E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Pantomime (3 syl.),
according to etymology, should be all dumb show, but in modern practice it is partly dumb show and partly grotesque speaking. Harlequin and Columbine never speak, but Clown and Pantaloon keep up a constant fire of fun. Dr. Clarke says that Harlequin is the god Mercury, with his short sword called herp he is supposed to be invisible, and to be able to transport himself to the ends of the earth as quick as thought. Columbine, he says, is Psyche (the soul); the old man is Charon; and the Clown Momus (the buffoon of heaven), whose large gaping mouth is an imitation of the ancient masks. (Travels, iv. 459.)
The best Roman pantomimists were Bathylus (a freedman of Mæcnas), Pylds, and Hylas.