in Doctor Thorne

Chapter 21 – Mr. Moffat Falls into Trouble

hymeneal joys

From Latin hymenaeus, “belonging to wedlock, marriage”.  Hymen was a Greek god who presided over weddings.  [JM 2005]

Sources:  OED.
The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology.


the help of a goddess

As Frank prepares to attack Mr. Moffat, Trollope exclaims, “Oh Mr. Moffat! Mr. Moffat! If there be any goddess to interfere in thy favor, let her come forward now without delay; let her now bear thee off on a cloud if there be one to whom thou art sufficiently dear!”  The image of a goddess bearing a mortal away on a cloud recalls a scene in book 3 of Homer’s Iliad where Aphrodite carries Paris from the battlefield on a cloud just as Menelaus is about to kill him.  [JC 2005]

Sources:  Homer, Iliad 3.380-382.



After being attacked by Frank Gresham, Mr. Moffat is said to be “sitting in a state of syncope.”  This word ultimately comes from Greek, although it went through Latin before being adopted into English.  Here it refers to a state of unconsciousness.  The Greek verb sunkoptein means “to cut short” and is a combination of the prefix syn- (meaning “with”) and the verb koptein (meaning “to strike”).  It is interesting that Trollope uses this word as Mr. Moffat has found himself in this state because he has been struck (repeatedly) by Frank.  [JC 2005]

Sources:  OED.