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Berenice

(4 syl.). The sister-wife of Ptolemy III., who vowed to sacrifice her hair to the gods, if her husband returned home the vanquisher of Asia. She suspended her hair in the temple of the war-god, but it was stolen the first night, and Conon of Samos told the king that the winds had wafted it to heaven, where it still forms the seven stars near the tail of Leo, called Coma Berenices.

Pope, in his Rape of the Lock, converts the purloined ringlet into a star or meteor, “which drew behind a radiant trail of háir.” (Canto v.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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