Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Bee.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The Athenian Bee. Plato. (See ATHENIAN BEE, page 72, col. 1.)   1
   It is said that when Plato was in his cradle, a swarm of bees alighted on his mouth. The story is good enough for poets and orators. The same tale is told of St. Ambrose. (See AMBROSE, page 41, col. 1.)   2
   The Bee of Athens. Soph’ocls. (See ATTIC BEE, page 73, col. 1.)   3
   Xenophon (B.C. 444–359) is also called “the Bee of Athens,” or “the Athenian Bee.”   4
   See also ANIMALS (SYMBOLICAL), page 50, col. 2.   5
   To have your head full of bees. Full of devices, crotchets, fancies, inventions, and dreamy theories. The connection between bees and the soul was once generally maintained: hence Mahomet admits bees to Paradise. Porphyry says of fountains, “they are adapted to the nymphs, or those souls which the ancients called bees.” The moon was called a bee by the priestesses of Cers, and the word lunatic or moon-struck still means one with “bees in his head.”   6
        “Il a des rats dans la tête.”—French Proverb.
   (See MAGGOT.)   7
   To have a bee in your bonnet. To be cranky; to have an idiosyncrasy; also, to carry a jewel or ornament in your cap. (See BIGHES.)   8
“For pity, sir, find out that bee
That bore my love away—
‘I’ll seek him in your bonnet brave…”
Herrick: The Mad Maid’s Song.



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