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Happy Belated Birthday to sinha_lion!

Since your birthday was Saturday, for your present, here's the past weekend's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):

cupidity


Unlawful longing, concupiscence, lust.
—Stephen Jones' Pronouncing and Explanatory Dictionary, 1818


Unlawful or unreasonable longings.
—Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, 1755


An eager desire to possess something; an ardent wishing or longing; an inordinate or unlawful desire of wealth or power.
—Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon, c. 1850


The Lusty Month of May


Although May was once considered a month for courtship and romantic interlude, it was considered bad form and a very unlucky time to marry, which may be why the June wedding became so popular. Sir Thomas Malory wrote of this sexual urge in Le Morte d'Arthur (1485): "The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit; for like as herbs and tress bring forth fruit and flourish in May, likewise every lusty heart that is in any manner a lover, springeth and flourish in lusty deeds. For it giveth unto all lovers courage, that lusty month of May." Records suggest that January was once the month when the most babies were born in England, prompting speculation that this was due to the increased springtime libido.

Leading naturally to that awful song in Camelot. I'm intrigued by the concept of "unlawful longing," although I have hard time imagining a law against longings, except possibly under the influence of Oliver Cromwell.

-The Gneech

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
sirfox
May. 5th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
well, there was that whole affair that arthur's wife had with his best friend, leading to much fuss. Maybe that's the unlawful longing?

Regarding lusty springtime, i like Jonathan Coulton's musical approach best. n_n
the_gneech
May. 5th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC)
Well, that's just the point, really -- it wasn't the longing per se, it was the affair that was the problem. Besides, how would you go about proving in court that somebody was longing for something?

"You want a chocolate chip cookie! Confess!"

"Never!"

-TG
sirfox
May. 5th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
Remember that biblically, it's all about the coveting. It's also what the catholic church uses to hammer home the shame and guilt. Even THINKING dirty thoughts is a sin. All the other shenanigans follow from that, as far as they're concerned.
fferret
May. 5th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
If you wish to refresh your memory, Camelot will be playing in Baltimore, with the one and only Lou Diamond Phillips(!) playing Arthur, King of The Britons. From the commercial, he can sing decently. His IMDB bio can be found here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001617/
the_gneech
May. 5th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
I played King Pellinore in a high school production of Camelot -- believe me, it's burned into my memory! ;P

-TG
dilletante
May. 5th, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
I'm intrigued by the concept of "unlawful longing," although I have hard time imagining a law against longings, except possibly under the influence of Oliver Cromwell.

"our great mikado, virtuous man
when he to rule our land began
resolved to try a plan whereby
young men might best be steadied...

so he decreed, in words succinct
that all who flirted, leered, or winked..."
maus_merryjest
May. 6th, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
From a religious perspective, any kind of physical longing (lust) is unlawful, it only becomes lawful once matrimony has been contracted.
hossblacksilver
May. 7th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC)
I don't remember seeing Camelot, however I did enjoy Spamalot when it came through Charlotte a year ago.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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