Ramblings & ephemera

1 Henry VI: an example of euphuism

From William Shakespeare’s Henry VI, part 1 (I: 5):

TALBOT:

My thoughts are whirled like a potter’s wheel;
I know not where I am, nor what I do;
A witch, by fear, not force, like Hannibal,
Drives back our troops and conquers as she lists:
So bees with smoke and doves with noisome stench
Are from their hives and houses driven away.

They call’d us for our fierceness English dogs;
Now, like to whelps, we crying run away.

euphuism: in English literature, a highly elaborate and artificial style that derived from the Euphues (1578) of John Lyly and that flourished in England in the 1580s. It was characterized by extensive use of simile and illustration, balanced construction, alliteration, and antithesis. Euphuism played an important role in English literary history by demonstrating the capabilities of English prose. The term has come to mean an artificial, precious, high-flown style of writing.

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