- To add ornamental or fictitious details
Ever heard of the phrase, "To guild the lily?" It's a commonly uncommon phrase that means to overly embellish. A lily is meant to be embellishment enough, according to Shakespeare in King John:
Brushing up on my Shakespeare for this entry feels a tad ironic, as I have fond memories of reading his works in high school only to think, "Man, this guy is really overplaying it." Apparently, I was destined to bring Shakespeare and over embellishment together, even as a wee high schooler. However, let me be clear: his works are not so much enhancing that which is considered plain, but rather deciding that something near perfection - words, beautiful words - was not good enough to present by itself. "Get to the point already," I chanted in the middle of Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer's Night Dream. "Just say what you mean!"SALISBURY:
Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp,
To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
Of course, my complaint with this literary hero is the exact reason many love his works - the ornate nature of it all that reveals wit, satire, and, to some extent, wisdom. Or perhaps I'm just embellishing it.