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CONJUNCTIONS. Since for "when," "ago"

Since1 seems used for when in--

“Beseech you, sir,
Remember since you owed no more to time
Than I do now.

"Remember the time past when you," &c.

“We know the time since he was mild and affable.

“Thou rememberest
Since once I sat upon a promontory.

“This fellow I remember
Since once he play'd a farmer's eldest son.

So 2 Hen. IV. iii. 2. 206.

This meaning of since arises from the omission of "it is" in such phrases as "it is long since I saw you," when condensed into "long since, I saw you." Thus since acquires the meaning of "ago," "in past time," adverbially, and hence is used conjunctively for "when, long ago."

Since (like the adverb) is found connected with a simple present where we use the complete present (so in Latin):

Since the youth of the count was to-day with my lady, she is
much out of quiet.

More remarkable is the use of the simple past for the complete present:

“I was not angry since I came to France
Until this instant.

Note

“Whip him . . .
So saucy with the hand of she here,--what's her name?
Since she was Cleopatra.

Perhaps the meaning is "Whip him for being saucy with this woman, since (though she is not now worthy of the name) she once was (emphatical) Cleopatra." Else "What is her new name since she ceased to be Cleopatra?" If since, in the sense of "ago," could be used absolutely for "once," a third interpretation would be possible: "What's her name? Once she was Cleopatra."

1 The old form sith occurs several times in Shakespeare, and mostly in the metaphorical meaning "because." Sith in Hamlet, ii. 2. 12, is an exception. Sith in A.-S. meant "late," "later;" "sith-than," "after that." Sithen<*> (Chaucer, "sethens," "sins") is found once in Shakespeare.

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