The arms of Ireland. According to tradition, one of the early
kings of Ireland was named David, and this king took for arms the harp of Israel's sweet Psalmist. Probably the harp is altogether a
blunder, arising from the triangle invented in the reign of John
to distinguish his Irish coins from the English. The reason why a
triangle was chosen may have been in allusion to St. Patrick's
explanation of the Trinity, or more likely to signify that he was king
of England, Ireland, and France. Henry VIII. was the first to assume
the harp positive as the Irish device, and James I. to place it
in the third quarter of the royal achievement of Great Britain.
To harp for ever on the same string.
To be for ever teasing one about the same subject. There is a Latin
proverb, Eandem cantilenam recinere.
I once heard a man with a
clarionet play the first half of “In my cottage near a wood” for more
than an hour, without cessation or change. It was in a crowded
market-place, and the annoyance became at last so unbearable that he
collected a rich harvest to move on.
“Still harping on my daughter.” —Shakespeare: Hamlet, ii. 1.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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