to the top of somebody’s bent
Would you tell me your opinion about the interpretations of the expression in bold in the following sentences?
Then will I come to my mother by-and-by. – They fool me to the top of my bent. I will come by-and-by. (W. Shakespeare, “Hamlet”)
By way of…humoring him to the top of his bent, I went to the window, which commanded a beautiful prospect, and remarked: “What a delicious country you have about these lodgings of yours!” (Ch. Dickens, “American Notes”)
She could twist men round her little finger, could she? Then she would twist him. She would fool him to the top of his bent. (D. I. Sayers, “Have His Carcase”)
to the top of somebody’s bent = entirely, completely, by any means, to satiety, to one’s fill , to one’s heart’s content
Thank you for your efforts.
Re: to the top of somebody’s bent
The OED tells us:
"Extent to which a bow may be bent or a spring wound up, degree of tension; hence degree of endurance, capacity for taking in or receiving; limit of capacity, etc. Now only in the Shakesperian phrase: to the top of one's bent, or the like."
You certainly have an ability to find expressions that almost nobody would use today, Vil
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