Monday, March 26, 2012


The Sweet o' the Year

Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale 4.3.1-12 (Autolycus sings):
When daffodils begin to peer,
  With heigh, the doxy over the dale,
Why, then comes in the sweet o' the year,
  For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.

The white sheet bleaching on the hedge,
  With heigh, the sweet birds, O how they sing!
Doth set my pugging tooth an edge,
  For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

The lark, that tirralirra chants,
  With heigh, with heigh, the thrush and the jay,
Are summer songs for me and my aunts,
  While we lie tumbling in the hay.
OED, s.v. doxy, n.1: Originally the term in Vagabonds' Cant for the unmarried mistress of a beggar or rogue: a beggar's trull or wench: hence, slang, a mistress, paramour, prostitute; dial., a wench, sweetheart.

OED, s.v. pugging, adj.: Of uncertain meaning; perhaps: ‘that pulls or tugs, thieving’.

OED, s.v. aunt, n. (sense 3): A bawd or procuress; a prostitute.

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