"Benjamite", 1722

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Feb 13 17:23:16 UTC 2013

"I send you the following Lines for the
Entertainment of our Town Gallants, who play
Bo-peep at their Mistresses Doors, and like
Benjamites, catch every Man with his Wife; which
if you think worth inserting, you may expect
something more on the same Subject, as I have
Leisure and Inclination to proceed"

New England Courant 1722 Dec 3, p. 1, col. 1.  [EAN]

"Benjamite:interdates OED2 1625 -- 1857.

But I don't get the message (joke?) here!  An
allusion to a Hebrew Testament story?  A pun --
catching a man with his wife is not a succès de
scandale, so it's the reverse of a Benjamite
success (Benjamin apparently was pampered; see
Genesis 42)?  Is it somehow connected with
playing Bo-peep?   "The following lines", which
might throw some light in the meaning of
"Benjamite" here, total over 100,and I do not copy them.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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