ARTICLE. The used to denote notoriety, &c.The used to denote notoriety, &c. Any word when referred to as being defined and well known may of course be preceded by the article. Thus we frequently speak of "the air." Bacon (E. 231) however wrote, "The matter (the substance called matter) is in a perpetual flux." The is sometimes used (compare Latin "ille") for "the celebrated," "the one above all others," occasionally with "alone," as
Or with a superlative:
“I am alone the villain of the earth.
“He was the wretched'st thing when he was young.
But also without these:
“The last (prayer) is for my men: they are the poorest;
But poverty could never draw 'em from me.
“Am I the man yet?
“Smacks it not something of the policy?
The ellipsis to be supplied is added in “Are you the courtiers and the travell'd gallants?
“For their dear causes
Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm
Excite the mortified man.
The spritely fellows that the people talk of?” B. and F. Elder Brother, iv. 1. The seems to mean "the same as ever" in
It is not often that "the" is used in this sense before English proper names. In
“Live you the marble-breasted tyrant still.
the second the may be caused by the first, which, of course, is still used, "the Bruce," "the Douglas," being frequent, and explicable as referring to the chief of the Douglases and Bruces. But we also have
“The Douglas and the Percy both together.
and so in Early English "the Brute," "the Herod." The is seldom used, like the article in French, for the possessive adjective:
“To leave the Talbot and to follow us.
The word "better" is used as a noun, and opposed to "the worse," (compare the French proverb, "le mieux est l'ennemi du bien,") in
“The king is angry: see, he bites the lip.
"Death," the ender of life, seems more liable to retain the mark of notoriety than "life." Hence
“Bad news, by'r lady; seldom comes the better.
; Rich. III. i. 2. 179; ii. 3. 55. So
“Where they feared the death, they have borne life away.
i.e. "the combat that ends all dispute." French influence is perceptible in these two last instances, and in
“Dar'd to the combat.
The which (see Relative), 270.
“To shake the head.