An instrument for taking heights and distances.
Reach then a soaring quill, that I may write
As with a Jacoh's staff to take her height.
Cleveland: The Hecatomb to his Mistress.
The Apostle James is usually represented with a staff.
As he had travelled many a summer's day
Through boiling sands of Arabie and You;
And in his hand a Jacob 8 staff to stay
His weary limbs upon.
Spenser: Faërie Queene
book i. can to vi. 32-35.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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