Experience teaches me that whatever a fellow-guest may have of power to instruct or to amuse when he is sitting in a chair, or standing on a hearth-rug, quickly leaves him when he takes one out for a walk. The ideas that come so thick and fast to him in any room, where are they now ? Where that encyclopedic knowledge which he bore so lightly? Where the kindling fancy that played like summer lightning over any topic that was started?

Is "bore" here a poetic way to say "dig the encyclopedic knowledge" or the past tense of "bear", or something else?

  • The phrasing is "poetic", but bore here is just a slightly fancier alternative to carried, held. The idea being that although the guy has all this (weighty, substantial) knowledge, he doesn't come across as ponderous / serious. May 23 '19 at 12:03

In the context, the verb "bore" must be in the past tense. Therefore, the infinitive is "to bear":

bear (verb) (CARRY) = to carry or bring something:

  • Fans bearing banners ringed the stadium.

So the meaning of the sentence would be:

What about the knowledge that he carried so lightly?

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.