Sword Excalibar to Sylvester

Sword Excalibar (The). At the death of Uter Pendragon there were many claimants to the crown; they were all ordered to assemble in “the great church of London,” on Christmas Eve, and found a sword stuck in a stone and anvil with this inscription: “He who can draw forth this sword, the same is to be king.” The knights tried to pull it out, but were unable. One day, when a tournament was held, young Arthur wanted a sword and took this one, not knowing it was a charmed instrument, whereupon he was universally acknowledged to be the God-elected king. This was the sword of Excalibar. (History of Prince Arthur, i. 3.)
   The enchanted sword (in Amadis of Gaul). Whoever drew this sword from a rock was to gain access to a subterranean treasure. (Cap. cxxx. See also caps. lxxii. and xcix.)

Sword of God (The). Khaled Ibn al Waled was so called for his prowess at the battle of Muta.

Sword of Rome (The). Marcellus, who opposed Hannibal. (B.C. 216-214.)

Sword of the Spirit (The). The Word of God (Eph. vi. 17).

Sword (phrases and proverbs).
   At swords' point. In deadly hostility, ready to fight each other with swords.
   Poke not fire with a sword. This was a precept of Pythagoras, meaning add not fuel to fire, or do not irritate an angry man by sharp words which will only increase his rage. (See Iamblichus: Protreptics, symbol ix.)
   To put to the sword. To slay.
   Your tongue is a double-edged sword. You first say one thing and then the contrary; your argument cuts both ways. The allusion is to the double-edged sword out of the mouth of the Son of Man- one edge to condemn, and the other to save. (Rev. i. 16.)
   Yours is a Delphic sword- it cuts both ways. Erasmus says a Delphic sword is that which accommodates itself to the pro or con. of a subject. The reference is to the double meanings of the Delphic oracles, called in Greek Delphike machaira.

Sword and Cloak Plays So Calderon called topical or modern comedies, because the actors wore cloaks and swords (worn by gentlemen of the period) instead of heraldic, antique, or dramatico-historic dresses, worn in tragedy.

Swords Prohibited Gaming ran high at Bath, and frequently led to disputes and resort to the sword, then generally carried by well-dressed men. Swords were therefore prohibited by Nash in the public rooms; still they were worn in the streets, when Nash, in consequence of a duel fought by torchlight by two notorious gamesters, made the rule absolute- “That no swords should on any account be worn in Bath.”

Sworn Brothers, “in the Old English law, were persons who by mutual oath covenanted to share each other's fortune.” (Burrill.)

Sworn at Highgate (See Highgate. )

Sybarite (3 syl.). A self-indulgent person; a wanton. The inhabitants of Sybaris, in South Italy, were proverbial for their luxurious living and self-indulgence. A tale is told by Seneca of a Sybarite who complained that he could not rest comfortably at night, and being asked why, replied, “He found a rose-leaf doubled under him, and it hurt him.” (See Ripaille. )

“All is calm as would delight the heart
Of Sybarite of old.”
Thomson: Castle of Indolence, canto i.
   Sybarite. The Sybarites taught their horses to dance to the sound of a pipe. When the Crotonians marched against Sybaris they began to play on their pipes, whereupon all the Sybarite horses drawn out in array before the town began to dance, disorder soon prevailed in the ranks, and the victory was quick and easy.

Sycamore and Sycomore. Sycamore is the plane-tree of the maple family (Acer pseudo-platanus, or greater maple). The sycomore is the Egyptian fig-tree (Greek, sukomoros, sukos, a fig). The tree into which Zacchæus climbed (Luke xix. 4) to see Christ pass is wrongly called a sycamore or maple, as it was the sycomore or wild fig. The French have translated the word correctly- “[Il] montait sur un sycomore pour le voir.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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