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Maleger

[wretchedly thin]. Captain of the rabble rout which attack the castle of Temperance. He was “thin as a rake,” and cold as a serpent. Prince Arthur attacks him and flings him to the ground, but Maleger springs up with renewed vigour. Arthur now stabs him through and through, but it is like stabbling a shadow; he then takes him in his arms and squeezes him as in a vice, but it is like squeezing a piece of sponge; he then remembers that every time the carl touches the earth his strength is renewed, so he squeezes all his breath out, and tosses the body into a lake. (See Antaeos.) (Spenser: Faërie Queene, book ii. 11.)

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

  • Maleger - Maleger [wretchedly thin]. Captain of the rabble rout which attack the castle of Temperance. He was ...
  • Earth - Earth To gather strength from the earth. The reference is to Antæos, son of Poseidon and Ge, ...
  • Antaeos - Antaeos in Greek mythology, was a gigantic wrestler, whose strength was invincible so long as he ...
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