October 15, 2003

*Ask Jen

Jim says, "I have been perplexed about the origin of the phrase 'gilding the lilly'... If you knew the true origin it would solve a long standing mystery for me."

In Shakespeare's King John, the king has a second coronation to try to reinforce his position. A line by Lord Salisbury discussing the king's actions goes, "...to be possess'd with double pomp, To guard a title that was rich before, To gild refined gold, to paint the lily..."

I believe this is the origin of the phrase, although the exact words "gild the lily" did not seem to appear until the early 1900s.

Reader Jeff asks, "Why are worms all over the sidewalk after it rains?"

Their holes are full of water and they're seeking higher ground.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at October 15, 2003 07:35 AM


I always thought the worms were just big musical fans and couldn't pass up the chance...

Posted by: Ted at October 15, 2003 08:15 PM

Singing in the rain, just singing in the rain...what a glorious feeling, I'm happy again!

Or something. Damn Cubs.

Posted by: Jennifer at October 16, 2003 01:00 AM

Thank you..that solved a small, but long standing family debate!

Posted by: jim at October 16, 2003 10:16 AM