« PreviousContinue »
sleepy, insensible,” &c. So detestable seems to be used, Sidney's Arcadia, iii. p. 410, 1. 13," — kill yourself, to make me (whom you say you love) as long as I after live, change my loving admiration of you to a detestable abhorring your name. Measure for Measure, v. 1,
“He would not, but by gift of my chaste body
Release my brother."
“How cam’st thou speakable of mute ?" Cary uses limitable after the analogy of these old forms ; Translation of Pindar, Nemean, iii. p. 138,
“ And he, unbidden, safe, pursued
Of that wild marish every secret flood,
That mark'd his late return."
And coasts her sedgy empire keenly round!” This, however, I think, is accidental, though Darley knows and loves the old poets.
XXX. Far and near used as comparatives. 1 King Henry IV. iii. 1,
“And giv'st such sarcenet surety for thy oaths,
As if thou never walk’dst further than Finsbury.” I would read,
“ As if thou ne'er walk’dst fur' than Finsbury.”
Compare Winter's Tale, iv. 3,
we'll bar thee from succession ; Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin,
Far than Deucalion off.” Quasi farrer, furrer ? In Chaucer we have ferre, further ; House of Fame, Book ii. 1. 92,
“But er I bere the much ferre,
I wol the tel what I am.” (Note, As You Like It, i. 3,
“Alas, what danger will it be for us,
Maids as we are, to travel forth so far!” Does not Shakespeare's instinctive love of euphony require that we should here pronounce, perhaps write, fur ? hópow.) Near for nearer, a contraction from the old negher, for which latter see Chaucer. Macbeth, ii. 3, near the end,
“There's daggers in men's smiles ; the near in blood,
The nearer bloody.” Perhaps near here is for nearer. Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, quoted by Steevens, Var. Shakespeare, 1793, vol. xiv. p. 562,
“In you, i' faith, the proverb 's verified ;
You are early up, and yet are ne'er the near." Wyatt, Version of Psalın vi. ed. 1831,
p 207, " That dread of death, of death that ever lasts,
Threateth of right, and draweth near and near.” Songs and Sonnets, p. 42,
“Your sighs you fetch from far,
And all to wry [conceal] your woe;
Men are not blinded so."
“ Better far off, than, near, be ne'er the near."
Churchyard, quoted by Malone, ib. Greene, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, Dyce, vol. i. p. 167,
“You're early up, pray God it be the near.” Alluding, as Dyce observes, to the proverb, Early up and never the nearer (as in R. Earl of Huntingdon, above). Daniel, Letter of Octavia to Antony, St. xxxv.,
“ Whereof when he had made relation,
I was commanded to approach no near.” Drayton, Eclogue, vii.,
“Much will be said, and ne'er a whit the near." And so Uncertain Poets. Chalmers, vol. ii. p. 405, col. 2,
“Shall I thus ever long, and be no whit the near ?” Butler, Hudibras, P. ii. C. ii. 1. 381,
“These reasons may perhaps look oddly
My honour, I am ne'er the near.”
“But if it be, 't is ne'er the near,
You have a wrong sow by the ear.” Ford; 'Tis Pity She 's a Whore, iii. near the end, “Don. Is this a churchman's voice? dwells justice here ?
Flo. Justice is fled to heaven, and comes no nearer.”
“But still the light approached near and near.”
“ Had you me ta'en or slain, your gain were none,
Sith you were ne'er the near your love therefore."
B. xi. St. xiv.,
“ And still the near and nearer that he goes,
The plainer sound he heard of sturdy blows.” B. xiv. St. lxxxii.,
“Silence is centinel of all this band;
And unto those he coming doth discern,
To come no neare, he beckons with his hand.” B. xxxix. St. lxviii.,
"So did the damsels chafe, and sigh, and fret,
That they to Agramant no near could get.” Chaucer also has ferrest for farthest. I learn this from Tyrwhitt's Glossary, where the word is given in its place. Under the word nere for nearer, it also gives, as a Chaucerian phrase, ferre ne nere for later nor earlier. In the Knightes Tale, 1. 1449, we have derre for derer (dearer); Arcite
bare him so in pees and eke in werre,
Ther n'as no man that Theseus hath derre."
I shuld were?
the nere." And so in another passage of this play, to which I have lost the reference.63 Sidney, Arcadia, p. 87, 1, 14; I retain the original spelling,
“She went, they staid ; or rightly for to say,
She staid in them, they went in thought with hyr :
Klaius indeede would faine haue puld away 63 I have observed the following passages :-p. 17, “my neele is never the nere"; p. 78,"cham never the nere my neele"; and p. 58, the full form, "Then we be never the nearer for all that you can tell.” -Ed.
This mote from out his eye, this inward burre,
The lesson which but late he learn'd too furre :" &c. P. 91, 1. 10 (where narre for nearer also occurs; perhaps both are meant for rusticisms),
“ As Venus bird the white, swift, louely Doue,
(0 happie Doue that art compar'd to her!)
(Yet beautie still as fast as she did sturre,”') &c. Fur for far occurs in Astrophel and Stella, Sonnet xcvi. 1. 12, p. 564, 1.4,
* But, but, (alas !) night's side the odds hath fur;" rhyming to stur (i.e., stir) in l. 10 of the sonnet; both, no doubt, altered for the sake of the rhyme. And so C. ii. 11. 11 and 13, p. 566,
“But feeling proof makes me (they say) mistake it furre ;” rhyming to sturre. Farer for farther is frequent in Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd; e.g., i. 1, ed. Edinb. 1820, p. 51,
“ For ilka sheep he hae, I'll number ten,
And should, as ane may think, come farer ben.”
XXXI. It may safely be laid down as a canon, that the word spirit
in our old poets, wherever the metre does not compel us to pronounce it dissyllabically, is a monosyllable. And this is almost always the case. The truth of the above rule is evident from several considerations. In