From George Eliot's 1874 classic, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life:
'Oh, there are so many superior teas and sugars now. Superior is getting to be shopkeepers' slang.'
'Are you beginning to dislike slang, then?' said Rosamond, with mild gravity.
'Only the wrong sort. All choice of words is slang. It marks a class.'
'There is correct English: that is not slang.'
'I beg your pardon: correct English is the slang of prigs who write history and essays. And the strongest slang of all is the slang of poets.'
'You will say anything, Fred, to gain your point.'
'Well, tell me whether it is slang or poetry to call an ox a leg-plaiter.'
'Of course you can call it poetry if you like.'
'Aha, Miss Rosy, you don't know Homer from slang. I shall invent a new game; I shall write bites of slang and poetry on slips, and give them to you to separate.'
Tags: George Eliot, Middlemarch