Note by A Milnes to Dryden's Character a chapter of The Life Of Dryden

From the preface to the Fables. The word pretend is here used in its old sense, ` to hold out with a threatening purpose ,' a sense in which the verb is very rare, though the noun is more common. Thus:—

'Against the undivulged pretence I fight
Of treasonous malice.' Macbeth, ii. 3.

It would be perhaps hard to find another instance of this same verb used actively but in a metaphorical sense. We have it in Spenser, Faerie Queen , vi. 2, 19 —

'His target always over her pretended ';

but the meaning is there actual, not metaphorical.

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