[Ads-l] "drown [like] kittens/puppies"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 13 09:52:22 EDT 2016


Searches in EEBO and GB suggest that "drown like whelps" is in a play
titled "The Double Marriage. A Tragedy" which was performed circa
1619-22. This is later than the desired target date, but it is useful
to have multiple examples showing precise phrases and vocabulary, I
think.

The EEBO match occurs in the Beaumont/Fletcher First Folio, 1647, but
the details in EEBO are not visible to me (as a non-subscriber).

Searches in GB and Internet Archive reveal the following lines:

https://archive.org/stream/fiftycomediestra00beau#page/100/mode/2up/search/drown

[Begin excerpt]
It were the meritorious death I wish for,
But we must hang or drown like Whelps.
[End excerpt]

Garson


On Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 8:35 AM, Joel Berson <berson at att.net> wrote:
> Cross-posted.
>
> I am interested in how far back one can find the expression "drown [like] kittens/puppies", especially as a simile (with "like" or some similar construction) but also literally (referring to the actual drowning of unwanted, newly-born animals).  Other animals than cats or dogs might serve.
>
>
> I see it earliest in _Othello_ and _Merry Wives of Windsor_ (which were published 1602/3).  My searches in EEBO haven't found anything earlier.
>
> Thanks in advance,Joel
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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