Men seldom make passes
At girls who wear glasses.
– Dorothy Parker, News Item
This past week I've been enjoying Dorothy Parker's poetry, so let's take a look at some of the words she used. She''s sure to provide amusing quotations for our usage-examples. And perhaps I'll add some further poems of hers, just for fun.
lodestar – one that serves as an inspiration, model, or guide
(from the archaic meaning: a star that leads or guides; esp. north star)
noun: a shackle or fetter, especially for the leg.
verb: to shackle or fetter
Portrait of the Artist
Oh, lead me to a quiet cell
Where never footfall rankles,
And bar the window passing well,
And gyve my wrists and ankles.
Oh, wrap my eyes with linen fair,
With hempen cord go bind me,
And, of your mercy, leave me there,
Nor tell them where to find me.
Oh, lock the portal as you go,
And see its bolts be double....
Come back in half an hour or so,
And I will be in trouble.
sapience - wisdom; sagacity
[from Latin sapere to taste, be wise]
And let's add another Parker poem, just for fun.
General Review of the Sex Situation
Woman wants monogamy;
Man delights in novelty.
Love is woman's moon and sun;
Man has other forms of fun.
Woman lives but in her lord;
Count to ten, and man is bored.
With this the gist and sum of it,
What earthly good can come of it?
The root of sapience---the Latin sapere--- would seem to have had a rather broad meaning originally if it meant both to taste and be wise. My Oxford lists only the second meaning---be wise. Could the word have had two completely different usages?
I want a set of luggage made from Discworld sapient pearwood...
I can't speak about Latin, but AHD lists it as the root of sage, savant, and savvy on the one hand, and savor, sapor and insipid on the other.
If you'll permit me to share my take on the above:
It's said that a man will not date the kind
Of a woman who looks like she might have a mind.
It's also quite true that his love is receding
For a woman whose rear end is cut and is bleeding.
In short it is certain men will not make passes
At women who wear, or who sit on, their glasses.
(Written maybe 15 years ago. I've been in love with D.P. forever.)
fardel - a bundle or little pack; hence, a burden
Personally, I think of the backpacks in which today's students carry their schoolbooks.
Prologue to a Saga
Maidens, gather not the yew,
Leave the glossy myrtle sleeping;
Any lad was born untrue,
Never a one is fit your weeping.
Pretty dears, your tumult cease;
Love's a fardel, burthening double.
Clear your hearts, and have you peace-
Gangway, girls: I'll show you trouble.
I know, I know. I'm the least intellectual person here. I'm fine with that.
I'm also okay with the idea that I'm probably the only one that immediately thought of the "WKRP in Cincinnati" episode entitled "Les on the Ledge".
Mr. Carlson: What would fardels bear? Hey, look up 'fardel' while you're at it!
Being quite sure that the original said, "WHO would fardels bear," I googlized that phrase and came up, serendipitously, with Some delightful comments.
Since "fardel" is a cognate of fardo, we Spanish speakers have no problem with that little package.
Nice article Jerry, it just scratches the surface of translation problems but it's pretty interesting.
Glaubt es mir - das Geheimnis, um die größte Fruchtbarkeit und den größten Genuß vom Dasein einzuernten, heisst: gefährlich leben.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
You won't find today's word in the dictionaries, not even in OED. Yet it is used in print occasionally, and the meaning below, which I've gleaned from those usages, seems to be a useful concept.
extemporanea - casual and spontaneous acts or remarks
[The dictionaries have no noun-form of "extemporaneous" for particular acts, but only for the general "quality or state" of being extemporaneous.]
Some further examples:
Those of us who just don't have time in our 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s to sit around with our friends regularly and engage in repartee are cheating ourselves, filling our time with "purpose" ... But learning how to just be, after being conditioned for decades to do and do more, takes training. It's like getting back to childhood, to the land of extemporanea. ... It's very hard, in fact, to go to leisure.
- Diana Nelson Jones, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 13, 1998, writing of a daily gathering of retired men
Benchley Despite Himself is a one-man, one-act stroll through the glory period of literate American humor. ... Due to the wide variety of subjects treated by Robert Benchley in his writings, films, musings, mutterings and extemporanea, we could not pin the author or actor down as to just what he will discuss.
- Blurb for the play
[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Thu Oct 30th, 2003 at 22:44.]
leal – (chiefly Scottish) faithful; loyal; true
[akin to "loyal" and to Latin legalis legal]
This word fits in well with the question I asked in this thread.
quondam – that once was; former:
the quondam drunkard, now perfectly sober – Bret Harte.
This is the quondam king. - Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part III
I hope you've enjoy Ms. Parker's wit as much as I have.
My Oxford ED 2 on CD lists both, but only for sapient as opposed to sapience (and since it derives from sapient, then for sapience by inference).
sapient, a. and n.
[a. OF. sapient or ad. L. sapient-em wise, n. wise man, pres. pple. of sapere to have a taste or savour, to be sensible or wise.]
That's because it's Latin
"Acta Extemporanea", "Pharmacopoeia Officinalis et Extemporanea" etc.