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Can, vb., to be able, to have power (2. pers. can for canst in H4A II, 2, 34: list if thou can hear the tread of travellers; Q1 and most M. Edd. canst).
Absolutely: they c. well on horseback (== they are skilful horsemen). Hml. IV, 7, 85 (Ff “ran). she never could away with me,” H4B III, 2, 213 (cf. “away). I can no more,” H6B III, 2, 120. H6B III, 2, 120 H8 IV, 2, 173. Hml. V, 2, 331. Ant. IV, 15, 59 (== my strength fails me).
Followed by an accusative: “the priest in surplice white, that defunctive music can,” Phoen. 14 (knows, is skilled in). “the strongest suggestion our worser genius can,” Tp. IV, 1, 27. “all I can is nothing to her,” Gentl. II, 4, 165. “for what, alas, can these my single arms?” Troil. II, 2, 135. “come what sorrow can, it cannot countervail the exchange of joy,” Rom. II, 6, 3 (but here what may not be object, but subject of “can). what can man's wisdom in the restoring his bereaved sense?” Lr. IV, 4, 8 (Q1 “wisdom do). and on it said a century of prayers, such as I can, twice o'er,” Cymb. IV, 2, 392 (== know).
Regularly followed by an infinitive: Tp. I, 1, 23. I, 2, 38. I, 2, 38 I, 2, 38 I, 2, 38 186 etc. etc. “cannot,” Tp. I, 1, 26. II, 1, 242. III, 1, 92 etc. etc. “could,” Tp. I, 2, 360. Tp. I, 2, 360 II, 1, 265 etc. etc. I can tell you == I dare say: “this will shake your shaking, I can tell you, and that soundly,” Tp. II, 2, 88. cannot but == must necessarily: Meas. V, 7. Ant. III, 4, 6 etc. “no more my fortune can but curse the cause,” H6A IV, 3, 43. “can't no other but, I your daughter, he must be my brother?” All's I, 3, 171, i. e. is there no other way but, when I am your daughter, he must be my brother?
Used in the sense of may: “what is't thou canst demand?” Tp. I, 2, 245. “here can I sit alone, unseen of any,” Gentl. V, 4, 4. “grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put it in practice,” Ado II, 2, 53. “say what thou canst, I'll go along with thee,” As I, 3, 107. “but this I will not do, do how I can,” II, 3, 35. “I will not stir from this place, do what they can,” Mids. III, 1, 125. “do what you can, yours will not be entreated,” Shr. V, 2, 89. “look how we can, or sad or merrily, interpretation will misquote our looks,” H4A V, 2, 12. where each man thinks all is writ he speken can, Per. II Prol. 12. “the hand could pluck her back that shoved her on,” Ant. I, 2, 131 (== would like to). “yes, something you can deny for your own safety,” II, 6, 95. “if we fail, we then can do't at land,” III, 7, 53. Lr. II, 4, 249.
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