Pigwiggin to Pin
Pigwiggin An elf in love with Queen Mab. He combats the jealous O'beron with great fury. (Drayton: Nymphidia.)
Pike's Head (A). A pike's head has all the parts of the crucifixion of Christ. There are the cross, three nails, and a sword distinctly recognisable. The German tradition is that when Christ was crucified all fishes dived under the waters in terror, except the pike, which, out of curiosity, lifted up its head and beheld the whole scene. (See Passion Flower .)
Pikestaff Plain as a pikestaff. Quite obvious and unmistakable. The pikestaff was the staff carried by pilgrims, which plainly and somewhat ostentatiously announced their devotion. It has been suggested that pikestaff is a corruption of packstaff, meaning the staff on which a pedlar carries his pack, but there is no need for the change.
Pilate Voice A loud ranting voice. In the old mysteries all tyrants were made to speak in a rough ranting
manner. Thus Bottom the Weaver, after a rant to show his quality, exclaims, That's 'Ercles' vein, a
tyrant's vein; and Hamlet describes a ranting actor as out-heroding Herod.
In Pilate voys he gan to cry,
Pilate's Wife, who warned Pilate to have nothing to do with Jesus, is called Procla. (E. Johnson: The
Rise of Christendom, p. 416.)
Pilatus (Mount) in Switzerland. The similarity of the word with the name of Pontius Pilate has given
rise to the tradition that the Roman Governor, being banished to Gaul by Tiberius, wandered to this
mount and threw himself into a black lake on its summit. But Mont Pileatus means the hatted mountain,
because it is frequently capped with clouds.
Pilch The flannel napkin of an infant; a buff or leather jerkin. (Anglo-Saxon pylce, a pilch.)
Pilcher A scabbard. (Anglo-Saxon, pylce; Latin, pellis, skin.)
Will you pluck your sword out of his pilcher?Pilgarlio or Pill'd Garlic (A). One whose hair has fallen off from dissipation. Stow says of one getting bald: He will soon be a peeled garlic like myself. Generally a poor wretch avoided and forsaken by his fellows. The editor of Notes and Queries says that garlic was a prime specific for leprosy, so that garlic and leprosy became inseparably associated. As lepers had to pill their own garlic, they were nicknamed Pil-garlics, and anyone shunned like a leper was so called likewise. (To pill = to peel; see Gen. xxx. 37.)
It must be borne in mind that at one time garlic was much more commonly used in England than it is now.
After this [feast] we jogged off to bed for the night; but never a bit could poor pilgarlic sleep one wink, for the everlasting jingle of bells.- Rabelais: Pantagruel, v. 7.Pilgrim Fathers (The). The 102 English, Scotch, and Dutch Puritans who, in December, 1620, went to North America in the ship called the Mayflower, and colonised Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Pilgrimage (3 syl.). The chief places in the West were (1) Walsingham and Canterbury (England); (2) Fourvières, Puy, and St. Denis (France); (3) Rome, Loretto, Genetsano, and Assisi (Italy); (4) Compostella, Guadalupe, and Montserrat (Spain); (5) Oetting, Zell, Cologne, Trier, and Einsiedeln (Germany). Chaucer has an admirable account, chiefly in verse, of a pilgrimage to Becket's tomb in Canterbury Cathedral. The pilgrims beguile the weariness of the way by telling tales. These Canterbury Tales were never completed.
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