Pettri 316; Patience 117.)- The D construction does not appear to have been in genera! use, although an early instance occurs in the Ormulum:... |iat alle... Well ."eorne birrdenn elennsenn hemm I bodi", & i sawle (4029).
In Northern English and especially in Scotch we fmd me birs in use throughout the M.E. period ('Cursor Mitndi i-'g88, 17162, 17164. 17172, 17533 \Metr. Hom. p. 10, p. 27, p. 84; Bruce VI 316; Ritlc of St. Bcnet 37/23). The following four quotations point to the fact. that in Scotch, at any rate, the D construction had become fairly usual before the verb became obsolete.
c. 1330 Metr. Hom. p. 12, Forthi bird we in bis cuming welcum him.
1375 Bruce. VI 316, Camb. MS., that byrd on na manner Dreid thair fais.
end 15H1 cent. Wars of Alex. Dubl. MS. 776, Of jiis
wonder he had & so he wele burd.
c. 1510 Gavin Douglas, King Hart 567, Thou bird think shame.
2. Me is good, better, best.
Me is leef, lever, levest.
44. It will be advisable to treat these two phrases together, as in their development they.have much in common; me is good &c. seems to have imitated me is leef &c„ so that the latter must engage our attention first.
Me is leef is not the only phrase used in M. E. to express 'it is dear to me, I love'; the same idea was conveyed by 'I hold it dear' e. g. Cursor M. 9962 C, we aght to hald it dere; the other texts have the same; Ibid. 25918 C, And aght man for to hald it dere; F. similar; — cf. St. Andrew & St. Veronica 3813, Heo hyt swy\e deorwyrjdice /<rr<?/rt^(quoted in Bosw. T.)
In the second half of the 13th century another phrase makes its appearance in literature, viz. / have leef, lever,levest identical with German lieb haben, Dutch liefhebben'hold dear, love"). Chaucer uses have lief in the sence of 'love' e. g. Troil.
1) Cl'. Wandsehneider, Zur Si/ntux des Verbs in Lanyleyt Vision. I)iss. Kiel 1887, p. 60: diese construction (i.e. have leef, lover), die dem ae. 1'remd ist, beruht jedent'alls aut' lïanzüs. eindiisx nnd entspricht at'rz. avoir ehier, dass allerdings mit dem iuliii. und ii verbanden «ird.