Called to twelve
Posted: 16 September 2012 10:51 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Odd 17th century phrase which, unless I’ve missed it, OED seems unaware of. According to James Kinsley, a 20th century literary scholar and editor of Dryden’s works, it means invited to participate..

I came across it in Dryden’s Prologue to the King and Queen at the Opening of their Theater (sic). The occasion was the 1682 amalgamation of the King’s and Duke’s players into the new King’s Company.

Here’s the relevant tercet (ll.25-27):

But since the victory with us remains,
You shall be called to twelve in all our gains
(If you’ll not think us saucy for our pains).

As I said, the Yale editor of POAS annotates thus: “Kinsley states that the phrase means invited to participate”.

It’s a strange phrase. Maybe a reference to the Apostles? Have you ever come across it in religious works, oeco?

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Posted: 16 September 2012 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Maybe a reference to the Apostles?

I suppose you’re referring to the fact that after J. Iscariot was cashiered, Matthias was invited to bring the number up to full complement (Acts 1: 15-26)?

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Posted: 16 September 2012 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The Mormons use the phrase “called to Twelve” (usually so capitalized) to refer to one who becomes a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, a ruling body of the LDS church under the president and his two chief advisors. Clearly this is not the source of the Dryden usage, but it could represent a retained idiom that has otherwise gone out of use.  Obviously the Mormon Twelve are based on the 12 disciples.

[ Edited: 16 September 2012 12:53 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 16 September 2012 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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lionello - 16 September 2012 12:13 PM

Maybe a reference to the Apostles?

I suppose you’re referring to the fact that after J. Iscariot was cashiered, Matthias was invited to bring the number up to full complement (Acts 1: 15-26)?

This is just one very fine example of why I keep coming back to Wordorigins. Then there’s Dr. T’s memory of threads long since gone by.

“Cashiered”: I always thought it was a slangy interpretation of “put paid to” but in fact it is a word on its own.

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Posted: 16 September 2012 03:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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It’s a strange phrase. Maybe a reference to the Apostles? Have you ever come across it in religious works, oeco?

I think Lionello has nailed it. But I’ve never heard it before.
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Posted: 16 September 2012 08:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Twelve is a very remarkable number. Following up on this thread, I checked out “twelve” in Wikipedia. Its properties as a number are absolutely mind-numbing (feeble pun intended ;-) - they extend far into arcane regions of numbers theory. Perhaps this is why it’s an important number in many religions.

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