Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 10.djvu/103

This page needs to be proofread.

9's.x.AuG.2,i902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.

HERRICK'S ' HESPERIDES ' : " LUTES OF AMBER" (9 th S. ix. 408, 471; x. 17). With due deference to MR. STEPHENS'S views, I submit that when an article is stated to be "of" a particular substance, one does not understand that it is merely decorated or framed therewith. In resolving the am- biguity of "amber" or "electrum," casually mentioned, one must therefore rely on the predominant applicability or appropriateness of one or other substance.

Formerly, too, in the absence of chemical analysis, the distinction between a metal and the fossil resin was not very apparent. Cassiodorus, for instance, though quoting Pliny (who distinguishes amber from elec- trum), nevertheless calls BaltH amber "suda- tile metallum." Again, the old chronicler who credits the ancient Britons with the possession of " electrina atque vitrea vasa " was doubtless unconscious of any possible misapprehension. Until, however, cups of fossil amber were really unearthed, there was an opening here for the continuance of the scholastic^ strife over Penelope's necklace Xpvcreov, rj\eKTpoi<riv ffpfjievov, r/f\LOv oi's and other Homeric passages, in which, by the archaeological discoveries of contemporaneous amber ornaments, the probability of rjXfKTpov being the "only gem mentioned by Homer" has been largely augmented. J. DORMER.

"THE BEATIFIC VISION" (9 th S. ix. 509). I am not sure as to the first use of the phrase "Visio beatifica," but the doctrine under- lying it was defined by Benedict XII. in the Constitution 'Benedictus Deus ' (4 Kal. Fehr., 1330). In it he speaks of a " visio divinse essentiae intuitiva et etiam facialis,"

and says that "ex tali visione animse

eorum, qui iam decesserunt, sunt vere beatse." The Greek 'Orthodox Confession' (1643), P. i. q. 126, speaks^ of rj Oeiopia rfjs fjLaKapias TpiaSos as Trdcnjs i5c/>po(nnjjs TrArypco/ia.


ASTONISH THIS NATIVES" (9 th S. ix. 267). This expression I have heard many years ago in the form of a riddle, and believe that it may be found in ' The Boy's Own Book ' :

" Why is Capt. Cook firing on the savages at Otaheite like a man opening oysters? Answer: Because he astonishes the natives."

Capt. Cook was killed in 1779. I once heard a witty chaplain at Oxford at an oyster supper observe, "It is our opening day," referring to the celebrated glee by Bishop, which had just been sung, 'The Chough and Crow,' from the opera of ' Guy Mannering.' JOHN PICKFORD, M.A.

Newbourne Rectory, Woodbridge.

WALDBY ARMS (9 th S. ix. 448). Although no direct answer to the-inquiry, I recommend your correspondent to turn to articles in ' N. & Q.,' 4 th S. vi. 459 ; 8 th S. xii. 8, 72, on the Wai d by families.

EVERARD HOME COLEMAN. 71, Brecknock Road.

STONING THE WREN (9 th S. ix. 108, 234). The Manx fishermen dare not go to sea with- out one of these birds taken dead with them for fear of storms. See ' Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopaedia,' p. 157.


MARKS ON TABLE LINEN (9 th S. ix. 427). " Nemo me impune lacesset " alludes to the prickles of the thistle, and consequently was adopted as the motto of the Order of the Thistle. It was first used on coins of James VI. of Scotland and I. of England , and I think it is the motto of the Royal Scots Greys. J.- HOLDEN MACMICHAEL.

"Nemo me impune lacesset": no man shall provoke me with impunity. This is the motto of the Order of the Thistle, and has reference to the rough nature of that plant. It was first introduced on the coins of James VI. of Scotland. The figure of a man is that of St. Andrew, probably sur- rounded by rays, affl having its four limbs alternating with the four points of a lozenge. EVERARD HOME COLEMAN.

71, Brecknock Road.

" SIXES AND SEVENS " (9 th S. ix. 427 ; x, 55). The suggestion that this phrase has any- thing to do with learning elementary arith- metic is entirely beside the mark. It is obvious that the reference is to gambling. If any reader cares to consult my edition of Chaucer he will find that I explain the line in 'Troil.,' iv. 622, by "Boldly stake the world on casts of the dice "; and I refer to my notes on Chaucer, ' Cant. Tales,' B. 124 and C. 653 ; compare also B. 3851. Set is a technical term, and actually occurs in the very play to which we are referred for " six and seven "; for in ' Rich. II.,' IV. i. 57, is the line, "Who sets me else? by heaven, I'll throw at all." Cf. ' 1 Henry IV.,' IV. i. 46 ; ' Rich. III.,' V. iv. 9 ; 'Troil. and Cres.,' prol. 22 ; ' Jul. Caesar,' V. i. 75 ; ' Macb.,' III. i. 113 ; ' King Lear,' I. iv. 136. Seven was a favourite " chance " in the game of hazard ; hence, " to set on seven " was to risk, to take one's luck. " Thus he settez on seiien with his sekyre knyghttez"; 'Morte Arthure,' 1. 2131. At the same game double sixes was a losing throw. The transition from the notion of haphazard to that of disorder was