Benford's G&S Lexicon Entries for The Grand Duke

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Act I

Muckled [the more I muckled]

Webster (306) tells us that muckle is a variation of mickle, one meaning of which is Scottish slang for “talking with a big mouth.” Another dictionary (108) defines mucklemouthed as “Having a large mouth.”

Fell [What folly fell]

Terrible.

Muff

A bungler. See also Utopia, Limited.

Candle snuff

“The charred or partly consumed portion of a candlewick” (250).

Gibbet [upon the Castle gibbet]

Pronunciation: JIB-ett

A frame for hanging criminals. It could be used either as a device for execution or for exhibiting those already dead. A good place to avoid in either event.

Duello

Italian for “duel.”

Parliamentary draftsman

A person who devises the wording for laws (142). See also Iolanthe.

Falchions

Pronunciation: FAWL-shuns

A falchion is a short broad, curved sword, somewhere between a saber and a scimitar in shape. More generally: any sword. The word is derived from the Latin word for “sickle” (250).

Exigence [When exigence of rhyme compels, Orthography forgoes her spells:]

Urgent need.

Orthography

The art of spelling. If you look carefully at the context again, you may smell a neat pun –– which I won’t spell out.

Spells

Enchantments.

Legal fiction

Something assumed under the law even though it is obviously untrue in any literal sense. See also The Gondoliers.

Ipso facto [Dies, ipso facto, a social death]

Automatically. This is Latin for “by the act itself.”

Revising Barrister

“A barrister who was appointed to revise lists of voters in parliamentary elections. While this responsibility was vested, in 1896, in specially appointed barristers, it has since been transferred to other officials” (243).

Expunges

Removes.

King’s evidence [He is accepted as King’s evidence]

“British Law, evidence for the crown given by an accused person against his alleged accomplices” (250). In the United States it is called state’s evidence.

Miscreant

Vile and unprincipled scoundrel. The sort of blighter who would curse at his wife without first removing his hat.

Field of honour

The site where men may duel to defend their “honour.”

Mould [Each is laid in churchyard mould]

Soft, rich earth, gently mellowed by all those mouldering bodies.

Suppose [Who’d suppose the method old!]

In this context the expression means “Who would consider the old method?” That is one meaning of “suppose” (250).

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