Saturday, November 14, 2009


Apple Loft

Among the many compounds of apple in the Oxford English Dictionary are these two:
apple loft n.

1569 T. BLAGUE Schole of Wise Conceytes 67 His sonne being very liberall, brought his fellowes very often into the *Apple loftes, saying: Take of these what ye will. 1740 M. DELANY Autobiogr. & Corr. (1861) II. 120 Go see what's doing in the cheese-chamber and the apple-loft. 1864 Times 8 Feb. 9/4, The lunatic we discovered in the apple loft. 1984 P. LEGG Cidermaking in Somerset 7/1 Many Somerset cider cellars have an apple loft above them, occasionally called the 'tallet'.

apple-room n.

1740 Tryal Mrs Branch 22 He search for the bloody Clothes, and Ann James shew'd the *Apple-Room, where the same were put. 1824 M. R. MITFORD Our Village (1863) 1st Ser. 221 The apple-room, the pear-bin, the cheese-loft. 2002 Church Times 22 Nov. 32/3 The old apple-room is now the bookroom... My book-packed farmhouse cannot complain.
I recently came across a couple of references to apple lofts. The first was in Noah Greenberg and W.H. Auden, edd., An Anthology of Elizabethan Lute Songs, Madrigals, and Rounds (1955; rpt. New York: W.W. Norton, 1970), p. 35 (from Thomas Campian's Jacke and Jone, 2nd stanza):
Well can they judge of nappy Ale
And tell at large a Winter tale:
Climbe up to the Apple loft,
And turne the Crabs till they be soft.
The second was John Drinkwater's poem Moonlit Apples:
At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,
And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those
Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes
A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.

A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches, and then
There is no sound at the top of the house of men
Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again
Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.

They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;
On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams
Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,
And quiet is the steep stair under.

In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.
And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
On moon-washed apples of wonder.
Levi Wells Prentice, Basket of Apples

Related post: November (IV).

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