bid do / bid to do

nkaper

Senior Member
russian
Beowulf: An Anglo-Saxon Epic Poem

1
Bade he in then to carry
The boar-image, banner, battle-high helmet........

2
“This suit-for-the-battle
Hrothgar presented me, bade me expressly,
Wise-mooded atheling, thereafter to tell thee.............

As I understand from dictionaries the correct form is "to bid somebody do smth" without 'to'. But that translation of Beowulf has many instances with 'to' (as well as without 'to'). Is there any difference in meaning?
Thanks in advance.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Some verbs require "to", while others require that we omit "to":

    He told them to carry...
    He asked them to carry...
    He made them carry...

    For "bid/bade" the "to" is optional. The fist definition in the WR dictionary (bid - WordReference.com Dictionary of English) shows that, putting "to" in parentheses:

    The king bade them (to) rise and speak freely. [~ + object (+ to ) + verb]
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    The footnote [2] in the Gutenberg version gives:
    [2] For ‘eafor’ (2153), Kl. suggests ‘ealdor.’ Translate then: Bade the prince then to bear in the banner, battle-high helmet, etc. On the other hand, W. takes ‘eaforhéafodsegn’ as a compound, meaning ‘helmet’: He bade them bear in the helmet, battle-high helm, gray armor, etc.
    In which you see both versions.

    You may like to look at a parallel translation, which I think is quite good: BEOWULF

    Hét ðá in beran -> Then he commanded to be brought in
    ................................................................................ eafor héafodsegn -> the boar-crested standard,
    heaðostéapne helm -> the battle-steep helm,
    .................................................................háre byrnan -> hoar-silver byrnie,
    Hét -> 1st and 3rd person simple past of haban - to have

    Hét ðá in beran is a causative construction -> [he] Had those inwards bear [borne]. Hence usually giving the idea of a command -> He commanded these things [to] be brought in / He commanded these things [be] brought in
     
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