beg “us—You cannot,” LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST, v. 2. 490. Costard means, “We are not fools.”“To beg a person for a fool; to apply to be his guardian. In the old common law was a writ de idiota inquirendo, under which, if a man was legally proved an idiot, the profits of his lands and the custody of his person might be granted by the king to any subject. See Blackstone, B. i. ch. 8, [sect ] 18. Such a person, when this grant was asked, was said to be begged for a fool; which that learned judge regarded as being still a common expression. See his note, loc. cit.” Nares's Gloss. “Frequent allusions to this practice occur in the old comedies. In illustration of it Mr. Ritson has given a curious story, which, as it is mutilated in the authority which he has used [Cabinet of Mirth, 1674], is here subjoined from a more original source, a collection of tales, etc., compiled about the time of Charles the First, pre served among the Harleian Mss. in the British Museum, No. 6395. ‘The Lord North begg'd old Bladwell for a foole (though he could never prove him so), and having him in his custodie as a lunaticke, he carried him to a gentleman's house, one day, that was his neighbour. The L. North and the gentleman retir'd awhile to private discourse, and left Bladwell in the dining roome, which was hung with a faire hanging. Bladwell walking up and downe, and viewing the imagerie, spyed a foole at last in the hanging, and without delay drawes his knife, flyes at the foole, cutts him cleane out, and layes him on the floore. My L. and the gentl. coming in againe, and finding the tapestrie thus defac'd, he ask'd Bladwell what he meant by such a rude uncivill act: he answered, Sr., be content, I have rather done you a courtesie than a wrong, for if ever my L. N. had seene the foole there, he would have begg'd him, and so you might have lost your whole suite.’ The same story, but without the parties' names, is related in Fuller's Holy State, p. 182” (DOUCE) .
Table of Contents:
beg - bid