An ancient dispute between the Merchant Taylors and Skinners livery companies is the probable origin of the phrase. The two trade associations, both founded in the same year (1327), argued over sixth place in the order of precedence. In 1484, after more than a century and a half of bickering, the Lord Mayor of London Sir Robert Billesden ruled that at the feast of Corpus Christi, the companies would swap between sixth and seventh place and feast in each other’s halls. Nowadays, they alternate in precedence on an annual basis.
A similar phrase, “to set the world on six and seven”, is used by Geoffrey Chaucer in his Troilus and Criseyde. It dates from the mid-1380s and seems from its context to mean “to hazard the world” or “to risk one’s life”. William Shakespeare uses a similar phrase in Richard II, “But time will not permit: all is uneven, And every thing is left at six and seven”.
The phrase is also used in Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore (1878), where Captain Corcoran, the ship’s Commander, is confused as to what choices to make in his life, and exclaims in the opening song of Act II, “Fair moon, to thee I sing, bright regent of the heavens, say, why is everything either at sixes or at sevens?”
The phrase took on additional meaning during the early 1960s, when debate over Britain’s position in Europe under Harold Macmillan centred on membership of the EEC ‘Six’ or the EFTA ‘Seven’ smaller independent states.
|Aromas||TPA, TFA, FA y CF|
|Tamaños||30ml y 60ml|