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As . . . as. The first As is sometimes omitted:

“A mighty and a fearful head they are
As ever offered foul play in a state.

“He pants and looks (as) pale as if a bear were at his heels.

; Tempest, v. 1. 289.

In the expression "old as I am," &c. we almost always omit the first as. Shakespeare often inserts it:

“As near the dawning, provost, as it is.

“But I believe, as cold a night as 'tis, he could wish himself in
Thames up to the neck.

The expression is elliptical: "(be it) as cold as it is."

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