Note by A Milnes to As A Playwright a chapter of The Life Of Dryden

The name of a parish and village in Nottinghamshire. Near it is a place called Cuckoo Bush; the bush having been planted to commemorate the story out of which was to grow the well-known saying, the ' Wise men of Gotham ,' or the ' Fools of Gotham '. The tale is thus :-

'King John passing through this place towards Nottingham, intending to go over the meadows I have just described, was prevented by the villagers; they apprehending that the ground over which a king passed was for ever after to become a public road. The king, incensed at their proceedings, sent from his court soon after some of his servants to enquire of them the reason of their incivility and ill-humour, that he might punish them by way of fine or some other way he might judge most proper. The villagers hearing of the approach of the king's servants thought of an expedient to turn away his majesty's displeasure from them: When the messengers arrived at Gotham they found some of the inhabitants engaged in endeavouring to drown an eel in a pool of water; some were employed in dragging carts upon a large barn to shade the wood from the sun; others were tumbling their cheeses down a hill that they might find the way to Nottingham for sale; and some were employed in hedging in a cuckoo which had perched upon an old bush which stood where the present one now stands; in short, they were all employed in some foolish way or other, which convinced the king's servants that it was a village of fools. Whence arose the old adage " The wise men of Gotham ."'— Thoroton's History of Nottingham .

Hence one could hardly 'land' at Gotham. The writer either did not know the origin of the saying, or the word 'land' is used here in a loose sense for 'arrive.'

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