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Virtue, 1) moral goodness: “talked of v.” Lucr. 846. Lucr. 846 “thy mother was a piece of v.” Tp. I, 2, 56. V, 28. Gent. III, 1, 65. Wiv. V, 5, 155. Meas. II, 1, 9. Meas. II, 1, 9 II, 2, 161. II, 2, 161 II, 4, 145. III, 1, 164. III, 1, 164 III, 2, 198. III, 2, 198 V, 226. V, 226 Err. III, 1, 90. III, 2, 12. Ado III, 1, 69. IV, 1, 39. IV, 1, 39 IV, 1, 39 V, 1, 29. LLL III, 76. V, 2, 349. V, 2, 349 Mids. II, 1, 220 etc. Abstr. pro concr.: my poor v. (viz Doll Tearsheet) H4B II, 4, 51. two reverend “cardinal --s,” H8 III, 1, 103 (the two cardinals). “I am an humble suitor to your --s,” Tim. III, 5, 7. “O infinite v.” Ant. IV, 8, 17. Personified as fem.: Hml. III, 2, 25. Cymb. V, 5, 221.
2) a particular moral excellence: every one commended the --s of his own wife, Lucr. Arg. Cymb. V, 5, 221 “love is my sin and thy dear v. hate,” Sonn. 142, 1. “if our --s did not go forth of us,” Meas. I, 1, 34. “it becomes a v.” III, 1, 136. Ado I, 1, 57. V, 1, 172. V, 2, 88. Merch. I, 1, 163 etc.
3) bravery (the predominant signification of virtus among the Romans; cf. “valour is the chiefest v.” Cor. II, 2, 88): which (viz proud) “he is, even to the altitude of his v.” Cor. I, 1, 41. “trust to thy single v.” Lr. V, 3, 103. cf. Ant. IV, 8, 17.
4) any good quality, merit, or accomplishment: “for several --s have I liked several women,” Tp. III, 1, 42. “she can milk; a sweet v. in a maid,” Gent. III, 1, 278. Gent. III, 1, 278 Gent. III, 1, 278 Gent. III, 1, 278 Gent. III, 1, 278 Gent. III, 1, 278 Gent. III, 1, 278 “to waste thyself upon thy virtues,” Meas. I, 1, 32. “do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit? can v. hide itself?” Ado II, 1, 127. “that's the right v. of the medlar,” As III, 2, 127. “a v. that was never seen in you,” H4A III, 1, 126. “my v. or my plague, . . . she's so conjunctive to my life and soul,” Hml. IV, 7, 13. “I can sing, weave, sew and dance, with other --s,” Per. IV, 6, 195. Proverbial: “to make a v. of necessity,” Gent. IV, 1, 62 (originally == to make a merit of what cannot be helped, and hence == to yield to necessity). “there is no v. like necessity,” R2 I, 3, 278.
5) power, efficacy: their (his eyes') v. (of reflecting) “lost,” Ven. 1131. “you still shall live; such v. hath my pen,” Sonn. 81, 13. “the v. of your eye must break my oath,” LLL V, 2, 348. “thy fair --'s force,” Mids. III, 1, 143 (== the power of thy beauty). silence bestows that v. on it (music) Merch. V, 101. “if you had known the v. of the ring,” Merch. V, 101 “much v. in If,” As V, 4, 108. John V, 7, 44. R3 IV, 4, 370. Cor. V, 2, 12. Rom. II, 3, 13. Tim. IV, 3, 391. Mcb. IV, 3, 156. Hml. IV, 5, 155. IV, 7, 145. Lr. IV, 4, 16. Oth. I, 3, 320 “(it is not in my v. to amend it).” Cymb. I, 5, 23. by v. of == by the efficacy or authority of: “you may suspect him, by v. of your office, to be no true man,” Ado III, 3, 54. “my commission, by whose v. . . . you are joined with me . . .,” H8 II, 2, 104. “by v. of that ring I take my cause out of the gripes of cruel men,” V, 3, 99. cf. the following expressions: “you are a counsellor, and, by that v., no man dare accuse you,” H8 V, 3, 50. “you have some sick offence within your mind, which, by the right and v. of my place, I ought to know of,” Caes. II, 1, 269. Similarly: “in very ample v. of his father,” H4B IV, 1, 163 (in the full power and authority of his father).
6) the very substance, essence: “which touched the very v. of compassion in thee,” Tp. I, 2, 27. “all the faith, the v. of my heart, . . . is only Helena,” Mids. IV, 1, 174. “the v. of this jest will be the incomprehensible lies,” H4A I, 2, 208. “pity is the v. of the law, and none but tyrants use it cruelly,” Tim. III, 5, 8.
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