From a Nineteenth C. book on the life and times of Shakespeare …

“The diminutive oaths, mentioned at the close of [a previous quote], were, unfortunately, considered as ornaments of conversation, and adopted by both sexes, in order to give spirit and vivacity to their language; a shocking practice, which seems to have been rendered fashionable by the very reprehensible habit of the Queen [Elizabeth I], whose oaths were neither diminutive nor rare; for it is said, that she never spared an oath in public speech or private conversation when she thought it added energy to either. After this example in the highest classes, we need not be surprised when Stubbes tells us, speaking of the great body of the people, that, ‘if they speake but three or four words, yet they must be interlaced with a bloudie oath or two.’”

This article was filed under Quotes from Books.

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