Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tess of the d’Urbervilles Glossary

Those familiar with my Robert Burns page know I can’t resist a good glossary. And I guess I’m not the only one, because the page has received a steady stream of visitors since well before it was completed. Imagine my delight, then, to find a glossary in my recently acquired copy of Tess of the d’Urbervilles. It’s not nearly as extensive, but there are several gems that appeal to my mind’s eye and ear:

apple blooth, apple blossom
ballyragging, bullying, badgering
clipsing and colling, clasping and embracing
crumby, plump, handsome
get green malt in floor, get pregnant
grins, snares
hontish, proud, hostile
’hores-bird, illegitimate child
mops and brooms, being drunk
niaiseries, foolishness
pipe rolls, pipe-like rolls containing tax records
pummy, crushed apple after juice is pressed out
rozums, odd-thinking fellows
squint and glane, look sneeringly at
thimble-riggers, sleight-of-hand swindlers
thistlespud, spade to cut thistles
withy-bed, willow woods; a stand of willows

Now, as it turns out, not long after I finished typing these selections, I visited Conrad DiDiodato’s blog, where I found this lovely poem he’d written about Tess. It’s best enjoyed, I think, if you read it aloud. That’s what I did my second and third times through, and will again, no doubt.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles
by Thomas Hardy
Illustrations by Gene Sparkman
Afterword by Katherine C. Hill-Miller
Reader’s Digest Association (1985)

383 pages. $3.99.

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Conrad DiDiodato said...


With your kind permission, I just may add one or two of these to my poem. Doing so would make the poem truer to Tess's own experience.

Thanks, William!

William Michaelian said...

Conrad, it’s my pleasure. And you certainly don’t need my permission to use these terms. They belong to everyone. Thanks for the wonderful poem.

awyn said...

Because this was absolutely, utterly, too tempting not to, ha ha:

Ah Spring!
The scent of apple blooths
and withy-beds!
Ballyragging thimble-riggers and rozums alike—
crumby or plain,
squint and glane
at the maiden in the fields.

This hontish lass,
uninterested in their practiced grins or endless nights
of mops and brooms,
raises her hand and
clipses her thistlespud.
Begone ye! she says.

Imagine! Such niaiseries!

Kenneth Griggs said...

I would say 'hores-bird is my favorite. Will use that and hontish in sentences soon.

William Michaelian said...

Annie, I love it. But I insist you come back here and read that with the proper accent!

Kenneth, that seems a worthwhile goal. I bet it’ll be easier if you’re mops and brooms.

Noxalio said...

dear William,
thank you kindly

for rozums, squint and glane,
pipe rolls and pummy ...

and also for the link
to Conrad DiDiodato’s
(blog and poem).

William Michaelian said...

You’re quite welcome, Noxy. It occurs to me now that Blog and Poem would be a good name for a drinking establishment.

Noxalio said...

oh let's,

(meet on Thursdays at the Blog and Poem ... for a pint and shepherd's pie?)

ha ha ...