Al Rakim to Amalthea

Al Rakim [rah-keem]. The meaning of this word is very doubtful. Some say it is the mountain or valley of the cave of the seven sleepers. Others think it is the name of the dog shut up in the cave with them; but probably it is a stone or metal tablet set up near the cave, containing the names of the seven sleepers and their dog Katmir.—Sale: Al Koran, xviii. note.

Alrinach, the demon who causes shipwrecks, and presides over storms and earthquakes. When visible it is always in the form and dress of a woman.—Eastern Mythology.

Alsatia, the Whitefriars’ sanctuary for debtors and law-breakers. The name is taken from Alsatia (Alsace, in France), a seat of war and lawlessness when king James’s son-in-law was the prince Palatine. Sir Walter Scott, in The Fortunes of Nigel, has graphically described the life and state of this rookery, but he is greatly indebted to Shadwell’s comedy, The Squire of Alsatia (1640–1692).

Alscrip (Miss), “the heiress,” a vulgar parvenue, affected, conceited, ill-natured, and ignorant. Having had a fortune left her, she assumes the airs of a woman of fashion, and exhibits the follies without possessing the merits of the upper ten.

Mr. Alscrip, the vulgar father of “the heiress,” who finds the grandeur of sudden wealth a great bore, and in his new mansion, Berkeley Square, sighs for the snug comforts he once enjoyed as scrivener in Furnival’s Inn.—Burgoyne: The Heiress (1781).

Al Sirat, an imaginary bridge between earth and the Mahometan paradise, not so wide as a spider’s thread. Those laden with sin fall over into the abyss below.

Altamont, a young Genoese lord , who marries Calista, daughter of lord Sciolto . On his wedding day he discovers that his bride has been seduced by Lothario, and a duel ensues, in which Lothario is killed, whereupon Calista stabs herself. —Rowe: The Fair Penitent (1703).

Rowe makes Sciolto three syllables always.

[John Quick] commenced his career at Fulham, where he performed the character of “Altamont,” which he acted so much to the satisfaction of the manager that he desired his wife to set down young Quick a whole share, which, at the close of the performance, amounted to three shillings.—Memoir of John Quick (1832).

Altamorus, king of Samarcand, who joined the Egyptian army against the crusaders. He surrendered himself to Godfrey (bk. xx.).—Tasso: Jerusalem Delivered (1575).

Althea (The divine), of Richard Lovelace, was Lucy Sacheverell, called by the poet, Lucretia.

When love with unconfinèd wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at my grates.…

(The “grates” here referred to were those of a prison in which Lovelace was confined by the Long Parliament, for his petition from Kent in favour of the king.)

Althæa’s Brand. The Fates told Althæa that her son Meleager would live just as long as a log of wood then on the fire remained unconsumed. Althæa contrived to keep the log unconsumed for many years; but when her son killed her two brothers, she threw it angrily into the fire, where it was quickly consumed, and Meleager expired at the same time.—Ovid: Metamorphoses, viii. 4.

The fatal brand Althæa burned.
   —Shakespeare: 2 Henry VI. act i. sc. 1 (1591).

(Shakespeare says (2 Henry IV. act i. sc. 2). Althæa dreamt “she was delivered of a fire-brand.” This is a mistake. It was Hecuba who so dreamt. The story of Althæa and the fire-brand is given above.)

  By PanEris using Melati.

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