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Showing posts from May, 2014

Word of the month: quyne, the 'evil monkey'?

In the first edition of the AND we find the entry quyn (currently also online, until work on the second edition of Q- is completed, sometime in 2015). The word is defined as ‘(term of abuse) monkey’ and is illustrated by a single attestation from Nicholas Bozon’s Life of Saint Margaret : ‘Ceo ke avint de celi mal quyn ’ (l. 303) Sister M. Amelia Klenke published her edition of Bozon’s text in 1947, and translated this particular line somewhat oddly as ‘That which befell this luckless fellow (evil monkey)’. The ‘luckless fellow’ in question is Malchus, the executioner instructed to behead St. Margaret of Antioch. After a vision of a white dove bearing a cross, Malchus had come to the realisation that St. Margaret was favoured by God and consequently he refused to carry out the execution. It is only at her insistence that he beheads her: ‘Si vu ne mettez mayn en moys, Parte de ciel ne averez o moy’ (ll. 299-300) ‘If you do no lay hand upon me You shall have no part