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They that on glorious ancestors enlarge,
Le premier qui fut roi fut un soldat heureux:
("The first to become king was a successful soldier. He who serves well his country has no need of ancestors ")
Whoe'er amidst the sons
Of reason, valor, liberty, and virtue
JAMES THOMSON: Coriolanus, iii. 3.
What can they see in the longest kingly line in Europe, save that it runs back to a successful soldier? The man who has not anything to boast of but his illustrious ancestors is like a potato, the only good belonging to him is under ground.-SIR THOMAS Overbury: Characters.
Anchor as the Symbol of Hope. Among the ancients the anchor, as the hope and resource of the sailor, came to be called "the sacred anchor," and was made the emblem of hope. The early Christians adopted the anchor as an emblem of hope, and it is found engraved on rings and depicted on monuments and on the walls of cemeteries in the Catacombs. The anchor was associated with the fish, the symbol of the Saviour. The fact that the transverse bar of an anchor below the ting forms a cross probably helped towards the choice of the anchor as a Christian symbol.
Andrew's, St., Cross. The Cross of St. Andrew is always represented in the shape of the letter X; but that this is an error, ecclesiastical historians prove by appealing to the cross itself on which he suffered, which St. Stephen of Burgundy gave to the convent of St. Victor, near Marseilles, and which, like the common cross, is rectangular. The cause of the error is thus explained when the apostle suffered, the cross, instead of being fixed upright, rested on its foot and arm, and in this posture he was fastened to it, his hands to one arm and the head, his feet to the other arm and the foot, and his head in the air.
Angel, To write like an, originally characterized, not literary style, but penmanship. So Disraeli tells us in his "Curiosities of Literature." Angelo Vergecio, a learned Greek, emigrated first to Italy, and afterwards, during the reign of Francis I., to France. His beautiful penmanship attracted universal admiration. Francis I. had a Greek font of type cast, modelled from his handwriting. Angelo's name became synonymous with exquisite calligraphy, and gave birth to the familiar phrase to write like an angel," which, by a natural extension of meaning, was applied to authors as well as mere pen
Here lies Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll,
Angels altogether, a West Indian slang term applied to habitual drunkards. The sobriquet is said to have taken its rise in the following manner. negro employed on a sugar-plantation on the East Coast, Demerara, applied for a Saturday holiday. His manager, knowing Quashie's reputation as a hard drinker, chaffed him as follows: "John, you were drunk on Sunday?" "Yes, massa.' "Monday, too?" Yes, massa." And so on up to Friday, eliciting the same response. "But, John," remonstrated the manager quietly, "you know you can't be an angel altogether." The story got abroad and passed into a proverbial phrase.
Angels, On the side of the. In 1864, when Darwinism was an astonishing novelty, Disraeli neatly expressed the indignant misapprehension of the multitude in a speech before the Oxford Diocesan Society: "What is the question which is now placed before society, with the glib assurance which to me is most astounding? That question is this: Is man an ape or an angel? I am on the side of the angels. I repudiate, with indignation and abhorrence, those new-fangled theories." Carlyle was equally emphatic. "I have no patience whatever," he cried, "with these gorilla damnifications of humanity." Disraeli lived to modify his views, Carlyle detested Darwinism first and last. The optimistic Emerson saw only hope in the new doctrine. "I would rather believe," he said, "that we shall rise to the state of the angels than that we have fallen from it."
Angels' Visits. One of the most hackneyed quotations in English literature occurs in Thomas Campbell's "Pleasures of Hope," Part II., 1. 375: What though my winged hours of bliss have been Like angels' visits, few and far between?
This simile was highly praised for its "originality." Hazlitt, in his "Lectures on the English Poets," was the first to point out a similar expression in Blair's "Grave :"
Like those of angels, short and far between.
"Mr. Campbell," adds Hazlitt, "in altering the expression has spoilt it. 'Few' and 'far between' are the same thing." Elsewhere he notes that Campbell never forgave him this bit of detective work. But Blair himself was not original. He borrowed from John Norris of Bemerton (1656–1711), who has the following lines in his poem "The Parting :"
How fading are the joys we dote upon!
Mortality's too weak to bear them long.
Norris again returned to the image in a poem to the memory of his niece: Angels, as 'tis but seldom they appear,
So neither do they make long stay;
They do but visit and away.
Angelus (so named from the opening words of the prayer: "Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ,"-" The Angel of the Lord announced unto Mary"), in the Roman Catholic Church, is a devotion in memory of the Annunciation. It consists of three of the scriptural texts relating to the mystery, recited alternately with the angelic salutation, "Ave Maria," etc., and followed by a versicle with prayer. The devotion was of gradual growth. So early as 1347 we find the Council of Sens taking up an ordinance already passed by Pope John XII. (1316-1334), which recommended the faithful to say the Ave Maria three times at the hour of curfew (ignitegii). The ordinance was approved, and its observance was made obligatory. Church-bells should be rung at the hour of curfew, and all hearers should go down on their knees and recite the angel's salutation to the glorious Virgin, thus gaining ten days' indulgence. In 1369 it was further ordained that at dawn there should be three bell-strokes, and whoever at that signal said three aves and as many paternosters should obtain an indulgence for twenty days. The Angelus, as we know it, developed out of this beginning, and was substantially the present devotion, when, in 1416, a repetition of the Angelus three times a day was recommended at Breslau, the example being followed by Mainz and Cologne
in 1423. In 1472, Louis XI. obtained a papal decree sanctioning the triple Angelus in France, and promising three hundred additional days of indul gence to the suppliant.
Angry boys, a term applied in the seventeenth century to the unruly "bloods" of the day whose mad frolics nightly made the streets a terror to sedate and peaceable citizens.
Get thee another nose that will be pulled
BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER: The Scornful Lady. Annus Mirabilis (L., "Wonderful year"). A term that may be applied to any year memorable in public or private history. Thus, one of Coleridge's critics called 1797 his annus mirabilis, as during that year the poet composed most of his finest works. And, again, 1871 has been called the annus mirabilis of the Papacy, as the year in which Pius IX., first among all the successors of St. Peter, attained and passed the twenty-five years of rule which are credited to Peter. But, specifically, the term is applied in English history to the year 1666, which was crowded thick with events,-the great fire of London, the defeat of the Dutch fleet, etc. This specific use of the word has been fixed and perpetuated by Dryden's poem "Annus Mirabilis," which celebrates these events. ¡
Antiquitas sæculi juventus mundi (L., “The antiquity of ages is the youth of the world"). This phrase occurs as a quotation in Bacon's "Advancement of Learning," book i. (1605). Bacon explains it thus: "These times are the ancient times, when the world is ancient, and not those which we account ancient ordine retrogrado, by computation backward from ourselves." Whewell has pointed out that the same thought occurs in Giordano Bruno's "Cena di Cenere," published in 1584. Pascal, in the preface to his "Treatise on Vacuum," says, "For as old age is that period of life most remote from infancy, who does not see that old age in this universal man ought not to be sought in the times nearest his birth, but in those most remote from it?" For a humorous, yet most effective, statement of the same axiom by Sydney Smith, see WISDOM OF OUR ANCESTORS. Gladstone has taken the words Juventus Mundi as a title for his book on the Homeric period.
Anxious Bench, or Anxious Seat, a familiar Americanism, originally derived from the terminology of Methodist camp-meetings and other religious revivals. The anxious benches are seats set aside for anxious mourners,-i.e., for sinners who are conscious of their sin and desirous of conversion. After the ordinary services, an Anxious Meeting is held, where the mourners are exhorted, and, after they have brought forth fruit meet for repentance, they are received into church membership. By extension, the phrase On the Anxious Bench means to be in a state of great difficulty, doubt, or despondency.
Any other man, a bit of American slang which had a great run in 1860. When a man became prolix or used alternatives, such as Brown or Jones or Robinson, he was promptly called to order by the cry, or any other man." The first use of the phrase in print was by Charles G. Leland, in a comic sketch in the New York Vanity Fair. A sort of forerunner has been discovered in "Waverley :" "Gif any man or any other man.”
Apartments to let, a colloquial expression, indicating that the person referred to as having such apartments is a fool, an idiot,-i.e., that his skull has no tenant in the shape of brains. The phrase may have originated with the famous mot of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, when his son Thomas jestingly declared that he had no decided political principles, but would serve
whatever party paid him best, and that he had a mind to put a placard on his forehead, "To let." "All right, Tom," was the answer, "but don't forget to add 'unfurnished.""
Apes. Leading apes in hell. This proverbial expression is supposed to describe the fate of women who die old maids, or who have otherwise avoided the responsibility of bearing children. In this sense it occurs frequently in Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Thus, in the "Taming of the Shrew," Act iii. Sc. 1:
She is your treasure, she must have a husband;
And, for your love to her, lead apes in hell.
Dodsley, in his "Collection of Poems," vol. vi. p. 216, has this stanza:
Poor Gratia in her twentieth year,
Chose to attend a monkey here
A more recent example is in Dibdin's song "Tack and Tack:"
At length cried she, "I'll marry; what should I tarry for?
I may lead apes in hell forever."
But it would seem that the expression had some other meaning before the seventeenth century, which it has now lost. Stanihurst, in the dedication to his "Description of Ireland," in Holinshed's "Chronicles," vol. ii. (1586-87), says, "Mersites . . seemed to stand in no better stead than to lead apes in hell." Here there is an allusion quite unconnected with maidenhood or childlessness.
Apostle Gems. According to Bristow's Glossary, the apostle gems are as follows: jasper, the symbol of St. Peter; sapphire, St. Andrew; chalcedony, St. James; emerald, St. John; sardonyx, St. Philip; carnelian, St. Bartholomew; chrysolite, St. Matthew; beryl, St. Thomas; chrysoprase, St. Thaddeus; topaz, St. James the Less; hyacinth, St. Simeon; amethyst, St. Matthias. A white chalcedony with red spots is called "St. Stephen's
Apostle Spoons. Old-fashioned silver or silver-gilt spoons, whose handle terminated in the figure of one of the apostles. The souvenir spoons of to-day are their legitimate descendants. Apostle spoons were the usual presents of sponsors at christenings. The rich gave a set of a dozen, those less wealthy four, while the poor gave one. In "Henry VIII," Act v. Sc. 2, the king wishes Cranmer to stand godfather to the Princess Elizabeth, and when the prelate excuses himself, saying,
How may I deserve it,
the king jestingly responds,
Come, come, my lord, you'd spare your spoons.
Apostles, or The Twelve Apostles, in Cambridge University slang, "the clodhoppers of literature who have at last scrambled through the Senate House without being plucked, and have obtained the title of B.A. by a miracle. The last twelve names on the list of Bachelor of Arts-those a degree lower than the oi noλhoi-are thus designated" (Gradus ad Cantabri giam). The very last on the list was known as St. Paul, punningly corrupted into St. Poll, an allusion to 1 Cor. xv. 9: "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle." In a fine burst of etymological inspiration, Hotten suggests that apostles is derived from post alios,—i.e., “after
the others." But the reference to the Twelve Apostles is clear enough in itself. In Columbian College, Washington, D.C., the twelve last members of the B. A. list receive each the name of one of the apostles.
Appetite. In Rabelais's "Gargantua," ch. v., occurs the famous phrase "L'appétit vient en mangeant" (" Appetite comes in eating"). The context is worth quoting: "The stone called asbestos is not more inextinguishable than is the thirst of which I am the parent. Appetite comes with eating, said Angeston; but thirst goes away by drinking. Remedy for thirst? It is the opposite of that for the bite of a dog; always run after a dog, and he will never bite you; always drink before thirst, and it will never come to you." The Angeston referred to is supposed to be Jerome de Hangest, a famous doctor of the Sorbonne, who flourished at the beginning of the sixteenth century. But where or under what circumstances he used the phrase is unknown. Montaigne echoes Rabelais in his essay on "Vanity :" "My appetite comes to me while eating." But this is a mere autobiographical detail. The true original is probably in Ovid, who, speaking of Erysichthon, condemned by Ceres to an inextinguishable hunger, says, "All food stimulates his desire for other food." (Metamorphoses, lib. viii.) The phrase is often used now in a metaphorical sense, as, for example, in Shakespeare's paraphrase:
But even in this sense a classical prototype may be found in Quintus Curtius, who makes his Scythians say to Alexander, "You are the first in whom satiety has engendered hunger."
Apple Jack, in America, a familiar name for whiskey distilled from apples, known also as Jersey lightning, from the fact that it is mainly a New Jersey product. It may be interesting to recall John Philips's lines in "The Splendid Shilling :"
Thus do I live, from pleasure quite debarred,
But this is only a curious coincidence. The John Apple, or Apple John (so called because it is ripe about St. John's day), is a kind of apple said to keep for years, and to be in perfection when shrivelled and withered. Hence Washington Irving's "Poor Jemmy, he is but a withered little apple-john,” quoted in C. D. Warner's Life, p. 77.
Apple of Discord. Something which causes strife,-an allusion to the classical fable of Eris, the goddess of hate, who threw a golden apple among her fellow-goddesses, with this inscription, "To the most beautiful." Here, Pallas, and Aphrodite (Juno, Minerva, and Venus) all three claimed the prize, and referred their dispute to Paris, who decided in favor of the latter,-a decision that led to the Trojan war.
"Angry, indeed!" says Juno, gathering up her purple robes and royal raiment. Sorry, indeed!" cries Minerva, lacing on her corselet again, and scowling under her helmet. (I imagine the well-known Apple case has just been argued and decided.) Hurt, forsooth! Do you suppose we care for the opinion of that hobnailed lout of a Paris? Do you suppose that I, the Goddess of Wisdom, can't make allowances for mortal ignorance, and am so base as to bear malice against a poor creature who knows no better? You little know the goddess nature when you dare to insinuate that our divine minds are actuated by motives so base. A love of justice influences us. We are above mean revenge. We are too magnanimous to be angry at the award of such a judge in favor of such a creature." And, rustling out their skirts, the ladies walk away together. This is all very well. You are bound to believe them. They are actuated by no hostility; not they. They bear no malice-of course not. But when the Trojan war occurs presently, which side will they take? Many brave souls will be sent to