Tear

(to rhyme with “snare”). To tear Christ's body. To use imprecations. The common oaths of mediaeval times were by different parts of the Lord's body, hence the preachers used to talk of “tearing God's body by imprecations.”

Her othes been so greet and so dammpnable
That it is grisly for to hiere hëm swere.
Our blisful Lordës body thay to-tere.

Chaucer: Canterbury Tales, 13,889.

Tear

(to rhyme with “fear”). Tear and larme. (Anglo—Saxon, taeher; Gothic, tagr; Greek, dakru; Latin, lacrim-a; French, lar'm.)

Tears of Eos.
The dew-drops of the morning were so called by the Greeks. Eos was the mother of Memnon (q.v.), and wept for him every morning.

St. Lawrence's tears.
Falling stars. St. Lawrence was roasted to death on a gridiron, and wept that others had not the same spirit to suffer for truth's sake as he had. (See Lawrence.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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