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    #1

    Smile "A plague of all cowards, I say" Shakespeare

    Could you explain the meaning of the following sentence with an explanation especially about the meaning of the word 'if'.
    * "A plague of all cowards, I say" Shakespeare*

    Thanks in advance.


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    #2

    Re: "A plague of all cowards, I say" Shakespeare

    King Henry IV (Part 1) was written at the end of the 16th century, probably in the 1590s. 'of' is an archaic form of 'on'.

    "A plague on all cowards, I say."
    Does that make it clearer?

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "A plague of all cowards, I say" Shakespeare

    Ooh, very informative, David. Ta.

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    #4

    Re: "A plague of all cowards, I say" Shakespeare

    Another of these comes in Romeo and Juliet - 'A plague of both their houses' (the Montagus and the Capulets). When this line was borrowed for the film Shakespeare in Love - if I remember right - it was updated to 'on' (not two families, but two theatres).

    b

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    #5

    Re: "A plague of all cowards, I say" Shakespeare

    Then again, Shakespeare's plays were not only frequently recopied, but may well have been polished and perfected over the years in an open-source fashion. It is possible some of these examples of "of" were errors. One edition I have of Romeo and Juliet reads "a plague a both their houses" rather than "of" or "on", just as an example.


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    #6

    Re: "A plague of all cowards, I say" Shakespeare

    Consecutive speeches from the authoratative First Folio:

    Poin. Welcome Iacke, where hast thou beene?
    Fal. A plague of all Cowards I say, and a Vengeance
    too, marry and Amen. Giue me a cup of Sacke Boy. Ere
    I leade this life long, Ile sowe nether stockes, and mend
    them too. A plague of all cowards. Giue me a Cup of
    Sacke, Rogue. Is there no Vertue extant?
    Prin. Didst thou neuer see Titan kisse a dish of Butter,
    pittifull hearted Titan that melted at the sweete Tale of
    the Sunne? If thou didst, then behold that compound

    Fal. You Rogue, heere's Lime in this Sacke too: there
    is nothing but Roguery to be found in Villanous man; yet
    a Coward is worse then a Cup of Sack with lime. A villanous
    Coward, go thy wayes old Iacke, die when thou
    wilt, if manhood, good manhood be not forgot vpon the
    face of the earth, then am I a shotten Herring: there liues
    not three good men vnhang'd in England, & one of them
    is fat, and growes old, God helpe the while, a bad world I
    say. I would I were a Weauer, I could sing all manner of
    songs. A plague of all Cowards, I say still


    Two typos in two consecutive speeches - and then, Guttenburg goes and does it again in Romeo and Juliet: 'A plague of both their houses'. And with all the grammarians and scholars pooring over his works for centuries; all those editors compiling Authorative Texts... to think, it has gone undetected!
    Last edited by David L.; 12-Apr-2009 at 00:43.

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