ELLIPSES. after as, but, ere, ifBut (after but the finite verb is to be supplied without the negative):
“The tender nibbler would not take the bait
But (would) smile and jest.
“And though I could
“To be thus is nothing,
But to be safely thus (is something).
With barefaced power sweep him from my sight
And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
(For certain friends that are both his and mine,
Whose loves I may not drop,) but (I must) wail his fall
Who I myself struck down.” Macbcth, iii. 1. 119. Sometimes but itself is omitted:
Sometimes the repeated varies slightly from the original proposition:
“'Tis not my profit that doth lead mine honour,
(But it is) Mine honour (that doth lead) it (i.e. profit).
In the following, the negative is implied in the first verb through the question, "Why need we?" i.e. "We need not." The second verb must not be taken interrogatively, and thus it omits the negative.
“'Tis not enough to help the feeble up,
But (it is necessary) to support him after.
i.e. "Why need we commune with you? we need rather follow our own impulse." Else, if both verbs be taken interrogatively, "but" must be taken as "and not:" "Why need we commune with you, and not follow our own impulse?" Where the negative is part of the subject, as in "none," a new subject must be supplied:
“Why, what need we
Commune with you of this, but rather follow
Our forceful indignation?
“God, I pray him
That none of you may live your natural age
But (each of you) by some unlook'd accident cut off.