It’s Drudgery Monday and I am pleased to report that things on the book-cleaning front are going sweepingly, as Missy would say. The Treasure Chest is done and rearranged a bit. Shelves of mostly art books are done. Two sets of encyclopedias– each & every volume– dusted and put back. Ordinary encyclopedias are the worst. I love them for their content, but hate to dust them.
Also did my Yearbook of Agriculture collection– thirty-four volumes representing the state of agriculture (or more precisely, the state of the Department of Agriculture) in the United States of America from 1906 to 1991. These can be fun, but mostly they just tick me off.
Notice anything? Soil – Plant Diseases – Insects versus Science for Better Living – Shoppers’ Guide – A Good Life for More People.
But I digress. Also finished the sewing table that’s home to books about books, books about children’s literature, some children’s literature, &c. It was on that table that I rediscovered The Pocket University’s The Guide to Reading ( Lyman Abbott, Asa Don Dickinson et al., eds., 1925). My how I love this book! Most of it is devoted to “The Guide to Daily Reading” which offers one to three or four recommended daily readings (with reference to volumes in The Pocket University collection) as well as noted events for the date
January 21st. James Stuart, Earl of Murray, killed 21 Ja. 1570
I. The Bonny Earl of Murry
II. Lincoln’s The Dred Scott Decision
III. Fragment on Slavery
Who the heck is the Earl of Murray? Why is Murray also written Moray? Why was he killed? And what, pray tell, does “mondegreen” mean?
My God! What a character! “Most noble” illegitimate son of King James V of Scotland, brother to Mary, Queen of Scots, raider of homes, … . That infallible source reads like a bad royal movie. He was shot from a window by his rival, Huntly, giving him the distinction of being the at the wrong end of a gun which was the first recorded assassination by firearm!
YE Highlands, and ye Lawlands, Oh where have you been? They have slain the Earl of Murray, And they layd him on the green.
Thus begins “The Bonnie Earl o’ Moray” (as titled at Sacred Texts).
Again, according to that infallible source (whose story about the killing itself is somewhat different than the first link) “[t]he American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term “mondegreen” in an essay “The Death of Lady Mondegreen,” which was published in Harper’s Magazine in November 1954.”
This is where the story gets ‘a half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown’ funny. As a little girl, Wright misheard the last two lines of that verse as “they have slain the Earl o’ Moray, and Lady Mondegreen.” Apparently, she thought that was ever so more romantic than the correct reading– thus giving us the literary term, ‘mondegreen”– a misheard lyric giving the tune a new meaning.
And now, to continue the Drudge work of tending to the books. Can’t wait to discover what I’ll learn next!