Godiva to Golden Ass
Godiva (Lady). Patroness of Coventry. In 1040, Leofric, Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry, imposed
certain exactions on his tenants, which his lady besought him to remove. To escape her importunity, he
said he would do so if she would ride naked through the town. Lady Godiva took him at his word, and
the Earl faithfully kept his promise.
Godless Florin (The). Also called "The Graceless Florin." In 1849 were issued florins in Great Britain,
with no legend except "Victoria Regina." Both F.D. (Defender of the Faith) and D.G. (by God's Grace)
were omitted for want of room. From the omission of "Fidei Defensor" they were called Godless florins,
and from the omission of "Dei Gratia" they were called Graceless florins.
Godliness Cleanliness next to godliness, "as Matthew Henry says." Whether Matthew Henry used the proverb as well known, or invented it, deponent sayeth not.
Godmer A British giant, son of Albion, slain by Canutus, one of the companions of Brute.
"Those three monstrous stones ...Goël The avenger of blood, so called by the Jews.
Gog and Magog The Emperor Diocletian had thirty-three infamous daughters, who murdered their husbands; and,
being set adrift in a ship, reached Albion, where they fell in with a number of demons. The offspring of
this unnatural alliance was a race of giants, afterwards extirpated by Brute and his companions, refugees
from Troy. Gog and Magog, the last two of the giant race, were brought in chains to London, then called
Troy-novant, and, being chained to the palace of Brute, which stood on the site of our Guildhall, did duty
as porters. We cannot pledge ourselves to the truth of old Caxton's narrative; but we are quite certain
that Gog and Magog had their effigies at Guildhall in the reign of Henry V. The old giants were destroyed
in the Great Fire, and the present ones, fourteen feet high, were carved in 1708 by Richard Saunders.
Goggles A corruption of ogles, eyeshades. (Danish, oog, an eye; Spanish, ojo; or from the Welsh, gogelu, to shelter.)
Gogmagog Hill (The). The higher of two hills, some three miles south-east of Cambridge. The legend is that Gogmagog was a huge giant who fell in love with the nymph Granta, but the saucy lady would have nothing to say to the big bulk, afterwards metamorphosed into the hill which bears his name. (Drayton: Polyolbion, xxi.)
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