Heard on NFL Blackhawks vs. Redwings

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton2 at BTINTERNET.COM
Mon Dec 28 03:50:21 UTC 2009

Re the quick and the dead ...

>> Is that meaning still used? I don't think I've ever seen it outside
>> of references. BB
> Perhaps not.  It turns up in cryptic crosswords.  I suppose it only is
> spoken by people being consciously archaic.
> AM

I think this would have been the case even when A. E. Housman used it in the
second stanza of Poem LXI: "The vane on Hughley steeple," in _A Shropshire
Lad_ in 1896:

        To south the headstones cluster,
              The sunny mounds lie thick;
        The dead are more in muster
              At Hughley than the quick.

I can't see it as having become any less archaic and consciously literary in
the more than a century since Houseman used it.

Robin Hamilton

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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