Whence but from...

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Senior Member
Hi there,

" I looked on these; I turned my gaze to my own mean dress.--Whence sprung this difference? Whence but from ingratitude, from falsehood, from a dereliction on the part of the prince's father, of all noble sympathy and generous feeling."

Volume I, Chapter 2 | Romantic Circles

I find the use of "whence" unnecessary. Can we just omit it? I interpret it as "the difference sprang from ingratitude of all noble sympathy and general feeling, from falsehood of all noble sympathy and general feeling,..."


  • sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England

    No, we can't omit it. If the sentence were to begin with "But", it would not make sense. "Whence, but from ingratitude..." means "Whence (Where from), other than from ingratitude, falsehood or dereliction". In other words, the reason for 'this difference' can only be ingratitude, falsehood or a dereliction.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Whence but from ingratitude..." is equivalent to "Where else could it have sprung from, if not from ingratitude..."


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    It could take a question mark. I would use one.
    However, it's a rhetorical question; it is making a point rather than expecting an answer. Many people don't use question marks with rhetorical questions.
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