[log in to unmask] wrote:
>"Winter kept us warm, covering
>Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
>A little life with dried tubers."
> My thought are: The phrase "a little life" in TWL is a reference to the
>Jimmy Doyle character in "After the race", an Irishman seeking adventure as a
>young man. The narrator in TWL, despondently ties the hopeful reference of "a
>little life" to the phrase "dried tubers", a reference to the recent Irish
>potato famine. That is, the narrator's life is not one of excitement, not one of
>"elevation" or of "notoriety" or even of "the possession of money" -- rather
>the narrator's life is better compared to famine and devastation.
I must leave the house, but shall now post some other uses of "little
life." More later ... Marcia
1596 Shakes. 1 Hen. IV, v. iv. 102 What? Old Acquaintance? Could not all
this flesh Keepe in a little life?
1600 — A.Y.L. iii. v. 43 'Ods my little life, I thinke she meanes to
tangle my eies too.
1610 Shakes. Temp. iv. i. 158 We are such stuffe As dreames are made on;
and our little life Is rounded with a sleepe.
1627 Hakewill Apol. iii. ix. (1630) 261 That little life of it
[Rhetoric] which remained being reserved only in the predicancie of
1669 H. More Exp. 7 Epist. ix. 142 The same formal profession will this
Church of Laodicea hold on spiritlessly and lazily, with little life or
1742 Young Nt. Th. viii. 455 All the distinctions of this little life
Are quite cutaneous, foreign to the man.
1784 Jerningham Matilda in Evans Old Ball. II. xlii. 252 Yes, Yes! his
little life is fled, His heaveless breast is cold.
1858 Hawthorne Fr. & It. Jrnls. II. 220 The languor of Rome,–its weary
pavements, its little life.
1865 Dickens Mut. Fr. i. xiv, Very little life was to be seen on either
1868 Mrs. Whitney P. Strong vii, ‘One less little life in the world’,
said I, hypersentimentally.
1888 Mrs. H. Ward R. Elsmere xxi, One of them<dd>was sitting up<dd>and
coughing its little life away.
1912 W. Deeping Sincerity vii. 56 A good lady whose troubles had been so
many pinfalls in the closeted selfishness of her little life.
1914 W. De Morgan When Ghost meets Ghost ii. vi. 504 She brought a
couple of young loglets to keep a little life in the fire.