Copper Captain to Corinna

Copper Captain (A), Michael Perez, a captain without money, but with a plentiful stock of pretence, who seeks to make a market of his person and commission by marrying an heiress. He is caught in his own trap, for he marries Estifania, a woman of intrigue, fancying her to be the heiress Margaritta. The captain gives the lady “pearls,” but they are only whitings’ eyes. His wife says to him—

Here’s a goodly jewel…Did you not win this at Goletta, captain?…See how it sparkles, like an old lady’s eyes…And here’s a chain of whitings’ eyes for pearls…Your clothes are parallels to these, all counterfeits. Put these and them on, you’re a man of copper, A copper…copper captain.
   —Fletcher: Rule a Wife and Have a Wife (1624).

(W. Lewis (1748–1811) was famous in this character; but Robert Wilks (1670–1732) was wholly unrivalled.)

The old stage critics delighted in the “Copper Captain; “it was the test for every comedian. It could be worked on like a picture, and new readings given. Here it must be admitted that Wilks had no rival.—Fitzgerald.

Copperfield (David), the hero of a novel so called, by C. Dickens. David is Dickens himself, and Micawber is Dickens’s father. According to the tale, David’s mother was nursery governess in a family where Mr. Copperfield visited. At the death of Mr. Copperfield, the widow married Edward Murdstone, a hard, tyrannical man, who made the home of David a dread and terror to the boy. When his mother died, Murdstone sent David to lodge with the Micawbers, and bound him apprentice to Messrs. Murdstone and Grinby, by whom he was put into the warehouse, and set to paste labels upon wine and spirit bottles. David soon became tired of this dreary work, and ran away to Dover, where he was kindly received by his [great]-aunt Betsey Trotwood, who clothed him, and sent him as day-boy to Dr. Strong; but placed him to board with Mr. Wickfield, a lawyer, father of Agnes, between whom and David a mutual attachment sprang up. David’s first wife was Dora Spenlow; but at the death of this pretty little “child-wife,” he married Agnes Wickfield.—Dickens: David Copperfield (1849).

Copperheads, members of a faction in the north, during the civil war in the United States. The copperhead is a poisonous serpent, that gives no warning of its approach, and hence is a type of a concealed or secret foe (the Trigonocephalus contortrix).

Coppernose . Henry VIII. was so called, because he mixed so much copper with the silver coin that it showed after a little wear in the parts most pronounced, as the nose. Hence the sobriquets.“Coppernosed Harry,” “Old Coppernose,” etc.

Copple, the hen killed by Reynard, in the beast-epic called Reynard the Fox (1498).

Cora, the gentle, loving wife of Alonzo, and the kind friend of Rolla general of the Peruvian army.—Sheridan: Pizarro (altered from Kotzebue, 1799).

Corah, in Dryden’s satire of Absalom and Achitophel (1681), is meant for Dr. Titus Oates. As Corah was the political calumniator of Moses and Aaron, so Titus Oates was the political calumniator of the pope and English papists. As Corah was punished by “going down alive into the pit,” so Oates was “condemned to imprisonment for life,” after being publicly whipped and exposed in the pillory. North describes Titus Oates as a very short man, and says, “If his mouth were taken for the centre of a circle, his chin, forehead, and cheekbones would fall in the circumference.”

Sunk were his eyes, his voice was harsh and loud,
Sure signs he neither choleric was, nor proud;
His long chin proved his wit; his saint-like grace,
A Church vermilion, and a Moses’ face;
His memory miraculously great
Could plots, exceeding man’s belief, repeat
   —Dryden: Absalom and Achitophel, part i. 647–652.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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