Sunday, September 12, 2010


We Bangle Away Our Best Days

Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, Part. I, Sec. 2, Mem. 3, Subs. 10:
Thus between hope and fear, suspicions, angers, Inter spemque metumque, timores inter et iras, betwixt falling in, falling out, &c., we bangle away our best days, befool out our times, we lead a contentious, discontent, tumultuous, melancholy, miserable life; insomuch, that if we could foretell what was to come, and it put to our choice, we should rather refuse than accept of this painful life. In a word, the world itself is a maze, a labyrinth of errors, a desert, a wilderness, a den of thieves, cheaters, &c., full of filthy puddles, horrid rocks, precipitiums, an ocean of adversity, an heavy yoke, wherein infirmities and calamities overtake, and follow one another, as the sea waves; and if we scape Scylla, we fall foul on Charybdis, and so in perpetual fear, labour, anguish, we run from one plague, one mischief, one burden to another, duram servientes servitutem, and you may as soon separate weight from lead, heat from fire, moistness from water, brightness from the sun, as misery, discontent, care, calamity, danger from a man.
Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. bangle, v. (definitions 1 and 2):
1. Orig. of hawks: To beat about, flutter aimlessly, in the air, instead of making direct for the quarry. See BANGLING ppl. a.

2. to bangle (away): to fritter away, squander.

1621 BURTON Anat. Mel. I. ii. III. x. (1651) 107 We bangle away our best days, befool out our times. 1636 W. SAMPSON Vow Breaker (N.) Thy titles are so bangld with thy debts. 1658 Whole Duty Man xvi. §18 (1684) 134 If we wilfully bangle away this so precious a Legacy. [In Lanc. (Halliwell).]

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