Words: Mortise, n. and v.
Friday 06 August 1999
Mortise sounds more a matter of death than life, but is a Middle English term (from obscure French) for the cavity which receives a tenon to form a joint (as in a lock). Such an invisible device was used at something more enduring than Mr and Mrs Porter's union - Stonehenge - but as a metaphor Porter's inspiration was probably Othello (melting mountains ruin mortised oak) or Hamlet (subjects are mortised to the wheel of Majesty).
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