I have of late and wherefore I know not lost...

Discussion in 'English Only' started by anglicana, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. anglicana Senior Member

    France
    I have of late and wherefore I know not lost my mirth.

    It's from a poem I think. Can anyone put it itnot ordinary English?
     
  2. winklepicker

    winklepicker Senior Member

    Kent
    English (UK)
    I have of late (=recently) and wherefore I know not (=I don't know why)lost my mirth (=been a bit miserable).
     
  3. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    A bit of a flippant translation would be:

    "I seem to have misplaced my happiness recently; I'm not sure where, exactly." The tone of this "translation" is practically the opposite of the original, though, to me. The original sounds wistful to me.
     
  4. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    It should, of course, be "lost all my mirth" :)

    It is from Shakespeare's Hamlet, act ii scene ii - and is already in "ordinary English"

    Some people may recollect it from the song "What a piece of work is man?" from the musical "Hair" which rejigged the lines somewhat.

    I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours
    .
     
  5. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    I agree with winklepicker that wherefore = why, rather than where.

    (...a tidbit that was drummed into our little 11th grade heads during a study of Juliet's balcony speech: why are you named Romeo Montague, a name that is unacceptable to my family?)
     
  6. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English

    Not where, but why.

    Wherefore
    is archaic, and means why.

    Its meaning is still preserved in the expression "whys and wherefores".

    When Juliet said "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" she was asking "Why are you Romeo" - not enquiring about his location.
     

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