The interwebs are all abuzz with the word ‘dotard’ after yesterday’s news reports of verbal escalations between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. It means one whose intellect has become impaired by age; one who is in his dotage or second childhood; weak, silly, foolish. The word was used in an English translation of neukdari michigwangi, Korean for ‘lunatic old man.’ And of course this morning I just had to dig through vintage Google Books for some quotations using the archaic term (and its variations — dotant, dotardly, dotehead, dotel, twichild, etc). Enjoy the quotes, and here’s hoping for world peace!
A dotard’s ravings in the hour of death,
When the tongue speaks without the sense’s guidance.
~George William Lovell (1804–1878), Provost of Bruges, 1836
He drank a lusty draught, sat silent for some time, and at last broke out; I am come (quoth he) to insult thee for an old fantastick Dotard as thou art… ~The Tatler, No 266, 1710 December 21st
Away with the dotard; to the jail with him! ~William Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale [II, 3, Leontes]
I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls,
And each damp thing that creeps and crawls
Went wobble-wobble on the walls…
Strange characters of woe and fear,
The humbugs of the social sphere…
And one, a dotard grim and gray,
Who wasteth childhood’s happy day
In work more profitless than play…
~Lewis Carroll, “The Palace of Humbug,” 1855
And you, ye doil’d dotard, ye stand there hammering dog-heads instead of earning bread for your family! ~Walter Scott, Waverley, 1814 [A little altered. ‘Doiled’ means dazed, confused. ‘Doghead’ is a part of a old-style gun.
How wise they are that are but fools in love!…
But now intruding love dwells in my brain,
And franticly hath shoulder’d reason thence:
I am not old, and yet, alas! I doat;
I have not lost my sight, and yet am blind;
No bondman, yet have lost my liberty;
No natural fool, and yet I want my wit.
What am I, then? let me define myself:
A dotard young, a blind man that can see,
A witty fool, a bondman that is free.
~Joshua Cooke, A Pleasant Conceited Comedy; Wherein is Showed How a Man May Choose a Good Wife from a Bad, 1602 [Master Anselm]
Many Democrats, apparently shocked by the fiery and vehement utterances of their distinguished leader on the occasion alluded to, attempt to explain and palliate their effect upon the civilized world as being but the vapid mouthings of an old man in his dotage. ~A Southern Republican, “Toombs and the Scalawag,” 1876
Banish your dotage; banish usury,
That makes the senate ugly.
~William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens [III, 5, Alcibiades]
…the palsied intercession of such a decayed dotant… ~William Shakespeare, Coriolanus [V, 2, First Senator]
…but Young was a querulous old fashioned dotard… ~Samuel Whyte
Dotard (said he) let be thy deep advise;
Seems that through many years thy wits thee fail,
And that weak eld hath left thee nothing wise,
Else never should thy judgment be so frail,
To measure manhood by the sword or mail…
~Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, 1590
When a man is in his dotage is entirely a question of fact, not age; some men are in their dotage at fifty, others are not at ninety. ~A Freemasons guide from the early 1900s
Tush, tush, man; never fleer and jest at me:
I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
As under privilege of age to brag
What I have done being young, or what would do
Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong’d mine innocent child and me
That I am forced to lay my reverence by
And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
~William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing [V, 1, Leonato]
The miser must make up his plum,
And dares not touch the hoarded sum;
The sickly dotard wants a wife,
To draw off his last dregs of life.
~Matthew Prior (1664–1721), “Moral”
Never afflict yourself to know the cause;
But let his disposition have that scope
That dotage gives it.
~William Shakespeare, King Lear [I, 4, Goneril]
Why not by th’ hand, sir? How have I offended?
All’s not offence that indiscretion finds
And dotage terms so.
~William Shakespeare, King Lear [II, 4, Goneril]
“Then is he not more mad,” (sayd Paridell)
“That hath himself unto such service sold,
In doleful thralldom all his days to dwell?
For sure a fool I do him firmly hold,
That loves his fetters, though they were of gold.
But why do we devise of others ill,
Whiles thus we suffer this same dotard old
To keep us out, in scorn of his own will,
And rather do not ransack all, and himself kill?”
~Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, 1590
…to explain away the evil of his speech by attributing his unfortunate utterances to his dotage… ~A Southern Republican, “Toombs and the Scalawag,” 1876
Action is the best option in treating the dotard who, hard of hearing, is uttering only what he wants to say…. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire. ~Kim Jong-un, about Donald Trump, 2017 September 21st, translated
Donald Trump: “I have the best words, Rocket Man.”
Kim Jong-un: “Hold my covfefe, #dotard.”
~@BiglyPrez, 2017 September 21st