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V 47I5. after that thou wel deservest Of yifte, thou rniht be the bet.

60. A C construction was already used side by side with the original 011e in early M E.

1205 La-,amon A 37, and again 870, Hit is\>e bet mid us.

1280-90 S. Eng. Leg. 216 543 ho-so ani freond on eor{ie liath: mid hint J>e betere is. (betere instead of bet, owing to confusion).

In late M. E. bet was discarded in favour of better, so that bet ben was merged into bet ter ben (cf. § 53). When; however, bet ben is followed by with — which in M. E. superseded mid1) — we must look upon it as the continuation of the O.E. adverbial phrase, thus O.E. me is bet~y> Early M.E. hit is [fc] bet mid me > Mod. E. it is better with me. An instance of this phrase is found in the Auth. Version.

Hosea II, 7, then it was bet ter with me than now.

That this view is correct, is proved by the existence of the phrase be well with, which occurs no less than 28 times in the Auth. Vers., e. g.

Gen. XL 14, think on me when it shall be well with thee.

2 Kings IV7 26, Is it well with thee ? is it well with thy husband ? is it well with the child ?

Both be well with and be better with are antiquated now, at any rate in every-day English.

Another C construction survives in 'it is well for the country that the corps did not fail' (Webster). 1 have not succeeded in hunting up early instances of this idiom. 3)

As to the A construction, it continued to be employed till after 1500, particularly by Scotch writers (Ilenrysone, Fables 082; Dunbar, King Hart 371 ; Lindesay, Satyre 480).

4. Me is wo.

61. The sense conveyed by this phrase is occasionally expressed by wo habben, as,

1) See E. Hittic, Xur Gexrhiehtc tier (ilt-ewjliwhen l'i'dpusitiimen miil mul wij); Anglistische Forscliungen, ed by Hoops, Hel't 2.

2) In Chdueer, Leg. 0/ G. II'. 27<M>, 'yit is it heI for ine For to be

deed in wyfly honestee', liet evidently stands for heller.

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