribune:
" Shall remain ?
In such a connection, we discover compulsion to be the idea, but then it is only the compulsory enforcement of right or duty. Will is the exponent of energetic vow.
“I will do it at once. I will do it. I will secure it." But both are most properly made signs of the future. For, however immediately “shall” commands, and "will" decides, from that present there is an interval. It remains to be done.
It would be very difficult to set this matter right with our Caledonian fellow-countryman. He almost invariably offends against the rule, if rule there be. You ask him to dine with you.
You receive his refusal, and observe his strange excuse, -"As I will be out of town." Where is the error ? Is it not a determination, a volition ? But it is not courteous so to put it. It seems to intimate a willingness to escape. Alter that part,—“ As I shall be out of town." It breathes regret. This shall is must,--an inevitable occasion for declining the engagement. You request him to do you a favour. You obtain his consent. “ I shall just do it.” The very kindness of the favour evaporates with that dull formal shall, and the will was the only source and agent by which it could be graciously bestowed. He apprehends danger," he will be drowned;" he deplores the want of succour, “no one shall help me.” This old-established jest is scarcely stronger and
more stringent than what I have often heard. An unfortunate has said to me, “I will be ruined.” A dying man, little reconciled to his approaching change, has told me, “I will die this time.” Where it was meant that the person spoken of should be most voluntary in his movements, it has been imperiously asserted, “He shall go.
Sometimes it is difficult to discriminate between these auxiliaries, and especially when used interrogatively. “Shall you go? Will you go?" Neither form is improper, but they are not exactly equipollent. They might be thus varied. Do you feel obliged to go ? Are you inclined to go? So in soliloquy: “ What shall I do?” is a reasonable question. What course should I take? But when a man runs about in fright, crying, “ What will I do?” it is a silly appeal, for he may be so complete a fool that no one could speculate upon his possible extravagance of absurdity.
I can scarcely venture to affirm that never can shall and will be spoken and written indifferently: that never may they be harmlessly interchanged: that never are they simple interpreters of futurition.
“ Will" is the more accommodating and pliant of the two. But then it is the feebler also. Where the emphasis is not direct upon it, it sometimes slides into this mere intimation. Shall, however, is rarely thus convertible. How well-strung is its pitch to the key of ardent aspiration and lofty prophecy! Then shall come to pass ! Then shall the end be! Then will come to pass.
Then will the end be. How tame! The contrast but leaves the word little more than a bare idea that such results would happen! Assurance falters into doubt, and exultation droops over a table of reckonings and summed-up issues.
To make these quantities, if we may speak of verbal quantities, more apparent, I will select a quotation or two from our popular writers. It will be seen how injurious would be their mutual substitution. I open, by chance, on the passage in the Vicar of Wakefield,* where the Father, already incarcerated, replies to the remonstrance of George, who is just dragged to prison for challenging Thornhill: “And my son you shall find them. From this moment I break from my heart all the ties which held it down to earth, and will prepare to fit us both for eternity. Yes, my son, I will point out the way, and my soul shall guide yours in the ascent, for we will take our flight together. I now see, and am convinced, you can expect no pardon here, and I can only exhort you to seek it at that greatest tri. bunal, where we both shall shortly answer.” The second is from Milton's “Reformation in England,” in which is seen the first germ and pledge of his “ Paradise Lost." There is, towards the close, a majesty in his frequent shall : “ Then amidst the hymns and halleluiahs of saints, some one may perhaps be heard offering at high strains in new and lofty measures......... whereby this great and warlike nation may press on hard to that high and happy emulation to be found the soberest, wisest, and most Christian people at that day, when Thou the Eternal and shortly-expected King, shalt open the clouds to judge the several kingdoms of the world, shalt put an end to all earthly tyrannies, proclaiming thy universal and mild monarchy through heaven and earth, where the pious great shall unquestionably receive above the inferior orders of the blessed, the regal addition of principalities, legions, and thrones unto their glorious titles, and in supereminence of beatific vision, progressing the dateless and irrevoluble circle of eternity, shall clasp inseparable hands with joy and bliss, in overmeasures for ever.” Shakspeare furnishes many specimens of this care in his selections. Macbeth thus reasons with himself after his interview with the sibyl-crones :
*Goldsmith's English shows what an Irishman may do in learning our language: his is a very different mother-tongue.
“Besides, this Duncan
So again he resolves :
“ From this moment,
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
No boasting like a fool,
be noticed that a difference occurs in these terms with the person in which they are found. The person makes no difference with shall,-I shall, thou shalt, he shall, are equally potential :—so is, “I will,” as determinate: but the second and third
persons do not govern with the same force. The reason is plain. None can will for another. “ Thou wilt, and he will," can then be only matters of expectation, notes of the future. For when we wish a friend to do us a favour, we neither say, you shall, nor you will,-save that confidently we may add, I know you will, or coaxingly, now you will! Who can ever forget the tone of the Maiden in her boat to Thalaba, repeated as it is,—“Thou wilt go on with me!"
I can lay down no rule or paradigm for this discrimination. An English education imparts the tact which hardly any study can supply. The best method is to ask ourselves, meditating future action or passiveness,—what depends upon us, and what does not depend upon us, what is inevitable and what is fortuitous ? Shall, as transitive, is the mark of behest, or otherwise it stands for must. He shall obey, he shall be made to obey,– he shall die, he must die. I shall go to-morrow, understands engagement, I will go, simple good pleasure.—Will is only determinate in the first person,-in the others it only indicates what our American brethren call eventuation. Good authors, and polished society, are the best teachers and exemplars we can study.
The doctrine of this potestas is this,—that in the English Future Tense we possess an elegant perspicuity which, it is supposed, is peculiar to our language. Taking that of other languages, living or dead, we have to thread out from the context, what meaning is to be understood. It may be of resolve,