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Staff (plur. staves; the same form as Anglos. genitive in Tw. V, 292) 1) a stick carried for support, or used as a weapon: Gent. II, 3, 21. II, 5, 28. II, 5, 28 III, 1, 246. Ado V, 4, 126. Merch. II, 2, 72. H6B IV, 2, 172. H8 V, 4, 8. Cor. I, 1, 70. Tit. I, 198. “by Jacob's s.” Merch. II, 5, 36. “hermits' staves,” H4B V, 1, 71. “a palmer's s.” H6B V, 1, 97. Hml. IV, 5, 25. “he holds Belzebub at the staves end,” Tw. V, 292 (stands at bay and keeps him off). “the s. of my age,” Merch. II, 2, 70. “we have no s., no stay,” H6C II, 1, 69. “of his fortunes you should make a s. to lean upon,” Ant. III, 13, 68. Proverbs: “a s. is quickly found to beat a dog,” H6B III, 1, 171. “have at you with a proverb -- Shall I set in my s.?” Err. III, 1, 51 (is here a lance meant? And does the expression receive some light from Ado V, 2, 20: you must put in the pike with a vice?).
2) a pole, a stake: “the rampant bear chained to the ragged s.” H6B V, 1, 203.
3) an ensign of office, a badge of authority: R2 II, 2, 59. II, 3, 27. H4A V, 1, 34. H4B IV, 1, 126. H6B I, 2, 25. II, 3, 23. II, 3, 23 II, 3, 23 == magic wand: Tp. V, 54.
4) the shaft of a lance; and the lance itself: John II, 318. H4B IV, 1, 120. R3 V, 3, 65. Mcb. V, 3, 48. V, 7, 18. to break a s. == to tilt, to combat with a lance: Ado V, 1, 138. As III, 4, 47. R3 V, 3, 341. Per. II, 3, 35 (cf. the German Lanzenbrechen).
5) a strophe, a stanza: “let me hear a s., a stanze, a verse,” LLL IV, 2, 107.
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