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Ellipses of superlative inflection in conjunctional sentences

Ellipsis of Superlative Inflection.

“The generous and gravest citizens.

“Only the grave and wisest of the land.” HEYWOOD (Walker). “The soft and sweetest music.” B. J. (Ib.). “The vain and haughtiest minds the sun e'er saw.” GOFFE (Ib.).

“To mark the full-fraught man and best endued.

“The humble as the proudest sail doth bear.

The est of the second adjective modifies the first.

Reversely we have--

“The best condition'd and unwearied spirit,

where "best" modifies the second adjective. “Call me the horrid'st and unhallow'd thing
That life and nature tremble at.” MIDDLETON (Walker).

In

“I took him for the plainest harmless creature,

though the meaning may be "the plainest, (the most) harmless creature," it is more likely a compound word, "plainest-harmless" (see 2).

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