Saturday, March 22, 2014

With a burden of wood

No, Caliban didn't live here; this is in that corner of Oregon we traveled through through to get from Idaho to Nevada, just before last Christmas. America! America! I think Caliban would have had trouble gathering much wood here, but is is spectacular and beautiful country, and untroubled by much except for grazing cattle.

Well, I used to be a reference librarian and I have Google Search at my very fingertips. But I neglected to look up "inchmeal" last night when I was talking about compound words. I just assumed it was a new compound! Just now, reading it, S said, Isn't that in a Hopkins poem? Well, I couldn't find it, but look at this Shakespeare! Here it is in the entrance speech of Caliban!

The Tempest
Act II. Scene II.
Another Part of the Island.

Enter CALIBAN, with a burden of wood.
A noise of thunder heard. 

Cal. All the infections that the sun sucks up
From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him
By inch-meal a disease! His spirits hear me,
And yet I needs must curse. But they’ll nor pinch,
Fright me with urchin-shows, pitch me i’ the mire,
Nor lead me, like a firebrand, in the dark
Out of my way, unless he bid ’em; but
For every trifle are they set upon me:
Sometime like apes, that mow and chatter at me
And after bite me; then like hedge-hogs, which
Lie tumbling in my bare-foot way and mount
Their pricks at my foot-fall; sometime am I
All wound with adders, who with cloven tongues
Do hiss me into madness.—

**William Shakespeare**

Just in case you haven't gone to sleep yet, here is something else I found, another "meal" word in Chaucer! Below is part of the thread that answers a question about "flockmeal."
Fabzorba is someone's Internet handle, I guess. I left it here because it tickles me. I don't see a way to use it in a poem just yet!

On Aug 3, 5:41 am, Harrison Hill wrote:
> On Aug 2, 3:11 pm, James Hogg wrote:
> > James Hogg wrote:
> > > Harrison Hill wrote:
> > >> I like to try to keep Chaucer's words alive: "delivernesse" for
> > >> example. He had a single word ending in "...meal" that is the exact
> > >> opposite of "piecemeal" - anyone think they can remember it or Google
> > >> it?
> > > Wholemeal?
> > The serious answer is "flockmeal", as used in "The Clerkes Tale" (but
> > not quoted in the OED).

> Thank you James. A lovely word "flockmeal" and I wonder whyever it was
> allowed to die out?

     Chaucer seems to use 'flockmeal' in the sense defined here:
     flock-meal, by companies or troops (of persons), rarely by groups or
     heaps (of things)

It might get our own estimations of the net into perspective if we
note that of the "40 dictionaries" of OneLook, only ONE, that is the
world leader "Wordnik", gives us definitions of "flockmeal". The
others do not recognize it, none of them.

And so to sleep, or maybe to finish the first volume of Lessing's autobiography before I sleep. . .

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