She is an Agnes
elle fait l'Agnès)
is a sort of female “Verdant Green,” who is so unsophisticated that she
does not even know what love means. It is a character in Molière's
L'école des Femmes.
is represented by Domenichino as kneeling on a
pile of fagots, the fire extinguished, and the executioner about to
slay her with the sword. The introduction of a lamb (agnus) is a
modern innovation, and play on the name. St. Agnes is the patron of
“St. Agnes was first tied to a stake, but the fire of the stakes went
out; whereupon Aspasius, set to watch the martyrdom, drew his sword,
and cut off her head.”
St. Agnes Day
21st January. Upon St. Agnes' night, you take a
row of pins, and pull out every one, one after another. Saying a
pater-noster, stick a pin in your sleeve, and you will dream of him or
her you shall marry. —Aubrey: Miscellany, p. 136.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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