Whiffler, famous for painting a portrait of his mother. Whiffler’s Mother. Wow… that was a lame joke.
whiffler (n.) IPA Pronunciation:
armed processional attendant
Behold, the English beach
Pales in the flood with men, with wives and boys,
Whose shouts and claps out-voice the deep mouth’d sea,
Which like a mighty whiffler ‘fore the king
Seems to prepare his way: so let him land,
And solemnly see him set on to London.
– Henry V (V.prologue)
To me, this word sound like it should be the name of a racket used to hit a Wiffle Ball. It doesn’t sound like what it is to me, but I suppose I’m not using my imagination to make it work. Either way this is a word that most readers and audiences are not likely to know so lets hope that the Chorus does his/her best to make sense of it for us, that a Whiffler clears the way for a procession.
Note that whiffler does have a different modern definition, in case you look it up in a modern dictionary. Today it can mean a person who frequently shifts opinions, attitudes, interests, etc. I don’t know if the definitions are at all related, but don’t get them confused!