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Sometimes an apostrophe after a word to express 'is':

Words against me! This' a good friar belike !—M. for M., v. 1.
Why, this' a heavy chance 'twixt him and you.—Tam.of S., i. 2.
This' a good block.-Lear, iv. 6.

Since Leonatus' false.-Cym., iii. 6. Sometimes an apostrophe after a noun in the singular, to express its plural:

Made thee more profit
Than other princess' can, that have more time
For vainer hours, and tutors not so careful.Temp., i. 2.
A thousand of his people butchered ;

Upon whose dead corse there was such misuse.1 H. IV., i. 1. Sometimes an apostrophe after a noun or a proper name, instead of the more usual 's, to mark the possessive case:

Sits on his horse' back at mine hostess' door.-Yohn, ii. 1.
The bodies shall be dragged at my horse' heels.—2 H. VI., iv. 3.
Our mistress' sorrows we were pitying.-H. VIII., ii. 3.
And to fulfil his prince' desire. -Per., ii. (Gower).
Go, call at Flavius' house.-M. for M., iv. 5.

By the fire that quickens Nilus' slime.-Ant. & C., i. 3.
He occasionally gives 'd for 'would':

We'd* jump the life to come.—Macb., i. 7. Sometimes he gives ha' for 'have':

Will you ha' the truth on 't ?-Hamlet, v. I. Sometimes ha't for have it':

Sir, I pray you, let me ha 't.Coriol., ii. 3. In a few instances it's for it is'; instead of the more usual abbreviation, 'tis (of which, of course, Shakespeare has numerous examples needless to cite):

It's supper-time, my lord; it's nine o'clock.-R. III., v. 3.
And it's come to pass, this tractable obedience is a slave.-H. VIII., i. 2.

The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble.Hamlet, iii. 4.
It's true, good lieutenant.-Oth., ii. 3.

Yet still it's strange
What Cloten 's being here to us portends.-Cym., iv. 2.
Sometimes 'll for will’:

I'll put a girdle round the earth
In forty minutes.- Mid. N. D., ii. 2.
I'll give him my commission.-W. T., i. 2.
We'll fit the kid-fox with a pennyworth.-M. Ado, ii. 3.

We'll thwack him hence with distaffs.-W. T., i. 2.
Sometimes o' for of':-

We, poor unfledg’d,
Have never wing'd from view o' the nest.-Cym., iii. 3.
Sometimes o' for off'.-

You i' the camlet, get up o' the rail.-H. VIII., v. 3.

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Printed in the 1623 Folio, Wee'ld.


Sometimes o' for 'on':

Cupid hath clapp'd him o' the shoulder.-As You L., iv. I.

O' Thursday let it be: o' Thursday, tell her.-R. & Jul., iii. 4. Sometimes 'r for 'our':

By’r lady, sir, and some dogs will catch well.-Tw. N., ii. 3.

By ', lakin, I can go no farther, sir.— Temp., iii. 3. In some instances, he uses 's for 'has':

For he's a spirit of persuasion.Temp., ii. 1.

He's walk'd the way of nature.—2 H. IV., v. 2. In one instance, Shakespeare uses 's for “he is':

Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,

The other way's a Mars.-Ant. & C., ii. 5.
In some instances, he uses 's for “his':

But Tuesday night last gone, in 's garden-house,
He knew me as a wife.-M. for M., V. I.
To let him there a month behind the gest
Prefix'd for 's parting.-W. T., i. 2.

Neither the king, nor's heirs,
(Tell you the duke) shall prosper.-H. VIII., i. 2.

One hand on his dagger,
Another spread on 's breast.Ibid., i. 2.

He hath a witchcraft
Over the king in 's tongue.-Ibid., iii. 2.
The master-cord on's heart !-Ibid., iii. 2.

There is a mutiny in 's mind.-Ibid., iii. 2.
A plague upon Antenor ! I would they had broke's neck !—Tr. & Cr., iv. 2.

Will he swagger himself out on 's own eyes ?-Ibid., v. 2.
On's brows; Menenius, he comes the third time home with the oaken garland.-
Coriol., ii. 1.

Death, that dark spirit, in 's nervy arm doth lie.-Ibid., ii. 1.
A curse begin at very root on 's heart,
That is not glad to see thee!—Ibid., ii. 1.
That to's power he would have made them mules.-Ibid., ii. 1.
He had rather venture all his limbs for honour,
Than one on's ears to hear it.-Ibid., ii. 2.
He would not flatter Neptune for his trident,
Or Jove for 's power to thunder.-Ibid., iii. 1.
Tie leaden pounds to 's heels.-Ibid., iii. 1.
Sanctifies himself with 's hand.-Ibid. iv. 5.
Banquo's buried; he cannot come out on 's grave.—Macb., v. I.
There are no tongues else for 's turn.Hamlet, v. 2.

If a man's brains were in's heels.-Lear, i. 5. Why one's nose stands in the middle on 's face ?-No.-Why, to keep one's eyes of either side 's nose.-Ibid., i. 5.

Go, tell the duke and's wife I'd speak with them.-Ibid., ii. 4.
His daughter, and the heir of 's kingdom.-Cym., i. 1.
And in 's spring became a harvest.Ibid., i. 1.
Still waving, as the fits and stirs of 's mind
Could best express how slow his soul sail'd on,
How swift his ship.Ibid., i. 4.

Caius Lucius
Will do's commission throughly.-Cym., ii. 4.
Why, one that rode to's execution, man,
Could never go so slow.-Ibid., iii. 2.
And thus I set my foot on 's neck.-Ibid., iii. 3.
I know the shape of's leg.-Ibid., iv. 2.
In doing this for 's country.-Ibid., v. 3.
Your death has eyes in 's head, then.-Ibid., v. 4.
I cut off's head.-Ibid., v. 5.

Since I have here my father's gift in 's will. ---Per., ii. 1.
In other instances, he uses 's for 'is':-

And then I'll bring thee to the present business
Which now's upon 's.—Temp., i. 2.
Consider whom the king your father sends;
To whom he sends; and what's his embassy.-Love's L. L., ii. 1.
A woman's general; what should we fear?-3 H. VI., i. 2.

And high note's
Ta'en of your many virtues.-H. VIII., ii. 3.

His heart's his mouth;
What his breast forges, that his tongue must vent.--Coriol., iii. 1.
One score 'twixt sun and sun,
Madam 's enough for you, and too much too.-Cym., iii. 2.

Nor know not
What air 's from home.-Ibid., iii. 3,
There's livers out of Britain.-Ibid., iii. 4
My shipwreck now 's no ill.—Per., ii. 1.
Were more than you expect, or more than's fit.-Ibid., ii. 3.

Nay, how absolute she's in 't -Ibid., ii. 5.
On one occasion, he uses 's to express is as':-

Thou art the best o' the cut-throats: yet he's good

That did the like for Fleance.-Macb., iii. 4. He also uses 's elliptically, for which is':

Where liest o' nights, Timon ?-Under that's above me.Timon, iv. 3. Likewise elliptically, for “who is':

Thou speak'st like him 's untutor'd to repeat.-Per., i. 4.
In other cases he employs 's 'for us':-

The present business
Which now 's upon 's.— Temp., i. 2.
We 'll part the time between 's then.-W.T., i. 2.
We are yours i' the garden : shall's attend you there?-Ibid., i. 2.

Many thousand on 's
Have the disease, and feel 't not.-Ibid., i. 2.

Pray you, sit by us,
And tell's a tale.-Ibid., ii. i.

This is a match,
And made between 's by vows.-Ibid., v. 3.
And let 's away to London.—3 H. VI., V. 5.

And then let's dream
Who's best in favour.-H. VIII., i. 4.
Shall's to the Capitol ?-Coriol., iv. 6.

Yet do not
Upbraid's with our distress.-Ibid., v. 1.

If he covetously reserve it, how shall's get it ?Timon, iv. 3.
Kind gentlemen, let 's go see poor Cassio dress'd.Oth., v. i.
Say, where shall's lay him ?-Cym., iv. 2.
Where we have liv'd; and so extort from 's that
Which we have done.-Ibid., iv. 4.
Shall 's have a play of this ?-Ibid., v. 5.

We will die all three,
But I will prove that two on 's are as good

As I have given out him.-Ibid., v. 5.
In one passage he uses 'st for hast':-

I'll say, thou 'st gold:
Thou wilt be throng'd to shortly.—Timon, iv. 3.
He frequently uses 't for it':-

There is something in 't,*
More than my father's skill.- All's W., i. 3.
There is something in 't that stings his nature.-Ibid., iv. 3.

There's something in 't
That is deceivable.-Tw. N., iv. 3.
One day shall crown the alliance on 't, so please you.Ibid., v. I.

This tempest,
Dashing the garment of this peace, aboded
The sudden breach on 't.-H. VIII., i. 1.

Is it therefore
Th' embassador is silenc'd ?-

Marry, is 't.-Ibid., i. 1,
Induce you to the question on 't?-Ibid., ii. 4.
Bearing a state of mighty moment in t.-Ibid., ii. 4.

And, I fear,
Thou play'dst most foully for 't.-Macb., iii. 1.
Will you ha' the truth on 't?-Hamlet, v. I.
Since the true life on 't was.-Cym., ii. 4.

If't be summer news,
Smile to 't before.Ibid., iii. 4.

l' the world's volume
Our Britain seems as of it, but not in 't.-Ibid., iii.
These flowers are like the pleasures of the world;
This bloody man, the care on 't.-Ibid., iv, 2.
Bid the captains look to 't.-Ibid., iv, 2.

I have belied a lady,
The princess of this country, and the air on 't
Revengingly enfeebles me.-Ibid., v. 2.
Augustus lives to think on 't.-Ibid., v. 5.
How absolute she's in 't.-Per., ii. 5.

Now the good gods
Throw their best eyes upon 't!-Ibid., iii. 1.
Unscissar'd shall this hair of mine remain,
Though I show ill in 't.-Ibid., iii. 3.

* In the present passage " in ’t" (printed distinctly thus in the Folio, in all the three passages where this abbreviation occurs) was proposed by Hanmer to be altered to hints’; an alteration adopted by Warburton and by some other editors since. But the original expression, " there 's something in 't," is twice again used by Shakespeare (once in this very play); whereas he never uses hint' as a verb, always as a noun.


There is one instance of Shakespeare's using “you 're” to express ‘you were,' instead of the more ordinary meaning you are’; of which latter abbreviation there are, of course, in his works many instances that need not be cited :

Madam, you're best consider.-Cym., iii. 2.
And an instance of “thou 'rt” for “thou wert,' not 'thou art':-

Fetch us in fuel; and be quick, thou 'rt best.—Temp., ii. 2. There are some words which Shakespeare sometimes elisionally abbreviates :

The kitchen malkin pins
Her richest lockram 'bout (about] her reechy neck.—Coriol., ii. 1.
Here's a few flowers; but 'bout (about) midnight, more.-Cym., iv. 2.
'Twould 'braid [upbraid) yourself too near for me to tell it.-Per., i. 1.
Thou shalt 'by (aby) this dear.-Mid. N. D., iii. 2.
What 'cerns (concerns] it you if I wear pearl and gold.—Tam. of S., V. I.
That no man 'counts (accounts] of her beauty.—Two G. of V., ii, 1.
Murder, stern murder, in the dir'st (direst] degree.-R. III., v. 3.
As he, being 'drest (addrest] to some oration.—Tr. & Cr., i. 3.
Your eld'st (eldest) acquaintance cannot be three hours.—Temp., v. 1.
As, let 'em (them) have their rights, they 're ever forward.—H. VIII., iv. 1.
The farced title running 'fore [before) the king.-H. V., iv. I.
But fettle your fine joints 'gainst (against] Thursday next.-R. & Ful., 5.
Some say, that ever 'gainst (against) that season comes.-Hamlet, i. 1.
The din of war 'gan [began) pierce his ready sense.—Coriol., ii. 2.
I 'gin (begin) to be a-weary of the sun.—Macb., v. 5.
Now 'gins (begins) to bite the spirits.Temp., iii. 3.
Perjury, perjury, in the high’st (highest] degree.-R. III., V. 3.
If you are learn'd, [learned] be not as common fools.-Coriol., iii. 1.
All this coil is 'long [along] of you.-Mid. N. D., iii, 2.
By law of nature and of nations, 'long [belong]
To him and to his heirs.-H. V., i ii.

With such austerity as 'longeth [belongeth] to a father.—Tam. of S., iv. 4.
It is an honour 'longing [belonging] to our house.-All's W., iv. 2.
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs [belongs].—M. for M., ii. 2.
Lay me stark nak'd [naked), and let the water-flies
Blow me into abhorring !-Ant. & C., v. 2.
That I have 'nointed [anointed) an Athenian's eyes.Mid. N.D., iii. 2.
I 'll bring him the best 'parel (apparel) that I have.-Lear, iv, 1.
I 'll give thee, ere I leave thee, so much money,

To warrant thee, as I am 'rested (arrested] for.-Com. of E., iv. 4. The man, sir, that, when gentlemen are tired, gives them a fob, and 'rests [arrests] them.-Ibid., iv. 3.

Of all 'say'd (assayed) yet, may'st thou prove prosperous !
Of all 'say'd (assayed) yet, I wish thee happiness !—Per., i, 1.
That 'scuse (excuse) serves many men to save their gifts.—Mer. of V., iv. 1.
Search for a jewel, that too casually
Hath left mine arm: it was thy master's; 'shrew (beshrew) me,
If I would lose it for a revenue
Of any king's in Europe.-Cym., ii. 3.

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