Monday, February 7, 2011

Make the welkin ring

No Doctor's Today, Thank You
~ Ogden Nash

They tell me that euphoria is the feeling of feeling wonderful,
well, today I feel euphorian,
Today I have the agility of a Greek god and the appetitite of a Victorian.
Yes, today I may even go forth without my galoshes,
Today I am a swashbuckler, would anybody like me to buckle any swashes?

This is my euphorian day,
I will ring welkins* and before anybody answers I will run away.
I will tame me a caribou
And bedeck it with marabou.
I will pen me my memoirs.
Ah youth, youth! What euphorian days them was!

I wasn't much of a hand for the boudoirs,
I was generally to be found where the food was.
Does anybody want any flotsam?
I've gotsam.
Does anybody want any jetsam?
I can getsam.

I can play chopsticks on the Wurlitzer,
I can speak Portuguese like a Berlitzer.
I can don or doff my shoes without tying or untying the laces because
I am wearing moccasins,
And I practically know the difference between serums and antitoccasins.
Kind people, don't think me purse-proud, don't set me down as vainglorious,
I'm just a little euphorious.

* There's that word 'welkin' again.  This time it refers to the set phrase make the welkin ring, meaning to make a very loud sound. What supposedly rings in this situation is the vault of heaven, the bowl of the sky.  In older cosmology this was thought to be one of a set of real crystal spheres that enclosed the Earth, to which the planets and stars were attached, so it would have been capable of ringing like a bell if you made enough noise.

In the epic poem Beowulf of about the eighth century AD, the phrase under wolcen meant under the sky or under heaven. Ever since, it has had a strong literary or poetic connection. It appears often in Shakespeare and also in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: “This day in mirth and revel to dispend, / Till on the welkin shone the starres bright”. In 1739, a book with the title Hymns and Sacred Poems introduced one for Christmas written by Charles Wesley that began: “Hark! how all the welkin rings, / Glory to the King of kings”. Fifteen years later it reappeared as “Hark! the herald-angels sing / Glory to the new born king”.

Indeed.  That sums up the situation in the gull's nest neatly.  School starts tomorrow and we are home on the last drawn-out day of the summer holidays making the welkin ring and feeling a smidge euphorian.  We have started it off by playing a few rounds of Spot memory game, continuing with the cardboard sculpture workshops of the previous two days (see BBQ below) and wearing-in our new black patent leather Mary-Jane shoes. 

Source: World Wide Words


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