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Cophetua

An imaginary king of Africa, of great wealth, who “disdained all womankind.” One day he saw a beggar-girl from his window, and fell in love with her. He asked her name; it was Penelophon, called by Shakespeare Xenelophon (Love's Labour's Lost, iv. 1).

They lived together long and happily, and at death were universally lamented. (Percy's Reliques, book ii. 6.)

“King Cophetua loved the beggar-maid.”

Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet. ii. 1.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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More on Cophetua from Infoplease:

  • Cophetua - Cophetua An imaginary king of Africa, of great wealth, who “disdained all womankind.” ...
  • Penelophon - Penelophon The beggar loved by King Cophetua. (See Cophetua.) Source: Dictionary of Phrase and ...
  • Sir Edward Burne-Jones - Burne-Jones, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Sir Edward, 1833–98. English painter and decorator, b. ...
  • Zenelophon - Zenelophon A corruption of Penelophon. The beggar-maid loved by King Cophetua. “The ...
  • William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene I - Can I go forward when my heart is here? Turn back, dull earth, and find thy centre out.

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