The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Ere \Ere\ ([=a]r or [^a]r; 277), prep. & adv. [AS. [=ae]r,
prep., adv., & conj.; akin to OS., OFries., & OHG. [=e]r, G.
eher, D. eer, Icel. [=a]r, Goth. air. [root]204. Cf. Early,
Erst, Or, adv.]
1. Before; sooner than. [Archaic or Poetic]
Myself was stirring ere the break of day. --Shak.
Ere sails were spread new oceans to explore.
Sir, come down ere my child die. --John iv. 49.
2. Rather than.
I will be thrown into Etna, . . . ere I will leave
Ere long, before, shortly. --Shak.
Ere now, formerly, heretofore. --Shak.
Ere that, & Or are. Same as Ere. --Shak.