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ADVERBS Besides; briefly; by; chance; even; ever

Chance appears to be used as an adverb:

“How chance thou art returned so soon?

But the order of the words "thou art," indicates that Shakespeare treated chance as a verb. "How may it chance or chances that," as Hamlet, ii. 2. 343, "How chances it they travel?" Compare--

“How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

So Tr. and Cr. iii. 1. 151; 2 Hen. IV. iv. 4. 20; Rich. III. iv. 2. 103; M. W. of W. v. 5. 231; P. of T. iv. 1. 23.

Compare, however, also--

“If case some one of you would fly from us.

where "case" is for the Old French "per-case."

This use of chance as an apparent adverb is illustrated by

Perchance his boast of Lucrece' sovereignty
Suggested this proud issue of a king:
Perchance that envy of so rich a thing
Braving compare, disdainfully did sting.

Here "perchance" seems used first as an adverb, then as a verb, "it may chance that." So Shakespeare, perhaps, used chance as an adverb, but unconsciously retained the order of words which shows that, strictly speaking, it is to be considered as a verb.

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