Careful Words

syllable (n.)

Philologists, who chase

A panting syllable through time and space,

Start it at home, and hunt it in the dark

To Gaul, to Greece, and into Noah's ark.

William Cowper (1731-1800): Retirement. Line 691.

A thousand fantasies

Begin to throng into my memory,

Of calling shapes, and beck'ning shadows dire,

And airy tongues that syllable men's names

On sands and shores and desert wildernesses.

John Milton (1608-1674): Comus. Line 205.

  One made the observation of the people of Asia that they were all slaves to one man, merely because they could not pronounce that syllable No.

Plutarch (46(?)-120(?) a d): Of Bashfulness.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

To the last syllable of recorded time,

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more: it is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616): Macbeth. Act v. Sc. 5.