Posted by TheFallen on October 13, 2003
In Reply to: Meanings posted by Priya on October 13, 2003
: Could I please have the meanings and usage of the following
: 1) "To cast sheep's eyes" (at someone)
: 2) "To ring a peal over" (someone)
: 3) "To upbraid"
: 4) "To dance attandence on"
: 5) "To offer a spanish coin"
: Also what's the missing word--
: "Beware of the ...... who come bearing gifts."
1) To simper at someone because you're infatuated with them.
2) ? It may mean to broadcast publicly or make very obvious one's admiration for someone.
3) To chastise, castigate or scold.
4) To be subservient to, to be in a position to carry out someone's every desire or whim.
5) ? Again a guess. In the 16th century, England was fairly consistently at war with the Spanish. Understandably at this time the word "Spanish" became used insultingly for anything that was false, undesireable or untrustworthy. Therefore, to "pay in Spanish coin" is to make payment that looks impressive but is in fact worth nothing.
Your final phrase is "Beware of Greeks who come bearing gifts". This is an allusion to the legend of the fall of Troy as described in Homer's Iliad, where the Greeks built a huge wooden horse hid some soldiers inside it and withdrew the rest of their army out of sight. The Trojans, having successfully resisted a siege of their city, saw the horse deserted outside the city gates and decided to take it inside the city. At night while the Trojans slept, the Greeks inside the horse sneaked out, opened the gates to the rest of the Greek army, and the city fell. The original phrase is "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes".
As a side note, the ploy of the Trojan Horse is exactly why a certain type of Internet virus is today called a Trojan. It's packaged in such a way as to look desireable, maybe embedded in a game or something, but when that game is installed, the core of the program also installs and allows your PC to be controlled remotely over the Internet by another.
Finally, and confusingly enough, the phrase "like a Trojan" is a compliment. It's used to describe people who just don't give up or surrender, despite the odds. Again its origin is from the legend of the Trojan wars, but this time the allusion is to the warriors of Troy succeeding in resisting the siege to their city for so many years.