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Hades, Hector will perish, poor old Priam's bald numskull will be cracked, and Troy town will burn, because Paris prefers golden-haired Venus to ox-eyed Juno and gray-eyed Minerva.-THACKERAY: Roundabout Papers.
Apple-pie order, complete, thorough order. Plausibly conjectured to be a corruption of cap-à-pie order (Fr. de pied en cap), with reference to the complete equipment of a soldier fully caparisoned from head to foot. The only objection to this theory is that no instance of the latter phrase appears. haps the derivation suggested in Barrère and Leland's "Slang Dictionary” is the true one: "Order is an old word for a row, and a properly-made apple-pie had, of old, always an order or row of regularly-cut turrets, or an exactly divided border." Pies are rarely now made in this fashion in England, but quite frequently in America. An apple-pie bed, familiar to school-boys, is a bed in which some practical joker has folded the sheets so that a person cannot get his legs down.
The children's garden is in apple-pie order. SCOTT, in Lockhart's Life, vol. iv. p. 131, ed. 1839.
Apples. How we apples swim! A common English phrase, applied to the self-gratulation of a pompous and inflated person. The reference is to the fable of the horse-dung floating down the river with a lot of apples.
And even this, little as it is, gives him so much importance in his own eyes that he assumes a consequential air, sets his arms akimbo, and, st utting among the historical artists, cries, "How we apples swim!" HOGARTH: Works (ed 1873), vol. iii. p. 29.
Apprentices and Salmon. A curious popular tradition, still current in the valley of the Severn, asserts that in ancient indentures masters bound themselves not to feed their apprentices on salmon more than thrice a week. A lively controversy on this subject in Notes and Queries led to an offer by the editor of that periodical of five pounds for the discovery of an indenture having this clause. The reward, however, was never claimed.
Apron-strings, To be tied to a woman's. To be under petticoat government. To be ruled by a woman. There is an old legal term, Apron-string hold, = a tenure of property through one's wife, or during her lifetime alone.
The fair sex are so conscious to themselves that they have nothing in them which can deserve entirely to engross the whole man, that they heartily despise one who, to use their own expression, is always hanging at their apron-strings. ADDISON: Spectator, No. 506 (1712).
Apropos de bottes ("apropos of boots"), a French expression which has been adopted into English, and means apropos of nothing. The saying is thus accounted for. A certain seigneur, having lost an important cause, told the king, François I., that the court had unbooted him (l'avait débotté). What he meant to say was that the court had decided against him (il avait été débouté) cf. med. Lat. debotare). The king laughed, but reformed the practice of pleading in Latin. The gentlemen of the bar, feeling displeased at the change, said that it had been made à propos de bottes. Hence the application of the phrase to anything that is done without motive. (Notes and Queries, second series, ix. 14.) The explanation is plausible, and, as there is no direct historical evidence to confute it, may be accepted without mental stultification. But it fails to support the burden of proof that legitimately rests on its shoulders.
Arcadia, in ancient geography, a pastoral district of the Peloponnesus in Greece, is used as a synonyme for any Utopia of poetical simplicity and innocence. "Auch ich war in Arkadien geboren" ("I too was born in Arcadia"), sings Schiller in his poem "Resignation." Goethe adopts this famous phrase as the motto of his Italian journeys. In the Latin form "Et ego in Arcadia" it appears in one of Poussin's landscapes in the Louvre,
inscribed on a tomb whereon a group of shepherds gaze with mingled curiosity and affright.
Architect of his own fortune. The familiar proverb, Every man is the architect of his own fortune, is found in most modern languages. According to Sallust, in his first oration ("De Republ. Ordinand.,” i. I), the phrase originated with Appius Claudius Cæcus, who held the office of Censor in B.C. 312: "Sed res docent id verum esse, quod in carminibus Appius ait: Fabrum esse sua quemque fortune" (" But the thing teaches us that that is true which Caius says in his poems, that every one is the architect of his own fortune"). A century later we find Plautus asserting that the wise man is the maker of his own fortune, and, unless he is a bungling workman, little can befall him which he would wish to change :
Nam sapiens quidem pol ipse fingit fortunam sibi
Eo ne multa quæ nevolt eveniunt, nisi fictor malus siet.
Publius Syrus has, "His own character is the arbiter of every one's fortune." (Maxim 283.)
Bacon quotes Appius's saying approvingly, putting it in the indicative instead of in the infinitive mood, and possibly restoring it thereby to its original form: "It cannot be denied, but outward accidents conduce much to fortune; favor, opportunity, death of others, occasion-fitting virtue. But chiefly the mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands: Faber est quisque fortunæ suæ, saith the poet."
In Cervantes the idea is presented in a different form: "Every man is the son of his own works” (Don Quixote, i. 4). Here are some further variations: Men at some time are masters of their fates; The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
SHAKESPEARE: Julius Cæsar, i. 2.
We all do stamp our value on ourselves;
The price we challenge for ourselves is given us.
That I despise myself compared with him.
Man is made great or little by his own will.
COLERIDGE: trans. of Schiller's Wallenstein's Death, iv. 8, 77. Architecture is frozen music. Schelling has this phrase twice in his Philosophie der Kunst." At page 576 he says, "It is music in space, as it were a frozen music," and again at page 593, "Architecture in general is frozen music."
Madame de Staël undoubtedly had these phrases in mind when she wrote, "The sight of such a monument is like a continuous and stable music" ("La vue d'un tel monument est comme une musique continuelle et fixée," Corinne, iv. 3). Emerson, in his essay on Quotation and Originality," says that Madame de Staël "borrowed from Goethe's 'dumb music,' which is Vitruvius's rule that 'the architect must not only understand drawing, but music.'
'Arry, a common sobriquet applied to the Cockney "sports" of London, being the name Harry spelled as they pronounce it. The 'Arries are just a shade above the roughs; they are usually good-natured, but vulgar, flashy, and loud-mouthed, and on Sunday afternoons and bank holidays are seen with their 'Arriets in every place of public resort. Mr. Punch takes particular pleasure in showing up their harmless eccentricities.
'Arry smokes a two-penny smoke,
Oh! poor 'Arry!
'Arry's pipe's enough to choke,
Mr. Matthew Arnold must help us to define 'Arry; he must lend us one of his fine old serviceable formulæ. 'Arry is the homme sensuel moyen of the middle and lower classes; the ordinary sensual man, very ordinary and excessively sensual. In 'Arry, the life of the senses develops itself all round without misgiving;" his existence is "confident, free," and easy. We all know 'Arry when we meet him; but circumstances have prevented science from pursuing him to his home. For the world at large 'Arry only exists when he is at large; and that is much too often for the comfort of people, who are, after all, in a sense his fellowcreatures. No martyr of social curiosity has yet sought to know 'Arry at home, to see him at work, or in his family circle. It is not easy to see how the social missionary is to do good to 'Arry, or how 'Arry is to be got at by education. He is so brutally gregarious that no one can find him alone and play on his finer feelings; he is so dull that he would not attempt argument, or even banter; he would only howl. Nature has produced no being so near the Yahoo as 'Arry, the flower of our earnest mechanical civilization. By his pleasures he is known, on his holidays he is to be studied, for then he escapes from the yoke of civilization, and is really himself. His actions have the monotonous regularity of a machine, and when one has listened to one van-load of 'Arries, one has heard all of them.-Saturday Review, August 9, 1879.
Ars est celare artem (L., "Art lies in concealing art"), a phrase which probably rose out of Ovid's line in the “Art of Love," ii. 313: “Si latet ars prodest" ("If the art is concealed, it succeeds"). The meaning, of course, is that true art must always appear natural and spontaneous, and give no evidence of the labor which perfected it. As Burke says, "Art can never give the rules that make an art. (The Sublime and Beautiful, Part I., sec. 9.) The contrary fault is indicated in Collins's lines,
Too nicely Jonson knew the critic's part;
On Sir Thomas Hanmer's Edition of Shakespeare.
Art is long and time is fleeting. A famous line in Longfellow's "Psalm of Life," which merely versifies the Latin saw, "Ars longa, vita brevis est.' The original may be traced to the Greek of Hippocrates ("Apothegms," i.), who reverses the order: "Life is short and the art long." He is complaining that the longest life is only sufficient to acquire a moderate portion of knowledge in any art or science. But Seneca, who tells us "the greatest of doctors" used to say, "Vitam brevem esse, longam artem," calls this an unjust accusation against Nature or Providence, though he allows that not only fools but the wise are too apt so to rail, and, among others, he quotes Aristotle. Exactly when Seneca's version of the phrase passed into the neater and more logical "Ars longa, vita brevis est," it is impossible to say. Probably the first attempt to English it was Chaucer's:
The lyfe so short, the crafte so long to lerne,
Goethe, in "Wilhelm Meister," has, "Art is long, life short; judgment difficult, opportunity transient" (book vii. ch. ix.). Another sense in which the proverb may be taken is indicated in these lines of Austin Dobson's:
All passes; art alone
The bust outlasts the throne,
Art preservative of all arts. The art of printing. This phrase finds its origin in an inscription on the house at Haarlem formerly occupied by Laurent Koster or Coster, one of the earliest printers in Holland, and, in
deed, held by some enthusiastic fellow-countrymen to be the inventor of the
Ars Artium Omnium
Hic Primum inventa
Circa Annum M.CCCCXL.
("Sacred to the memory of Typography, the art conservator of all arts. Here first invented about the year 1440.") The exact date when the inscription was put up is uncertain, but it is known to have been in existence about 1628.
As in præsenti perfectum format in avi (L., "As in the present forms its perfect in avi"). The first words of that part of the Eton Latin grammar which treats of the conjugation of verbs. That which treats of the genders of nouns begins, "Propria quæ maribus," etc. Hence a boy is said to be beginning his as in præsenti, or propria quæ maribus, when he is acquiring the first rudiments of the Latin tongue. By extension, the same terms are applied to beginners in all sorts of knowledge, bookish or worldly.
Ass ascends the ladder, Until the. A favorite expression among the Rabbins for that which can never, or will never, take place,-e.g., "Si ascenderit asinus per scalas, invenietur scientia in mulieribus," a proposition so uncomplimentary to the better sex that we leave it in Buxtorf's Latin. A similar phrase, with a similar meaning, is found in Petronius: "asinus in tegulis" ("an ass on the house-top").
Assassins. Que messieurs les assassins commencent (Fr., "Let the assassins, or the murderers, begin"). Alphonse Karr's famous reply to the plea for abolition of capital punishment. In the funeral address over Karr's body (October 4, 1890), M. Jean Aicard predicted that even though all the great literary monuments of the present century should crumble and disappear, there was still something that never would be lost, that some of the wisdom and the wit to which Alphonse Karr had given permanent form, in a language which is at once brilliant and solid, would be dug up again out of the ruins in time to come, as we dig up coins and medals in Greek or Roman soil. It is curious to note how closely this corresponds with Karr's own estimate of himself: "There will remain of me," he said, "only two phrases: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, and On veut abolir la peine de mort, soit; mais que messieurs les assassins commencent." It is still more curious to discover that the latter phrase was not of Karr's own writing, but was borrowed, consciously or unconsciously, from the "Heliotropium" of the German Drexelius (1581-1638): "Quondam fæx hominum, et furum, lavernionum, effractorum ampla societas libellos supplices porrexerunt judicibus, rogaruntque patibula et furcas auferrent. . . . His a judicibus responsum est, siquidem antiquatum cupiant morem patibulandi abrogari, prius ipsi consuetudinem abrogent furandi, judices in mora non futuros, quod protinus cruces tollant et patibula, modo ipsi prius cessare jubeant furta" (book iv., ch. ii., s. 1).
Atheist. "By night an atheist half believes a God." The 177th line in Young's "Night Thoughts," V. At the end of Night IV. he had already said,
Ye deaf to truth! peruse this parson'd page,
Of course there is a reference here to Psalm xiv., "The fool hath said in
his heart, There is no God." One of Clough's most memorable poems, the Spirit's soliloquy in “Dipsychus” (Part I. Sc. v.), affords a parallel to Young's lines. Here are the most pregnant stanzas :
Athol Brose. Athol is a district in the northern part of Perthshire, Scotland. Brose is Scotch for "broth." Athol brose is a pottage or drink made originally in Athol by pouring boiling water on oatmeal and introducing a few condiments. That it is a pleasant compound appears from Hood's epigram:
Charmed with a drink which Highlanders compose,
A German traveller exclaims with glee, "Potztausend! sare, if dis is Athol Brose, How goot der Athol Boetry must be!"
The name "brose" or "broose" is also given to a race at country weddings who shall first reach the bridegroom's house on returning from church, the prize being a smoking bowl of spice broth. In time the name was transferred from the prize to the race itself.
Audit ale, elliptically, Audit. A kind of strong ale, brewed especially at Trinity College, Cambridge, and so called either because it is held to be specially appropriate to Audit Day (the day on which students' accounts are audited), or because it was originally brewed on that day. Only a limited quantity is now brewed once a year, professors and undergraduates being allowed to purchase no more than a certain number of bottles. At Cambridge the custom is at least two hundred years old. At other universities it is a recent innovation.
But where is now the goodly audit ale?
BYRON: The Age of Bronze.
The table was spread with coffee, audit, devils, omelets, hare pies, and all the other articles of the buttery.-QUIDA: Granville de Vigne, or Held in Bondage.
Audley. To come Lord Audley over one, to gull him. origin of the phrase is uncertain. It has been suggested that the term may perpetuate the memory of a Wiltshire nobleman, Mervin, Lord Audley, also Earl of Castlehaven in Ireland, who was hanged in 1631 for robbery.
A case occurred recently at the Devizes police court, when a travelling actor was charged with having imposed upon some people in Lydeway by pretending to be the son and heir of the landlady (deceased) of a public house at which he seems to have called for refreshment without any premeditation of the imposition. His excuse to the magistrate was that, finding the people easily gulled, he thought he would come Lord Audley over them.-Notes and Queries, fifth series, v.
Audley, John. A purely mythical person, like Dickens's Mrs. Harris or the American Tom Collins. When Richardson, the English theatrical showman, manager of a troupe of strolling actors, deemed that his players had