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never make him falter or hesitate in clutching at such a prize. He must be understood to set honor above life from the first; that he should ever have felt otherwise for a moment would have been the height of the unheroic. — The convenient elisions * the and othe have been almost lost to our modern English verse, at least in composition of the ordinary regularity and dignity. Byron, however, has in a well-known passage ventured upon “ Hived in our bosoms like the bag o’the bee.” [Compare Tennyson (Mariana): “The blue fly sung i’ the pane."]
54. Your outward favour. - A man's favor is his aspect or appearance. “In beauty,” says Bacon, in his 43d Essay, " that of favour is more than that of colour; and that of decent and gracious motion more than that of favour.” [Compare Proverbs, xxxi. 30.] The word is now lost to us in that sense ; but we still use favored with well, ill, and perhaps other qualifying terms, for featured or looking; as in Gen. xli. 4, 66 The ill-favoured and lean-fleshed kine did eat up the seven well-favoured and fat kine.” Favor seems to be used for face from the same confusion or natural transference of meaning between the expressions for the feeling in the mind and the outward indication of it in the look that has led to the word countenance, which commonly denotes the latter, being sometimes employed, by a process the reverse of what we have in the case of favor, in the sense of at least one modification of the former; as when we speak of any one giving something his countenance, or countenancing it. In this case, however, it ought to be observed that countenance has the meaning, not simply of favorable feeling or approbation, but of its expression or avowal. The French terms from which we have borrowed our
favor and countenance do not appear to have either of them undergone the transference of meaning which has befallen the English forms. But contenance, which is still also used by the French in the sense of material capacity, has drifted far away from its original import in coming to signify one's aspect or physiognomy. It is really also the same word with the French and English continence and the Latin continentia.
54. For my single self. - Here is a case in which we are still obliged to adhere to the old way of writing and printing my self. See 56.
54. I had as lief.- Lief (sometimes written leef, or leve), in the comparative liefer or lever, in the superlative liefest, is the Saxon leof, of the same meaning with our modern dear.
The common modern substitute for lief is soon, and for liefer, sooner or rather, which last is properly the comparative of rath, or rathe, signifying early, not found in Shakespeare, but used in one expression “the rathe primrose” (Lycidas, 142) — by Milton, who altogether ignores lief. Lief, liefer, and liefest, are all common in Spenser. Shakespeare has lief pretty frequently, but never liefer; and liefest occurs only in the Second Part of King Henry VI., where, in iii. I, we have “My liefest liege.” In the same Play, too (i. 1), we have “Mine alderliefest sovereign,” meaning dearest of all. 66 This beautiful word,” says Mr. Knight, “ is a Saxon compound. Alder, of all, is thus frequently joined with an adjective of the superlative degree, -as alderfirst, alderlast.” But it cannot be meant that such combinations are frequent in the English of Shakespeare's day. They do occur, indeed, in a preceding stage of the language. Alder is a corrupted or at least
modified form of the Saxon genitive plural aller, or allre; it is that strengthened by the interposition of a supporting d (a common expedient). Aller, with the same signification, is still familiar in German compounds. — The effect and construction of lief in Middle English may be seen in the following examples from Chaucer : " For him was lever han at his beddes head” (C. T. Pro. 295), that is, To him it was dearer to have (lever a monosyllable, beddes a dissyllable); “Ne, though I say it, I n' am not lefe to gabbe” (C. T. 3510), that is, I am not given to prate; “I hadde lever dien,” that is, I should hold it preferable to die. And Chaucer has also “ Al be him loth or lefe” (C. T. 1839), that is, Whether it be to him agreeable or disagreeable ; and “For lefe ne loth” (C. T. 13062), that is, For love nor loathing. — We may remark the evidently intended connection in sound between the lief and the live, or rather the attraction by which the one word has naturally produced or evoked the other. [Had lever is rightly explained here, but had rather (see 57) is a very different phrase; probably an expansion of I'd rather. Had came to be regarded as a sort of auxiliary for such phrases. Had rather and had better have the sanction of good English usage, though many of the writers of grammars tell us that we should say would rather, etc., instead. The latter makes sense, of course, but the more idiomatic expression is not to be condemned. See on 468. — Tennyson uses rathe: “ The men of rathe and riper years.” The following are examples of rather in the sense of earlier, sooner:
Wolde God this relyke had come rather! Heywood.
And it arose ester and ester, till it arose full este; and rather and rather.
Seynt Edward the Martyr was his sone
Robt. of Gloucester.
he sholde Han lost his regne rather than he wolde.
Chaucer, C. T. 10176. The rather lambes bene starved with cold.
Spenser, Shep. Cal. Feb. 83. The superlative rathest is found in Chaucer, Compl. of Bl. Kt. 428:Accept be now rathest unto grace.]
54. [The troubled Tiber chafing. — Chafe is from the Latin calefacere, through the French échauffer and chauffer. The steps by which the word has acquired its modern meaning seem to be, first, to warm; then, to warm by rubbing; and finally, to rub generally, in either a literal or a figurative sense. See 2 Sam. xvii. 8. See also The Taming of the Shrew, i. 2:
Have I not heard the sea puffed up with winds
What, are you chafed?
Henry VIII. i. 1.
Do not chafe thee, cousin; And you, Achilles, let these threats alone.
Troil. and Cress. iv. 5. For other examples illustrating Shakespeare's use of the word, see Mrs. Clarke's Concordance.]
54. Cæsar said to me, etc. - In the Second Folio it is “ Cæsar saies to me.” And three lines lower down it is there 6 Accounted as I was.” Other errors of that copy in the same speech are chasing with her shores,” and “ He had a Feaher when he was in Spaine."
54. [With lusty sinews. - Lusty, vigorous, full of energy, is “ derived from the Saxon lust in its primary sense of eager desire, or intense longing, indicating a corresponding intensity of bodily vigor.” See Judges iii. 29. — The Scotch lusty had the sense of beautiful, handsome. Gawin Douglas translates Virgil's “Sunt mihi bis septem praestanti corpore nymphae” (Æn. i. 71) by “ I have, quod sche, lusty ladyis fourtene."]
54. Arrive the point proposed. - Arrive without the now indispensable at or in is found also in the Third Part of King Henry VI. (v. 3):
Those powers that the queen Hath raised in Gallia have arrived our coast. And Milton has the same construction (P. L. ii. 409):
Ere he arrive
The happy isle. 54. I, as Æneas, etc. - This commencement of the sentence, although necessitating the not strictly grammatical repetition of the first personal pronoun, is in fine rhetorical accordance with the character of the speaker, and vividly expresses his eagerness to give prominence to his own part in the adventure. Even the repetition (of which, by the by, we have another instance in this same speech) assists the effect. At the same time, it may just be noted that the I here is not printed differently in the original edition from the adverb of affirmation in “Ay, and that tongue of his,” a few lines lower down. Nor are the two words anywhere distinguished. It may be doubted whether Macbeth's great exclamation (ii. 2) should not be printed (as it is by Steevens) “ Wake Duncan with thy knocking: Ay, would thou couldst!” (instead of “I would," as usually given).