Can an adjective instead of the real subject be used before "be" as in the sentence cited above? Is this inversion acceptable for emphasis?


This is acceptable, but quite old-fashioned; nobody would talk this way in ordinary parlance unless they were deliberately trying to come across as poetic or dramatic (there may be a subtle sense of mocking something when speaking this way). If this style were used in writing, it would generally be in a creative work, or for dramatic effect in some other type of publication.

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    Famous examples include Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown Shakespeare: Henry IV ("uneasy lies the head" = "sleeps badly") and Wide is the gate, and broad is the way [to destruction] King James Bible, Matthew 7:13. ("wide gate and broad way" = "very easy route to enter and travel") – jonathanjo Jan 14 at 10:22

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