Astræa to Athena

Astræa, Mrs. Aphra Behn, an authoress. She published the story of Prince Oroonoka (died 1689).

The stage how loosely does Astræa tread!

Hymns of Astræa, a series of twenty-six acrostics in honour of queen Elizabeth, by sir John Davies (1570–1626).

Astragon, the philosopher and great physician, by whom Gondibert and his friends were cured of the wounds received in the faction fight stirred up by prince Oswald. Astragon had a splendid library and museum. One room was called “Great Nature’s Office,” another “Nature’s Nursery,” and the library was called “The Monument of Vanished Mind.” Astragon (the poet says) discovered the loadstone and its use in navigation. He had one child, Bertha, who loved duke Gondibert, and to whom she was promised in marriage. The tale being unfinished, the sequel is not known.—Davenant: Gondibert (died 1668).

Astree, a pastoral romance by Honore D’Urfé (1616), very celebrated for giving birth to the pastoral school, which had for a time an overwhelming power on literature, dress, and amusements. Pastoral romance had reappeared in Portugal fully sixty years previously in the pastoral romance of Montemayer called Diana (1552); and Longos, in the fifteenth century, had produced a beautiful prose pastoral called The Loves of Daphnis and Chloe, but both these pastorals stand alone, while that of D’Urfé is the beginning of a long series.

(The Romance of Astrée is very celebrated.)

Astringer, a falconer. Shakespeare introduces an astringer in All’s Well that Ends Well, act v. sc. 1. (From the French austour, Latin austercus, “a goshawk.”) A “gentle astringer” is a gentleman-falconer.

We usually call a falconer who keeps that kind of hawk [the goshawk] an austringer.—Cowell: Law Dictionary.

Astro-fiammante , queen of the night. The word means “flaming star.”—Mozart: Die Zauberflöte (1791).

Astronomer (The), in Rasselas, an old enthusiast, who believed himself to have the control and direction of the weather. He leaves Imlac his successor, but implores him not to interfere with the constituted order.

“I have possessed,” said he to Imlac, “for five years the regulation of the weather, and the distribution of the seasons: the sun has listened to my dictates, and passed from tropic to tropic by my direction; the clouds, at my call, have poured their waters, and the Nile has overflowed at my command; I have restrained the rage of the Dog-star, and mitigated the fervour of the Crab. The winds alone…have hitherto refused my authority.…I am the first of human beings to whom this trust has been imparted.”—Dr. Johnson: Rasselas, xli.–xliii. (1759).

Astrophel, sir Philip Sidney. “Phil. Sid.” may be a contraction of philos sidus, and the Latin sidus being changed to the Greek astron, we get astron philos (“star-lover”). The “star” he loved was Penelope Devereux, whom he calls Stella (“star”), and to whom he was betrothed. Spenser wrote a pastoral elegy called Astrophel, to the memory of sir Philip Sidney.

But while as Astrophel did live and reign,
Amongst all swains was none his paragon.
   —Spenser: Colin Clouts Come Home Again (1591).

Astynome or Chryseïs, daughter of Chrysês priest of Apollo. When Lyrnessus was taken, Astynomê fell to the share of Agamemnon, but the father begged to be allowed to ransom her. Agamemnon refused to comply. Whereupon the priest invoked the anger of his patron god, and Apollo sent a plague into the Grecian camp. This was the cause of contention between Agamemnon and Achillês, and forms the subject of Homer’s epic The Iliad.

Aswad, son of Shedad king of Ad. When the angel of death destroyed Shedad and all his subjects, Aswad was saved alive because he had shown mercy to a camel which had been bound to a tomb to

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