Benford's G&S Lexicon Entries for Patience

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Enter part of a term; e.g., "gill" for Gillow's.

Act I

Guinea [Put in half a guinea]

Guineas were gold coins first issued in 1663 and initially valued at £1.00. In 1717, owing to changed relative values of silver and gold, the guinea's value was adjusted to 21 shillings, i.e., £1.05. The coin was no longer minted after 1817, when it was supplanted by the 20-shilling (£1.00) gold sovereign. Ever since then, however, certain prices have been quoted in those imaginary guineas, principally because of the snob appeal (105). As for "half-guineas," they are but another example of Bunthorne's transcendental imagination. See also The Sorcerer and Princess Ida.


Chance or luck personified as a goddess who capriciously doles out Life's lots.

Make a clearance [Of this bold girl I pray you make a clearance]

Get rid of her!

Without alloy

Undiminished in value by impurities.


Everybody sings!


Pronunciation: COME-lee-ness

Good looks.

Act II


A clearing in a woods.


In truth.


Childish or whimpering, hence immature.

Dim her eyes

Why is the expression in quotation marks? Because it is a euphemism derived from "Damn your eyes!" (11, 194, 274, 303).

Gloamings [in life's uncertain gloamings]

In the later years of life.

Well-saved "combings"

Loose hairs caught up in a comb and collected (perhaps starting while still young) for later augmenting whatever hair remains.



Pearly grey

Face powder. English ladies in Victorian times tried to remain pale because a tanned skin was associated with a working-class existence. They wore long gloves and big hats and carried parasols largely for that reason. Any signs of exposure that crept in despite those precautions were likely to be covered by a dusting of pearly white or grey face powder, the forerunner of the tinted face powders we know today. In Lady Jane's case, the powder would also help hide that mottled complexion she laments. Truly advanced cases might be accorded the stronger treatment of the "pearly-white dye" that Gilbert mentions in his Bab Ballad "King Borria Bungalee Boo" (127).



Incontinently [Or incontinently perish]

Immediately (archaic) (11).


A ten-line stanza.

Daisy [a very daisy]

An exceptionally pleasing person or thing. MacPhail (194) invites you to consider "the simple loveliness of the daisy when compared with the languid lily. A nice touch for Grosvenor, often overlooked."

Gentle Jane

Grosvenor's two poems are not at all reflective of the aesthetes. Again, the rival curates (who competed for being most bland) may be to blame (272).

Bluebottles [Or caught bluebottles their legs to pull]

A kind of large fly, about like a horsefly.