Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume V (1877-1881)
Butler, James D.
The Απαξ Λεγὁμενα in Shakspere[Shakespeare], pp. 161-174 PDF (3.7 MB)
170 Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. Meantime, we are left to conjectures. As of his own coinage I should set down such words as mirth-moving, merriness, motley.,, minded, masterdom, mockable, marbled, martyred, marrowless, mightful, multipotent, monarchize, etc., etc. Professor Skeat, the most painstaking investigator known to me of early English, has discovered the word "disappointed" in no author earlier than Shakspere. Nor has Shakspere made use of that word more than once, namely in the line: "Unhouseled, disappointed, unaneled." In that line all the words without exception are )A7aSy 2sr6esva. The word " disappointed " is not employed by Shakspere in its modern meaning, but as signifying unprepared, or better perhaps unshriven. But however much of his linguistic treasury Shakspere shall be proved to have inherited ready-made, whatever scraps he may" have stolen at the feast of languages, it is clear that he was an, imperial creator of language. Having a mint of phrases in his own brain, well might he speak with the contempt he does of those "fools who for a tricksy word defy the matter,"-that is& slight or disregard it. He never needed to do that. Words were" "correspondent to his command and, Ariel-like, did his spright." ing gently." When has any verbal necessity compelled him tot give his sense a turn that does not naturally belong to it? It is very possible that Shakspere frequently shunned expres- sions he had once preferred and that because otherwise his style. would become monotonous, and so cloy the hungry edge of ap- petite. According to his own authority, " when they seldom, come they wished for come." And again: Therefore are feasts so solemn and so rare, Since seldom coining in the long year set, Like stones of worth they thinly placed are, Or captain jewels in the carcanet." In thousands of casey, however, Shakspere cannot have rejecte: words through fear lest he should repeat them. It has taken three centuries for the world to ferret out his ".1;a,2 i2s;Z6y.JS)a, ca' we believe that he himself knew them all ? Unless he were th Providence which numbers all hairs of the head, he had not g
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