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Brewer's: Dunciad

The dunce-epic, a satire by Alexander Pope. Eusden, the poet laureate, being dead, the goddess of Dulness elects Colley Cibber to be his successor. The installation is celebrated by games, …

Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope was called "The Wicked Wasp of Twickenham" for his stinging literary satires of his fellow writers. But Pope also was a poet whose mastery of the heroic couplet has kept him in the cano…

Brewer's: Dunce

A dolt; a stupid person. The word is taken from Duns Scotus, the learned schoolman and great supporter of the immaculate conception. His followers were called Dunsers. Tyndal says, when the…

Brewer's: Dunderhead

A blockhead, or, rather, a muddle-headed person. Dunder, is the less or dregs of wine, etc., more correctly, the overflow of fermented liquors (yeast). (Spanish, re-dundar, to overflow or f…

Brewer's: Cam and Isis

The universities of Cambridge and Oxford; so called from the rivers on which they stand. “May you, my Cam and Isis, preach it long, `The right divine of kings to govern wrong.' &#8221…

Brewer's: Jacob the Scourge of Grammar

Giles Jacob, master of Romsey, in Hampshire, brought up for an attorney. A poetaster in the time of Pope. (See Dunciad, iii.) Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 189…

Brewer's: Lick into Shape

(To). According to tradition the cubs of bears are cast shapeless, and remain so till the dam has licked them into proper form. So watchful Bruin forms, with plastic care, Each growing lump…

Brewer's: Margites

The first dunce whose name has been transmitted to fame. His rivals are Codrus and Flecknoe. “Margites was the name ... whom Antiquity recordeth to have been dunce the first.” &…

Brewer's: Samian Letter

(The). The letter Y, used by Pythagoras as an emblem of the straight narrow path of virtue, which is one, but, if once deviated from, the farther the lines are extended the wider becomes th…

Brewer's: Brazen Head

The following are noted:- One by Albertus Magnus, which cost him thirty years' labour, and was broken into a thousand pieces by Thomas Aquinas, his disciple. One by Friar Bacon. “Baco…