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ELLIPSES. Where the ellipsis can be easily supplied from the context

Several peculiarities of Elizabethan language have already been explained by the desire of brevity which characterised the authors of the age. Hence arose so many elliptical expressions that they deserve a separate treatment. The Elizabethan authors objected to scarcely any ellipsis, provided the deficiency could be easily supplied from the context.

“Vouchsafe (to receive) good-morrow from a feeble tongue.

“When shall we see (one another) again?

; Tr. and Cr. iv. 4. 59. Just so we still use "meet."

“You and I have known (one another), sir.

; Cymb. i. 4. 36.

“On their sustaining garments (there is) not a blemish,
But (the garments are) fresher than before.

Thus also, as in Latin, a verb of speaking can be omitted where it is implied either by some other word, as in

“She calls me proud, and (says) that
She could not love me.

“But here's a villain that would face me down
He met me on the mart.

i.e. "maintain to my face that he met me;" or by a question as in

“What are you?
(I ask) Your name and quality; and why you answer
This present summons.

(The Globe inserts a note of interrogation after quality.)

“Enforce him with his envy to the people,
And (say) that the spoil got on the Antiates
Was ne'er distributed.

Thus, by implying from "forbid" a word of speaking, "bid," and not by a double negative, we should perhaps explain

“You may as well forbid the mountain pines
To wag their high tops and (bid them) to make no noise.


“I know not whether to depart in silence
Or bitterly to speak in your reproof
Best fitteth my degree or your condition
If (I thought it fittest) not to answer, you might haply
think, &c.

After "O!" "alas!" and other exclamations, a verb of surprise or regret is sometimes omitted.

“O (it is pitiful) that deceit should steal such gentle shapes.

“Good God! (I marvel that) these nobles should such
stomachs bear:
I myself fight not once in forty year.

Sometimes no exclamation is inserted:

“Ask what thou wilt. (I would) That I had said and done.

Ellipses in Conjunctional Sentences. The Elizabethans seem to have especially disliked the repetition which is now considered necessary, in the latter of two clauses connected by a relative or a conjunction.

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