In Reply to: Men of fine parts posted by Joe Kralich on April 11, 2009 at 02:33:
: : What are "Men of fine parts"? If they are so fine, why are they so despised by Sir Roger? Are they physically frail? Steele No. 6, March 7, 1711.
: This one is still around?
: Yes, I have the answer but it is complicated.
: One can also search for "a man of fine parts"
: It means a wit, sharp mind, talented, capable
: as in a promising university student 18th century usage there.
: The text you cited well is about one stating that
: "men of fine parts" should be hanged, meaning not that all such men but those criminal, evil sorts that where one combines such intellect with evil then he will equate the greatest threat, danger.
: Hope this helps, also yes, the quote is allied to a person with a disability, that gets even more complicated as it is the 18th century view.
: It also relates to people of great talent, wit and brains that achieve nothing: they are a waste.
: But it as been over forty years sinces I was a honours English student at university..
: The brain does wain
My brain has waned, too, and I was never an English student except in grammar school. But I have often heard about men of many parts, almost as often, "a man of parts." I'm sure that somewhere among these were men of fine parts.
As usual I rely on the Oxford English Dictionary to tell me whether or not I am talking nonsense, so here iw the relevant rubric.
s.v. part: "15. A personal quality or attribute, esp. of an intellectual kind; an ability, gift, or talent. Usu. in pl. Now rare exc. in man (also woman, lad, etc.) of (many) partsn. a man, etc., who is talented or accomplished in many respects.
"[exmples:1561 T. HOBY tr. B. Castiglione Courtyer II. sig. Liiiiv, To set his delite to haue in himself partes and excellent qualities. 1600 SHAKESPEARE Much Ado about Nothing V. ii. 54 For which of my bad parts didst thou first fal in loue with me? 1601 B. JONSON Every Man in his Humor III. iv. 192 A gentleman of an exceeding fayre disposition, and of very excellent good partes. a1640 P. MASSINGER City-Madam II. i. 24 You shall first know him, then admire him For a man of many parts, and those parts rare ones. . . ."
Who is Sir Roger?