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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2012-09-14 21:32:28

From: Montreal
Registered: 2008-03-17
Posts: 1101

"vain" for "fain"

Kem dropped a nice new eggcorn into his response to larrybob’s also-delightful faun over.

The source of “fawn over” seems to be the old “fain” (I’m fain to admit). Speaking of the archaic “fain to admit” (=either disposed to admit or reluctant to admit)—lots of “feign to admit” examples on the web.

The obscurity of fain leads other to see it as vain. “I vain would admit” might be seen as an unpunctuated adjective: “I, vain, would” or it might imply that the desired activity will be in vain. Some of these hits are from the olde days so they may be mistranscriptions, or intentional puns.

This knife! now let me prove if it will sever
This wither’d slip of nature’s nightshade—my
Vile form—from the creation, as it hath
The green bough from the forest.
[Arnold places the knife in the ground, with the point upwards.
Now ‘tis set
And I call fall upon it. Yet one glance
On the fair day, which sees no foul thing like
Myself, and the sweet sun which warm’d me, but
In vain. The birds—how joyously they sing!
So let them, for I would not be lamented:
But let their merriest notes be Arnold’s knell;
The falling leaves my monument; the murmur
Of the near fountain my sole elegy.
Now, knife, stand firmly, as I vain would fall!
[_As he rushes to throw himself upon the knife, his eye is suddenly caught by the fountain
from The Deformed Transformed, by Lord Byron

Whene’er we’d meet, like strangers we would pass,
The pain was sharp and very hard to bear;
And while he thought me happy in my splendor,
I vain would meet with misery and despair!
Trad music

Beneath the cross of Kirkus I vain would take my stand
The shadow of a mighty rock within a hipster land

By this time you may surely guess
The truth I vain would hide,
And pardon a rough soldier’s words
While I tell you how he died.

Of all the dispositions and habots that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indisensable supports. I vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars. (George Washington)
I’m thinking misquote here



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