"Plough with the favorite heifer", 1749

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Jun 6 23:30:21 UTC 2006


I think an interesting question.  Did Samson
merely mean that by inveigling his wife the
Philistines got information from her?  Was there
a sexual connotation at the time?  Complicated,
of course, by translation--at Samson's time, or
when written in the original language, or when translated into English?

Joel

At 6/6/2006 01:19 PM, you wrote:
>"And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer,
>ye had not found out my riddle" (Judges 14:18).
>
>Yes, Samson is speaking "metaphorically"--but in what way,
>exactly, remains (to me) uncertain.  He rails against the
>Philistines for their having obtaining, from his wife, the
>solution to his riddle that she had inveigled him to tell
>her as a spousal secret.  Perhaps he is using an idiomatic
>reference to sexual intercourse as a metaphor for another
>kind of marital infidelity?
>
>--Charlie
>
>
>---- Original message ----
>
> >Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> >Subject:      Re: "Plough with the favorite heifer", 1749
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >I see I lack some resources :-)  Is this in
>the "metaphorical" sense?
> >
> >Joel
> >
> >At 6/6/2006 12:53 PM, you wrote:
> >>Judges 14:18.
> >>
> >>--Charlie
> >>
> >>
> >>---- Original message ----
> >> >Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2006 12:42:38 -0400
> >> >From: "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> >> >Subject: "Plough with the favorite heifer", 1749
> >> >To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> >> >
> >> >"We are informed that a certain Foreign . . . who
> >> >makes a very splendid Figure amongst us, has
> >> >already lern'd to pursue the old English Maxim of
> >> >ploughing with the favorite Heifer, which he
> >> >thoroughly understands in the metaphorical Sense;
> >> >and that a certain Naturaliz'd C-n-ss, in
> >> >Conformity to this Maxim, was lately entertain'd
> >> >by him with great Splendour and Expense."
> >> >
> >> >Northampton [England] Mercury, 23 October 1749
> >> >(G. A. Cranfield, "The Development of the
> >> >Provincial Newspaper, 1700-1760", page 70).
> >> >
> >> >What do you have, Fred?  With my limited
> >> >sources:  not found Googling; from OED2, this
> >> >sense of plough goes back to 1606,
> >> >Shakespeare:  Ant. & Cl. ii. ii. 233 Royall
> >> >Wench: She made great C├Žsar lay his sword to bed,
> >> >He ploughed her, and she cropt.
> >> >
> >> >Joel
> >>
> >>-----------------------------------------------------------
>-
> >>The American Dialect Society -
>http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
> >The American Dialect Society -
>http://www.americandialect.org
>
>------------------------------------------------------------
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