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Happy Valentine's Day! A Valentine word, fitting last week's theme, will begin this week's theme of "Bell Words". This word is rare and obsolete, basically last used by Edmund Spenser (Shakespeare's contemporary) quoted below, who was consciously using an archaic style. But oh! what lovely quotations!

belgard – a sweet or loving look
    Sometimes upon her forhead they behold
    A thousand graces masking in delight;
    Sometimes within her eye-lids they unfold
    Ten thousand sweet belgard, which to their sight
    Doe seeme like twinckling starres in frostie night
    - An Hymne In Honour Of Beautie

    Upon her eyelids many Graces sate,
    Under the shadow of her even browes,
    Working belgard, and amorous retrate,. . . . . . [retreat]
    And every one her with a grace endowes:
    And every one with meekenesse to her bowes.
    - Fairie Queen


Happy Valentine's Day to my darling.
 
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Today we see that the 'bel' is not always a beauteous belle with her belgards.

beldam – a elderly woman, esp. an ugly evil-looking one
. . . [Wordcrafter note: I would say, "a hag or harpy."]
The authorities say this is from bel,, beautiful, + dame. Perhaps. But the beldam is certainly not beautiful.
    [At an open-air market] More than once, I was elbowed fiercely in the ribs by one of these bargain-hunting harpies, and my shins still bear the bruises from the kicks of zip-up suede bootees. Most were accompanied by bewildered menfolk, blinking nervously at the carnage all round, and slowly disappearing beneath the mounds of "bargains" they were expected to carry round, ultimately paying for. Mrs Hextol was of course oblivious to the Hogarthian horde, except when one bright-eyed beldam tried to help herself from the pile of trophies of the hunt I was supposed to be guarding.
    – Hexham Courant, Jan. 28, 2005
Would someone more knowledgeable than I care to explain 'Hogarthian'?
 
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Google offers a number of examples for Hogarthian.
 
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A Supreme Court Justice once said he could not define pornography, but knew it when he saw it. The same is true of Hogarth, a portrayer of the roiling, moiling underclass of 18th century London. Check out http://www.haleysteele.com/hogarth/
especially the classic Gin Lane print from 1750.


RJA
 
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A good online site showing Hogarth's prints is at http://www.haleysteele.com/hogarth/toc.html

In particular, the contrast between Gin Lane and Beer Street shows an almost RichardEnglishian view. Smile


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Well, Robert, we have been missing you! So good to see you back! Big Grin
 
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campanology – the art of ringing bells; campanologist
[Also, say some dictionaries, the art of casting or tuning bells. I cannot confirm that usage, and I have made inquiry of Whitechapel Bell Foundry Ltd., which is noted in that art.]

Are any of our readers fans of Dorothy L. Sayers and her Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries? Campanology is a major part of her novel The Nine Tailors, and is essential to the plot. Here are two quotes come from that novel, followed by a more recent citation.
    . . .[Wimsey speaking] "It's a pity you can't relieve me at the rope, Bunter."
    . . ."I assure your lordship that for the first time in my existence I regret that I have made no practical study of campanology."
    . . ."Did you ever try?"
    . . ."Once only, my lord, and on that occasion an accident was only narrowly averted. Owing to my unfortunate lack of manual dexterity I was very nearly hanged in the rope, my lord."

    The art of change-ringing is peculiar to the English, and, like most English peculiarities, unintelligible to the rest of the world. To the musical Belgian, for example, it appears that the proper thing to do with a carefully-tuned ring of bells is to play a tune upon it. By the English campanologist, the playing of tunes is considered to be a childish game, only fit for foreigners; the proper use of bells is to work out mathematical permutations and combinations.

    the two cathedrals - Anglican and Catholic - faced one another in Hope Street (an ironic name). I liked the fact that the rivalry was mainly expressed in campanology - sectarianism as a load of bells.
    – Robert McNeil The Scotsman, Jan. 19, 2005
 
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Campanology update: A most helpful e-mail, just received from Alan Hughes of Whitechapel Bell Foundry Limited, states as follows after noting the Chambers definition by way of introduction:
    That being said these expressions are very rarely used by bell ringers or anyone involved with the casting or making of bells when referring to bells. They are usually used by non-bell people.
My thanks to Mr. Hughes.
 
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gavial – a crocodile-like animal of northern India, with a long slender snout; picture here.
Why is this a "bell" word? Because the name, from Sanskrit, is probably derived from the Sanskrit for "bell," alludng to the bulb at the end of the animal's snout.

Errata: In speaking of demi-verge last week, I misquoted Partridge, who had spoken of an "undevirginated" woman, not an "undervirginated" one. I also typoed the initials of author D. H. Lawrence.
 
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bellwether – a leader of trends, or a leading indicator of trends
From the original meaning: the sheep that leads the flock (that sheep is often belled)
[bell + wether = castrated ram]

Our quotes illustrate all three meanings. You'll find it a great pleasure to read, at the link, the full poem from which the last quote is taken.
    ... the [New York] Times, bellwether and fashion setter for the city's press ...
    – Robert A. Caro, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

    In 1996, in a 50-50 race for president the swing state was New Jersey. By the 2000 election, New Jersey was solidly Democratic; Florida, a state that historically leaned Republican, was the new bellwether.
    – Dick Morris, Rewriting History

    And then a wise bellwether sheep
    Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
    And drew the flock behind him, too,
    As good bellwethers always do.
    The Calf-Path by Sam Foss
 
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cloche – [from the French for 'bell'] either of two bell-shaped covers:
1. woman's hat, close-fitting and bell-shaped
2. a cover, usually bell-shaped, to protect plants from frost

You'll understand readily when you see a picture such a hat here or here.
    Most readers today, if asked what era these characters [of P.G. Wodehouse] belong to, would probably answer vaguely in terms of the interwar years, or more precisely the Jazz Age of the 20's, with its Bright Young Things in cloche hats.
    – George Watson, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Autumn 1997
 
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Cloche is not to be confused with clochard 'a tramp, vagrant' from clocher 'to limp', related to latin claudius.
 
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belvedere - a structure designed to command a view (e.g., gazebo, cupola, tower)
[Italian, 'beautiful sight']
    As a concession to urban life they had large glass-paned windows opening onto courtyards, and belvederes with many ornamental pinnacles on the roofs from which a watch could be maintained on all sides.
    – Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

    They also say he liked his drink; once or twice a year he would shut himself up in the room in the belvedere, and two or three days later he would emerge as though from a battle or a spell of dizziness – pale, shaking, befuddled, and as authoritarian as ever.
    – Jorge Luis Borges, The Shape of the Sword (trans. Andrew Hurley?)
 
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