Page 304. " the Countess D'Anois "
Porträt Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barnevilles, comtesse d'Aulnoy
Public DomainPorträt Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barnevilles, comtesse d'Aulnoy - Credit: Pierre-François Basan

Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baroness d'Aulnoy (c.1650-1705) was a French writer.  She was frequently referred to as Comtesse, although the title was inaccurate.  The translation of her name into English was subject to considerable variation, including d’Anois, and Dunois.   

From 1690 to 1703 she published 12 books, 10 of which were translated into English by 1721.  They include three pseudo travel memoirs, translated as The Lady’s travels into Spain, The Memoirs of the Court of Spain, and The Memoirs of the Court of England, three "historical" romances, various novels, and three collections of fairy tales.  The most popular were her fairy tales and adventure stories as told in Les Contes des Fees (Tales of fairies) and Contes Nouveaux, ou Les Fées à la Mode. The stories were told in a conversational style, as they might be told in salons, and were not for the ears of children.


Page 307. " river nymphs, ycleped of old the Napaeae, or the Naiades, in the vulgar tongue translated into oyster-wenches "

Hylas and the Nymphs
Public DomainHylas and the Nymphs - Credit: Francesco Furini, 1635
In Greek mythology the Napaeae are a type of nymph that live in wooded valleys, glens or grottos, while the Naiades nymphs presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks.  They were often the object of archaic local cults, worshipped as essential to humans.

Ycleped is an archaic term for ‘named’ or ‘called.’

Page 307. " the rich distillation from the juniper-berry "
Juniper berriers ripe and new
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeJuniper berriers ripe and new - Credit: John Tustin

A juniper berry is not really a berry, but a seed cone, with fleshy and merged scales, which gives it a berry-like appearance. The cones are used as a spice, and give gin its distinguishing flavour. 

Juniper has been a popular flavourant for distilled spirits since the 11th century, by virtue of its perfume, flavour, and purported medicinal properties.

Gin Lane
Public DomainGin Lane - Credit: William Hogarth

A Dutch physician is credited with inventing gin. The name gin derives from the French or Dutch word for juniper (genièvre or jenever).  By the mid-17th century, numerous small Dutch and Flemish distillers had popularized the re-distillation of malt spirit or wine with juniper, anise, caraway, coriander and other spices, which were sold in pharmacies to treat various medical problems.  Gin became popular in England after the Government allowed unlicensed gin production and at the same time imposed a heavy duty on all imported spirits. Thousands of gin-shops sprang up across the country.

Page 313. " the Boetian writers "

Map of the central regions of Ancient Greece
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMap of the central regions of Ancient Greece - Credit: MinisterForBadTimes
Boeotia is part of the region of Central Greece. Many ancient Greek legends originate in the region. Between 1600 and 1200 BC, the Mycenean Greeks established themselves in Boeotia and the city of Thebes became an important centre. Great writers from the region include Hesiod, Pindar and Plutarch.  The Athenians, however, did not think much of their Boeotian counterparts, and portrayed them as proverbially dull and countrified.  The use of the term Boeotian to describe someone as ignorant or dull carried over into modern times, and was in use during the 18th century. 

Page 316. " the ingenious Abbe Bannier, in his preface to his Mythology "

The abbé Antoine Banier (1673–1741) was a French clergyman, historian and translator.  His Mythologie et la fable expliqués par l'histoire (1711) provides an interpretation of Greek mythology which was widely accepted until the mid-19th century.  He explores the origins of Greek mythology, and explains the myths as stories about real people and events, that were expanded upon and deified over time.  A contemporary Advertisement to his work described his approach as follows:

‘For Mr. Banier hath renounced the common Method of treating Fables as mere Allegories, and hath proved, that they have their FOUNDATION in REAL HISTORY, and contain many important Facts. He hath most judiciously stripped them of their poetical Embelishments and Disguises, and reduced them to the plain Historical Truths which the first Poets found them.’

The book was translated from French into English and German. It also formed the basis for the sections on Greek mythology in Diderot’s Encycolpedie.

Page 316. " the smallest tenement in Parnassus "

Mount Parnassus is a mountain of limestone in central Greece.  In Greek mythology, the mountain is sacred to Apollo and the Corycian nymphs, and is home to the muses.  The mountain is named after Parnassos, the son of Kleodora, a nymph, and Kleopompus, a man.  As the home of the Muses, Parnassus was associated with poetry, music, and learning.

Public DomainParnassus - Credit: Andrea Mantegna, 1497
Page 317. " (Mr Moore's) play of the Rival Modes "

James (Jemmy) Moore Smythe (1702- 1734) was an Engligh playwright.  He had a reputation for foppishness and big spending.  Despite inheriting substantial estates, he ran up large debts, and died in poverty. 

Dunciad Variorum 1729
Public DomainDunciad Variorum 1729 - Credit: Alexander Pope

In 1727, he wrote his only play, The Rival Modes. It was performed by the Drury Lane company but was not well received, and ran for only six nights. 

In the second act, Smythe quoted eight lines of Alexander Pope's poetry, without giving credit to Pope. It appears that Pope had given and then revoked permission for the use of the lines, but Smythe used them anyway.

Pope used his subsequent works to exact revenge.  In his The Dunciad of 1727, he describes Moore as a ‘phantom poet,’ a vacuous nothing who works book sellers into a frenzy with his flashiness, but turns out to have nothing but stolen verses. Pope renewed the attack in 1730, writing in The Grub-Street Journal:

A Gold watch found on a Cinder Whore,

Or a good verse on J--my M-re,

Proves but what either shou'd conceal,

Not that they're rich, but that they steal.

Page 318. " Sir Roger d'Estrance observes, in his deep reflections "

Sir Roger L'Estrange
Public DomainSir Roger L'Estrange - Credit: John Michael Wright
Sir Roger L'Estrange (1616-1704) was an English pamphleteer and author. He was a staunch Royalist, and in 1644 was sentenced to death as a spy, but managed to break out of jail and flee to Holland.  He returned to England in 1653, and was soon writing and printing Royalist pamphlets supporting a return of Charles II. His loyalty to the King saw him appointed as Surveyor of the Printing Press and Licenser of the Press, charged with preventing the publication of dissenting writings. He excelled in the tasks of searching, seizing and censoring, and became known as the “Bloodhound of the Press.”  He also continued to write Royalist pamphlets and used his sharp wit to criticise the Whigs though various platforms. 

Later in life, he moved away from overtly political work, to write and publish translations of Seneca the Younger’s Morals and Cicero’s Offices, and his Fables of Aesop and other eminent mythologists (1692) In 1702 he completed his English translation of "The works of Flavius Josephus."  He also wrote a 'Key' to Hudibras, Samuel Butler’s 17th century satire on the English Civil War.

Page 321. " Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori "

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori is a line from Horace's Odes.  It can be roughly translated into English as: "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country." 

The poem from which the line comes exhorts Roman citizens to develop martial prowess so that the enemies of Rome will be too terrified to resist them.

The line was famously reproduced in Wilfred Owen's poem, Dulce et Decorum Est, which describes a gas attack during World War I.  Owen uses the line in the final lines of his poem, describing it as "the old lie."

Page 325. " the Provoked Husband "

David Garrick in VanBrugh's Provoked Wife
Public DomainDavid Garrick in VanBrugh's Provoked Wife - Credit: Johann Zoffany.
The Provoked Husband originated as an unfinished three-act comedy fragment by John Vanbrugh, titled A Journey to London.  The play would have followed on Vanbrugh’s earlier Restoration comedies, The Relapse (1696) and The Provoked Wife (1697). The latter considered the options of a wife trapped in an abusive marriage, who might consider leaving it or taking a lover, and outraged some sections of Restoration society.  Vanbrugh had intended that A Journey to London would further question traditional marriage roles, and end with a marriage falling irreconcilably apart. After Vanbrugh's sudden death, his colleague Colley Cibber completed the manuscript, under the title of The Provoked Husband (1728).  Cibber however gave it a happy ending, in which the irascible wife repents and is reconciled to her husband – quite the opposite of what Vanbrugh intended.