There is a passage in The Moonstone (by Wilkie Collins, 1874) which is full of infinitive forms of verbs. ("To xxx").
What I find hard to explain is that despite the infinitives, this passage clearly functions as an imperative / directive. It contains a list of instructions to be followed. For instance, the phase "to walk out on the South Spit" would have made perfect sense without the leading "to".
Although this seems like an incorrect use of the infinitive form, it makes perfect sense and doesn't grate on me as I read it.
I feel like I've occasionally heard or written other text in the same form.
Is this just a "poetic" style which isn't strictly a correct use of the infinitive? Or is it really some other 'tense' which is not actually the infinitive at all?
"Memorandum:—To go to the Shivering Sand at the turn of the tide. To walk out on the South Spit, until I get the South Spit Beacon, and the flag-staff at the Coast-guard station above Cobb's Hole in a line together. To lay down on the rocks, a stick, or any straight thing to guide my hand, exactly in the line of the beacon and the flag-staff. To take care, in doing this, that one end of the stick shall be at the edge of the rocks, on the side of them which overlooks the quicksand. To feel along the stick, among the sea-weed (beginning from the end of the stick which points towards the beacon), for the Chain. To run my hand along the Chain, when found, until I come to the part of it which stretches over the edge of the rocks, down into the quicksand. And then to pull the chain."
(Online source. Italics are as in the original.)
Thinking about it more, it almost seems to be a type of future tense.