I was reading the definition of 庇う:

(1)他からの危険や非難などが及ばないように守る。「部下を―・う」「傷を―・う」「君を―・ひ参らせんとて,現在の主を打ち奉るぞ/義経記 7」

In the example sentence: 君を―・ひ参らせんとて,現在の主を打ち奉るぞ/義経記 7 there is a "参らせんとて". I'm assuming it's an old form because it is quoted from 義経記. From what I can see, 参らせんとて comes from the causative of 参る + とて?

What is this とて and is 参らせん any different from modern causative of 参る?


1 Answer 1


まいらす (まゐらす in historical kana) is an old subsidiary verb that forms a humble expression. It corresponds to お~する or ~申し上げる in modern Japanese. It was originally the causative form of 参る, but it lost its causative meaning just as other subsidiary verbs did. (By the way, this is the direct ancestor of modern ます, the politeness marker.)

まいらせん is まいらす in irrealis form (未然形), followed by ん/む, an archaic volitional auxiliary. とて is と思って in modern Japanese. 君 was a highly honorific word in those days (see this).

So 君を庇ひ参らせんとて is あなた(様)をお守り申し上げようと思って in modern Japanese, or "thinking I will guard you".

  • If まいらせん is まいらす in 未然形, was the way to make those not by using ア行 at the time (まいらさん(む))? Is this like an exception like I've seen with せず?
    – firuvi
    Feb 16, 2022 at 6:31
  • @firuvi The 未然形 of まいらす is まいらせ, not まいらせん. まいらす is a nidan verb (corresponds to modern ichidan verb), so its 未然形 (aka pre-nai form) ends with e/i. (Many modern causative verbs like 寝かす and 泣かす are godan.)
    – naruto
    Feb 16, 2022 at 6:56
  • Thanks for the clarification! In a dictionary for exactly 寝かす, it says 「寝かせる」に同じ. The same goes for 泣かす: 「泣かせる{(1)}」に同じ。 It seems to me that the す and せる endings are very similar in this word. Do you know whether or not this is just coincidence?
    – firuvi
    Feb 16, 2022 at 8:11
  • @firuvi This may be related, but I don't know much about how causative form worked in classical Japanese...
    – naruto
    Feb 16, 2022 at 9:58
  • 1
    @firuvi, naruto, more details in the 日本国語大辞典 entry here at Kotobank. Main points -- 1) causative す is closely related to transitive す (and modern "to do" verb する); 2) causative せる appears to be a later development from す, similar to how passive れる developed from older る. So it's not just that the す and せる endings are similar -- they appear to be the same thing, just with different conjugational forms. Feb 16, 2022 at 19:39

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