A Dictionary of the English Language
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Rule (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1729

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1729

Rule. n.s. [regula, Lat.]

  1. Government; empire; sway; supreme command.

            I am asham'd, that women
    Should seek for rule, supremacy, or sway,
    When they are bound to serve, love, and obey.

                May he live
    Ever belov'd, and loving may his rule be!

    A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame. Proverbs xvii. 2.

    There being no law of nature nor positive law of God, that determines which is the positive heir, the right of succession; and consequently of bearing rule, could not have been determined. Locke.

    This makes them apprehensive of every tendency, to endanger that form of rule established by the law of their country. Addison's Freeholder, № 52.

    Instruct me whence this uproar;
    And wherefore Vanoe, the sworn friend to Rome,
    Should spurn against our rule, and stir
    The tributary provinces to war.
    A. Philip's Briton.

    Sev'n years the traytor rich Mycenæ sway'd,
    And his stern rule the groaning land obey'd.

  2. An instrument by which lines are drawn.

    If your influence be quite dam'd up
    With black usurping mists, some gentle taper,
    Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole
    Of some clay habitation, visit us
    With thy long levell'd rule of streaming light.

    A judicious artist will use his eye, but he will trust only to his rule. South's Sermons.

  3. Canon; precept by which the thoughts or actions are directed.

    Adam's sin did not deprive him of his rule, but left the creatures to a reluctation. Bacon.

    This little treatise will furnish you with infallible rules of judging truly. Dryden's Dufresnoy.

    Know'st with an equal hand to hold the scale;
    See'st where the reasons pinch, and where they fail,
    And where exceptions o'er the general rule prevail.

    We profess to have embraced a religion, which contains the most exact rules for the government of our lives. Tillots.

    We owe to christianity the discovery of the most certain and perfect rule of life. Tillotson.

  4. Regularity; propriety of behaviour.

    Some say he's mad; others, that lesser hate him,
    Do call it valiant fury; but for certain,
    He cannot buckle his distemper'd cause
    Within the belt of rule.
    Shakesp. Macbeth.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry VIII (62) · Locke, John (269) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Milton, John (449) · Philips, Ambrose (8) · Pope, Alexander (393) · The Bible - Proverbs (19) · South, Robert (158) · Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew (71) · Tillotson, John (68)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Rule (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: February 4, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/rule-noun/.

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