ARTICLE. A and the omitted in archaic poetryA and The omitted in archaic poetry. In the infancy of thought nouns are regarded as names, denoting not classes but individuals. Hence the absence of any article before nouns. Besides, as the articles interfere with the metre, and often supply what may be well left to the imagination, there was additional reason for omitting them. Hence Spenser, the archaic poet, writes “Fayre Una--whom salvage nation does adore.” F. Q. i. 6. Title. “And seizing cruell clawes on trembling brest.” Ib. i. 3. 19. “Faire virgin, to redeem her deare, brings Arthure to the
fight.” Ib. i. 8. Title. “From raging spoil of lawlesse victors will.” Ib. i. 3. 43. “With thrilling point of deadly yron brand.” Ib. i. 3. 42. Shakespeare rarely indulges in this archaism except to ridicule it:
Somewhat similar is
“Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broached his boiling bloody breast;
And Thisby, tarrying in mulberry shade,
His dagger drew and died.
“In glorious Christian field.
“When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar.
“So, longest way shall have the longest moans.” Ib. v. 1. 90. In antitheses, as
“Ah! Richard with the eyes of (my or the) heavy mind.
the omission of the is intelligible, since the whole class is expressed. But it appears not uncommon to omit the article before superlatives:
“And with no less nobility of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
This is, perhaps, explained by the double meaning of the superlative, which means not only "the best of the class," but also "very good." See 8.
“Best safety lies in fear.