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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: October ::
Re: "Thrice blessed"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1681  Tuesday, 5 October 1999.

[1]     From:   Jameela Ann Lares <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 Oct 1999 08:58:08 -0500 (CDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1674 Re: "Thrice blessed"

[2]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Monday, 04 Oct 1999 12:47:34 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.1674 Re: "Thrice blessed"

[3]     From:   Judy Kennedy <
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        Date:   Monday, 4 Oct 1999 16:26:11 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: Thrice blessed


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jameela Ann Lares <
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Date:           Monday, 4 Oct 1999 08:58:08 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 10.1674 Re: "Thrice blessed"
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1674 Re: "Thrice blessed"

Perhaps, since the "cold, fruitless" moon has been invoked (not to
mention Queen Elizabeth), the thrice refers to the three complementary
moon phases or goddesses-Cynthia, Coyotito, and, uh, the other one.

Away from my books,
Jameela Lares
Department of English
University of Southern Mississippi

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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Date:           Monday, 04 Oct 1999 12:47:34 -0400
Subject :       Re: SHK 10.1674 Re: "Thrice blessed"

>>But why "thrice"?  Is it just a meaningless
>>intensive or does it have
>>some other reference?

I suspect that it is an idiomatic intensifier.  In HenV,IV.iv, the Boy
translates the French Prisoner's "tres distingue signeur d'Angleterre"
as ""thrice-worthy signeur of England."  Riverside says the Boy's
translations are verbatim.  If so, the French "tres" (very) was
idiomatically rendered into English as "thrice."

Larry Weiss

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Judy Kennedy <
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Date:           Monday, 4 Oct 1999 16:26:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Re: Thrice blessed

William Theobald claims 'The use of "thrice" as an intensative was a
peculiarity of Shakespeare's style, as it is prefixed to many words in
the plays-e.g.,'; he gives many examples, including fair, famed,
puissant, reputed, etc.  He continues: 'This is very suggestive of the
Greek idiom which intensifies the sense of an adjective by the addition
thereto of the "tri" (thrice), as in trigeron, tripalaios-very old;' he
gives many more examples from Greek, and adds with examples from Virgil,
Plautus and Juvenal that 'The same usage is also observable in Latin'.
(_The Classical Element in the Shakespeare Plays_, London, 1909,
pp.48-9).

However, since his book is dedicated 'To the Memory of Miss Delia Bacon,
A Protomartyr in the Cause of Truth', you may wish to treat his claims
with caution!  But I think he's right.  See also the OED, which gives
examples from 1300 of thrice being used vaguely or hyperbolically, and
from 1579 of it being used in combination with any adjective to mean
Very, highly, greatly, extremely.

Schmidt isn't very helpful, noting only that when thrice is combined
with an adjective, use of the hyphen is inconsistent.

Judy Kennedy

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