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to such a bond for me, lle rather dweil in my necessitie.

ld, First Part Henry Sixt'h V iv 144, lle rather keepe That which I haue, than courting for more. ld, Jul. Caesar V v 7, lle rather kill my selfe. 50. 1 he following passages show that would rather, far froni being a new departure in Shakespeare's time, could even then boast of having been a recognized idiom for tliree centuries.

1 28o-'qo S. Eng. Leg. 110/134, And. bote he he*e weddi wolde: heo nolde christinedom a-fongue, heo seide heo wolde raper tuyrne a.~en In-to liire owene londe. Ibid. 127/735, Raper he wolde... to martyrdom beon ido, |>ane holi churche were so bi-neo|ie. Ibid. 153/1620. Raper he wolde deth a-fonge Jiane Jiolie heore lu[iere wille.

Ibid. 154/1678, Seint Thomas swor Jiat bi is dai.-,e he nolde J>arof holde non Raper he wolde deth a-fonge.

1369 Chaucer, Book of the Duch. 240-'2, Rather then that 1 shulde deye... 1 wolde yive thilke Morpheus... the alder-beste Yift...

c. 1372 ld. Compl. unto Pite 46, whan I al this company ther fond I bat rather wolden al my cause spil le Than do me help, 1 held my pleynte stille.

1379- 83 ld. Troil. & Cris. III 379, rather deye / wolde and determyne... In wrecchednesse.

1386-? ld. Cant. T. A 487, Ful looth were him to cursen for his tythes, But rather wolde he yeven... Un-to his povre parisshens aboute of his offring.

Id. Ibid. E 1169, thogh the coyne be fair at ye, It wolde rather breste a-two than plye.

1393 Gower, Conf. Am. IV, 2756, I wolde rapur Atropos... mi hadde from mi moder cast.

i400-'50 Two M. E. Hist. from Heil, II, 43, Man yf thou wyste what hyt were, To take another then jiy wife, Thou woldest raper suffer here. (In all 7 MSS.)

1481 Caxton, Reynard, p. 79, / wold alle to gydre avenV u n der Haal', Trausition. 4.