Speaking Heads to Spheres

Speaking Heads and Sounding Stones.
   (1) Jabel Nagus [mountain of the bell ], in Arabia Petræa, gives out sounds of varying strength whenever the sand slides down its sloping flanks.
   (2) The white dry sand of the beach in the isle of Eigg, of the Hebrides, produces, according to Hugh Miller, a musical sound when walked upon.
   (3) The statue of Memnon, in Egypt, utters musical sounds when the morning sun darts on it.
   (4) The speaking head of Orpheus, at Lesbos, is said to have predicted the bloody death which terminated the expedition of Cyrus the Great into Scythia.
   (5) The head of Minos, brought by Odin to Scandinavia, is said to have uttered responses.
   (6) Gerbert, afterwards Pope Sylvester II., constructed a speaking head of brass (tenth century).
   (7) Albertus Magnus constructed an earthen head in the thirteenth century, which both spoke and moved. Thomas Aquinas broke it, whereupon the mechanist exclaimed, “There goes the labour of thirty years!”
   (8) Alexander made a statue of Esculapios which spoke, but Lucian says the sounds were uttered by a man concealed, and conveyed by tubes to the statue.
   (9) The “ear of Dionysius” communicated to Dionysius, Tyrant of Syracuse, whatever was uttered by suspected subjects shut up in a state prison. This “ear” was a large black opening in a rock, about fifty feet high, and the sound was communicated by a series of channels not unlike those of the human ear.

Spear Cairbar asks if Fingal comes in peace, to which Mor-annal replies: “In peace he comes not, king of Erin, I have seen his forward spear.” If a stranger kept the point of his spear forward when he entered a strange land, it was a declaration of war; if he carried the spear on his shoulder with the point behind him, it was a token of friendship. (Ossian: Temora, i.)
   Achilles' spear. Telephus, King of Mysia, in attempting to hinder the Greeks from marching through his country against Troy, was wounded by Achilles' spear, and was told by an oracle that the wound could be cured only by the weapon that gave it; at the same time the Greeks were told that they would never reach Troy except by the aid of Telephus. So, when the Mysian king repaired to Achilles' tent, some of the rust of the spear was applied to the wound, and, in return for the cure which followed, Telephus directed the Greeks on their way to Troy.

“Telephus æterna consumptus tabe perisset
Si non quæ nocuit dextra tulisset opem.” Ovid.
   The spear of Telephus could both kill and cure. (Plutarch.) (See Achilles' spear.)
   The heavy spear of Valence was of great repute in the days of chivalry.
   Arthur's spear. Rone or Ron.
   To break a spear. To fight in a tournament.

Spear-half The male line. The female line was called by the Anglo-Saxons the Spindle-half (q.v.).

Spear of Ithuriel (The), the slightest touch of which exposed deceit. Thus when Ithuriel touched with his spear Satan squatting like a toad close to the ear of Eve, the “toad” instantly resumed the form of Satan. (Milton: Paradise Lost, bk. iv. 810-814.)

“The acute pen of Lord Halles, which, like Ithuriel's spear, conjured so many shadows from Scottish history, dismissed among the rest those of Banquo and Fleance.”- Sir W. Scott.

Special Pleading Quibbling; making your own argument good by forcing certain words or phrases from their obvious and ordinary meaning. A pleading in law means a written statement of a cause pro and con., and “special pleaders” are persons who have been called to the bar, but do not speak as advocates. They advise on evidence, draw up affidavits, state the merits and demerits of a cause, and so on. After a time most special pleaders go to the bar, and many get advanced to the bench.

Specie, Species means simply what is visible. As things are distinguished by their visible forms, it has come to mean kind or class. As drugs and condiments at one time formed the most important articles of merchandise, they were called species - still retained in the French épices, and English spices. Again, as bank-notes represent money, money itself is called specie, the thing represented.

Spectacles, the device of Thackeray in drawings made by him. In Punch, vol. xx. No. 495, p. 8, is a butcher's boy chalking up “No Popery,” and the tray forms a pair of spectacles, showing it was designed by Thackeray.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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