163

That peculiarly written letter is called the R rotunda The r rotunda (ꝛ), "rounded r", is a historical calligraphic variant of the minuscule (lowercase) letter Latin r used in full script-like typefaces, especially blackletters. Unlike other letter variants such as "long s" which originally were orthographically distinctive, r rotunda ...


118

f  vs  ſ That’s merely a “long s”, not an f. Therefore, it is not a weefil but rather a weeſil — meaning of course, a weasel. We can rule out weevil be­cause it has the look not of a bug but of a muste­line crit­ter. Here are some ex­am­ples in var­i­ous faces — name­ly, in ro­man, ital­ic, script, un­cial, and black­let­ter faces — of just how con­fus­...


78

To amplify what @Noah said: Thee and thou are the second-person singular pronouns in English. They have fallen into almost complete disuse, as you are aware... but the funny thing is that most native speakers (of American English, anyway; I can't speak for British English speakers) have exactly the wrong impression of what they are for. The general ...


66

To expand on Henry's answer: "The powers that be" is a set phrase quoted from Romans 13:1. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. In that context, it means "the temporal powers that indisputably do exist in the world," so we can rule out explanations ...


64

Yes. The Oxford English Dictionary has this definition (and some other similar ones) for ɪᴍᴘᴏʀᴛ v. 6a in their section II of that verb: II. To be of importance or consequence. transitive. To be of importance or consequence to; to matter to; to concern, have to do with. Only in third person. a. With anticipatory it as subject. †⒜ With ...


48

On a quick look through the concordance, it appears that Shakespeare rarely wrote Thank you and never Thank thee without a subject. He often wrote I thank you and we thank you (and forms such as to thank thee and shall thank thee); but for a shorter form without a subject he usually used Thanks. Thank thou would be ungrammatical, unless it was followed by ...


48

"The powers that be" is a set phrase drawn from early translations of the Bible into English (Tyndale, Geneva, KJV etc.), in particular Romans 13:1. So its grammar (subjunctive) reflects the usage of the time, and even then might have been slightly archaic.


38

That's not an F, it's an S. You can tell because the bar doesn't cross the stem. Once you figure that out, it's pretty easy to deduce that weesil is an old spelling of weasel. Plus, the picture is obviously of something weasel-oid. Here's a pretty good overview of the history of the long S in printing, including the rules (or rather, lack thereof) for using ...


38

From M-W Where Does 'Hello' Come From? It may be true that OK is the most spoken word on the planet, but hello is a good candidate for the English word that most people learn first. The word is so ubiquitous that it’s surprising how new it is: hello has only been in use for about the last 150 years of the 1000-year history of English. An older ...


33

It is unfortunately common for writers to attempt dialogue in Early Modern English, even though they do not know this language. This typically results in a panoply of howlers: -th and -st added randomly to verbs, thee used as the subject of sentences and thou as the object, mine used before consonants, and vocabulary used in anachronistic senses. There's ...


29

From A Midsummer Night's Dream Act 5 Scene 1. PYRAMUS Sweet Moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams. I thank thee, Moon, for shining now so bright. For by thy gracious, golden, glittering gleams, I trust to take of truest Thisbe sight.—


27

After reading more pages of the 1591 dictionary it was made clear that it was an r. It is also made clear by reading the text in this image: In this image, taken from this page, you can see words such as more and or written with that type of r. As noted in the linked page: A variant of the long S is in full effect here, but so are a number of other ...


26

'V' and 'u' were regarded as the same letter from antiquity until well after this time. Some texts used only one form; some used both forms, but the choice was often either arbitrary, or based on something other than the sound (such as aesthetic reasons). The letter you have identified as 'b' is not 'b': it is 'v' - it appears that in that text, the form ...


25

"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy (your) Name," is the rest of that sentence. By saying "Our Father... Thy..." you are addressing God personally, making that the second person singular (you are). (First person singular: I am. Third person singular: he/she/it is.) "Our Father" is not speaking about God; it is speaking to God. (It is like saying, ...


25

It is a variant of 'ABC', which in this context should be read as a primer, or first book for teaching children their letters. Searching the OED brings up the definition for ABC, and includes 'Apcie', along with other variant spellings, in the entry. I searched Google for 'Apcie' together with "ABC" and found the 'History of the Horn Book. Volume 2' which ...


22

Othello being the much older "crocodile-tears" reference, which I thus conclude that it must have been regarded as having a "fox-like" cunningness to it, but would it have been considered in any way of "exotic horror" or "dread"? Crocodile-tears have nothing to do with "fox-like" cunning – they are a description of feigned sorrow at circumstances in which ...


20

It's inversion: That heresies should arise, we have the prophesie of Christ; but that old ones should be abolished, we hold no prediction. is a re-ordering of: We have the prophesie of Christ that heresies should arise; but we hold no prediction that old ones should be abolished.


17

TL;DR: Shakespeare was the first to coin those phrases (or, at least, his is the first recorded use of those phrases), but primrose itself does not have the negative connotations you assert (nor, primarily, do the phrases). The negative outcomes would be from blindly following a path of pleasure. Starting with your second question, because it has the more ...


16

Firstly you should realise that the English language was in a state of flux during Shakespeare's time. You will find inconsistencies. Shakespeare's English was not Old English -- it was Early Modern English. "Thank you" as used these days is an abbreviation of "I thank you". Online Etymology Dictionary Plural form: The modern 'you' is used for both ...


15

In Early Modern English, ye was the nominative case and the objective and possessives were the familiar you (objective), your (possessive determiner) and yours (possessive pronoun).


14

As Barrie mentions, there is little systemic that has changed in English in the last few centuries. Most of the major systemic changes that you might recognise over the last 1000 years, such as the breakdown of the declension system and the simplification of verbal morphology, were probably all but complete by Shakespeare's time or not much thereafter. Some ...


14

While lookest is a respectable verb form in early modern English, not one of the three instances of the form in your text is appropriate. The form is used only in the second person singular (i.e. with subject thou), and not in the imperative. So the first one would be just look (but probably not over there. Perhaps yonder). The second one is interesting ...


13

Adam lay i-bowndyn The text you are citing, commonly known as Adam lay ybounden, is a text from the 1400s preserved in a single specimen. The original text was not spelled as you have it. Rather, it was written like this: Adam lay i-bowndyn,           bowndyn in a bond, Fowre thowsand wynter           thowt he not to long And al was for an ...


13

King Lear was written in about 1605. Chaucer wrote his Canterbury Tales some two hundred years before. Here are two greetings from that poem. In The Summoner’s Tale Thomas’s wife greets Friar John with "Ey, maister, welcome be ye, by Seint John! . . . how fare ye, hertely?", and in The Miller’s Tale Absolon greets Alisoun with "What do ye, hony-comb, ...


12

This conjecture was advanced by Dowden in his edition of Hamlet for the Arden Shakespeare, 1899, p. 34, note to l. 109: Does this mean, You will present yourself to me as a fool? or, You will present me (to the public) as a fool? or, can “fool” mean an innocent, a baby?—for Polonius is not over-delicate in his warnings. See Romeo and ...


12

The association between primrose and pleasure comes from its status as an early spring flower, and that flower's association with maidens and pleasure. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word comes from Anglo-Norman primerose, lit. first rose. (Compare primerole, another word that referred to early spring flowers like the daisy, primrose, and ...


11

Here’s a brief history adapted from ‘The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language’ by David Crystal: Old English: thou singular, ye plural as subject. Thee and you as object. Middle English: ye and you used alongside thou and thee as polite singular forms. Early Modern English: Distinction between ye as subject and you as object disappeared, ...


11

To paraphrase, I would say, "Christ predicted that there would be new heresies that would arise, so the author can be confidant that they will appear, but He said nothing about when old heresies would vanish, so the author makes no prediction about them." This is in keeping with Browne's observation that supposedly-suppressed heresies seem to pop up ...


11

Although goodly at this point means "of considerable size", this was not the meaning that Shakespeare intended. Goodly has quite a few other archaic and rare definitions. I believe the Italian translation was accurate, and the intended (now archaic) sense was: Of good or pleasing appearance; handsome, beautiful, good-looking; comely, fair. OED (the ...


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