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R

in prescriptions. The ornamental part of this letter is the symbol of Jupiter , under whose special protection all medicines were placed. The letter itself (Recipe, take) and its flourish may be thus paraphrased: “Under the good auspices of Jove, the patron of medicines, take the following drugs in the proportions set down.” It has been suggested that the symbol is for Responsum Raphaelis, from the assertion of Dr. Napier and other physicians of the seventeenth century, that the angel Raphael imparted them.

R

is called the dog-letter, because a dog in snarling utters the letter r-r-r-r, r-r, r-r-r-r-r, etc. - sometimes preceded by a g.

“Irritata canis quod RR quam plurima dicat.”

Lucillus.

“[R] that's the dog's name. R is for the dog.” —Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, ii. 4.

The three R's.
Sir William Curtis being asked to give a toast, said, “I will give you the three R's- writing, reading, and arithmetic.”

“The House is aware that no payment is made except on the `three R's.' ” —Mr. Cory. M.P.: Address to the House of Commons, February 28th, 1867.

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