Nidhogg to Nine
Nidhögg The monster serpent, hid in the pit Hvergelmer, which for ever gnaws at the roots of the mundane ashtree Yggdrasil'. (Scandinavian mythology.)
Niflheim (2 syl., mist-home). The region of endless cold and everlasting night, ruled over by Hela. It consists of nine worlds, to which are consigned those who die of disease or old age. This region existed from the beginning in the North, and in the middle thereof was the well Hvergelmeer, from which flowed twelve rivers. (Old Norse, nifl, mist; and heim, home.) In the South was the world called Muspelheim (q.v.). (Scandinavian mythology.) (See Hvergelmer Manheim .)
Night The celebrated statue of Night, in Florence, is the chef d'oeuvre of Michael Angelo. In the gallery of the Luxembourg, Paris, is the famous picture of Night by Rubens; and at Versailles is the painting of Mignard.
Nightcap (A). A glass of grog before going to bed. Supposed to promote sleep.
The nightcap is generally a little whisky left in the decanter. To do it honour it is taken neat. Then all get up and wish `good-night.'- Max O'Rell: Friend MacDonald, iii.Nightingale Tereus, King of Thrace, fetched Philomela to visit his wife; but when he reached the solitudes of Heleas he dishonoured her, and cut out her tongue that she might not reveal his conduct. Tereus told his wife that Philomela was dead, but Philomela made her story known by weaving it into a peplus, which she sent to her sister, the wife of Tereus, whose name was Procne. Procne, out of revenge, cut up her own son and served it to Tereus; but as soon as the king discovered it he pursued his wife, who fled to Philomela, her sister. To put an end to the sad tale, the gods changed all three into birds; Tereus (2 syl.) became the hawk, his wife the swallow, and Philomela the nightingale.
Arcadian nightingales. Asses.
Cambridgeshire nightingales. Edible frogs. Liège and Dutch nightingales are edible.
Nightmare (A). A sensation in sleep as if something heavy were sitting on our breast. (Anglo-Saxon,
mara, an incubus.) This sensation is called in French cauchemar. Anciently it was not unfrequently
called the night-hag, or the riding of the witch. Fuseli used to eat raw beef and pork chops for supper
to produce nightmare, that he might draw his horrible creations. (See Mare's Nest .)
I do believe that the witch we call Mara has been dealing with you.- Sir Walter Scott: The Betrothed, chap. xv.Nightmare of Europe. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769, 1804-1814, 1821).
Nihilists A radical society of the maddest proclivities, which started into existence in 1848, under the
leadership of Herzen and Bakunin. Their professed object was to annihilate all laws of social community,
and reform the world de novo. The following is their code:-
Nihilo Ex nihilo nihil fit. From nothing comes nothing- i.e. every effect must have a cause. It was the
dictum of Xenophanes, founder of the Eleatic school (sixth century), to prove the eternity of matter. We
now apply the phrase as equivalent to You cannot get blood from a stone. You cannot expect clever
work from one who has no brains.
Nil Admirari To be stolidly indifferent. Neither to wonder at anything, nor yet to admire anything.
Nil Desperandum Never say die; never give up in despair.
Nile The Egyptians used to say that the swelling of the Nile was caused by the tears of Isis. The feast
of Isis was celebrated at the anniversary of the death of Osiris, when Isis was supposed to mourn for
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