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.
   The legend asserts that every inhabitant of Coventry kept indoors at the time, but a certain tailor peeped through his window to see the lady pass. Some say he was struck blind, others that his eyes were put out by the indignant townsfolk, and some that he was put to death. Be this as it may, he has ever since been called "Peeping Tom of Coventry." Tennyson has a poem on the subject.
    The privilege of cutting wood in the Herduoles, by the parishioners of St. Briavel's Castle, in Gloucestershire, is said to have been granted by the Earl of Hereford (lord of Dean Forest) on precisely the same terms as those accepted by Lady Godiva.
   "Peeping Tom" is an interpolation not anterior to the reign of Charles II., if we may place any faith in the figure in Smithfield Street, which represents him in a flowing wig and Stuart cravat.

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.
    These florins (2s.) were issued by Sheil, Master of the Mint, and as he was a Catholic, so great an outcry was made against them that they were called in the same year.

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 ...
Which that huge son of hideous Albion,
Great Godmer, threw in fierce contentiön
At bold Canutus: but of him was slain."
Spenser: Faërie Queene, ii. 10.
Goël The avenger of blood, so called by the Jews.

Goemot or Goëm'agot. The giant who dominated over the western horn of England, slain by Corineus, one of the companions of Brute. (Geoffrey: Chronicles, i. 16.) (See Corineus.)

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.
   Children used to be told (as a very mild joke) that when these giants hear St. Paul's clock strike twelve, they descend from their pedestals and go into the Hall for dinner.

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.)

  By PanEris using Melati.

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