2

My problem is understanding of following quote:

"There were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting."

I will highly appreciate if someone could paraphrase this quote to be more easy than it is now.

A little more context

Through the ages, most answers have cited dark forces that uniquely affect the teen. Aristotle concluded more than 2,300 years ago that "the young are heated by Nature as drunken men by wine." A shepherd in William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale wishes "there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting."

  • Could you provide more context, please? What play/act/scene is this from? – Paul Pehrson May 26 '16 at 16:46
  • Maybe "between sixteen and three-and twenty'? – Lamplighter May 26 '16 at 17:08
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it deals with usages that are completely obsolete, so it would be better answered on English Language & Usage. – Nathan Tuggy May 26 '16 at 17:43
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    @Rathony: OK, but just because there's not enough research for ELU to accept this does not mean it belongs on ELL. – Nathan Tuggy May 26 '16 at 19:14
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    @NathanTuggy Absolutamente. It is up to ELL to decide whether to close it or not. For myself, I am reluctant to vote to close it. – user24743 May 26 '16 at 19:15
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I would paraphrase this as:

I wish that youth either skipped from age ten to age 23, or that they would sleep during all these years, because there is nothing good between the ages of 10 and 23 except teens sexual exploits, including teen pregnancy, doing mean things to older people, stealing, and fighting.

Essentially, those years between the ages of 10 and 23 are the time when people bring upon themselves, and others, much misery and pain, and if you could skip those years, life would be better for everybody.

3

The quote expresses his distaste for individuals between the ages of ten and twenty-three; if they went to sleep at age ten and woke up at twenty-three nothing would be lost, because all they do between those ages is have sex, harass elders, steal, and fight.

2

In my opinion the old shepherd meant that he wished that young people aged between sixteen and twenty-three either hibernated through this period of their lives or didn't exist at all because they, being unruly and destructive, create too many troubles for others.

By the way, it's from Winter's Tale, act 3, scene 3.

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    a) There is no justification for the 19th century emendation 'sixteen'--the only source has 'ten'. b) I think 'no age between...' means '[boys] jumped directly from ten to 23' rather than 'didn't exist at all' c) I think there might be some value in explaining that "getting wenches with child" means "making girls pregnant" and that "wronging the ancientry" means "annoying old people". – StoneyB May 26 '16 at 18:26
  • Good additions, StoneyB – Paul Pehrson May 26 '16 at 18:34

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