1 2424, When thou hast taken eny thing of loves yifte ... W her of thin her te was the betre... Hast thou &c.
3. Me is wel, bet.
59. 1 he development of this expression runs parallel witli that of me is goocl &c, of which it may be considered to be the adverbial form. As regards the comparative it must be remarked, that a good deal of confusion prevails, for bet, although really the comparative of wel, is often used as an adjective instead of better; in the case of me is best it is, of course, utterly impossible to say which is which. Occasionally we fïnd the comparative preceded by }>e (— O.E. py) as.
La.-amon A 30, |>e sceal beon pe bet.
I'rov. of Hend. 160, lj>e bet jtc be, |>e bet ]>e byse', Quo[> Hendyng.
Me is wel developed in two directions and gave rise to a C and aD construction. The latter began to be used in the first half of the I4th century.
1340 Hamp.„Pr. of Cons. 1452, Now er men wel, now er men wa.
J393 Piers PI. C IX 300, Wend now whenne )io\v wolt, and wel be pow euere; cf. Ibid. A VII 264, wel be pe for euere.
c. 1440 Gesta Rom. p. 392, She is right wele and sittes full hye in heuyn blisse.
145o-'6o Merlin 607 16, Merlin... thought in his herte that well were he that with soche a creature myght ly.
In Shakespeare we find the D construction followed by an infinitive :
Merch. of \ en. II 11 55, his Father though I say 't is an honest exceeding poore man, and God be thanked wel to live.
Wint. Tale III lil 125, If the sinnes of your youth are forgiuen you, you 're wel to liue.
In Present English this idiom has been ousted by it is well for... (you to live).
There is an instance of the D construction of pe bet ben in the Conf. Am.