(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,
(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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