Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/310

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. ix. APRIL 19, 1902.

that are to be found scattered throughout the writings of all persons who have used the English speech since Chaucer, and even before, some few notes only excepted, and nearly all of these can be found in contem- porary writers. I have found all or nearly all of them in Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, Marlowe, and other poets and dramatists of the time ; indeed, they are so commonly used that without them it is hardly possible to conceive how anybody could write or speak the English language. Here is a list of some of these expressions, and anybody who cares to take the trouble to search for them will find them in common use in Shakespeare's contemporaries : " What will you?" "For the rest." " Is it possible ?" "All this while." "Of grace." "Let it not displease you." "All will not serve.' "Where stay we?" "I find that strange.' 1 "Not unlike." "If that be so." "It comes to that." "Well remembered." "I arrest you there." "See then how." "I cannot

tell." "O, the ." "O, my." "Believe

it, believe it not. There are others of a similar character ; but I pick out these because they are adduced by Mr. JR. M. Bucke, who asserts that they were originated by Bacon, who uses them constantly both in his acknowledged work and in the work of Shakespeare. Mrs. Pott, whose lead Mr. Bucke seems to have followed, declares that,

"although diligent search has been made in the best works of the authors who flourished between the beginning of the sixteenth and the middle of the seventeenth century, only two or three of the turns of expression have been traced, and these expressions are used by a very limited number of authors, and rarely by them."

Baconians who indulge in such assertions as these must imagine that people have no eyes, that all men are fools, and that every- body wishes to be deceived. " Wherefore," to quote Bacon's own words against those who do not desire real knowledge so much as to hear themselves talk, " dogmas of this nature are rather to be condemned in the mass than refuted in detail." No dramatic writer of Shakespeare's time, who produced any- thing like the same volume of work as he aid, or something approaching to it, can be examined who does not use every turn of expression noted by Bacon which is adduced from Shakespeare's work. And not only once, but many times.

Hut there are certain turns of speecli noted by 13acon which are far from common in the literature of the time, and although these are habitually used by Bacon, they are altogether absent from Shakespeare's work

Everbody used the turns that I have quoted, they were hoary with age ; but here is one that is uncommon.

No. 1378, "The rather, bycause. (Con- II tynuing another's speech.)"

Mrs. Pott illustrates the entry thus :

1. Well, you are come to me in a happy time. The rather that I have some sport in hand.

' Taming of the Shrew,' Ind. i.

2. I knew him, The rather will I spare my praises of him.

' All's Well that Ends Well,' II. 2.

So that we may say Bacon not only in- tended to use his note as it is uned in the plays, but that he actually invented the word " rather " as it appears in ' The Taming of the .Shrew 'and in 'All's Well'!

What a poverty-stricken language our ancestors must have spoken, to be sure ! They could not say, Is it possible 1 ? Nor could they utter the word "well" with- out a prop of other words to hold it up. This word " well " forms an entry in the 'Promus,' No. 294, and Mrs. Pott, although she searched contemporary litera- ture, as well as other literature previous to and following Shakespeare's time, and although she examined "328 known authors of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, and upwards of 5,300 of their works," yet despite this almost superhuman feat, this labour that might have appalled a Hercules, she could only find one man, John Lyly, employing " well " alone, as a response.

Well, let me quote Bacon to show how he used his note " the rather, bycause," which appears so often in his works as a turn of expression, although the Baconians appear to have missed it ; and let the reader say if this man, who employed it so frequently, could, if he wrote Shakespeare's plays, avoid using it at least once or twice in them, or even very many times.

1. " Fair and moderate courses are ever best in causes of estate ; the rather, because I wish," &c. ' To the Duke of Buckingham,' 7 March, 1620.

2. "Yet I am unwilling to pu imy sickle in another's harvest, but to leave it to the lawyers of the Scottish nation ; the rather, because I imagine." &c. ' The Union of the Laws.'

3. " Which maketh me presume, with good assur- ance, that your lordship will accept well of these my labours, the rather, because your lordship in private hath often," &c. 'To the Lord Chancellor, on sending him his book of " The Advancement of Learning." '

4. " which (I assure yourself) I desire the

rather, because, being placed," &c. ' To the Lord Chancellor, Montague,' vol. iii. p. 35.

Very many more passages could be cited x> show that the form of expression is a