to split something -- especially with violent force
to cut through something
Thou, my slave, As thou report'st thyself, wast then her servant: And, for thou wast a spirit too delicate To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands, Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee, By help of her more potent ministers, And in her most unmitigable rage, Into a cloven pine; within which rift Imprison'd, thou didst painfully remain A dozen years; within which space she died, And left thee there, where thou didst vent thy groans As fast as mill-wheels strike.
But they'll nor pinch, Fright me with urchin-shows, pitch me i' the mire, Nor lead me, like a firebrand, in the dark Out of my way, unless he bid 'em; but For every trifle are they set upon me: Sometime like apes that mow and chatter at me, And after bite me; then like hedge-hogs which Lie tumbling in my bare-foot way, and mount Their pricks at my foot-fall; sometime am I All wound with adders, who with cloven tongues Do hiss me into madness.
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The battle axe is a weapon used to cleave skulls or decapitate.
He scrambled back as the giant's spear cleaved the ground between his feet.