Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Word of the Week

adj: impish, whimsical

With a turned-up nose and shock of red hair, Lambert has a puckish appearence that contrasts with his courtly manner.

Did you know?
We know Puck as a mischievous sprite who changed shapes, caused milk to spoil, and frightened village maidens in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Bard drew on English folklore in casting his character, but the traditional Puck was downright evil. In medieval England, this nasty hobgoblin was known as the puck, pucke, or pouke. To the Irish such a creature was the pooka, and to the Welsh he was pwcca. But it was the Bard's characterization that stuck, and by the time the adjective "puckish" started appearing regularly in English texts in the late 1800s, the association was one of impishness rather than evilness. -Merriam-Webster's 365 New Words Calender

First fairy/Moth (who Erin plays as in Midsummer Night's Dream)
Either I mistake your shape and making quite,
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite
Called Robin Goodfellow. Are you not he
That frights the maidens of the villagery,
Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern,
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn,
And sometime make the drink to bear no barn,
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harm?
Those that 'Hobgoblin' call you, and 'Sweet Puck',
You do their work, and they shall have good luck.
Are you not he?

Puck Thou speakest aright:
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon, and make him smile
When I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likness of a filly foal;
And sometime lurk I in a gossip's bowl
In very likeness of a roasted crab;
And when she drinks, against her lips I bob,
And on her withered dewlop pour the ale.
The wisest aunt telling the saddest tale
Sometime for threefoot stool mistaketh me;
Then slip I from her bum. Down topples she,
And 'Tailor' cries, and falls into a cough;
And then the whole choir hold their hips and laugh,
And waxen on their mirth, and sneeze, and swear
A merrier hour was never wasted there.

-taken from A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare



Who slammed Doors for Fun and Perished Miserably

A Trick that everyone abhors
In Little Girls is slamming Doors.
A Wealthy Banker's little Daughter
Who lived in Palace Green, Bayswater
(By name Rebecca Offendort),
Was given to this Furious Sport.
She would deliberately go
And Slam the door like Billy-Ho!
To make her Uncle Jacob start.
She was not really bad at heart,
But only rather rude and wild:
She was an aggravating child.

It happened that a Marble Bust
Of Abraham was standing just
Above the Door this little Lamb
Had carefully prepared to Slam,
And down it came! It knocked her flat!
It laid her out! She looked like that!


Her funeral Sermon (which was long
And followed by a Sacred Song)
Mentioned her Virtues, it is true,
But dwelt upon her Vices too,
And showed the Dreadful End of One
Who goes and slams the door for Fun.

-Hilaire Belloc

Hilaire Belloc wrote a book called Cautionary Verses, in which other poems, like this one, show the fate of those who do things they shouldn't. I find them all rather humorous. :)