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Rift in the Lute

(A). A small defect which mars the general result.

Unfaith in aught is want of faith in all.
It is the little rift within the lute
That by-and-by will make the music mute,
And eyer widening, slowly silence all.

Tennyson: Merlin and Vivien; Vivien's Song, verses 1, 2.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Rift in the Lute from Infoplease:

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