SHAKESPEARE, with the right and might of a true poet, and with his peculiar royal privilege as king of all poets, has minted several words that deserve to become current in our language. He coined them for his own special use to express his own special meanings in his own special passages; but they are so expressive and so well framed to be exponents of certain particulars in meaning common to us all, that they deserve to become generally adopted and used:
- For then the bold and coward,
- The wise and fool, the artist and unread,
- The hard and soft, seem all affin'd and kin. -- Troilus and Cressida, i. 3.
- Whether I in any just term am affin'd
- To love the Moor. -- Othello, i. 1.
- If partially affin'd, or league'd in office,
- Thou dost deliver more or less the truth,
- Thou art no soldier. -- Othello, ii. 3.
By the condensedly framed word "affin'd," Shakespeare expressess, in the first of the above three passages, 'united by affinity;' in the second 'bound by any claim of affinity;' and in the third 'swayed by any link of affinity.'
- You, Titus Lartius,
- Must to Corioli back: send us to Rome
- The best, with whom we may articulate,
- For their own good and ours. -- Coriolanus, i. 9.
- These things, indeed, you have articulated,
- Proclaim'd at market-crosses, read in churches. -- Henry IV, Part I, v. 1.
Shakespeare framed for himself the verb "articulate" (from one of the meanings of the Latin word articulus, 'an article or condition in a covenant') to express concisely 'enter into articles;' and "articulated," to express 'set forth in articles.'
- You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom
- Than prais'd for harmful mildness. -- King Lear, i. 4
In the above passage, the word "attask'd" succinctly expresses 'taken to task.'
- Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff,
- That beetles o'er his base into the sea. -- Hamlet, i. 4.
"Beetle-brows," to express 'prominent brows,' was a very old epithet; and Shakespeare framed the expressive verb "beetles," to indicate a cliff's summit that 'juts out prominently,' that 'projects' beyond its wave-worn base, like the head of a wooden "beetle" or mallet.
- With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks. -- King Lear, i. 4.
From the Latin word cadens, 'falling,' 'trickling,' 'pouring down,' Shakespeare invented the poetical epithet "cadent."
- As, by the same co-mart,
- And carriage of the article design'd,
- His fell to Hamlet. -- Hamlet, i. 1.
Shakespeare framed the word "co-mart," to express 'joint bargains,' 'compact made together,' in the same manner that the words 'co-heiress,' 'co-partner,' &c., are formed, and as he himself formed the word "co-mates" in the following passage:
- Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile. -- As You Like It, ii. 1.
- For government, though high, and low, and lower,
- Put into parts, doth keep in one consent,
- Congreeing in a full and natural close,
- Like music. -- Henry V, i. 2.
By the one word "congreeing," Shakespeare expresses 'agreeing with itself, in all its parts.'
- That, face to face and royal eye to eye,
- You have congreeted. Henry V, v. 2.
The single word "congreeted" expresses 'greeted each other,' 'met together.'
- First, all you peers of Greece, go to my tent;
- There in the full convive we. -- Troilus and Cressida, iv. 5.
Shakespeare frames the above verb to express 'let us be convivial,' 'let us feast together.'
- Yet here she is allow'd her virgin crants,
- Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
- Of bell and burial. -- Hamlet, v. 1.
Here Shakespeare has anglicised and brought into our language a word which exists in various northern languages, under the form of 'krans,' 'krants,' 'kranz,' and 'crance,' each meaning 'crown' or 'garland.' He has also in the present passage appropriately introduced the custom which prevails in many countries of the north -- among the rest, Denmark -- of placing on the grave of a maiden the chaplet she wore when in life as token of her virgin condition, together with the strewn flowers emblematical of her purity.
- For my authority bears so credent bulk,
- That no particular scandal once can touch,
- But it confounds the breather. -- Measure for Measure, iv. 4.
- With what's unreal thou co-active art,
- And fellow'st nothing: then, 'tis very credent
- Thou may'st co-join with something -- The Winter's Tale, i. 2.
- If with too credent ear you list his songs. -- Hamlet, i. 3.
From the Latin principles credendus, 'to be believed or trusted,' and credens, 'believing,' 'trusting,' Shakespeare fashioned the word 'credent': to express, in the first of the above three passages, 'quality commanding belief or credit'; in the second, 'easily to be believed or credited'; and in the third, 'facilely believing or giving credit.'
- Your wife Octavia, with her modest eyes
- And still conclusion, shall acquire no honour
- Demuring upon me. -- Antony and Cleopatra, iv. 13.
In framing the word "demuring," the poet, with felicitous condensation, expresses, 'looking demurely.'
- The poisonous damp of night dispunge upon me. -- Antony and Cleopatra, iv. 9.
By the single verb "dispunge" is expressed 'discharge as from a sponge.'
- The violence of either grief or joy
- Their own enactures with themselves destroy. -- Hamlet, iii, 2.
This expressive word was fabricated by the poet to designate 'purposes put into action,' 'intentions enacted.'
- Were they not forc'd with those that should be ours,
- We might have met them dareful, beard to beard,
- And beat them backward home. -- Macbeth, v. 5.
Shakespeare framed the vigorous word "forc'd" to express 'reinforced,' 'provided with forces'; and yet the emendators have sought to deprive us of it by proposing various substitutions.
A good sherris-sack hath a twofold operation in it. It ascends me into the brain; dries me there all the foolish and dull and crudy vapors which environ it, makes in apprehensive, quick, forgetive, full of nimble, fiery, and delectable shapes. -- Henry IV, Part II, iv. 3.
This word succinctly expresses 'capable of mentally forging.'
- His heart is fracted and corroborate. -- Henry V, ii. 1.
- And my reliances on his fracted dates
- Have smit my credit. -- Timon of Athens, ii. 1.
From the Latin word fractus, 'broken,' Shakespeare has fabricated this expression, "fracted."
- When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended,
- That for the fault's love is th' offender friended. -- Measure for Measure, iv. 2.
- Not friended by his wish, to your high person
- His will is most malignant. -- Henry VIII, i. 2.
- To orderly solicits, and be friended
- With aptness of the season. -- Cymbeline, ii. 3.
Shakespeare makes the word "friended" concisely express what is generally conveyed by the word "befriended."
- And what so poor a man as Hamlet is
- May do, to express his love and friending to you. -- Hamlet, i. 5.
He makes "friending" imply 'friendly feeling.'
- Though the treasure
- Of Nature's germins tumble all together. -- Macbeth, iv. 1.
- Crack Nature's moulds, all germins spill at once,
- That make ingrateful man! -- King Lear, iii. 2.
He has framed the word "germins" to express 'the principles of germination.'
- He led our powers;
- Bore the commission of my place and person;
- The which immediacy may well stand up,
- And call itself your brother. -- King Lear, v. 3.
By the word "immediacy" Shakespeare succinctly expresses 'authority immediately derived,' 'representativeship directly delegated and not intermediately obtained.'