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Element, 1) the first or constituent part of any thing; all existing things being supposed to consist of fire, air, water and earth: receiving nought by --s so slow (viz earth and water) “but heavy tears,” Sonn. 44, 13. these quicker --s (air and fire) 45, 5. “the --s of whom your swords are tempered,” Tp. III, 3, 61. “there's little of the melancholy e. in her,” Ado II, 1, 357 (choler being ascribed to fire, blood to air, phlegm to water, and melancholy to earth). “does not our life consist of the four --s?” Tw. II, 3, 10. “the dull --s of earth and water never appear in him,” H5 III, 7, 23. “the --s so mixed in him,” Caes. V, 5, 73. “the very --s of this warlike isle,” Oth. II, 3, 59 (a pure extract, as it were, the very quintessence of the isle). “the --s once out of it, it transmigrates,” Ant. II, 7, 50 (== after its dissolution). “I am fire and air, my other --s I give to baser life,” Ant. V, 2, 292.
2) fire, air, water and earth, such as they, separately, appear in nature: “you should not rest between the --s of air and earth,” Tw. I, 5, 294. “meet with no less terror than the elements of fire and water,” R2 III, 3, 55. “bounding between the two moist --s,” Troil. I, 3, 41 (i. e. air and water). “native and indued unto that e.” Hml. IV, 7, 181.
3) More especially the air and sky that surrounds us: these water-galls in her dim e. (like rainbows in the sky) “foretell new storms,” Lucr. 1588. “the e. itself shall not behold her face at ample view,” Tw. I, 1, 26. o'ershine you as much as the full moon doth the cinders of the e. (i. e. the stars) H4B IV, 3, 58. “the e. shows to him as it doth to me,” H5 IV, 1, 107. “the complexion of the e.” Caes. I, 3, 128. “contending with the fretful e.” Lr. III, 1, 4. And in the plural: “then to the --s!” Tp. V, 317 (i. e. into the air). “love, with the motion of all --s, courses as swift as thought in every power,” LLL IV, 3, 329. “by the --s!” Cor. I, 10, 10 (== by the heavens!); cf. “you --s that clip us round about,” Oth. III, 3, 464. “she's framed as fruitful as the free --s,” II, 3, 348 (as the air that blows on any body). Used of the air in commotion by tempests: “if you can command these --s to silence,” Tp. I, 1, 24. “to the conflicting --s exposed,” Tim. IV, 3, 230. “I tax not you, the --s, with unkindness,” Lr. III, 2, 16. “let the heavens give him defence against the --s,” Oth. II, 1, 45. “the --s be kind to thee,” Ant. III, 2, 40. “the unfriendly --s forgot thee utterly,” Per. III, 1, 58.
4) proper and natural habitation or sphere: “such daubery as this is, beyond our e.” Wiv. IV, 2, 186. “out of my welkin, I might say e., but the word is overworn,” Tw. III, 1, 65. “I am not of your e.” III, 4, 137 (== above you). “thou climbing sorrow, thy e. is below,” Lr. II, 4, 58. “above the e. they lived in,” Ant. V, 2, 90. Singular expression: “one that promises no e. in such a business,” H8 I, 1, 48 (== of whom it would not be expected, that he should find his proper sphere in such a business).
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