7 AUGUST 2004, Page 25

Chaucerian coinage

From Desmond Fit2Patrick Sir: In his review of Posh (Books, 31 July) Digby Durrant himself is somewhat at sixes and sevens in attributing the origin of that expression to the judgment of the Lord Mayor of London of 1484. A century before the Lord Mayor's ruling, the expression 'at sixes and sevens' had been used by Chaucer in Troilus and Criseyde (circa 1382)

But manly sette the world on six and sevene; And if thow deye a martyr, go to hevene!

(iv 1622) Desmond FitzPatrick

Petworth, West Sussex