the love of nobleman for maid of low degree

The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller
That fruitful theme of earlier and later poets, the love of nobleman for maid of low degree, had been lost in the age of gallantry, save in lubricious tales of intrigue and seduction.

If I understand it correctly the words nobleman and maid are countable. What I do not understand is why it is possible to do without indefinite articles in this expression.

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  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    With articles "the love of a nobleman for a maid of low degree" would be a single event: one nobleman in love with one maid.

    Without articles "the love of nobleman for maid of low degree" is a familiar generic theme. It has happened thousands (millions?) of times. Please notice that the sentence calls the bold phrase a "fruitful theme", not a single event. It is a topic that poets write about.

    In modern American English, it is more common to use an example (with articles) to represent the general theme, but both are correct:
    Nothing is stronger than the bond between parent and child.
    Nothing is stronger than the bond between a parent and their child.
     
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