believe you me in oed

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 23 22:22:32 UTC 2011

Not only is it a later addition, it's a "translation"--leif==believe;
nolde==would not, etc. But, I guess, you are trying to figure out whether
it's an exact copy of the 1781 edition or if "reprint" means something was
added (likely in 1870/71 which is the date of comparable reprints). In this
case, "reprint" clearly does not mean facsimile because of long Ss. Here's a
1870 copy that GB dates 1778 and it has no long Ss either (which were not
phased out until about 1808):

But, in reality, it actually pushes the date much further back, as the
original "Alexander leif thou me" would have been in the original text. So,
although it cannot be dated exactly to 1778, it actually comes from an
earlier poem that Warton claims had been written in the reign of Henry VI.


On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 5:31 PM, Garson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at>wrote:

> There is another "earlier" match in GB that is difficult for me to
> analyze. Believe is bracketed and might be an insertion at a later
> date. The date is unclear. Here's a link.

The American Dialect Society -

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