Careful Words

tail (n.)

tail (v.)

tail (adv.)

tail (adj.)

For angling rod he took a sturdy oak;

For line, a cable that in storm ne'er broke;

 .   .   .   .   .

His hook was baited with a dragon's tail,—

And then on rock he stood to bob for whale.

From The Mock Romance, a rhapsody attached to The Loves of Hero and Leander, published in London in the years 1653 and 1677. Chambers's Book of Days, vol. i. p. 173. Daniel: Rural Sports, Supplement, p. 57.

How index-learning turns no student pale,

Yet holds the eel of science by the tail.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744): The Dunciad. Book i. Line 279.

  Like Aesop's fox, when he had lost his tail, would have all his fellow foxes cut off theirs.

Robert Burton (1576-1640): Anatomy of Melancholy. Democritus to the Reader.

While betweene two stooles my taile goe to the ground.

John Heywood (Circa 1565): Proverbes. Part i. Chap. iii.

Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail.

John Milton (1608-1674): Hymn on Christ's Nativity. Line 172.

What a monstrous tail our cat has got!

Henry Carey (1663-1743): The Dragon of Wantley. Act ii. Sc. 1.

You think they are crusaders sent

From some infernal clime,

To pluck the eyes of sentiment

And dock the tail of Rhyme,

To crack the voice of Melody

And break the legs of Time.

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894): The Music-Grinders.