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1answer
41 views

Shakespearian equivalent of 'very'

What would the early modern english/shakespeare equivalent of 'very'be in the sentence: 'That was very nice' ?
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1answer
37 views

Shakespearean equivalent of genuinely?

What would the word 'genuinely' as in: 'genuinely I am being really funny' be in early modern english, of Shakespeare era? ?
3
votes
1answer
64 views

What is an “aglet-baby” exactly?

This is a line from the Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare Grumio [to Hortensio]: Marry him to a puppet or an aglet-baby . . . Although 'aglet' is an extremely uncommon word, its meaning can ...
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0answers
62 views

A Question on Shakespeare's use of conditionals [duplicate]

The following is a big question, but I am really confused by the use of conditional in this Shakespearean excerpt. From The Taming of the Shrew, Act I, Scene I: 142 I am agreed; and would I ...
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1answer
52 views

Where in Romeo and Juliet is Count Paris' relation to Prince Escalus stated? [closed]

The Wikipedia page for Count Paris, in addition to some other sources, states that he is related to Prince Escalus. I have searched the text, but all I can find is mention that he is a "nobleman" and ...
2
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1answer
65 views

What's the meaning of I am well

In the context of the following quote (taken from "Much Ado About Nothing"), what does "I am well" mean? One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I ...
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2answers
665 views

Death's dateless night

What do you think Shakespeare meant by this expression, which occurs in one of his sonnets? “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrance of things past, I sigh the ...
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4answers
2k views

Why did English change so much between Chaucer and Shakespeare?

My inexpert perception of things is that the distance between The Canterbury Tales (end 14th century) and Romeo and Juliet (end 16th), from a language perspective, is vast, and vastly greater than the ...
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1answer
99 views

Help understanding a sentence/reference

The introductory paragraph of the book An Introduction to Mathematics, written for general audience by the great British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead goes like this: Chapter 1: THE ...
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1answer
85 views

Why will mothers smile when infants quarter'd with the hands of war? [closed]

From Julius Caesar (by Shakespeare) Anthony : Blood and destruction shall be so in use,        And dreadful objects so familiar, ...
0
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1answer
92 views

Please explain Portia's soliloquy from “The Merchant of Venice” [closed]

The quality of mercy is not strain'd, It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
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3answers
196 views

In “That patient merit of th'unworthy takes”, what does merit mean exactly?

In the famous Hamlet's soliloquy, I am not quite clear on the role/meaning of merit in the following: The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th'unworthy takes, My ...
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2answers
55 views

What does it mean to have “whipped top”? (Shakespeare/archaic usage)

e.g. in the Merry Wives of Windsor, Act V, Scene 1: Since I plucked geese, played truant, and whipped top, I knew not what it was to be beaten till lately. I assume it's some form of game or ...
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1answer
141 views

Meaning of the phrase 'out upon it'

I came across this phrase twice while reading the play Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare in the following contexts: 1 - "Out upon it old carrion, Your flesh rebels at these years?". A ...
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2answers
143 views

Interpretation of “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”

In sonnet 18, line two Thou art more lovely and more temperate What does the word temperate imply? I googled it up and found that it means less extreme., if so then why compare temperateness ...
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votes
6answers
10k views

Is “worser” correct grammatically?

Is worser correct grammatically? I know it seems incorrect, but I stumbled upon the word when reading Hamlet: Oh, throw away the worser part of it, And live the purer with the other half. ...
2
votes
3answers
176 views

What is the grammatical construction in “Be but sworn”?

I have found several questions asking for the meaning, but the thing that troubles me here is the grammar actually and i haven't found anything on that. In Shakespeare's sentence "Deny thy father ...
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2answers
245 views

The meaning of “yet” in “Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes”

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. within a month; Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married: I'm wondering about the ...
1
vote
1answer
166 views

Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. within a month; Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married: I'm wondering about "Had ...
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2answers
208 views

“A beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourn'd longer” in Hamlet

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. and yet, within a month,— Let me not think on't,—Frailty, thy name is woman!— A little month; or ere those shoes were old With which she followed my ...
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votes
2answers
397 views

Is “Like Niobe, all tears” an apposition? [closed]

From Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. and yet, within a month,— Let me not think on't,—Frailty, thy name is woman!— A little month; or ere those shoes were old With which she followed my ...
2
votes
1answer
316 views

That was to this, Hyperion to a satyr

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. But two months dead!--nay, not so much, not two: So excellent a king; that was to this, Hyperion to a satyr; I think I understand the meaning of ...
2
votes
1answer
152 views

Antecedent of “whose common theme is death of fathers” in Hamlet

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1. Scene 2 Claudius: Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven, A fault against the dead, a fault to nature, To reason most absurd; whose common theme Is death of ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

Original pronunciation of “kind” in “A little more than kin, and less than kind”

I'm wondering about the original pronunciation of "kind" in the famous line "A little more than kin, and less than kind" by Hamlet. Was it like "keend" or the present-day "kind"? If the great vowel ...
2
votes
1answer
140 views

“My dread lord” or “Dread my lord” in Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 [closed]

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 What wouldst thou have, Laertes? Laer. My dread lord, Your leave and favour to return to France; This text is from the second quarto(Q2). In the ...
0
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1answer
156 views

What wouldst thou beg, Laertes, That shall not be my offer, not thy asking [closed]

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 And now, Laertes, what's the news with you? You told us of some suit; what is't, Laertes? You cannot speak of reason to the Dane, And lose your ...
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1answer
64 views

Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2. and we here dispatch You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand, For bearers of this greeting to old Norway; Giving to you no further personal power ...
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votes
3answers
136 views

Does not divide the Sunday from the week [closed]

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1 Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task Does not divide the Sunday from the week; It is easy to guess the meaning of: Does not divide the ...
5
votes
1answer
231 views

Stage direction like “Enter Hamlet”

I'm wondering about the grammatical structure of a stage direction "Enter Hamlet". Is "Enter" in the imperative mood or the present subjunctive mood? If it is in the imperative mood, who is the person ...
2
votes
3answers
141 views

“To reason most absurd” in Hamlet

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 (The Arden Shakeseare edited by Harold Jenkins) Fie, 'tis a fault to heaven, A fault against the dead, a fault to nature, To reason most absurd, whose common ...
1
vote
1answer
112 views

“And what make you from Wittenberg, Horatio?” [closed]

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2 (The Arden Shakespeare edited by Harold Jenkins) Hor. Hail to your lordship. Ham. I am glad to see you well. Horatio, or I do forget myself. Hor. ...
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3answers
221 views

Did Shakespeare really mean meat pies by baked meats?

Here's from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2(The Arden Shakespeare edited by Harold Jenkins). Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral bak'd meats Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. Jenkins ...
1
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1answer
120 views

“which had return'd to the inheritance of Fortinbras”

Here are some lines from Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1 (The Arden Shakespeare edited by Harold Jenkins) Against the which a moiety competent Was gaged by our King, which had return'd To the ...
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2answers
191 views

“No, faith, not a jot, but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it.” [closed]

Here are some lines from Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 1 (The Arden Shakespeare edited by Harold Jenkins) Hamlet: To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why, may not imagination trace the noble dust ...
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3answers
223 views

Is “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” correct English?

Shakespeare’s play is called A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So is A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream correct English? If not, what would be the correct English?
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1answer
161 views

Shakespeare's “slow as the elephant”

I am reading Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, in Act 1 Scene 2 Alexander gives the following portrait of Ajax: "[...] he is as valiant as the lion, churlish as the bear, slow as the elephant; ...
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3answers
941 views

“Small Latin and Less Greek”

About a third of the way through his poem "To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare and What He Hath Left Us," Ben Jonson writes: And though thou hadst small Latin and less ...
3
votes
2answers
415 views

Why does Hamlet not say, “ere he rots?” [closed]

How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot? The quoted line is Hamlet's. I wonder why the "rot" is not "rots".
2
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2answers
176 views

Is Shakespeare really the source of our modern meaning for odd?

In a recent article, the Guardian states that Shakespeare is also responsible for the modern meaning of "odd". What is the evidence for this? The textual evidence alone is thin and unconvincing. ...
0
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2answers
54 views

“Upright he held it, lords, that held it last”, meaning?

In Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus when asked to become emperor Titus refuses answering that the sceptre to control the world (i.e., power) "upright he held it, lords, that held it last". What is the ...
0
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4answers
600 views

How to punctuate “To be, or not to be, that is the question”

What would be the correct way to punctuate this line from Hamlet? Should there simply be commas or should a colon be used? e.g.: To be, or not to be: that is the question.
5
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3answers
495 views

Middle English or Elizabethan English as a second language? [closed]

Are there books, web sites, or language courses designed for English speakers who want to learn Middle English or Elizabethan English in the same way that they would learn a foreign language? It would ...
3
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2answers
317 views

How/When did English transform to the modern version we use today? [closed]

I know that a language evolves with time and constantly keeps itself up to people's needs. But when I read a bible or a poem of Shakespeare, I can see English was very different by then with sentences ...
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1answer
154 views

What does “playus nigh” mean in Cockney?

Quotation from A history of the cries of London ancient (p23). Refer to What does “him as writ plays” mean?
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votes
2answers
260 views

What does “him as writ plays” (etc.) mean in old newspaper clipping?

Quotation from A history of the cries of London ancient (p23). ... famous theatre afterwards to be so widely known. The sunshiny time of our literature and life, making a red-letter period in ...
6
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1answer
413 views

What does the phrase “Lady-Macbethed” mean? [closed]

Colonel Hampton snorted contemptuously. Senile dementia! Well, he must have been senile and demented, to bring this pair of snakes into his home, because he felt an obligation to his dead ...
4
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1answer
283 views

Does Shakespeare use the word “whence” incorrectly? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “from whence” correct? Or should it be “whence”? From the Shakespeare's Sonnet XLVIII, ... From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part;  And ...
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2answers
1k views

Meaning of “I would there were…”?

What is the meaning of "I would there were", as in this quote from Shakespeare's "A Winter's Tale"? I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out ...
3
votes
2answers
416 views

Twelfth Night: Why does Olivia call Sir Toby “cousin”?

I’m reading Twelfth Night, where in Act 1, Scene 5, Olivia says to Sir Toby Belch: Olivia: Cousin, cousin, how have you come so early by this lethargy? How come she’s calling her uncle ...
9
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1answer
716 views

Searching for a literary term for “if this, then I’m a this” statements

I’m reading Shakespeare’s Henry IV (Part 1) right now and I’m noticing that Sir John Falstaff has a propensity of saying “If this, then I’m a this” sort of statements. A few examples to clarify: … ...