Tannhauser to Tarring and Feathering

Tannhauser (3 syl.). A legendary hero of Germany, who wins the affections of Lisaura; but Lisaura, hearing that Sir Tannhäuser has set out for Venusberg to kiss the queen of love and beauty, destroys herself. After living some time in the cave-palace, Sir Tannhäuser obtains leave to visit the upper world, and goes to Pope Urban for absolution. “No,” said his holiness, “you can no more hope for mercy than this dry staff can be expected to bud again.” On this the knight returned to Venusberg. In a few days the papal staff actually did bud, and Urban sent for Sir Tannhauser, but the knight was nowhere to be found.

Tansy A corruption of the Greek word athanasia, immortality, as thansa, tansy. So called because it is “a sort of everlasting flower.” (Hortus Anglicus, vol. ii. p. 366.)

Tantalise To excite a hope and disappoint it. (See next article.)

Tantalos (Latin, Tantalus), according to fable, is punished in the infernal regions by intolerable thirst. To make his punishment the more severe, he is plunged up to his chin in a river, but whenever he bends forward to slake his thirst the water flows from him.

“So bends tormented Tantalus to drink,
While from his lips the refluent waters shrink;
Again the rising stream his bosom laves,
And thirst consumes him 'mid circumfluent waves.”
Darwin: Loves of the Plants, 11 419.
   Tantalus. Emblematical of a covetous man, who the more he has the more he craves. (See Covetous.)
   Tantalus. A parallel story exists among the Chipouyans, who inhabit the deserts which divide Canada from the United States. At death, they say, the soul is placed in a stone ferry-boat, till judgment has been passed on it. If the judgment is averse, the boat sinks in the stream, leaving the victim chin- deep in water, where he suffers endless thirst, and makes fruitless attempts to escape to the Islands of the Blessed. (Alexander Mackenzie: Voyages in the Interior of America.) (1789, 1792, 1793.)

Tanthony (St. Anthony). In Norwich are the churches called Sin Telder's (St. Ethelred's), Sin Tedmund's (St. Edmund's), Sin Tander's (St. Andrew's), and Sin Tausin's (St. Austin's). (See Tawdry. )

Tantum Ergo The most popular of the Eucharistic hymns sung in the Roman Catholic churches at Benediction with the Holy Sacrament. So called from the first two words of the last stanza but one of the hymn Pange Lingua.

Taou The sect of Reason, founded in China by Laou-Tsze, a contemporary of Confucius. He was taken to heaven on a black buffalo. (B.C. 523.)

Tap the Admiral To suck liquor from a cask by a straw. Hotten says it was first done with the rum- cask in which the body of Admiral Lord Nelson was brought to England, and when the cask arrived the admiral was found “high and dry.”

Tap the Till (To). To pilfer from a till.

Tap-up Sunday The Sunday preceding the fair held on the 2nd October, on St. Catherine's Hill, near Guildford, and so called because any person, with or without a licence, may open a “tap,” or sell beer on the hill for that one day.

Tapis On the tapis. On the carpet; under consideration, now being ventilated. An English-French phrase, referring to the tapis or cloth with which the table of the council-chamber is covered, and on which are laid the motions before the House.

“My business comes now upon the tapis.”- Farquhar: The Beaux Stratagem, iii. 3.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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