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
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.
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.
– Hexham Courant, Jan. 28, 2005
Google offers a number of examples for Hogarthian.
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.
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.
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.
Well, Robert, we have been missing you! So good to see you back!
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.
. . ."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
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:
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.
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.
– 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
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.
– George Watson, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Autumn 1997
Cloche is not to be confused with clochard 'a tramp, vagrant' from clocher 'to limp', related to latin claudius.
belvedere - a structure designed to command a view (e.g., gazebo, cupola, tower)
[Italian, 'beautiful sight']
– 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?)