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Nessus

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Shirt of Nessus. A source of misfortune from which there is no escape; a fatal present; anything that wounds the susceptibilities. Thus Renan has “the Nessus-shirt of ridicule.” Herculēs ordered Nessus (the centaur) to carry his wife Dejaniʹra across a river. The centaur ill-treated the woman, and Hercules shot him with a poisoned arrow. Nessus, in revenge, gave Dejaniʹra his tunic, saying to whomsoever she gave it would love her exclusively. Dejaniʹra gave it to her husband, who was devoured by poison as soon as he put it on; but, after enduring agony, the hero threw himself on a funeral pile, and was consumed. (See Harmonia’s Robe.)

“While to my limbs thʹ envenomed mantle clings,

Drenched in the centaur’s black, malignant gore.”


West: Triumphs of the Gout (Lucian).

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Neptunian or Neptunist
Nereids
Nereus
Nerine
Nerissa
Nero
Nero of the North
Nero’s Friend
Nesr
Nesrem
Nessus
Nest
Nest-egg (A)
Nestor
Nestorians
Nethinim
Nettle
Nettles
Nettoyer (French)
Never
Never Say Die

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Harmonia’s Robe
Shirt

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Nessus