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discourse — “So far exceed all instance, all,” TWELFTH NIGHT, iv. 3. 12 ; “discourse of reason,” TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, ii. 2. 116 ; HAMLET, i. 2. 150; “O madness of discourse,” TROILUS AND CRESSIDA, v. 2. 140 ; “such large discourse,” HAMLET, iv. 4. 36 ; “discourse of thought,” OTHELLO, iv. 2. 154.Discourse. The act of the understanding, by which it passes from premises to consequences.” Johnson's Dict. “It is very difficult to determine the precise meaning which our ancestors gave to discourse; or to distinguish the line which separated it from reason. Perhaps it indicated a more rapid deduction of consequences from premises than was supposed to be effected by reason:—but I speak with hesitation.” Gifford's note on Massinger's Works, vol. i. p. 148, ed. 1813 (Gifford, ubi supra, maintains that in the passage of Hamlet, i. 2. 150, we ought to read “discourse and reason,” forgetting the passage of Troilus and Cressida, ii. 2. 116; and, among sundry other passages that might be quoted from various authors, compare “There was no discourse of reason strong enough to diuert him from thinking that he was betrayed.” A Tragi-comicall History of ovr Times, vnder the borrowed names of Lisander and Calista [from the French], p. 34, 1627, folio ).

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  • Cross-references in text-specific dictionaries from this page (3):
    • William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 1.2
    • William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 4.4
    • William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Or what you will, 4.3
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