01 March 2008

Bavin wits

It sounds like a line from Bob Dylan - 'With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits' - or some Teuton's name - Bavin Witts.

But no, it's from the Bard's "King Henry IV, Part I" and yes I *do* love getting in the Part 1 part and yes I *did* have to look it up but no, the person who aimed it at me did NOT.

Early 40s-ish Alison Janney lookalike, if you must know, and a deucedly fanciable Oxford bluestocking, to boot.

Out here to research a paper on one Stamatis Boulgaris, but don't bother pestering her in the library because she's mine, despite the rocky progress of my endeavours to inch a metaphorical azure stocking down a decidedly UN-metaphorical endless leg. (By St Spiridon! I hope she never reads this: it'd be metal ruler across the knuckles and some arcane line from Pindar x 1,000, by luncheon).

I fancy Alison Janney so I fancy the Professor Dottore, hence my Googling of Mr Boulgaris with the intention of rippling off something clever with which to impress her. Tiens! Nothing whatsoever on the dude Boulgaris, which I moan about being thwarted in my campaign to woo her with wisdom. She lays a languid finger on my forearm, "That's precisely why I'm here." Chilly smile.

Over lunch with friends, during which I wear my most donnish look, nod sagely and watch to laugh when she does, some oaf blows my cover by referring to my carousing and wassailing and minstrel strumery about town.

Dr Dunmore looks down the table at me and suddenly quotes,

The skipping king, he ambled up and down
With shallow jesters and rash bavin wits,
Soon kindled and soon burnt; carded his state,
Mingled his royalty with capering fools.
I tell you, the hairs a-back my neck quivered at her delivery and the whole table fell silent. Odds bodkins, never tell me the Bard ain't sexeh.

And when someone challenged her to go on,

"Had his great name profaned with their scorns
And gave his countenance, against his name
To laugh at gibing boys and stand the push
Of every beardless vain comparative,
Grew a companion to the common streets,
Enfeoff'd himself to popularity.

Enfeoff'd himself, you say? The cad, the bounder.

(And don't never say you don't learn nuffink from my scribblings - struth! enfeoff? How many blogs're you going to read today that're tossing that sort of lingo off? Right.)

Anyway, remembering the Prof's crystal olde worlde enunciation, I feel quite in a tizzy just bashing this out for you.

  • Bav´in (băv´ĭn)
  • n. 1. A fagot of brushwood, or other light combustible matter, for kindling fires; refuse of brushwood.
  • 2. Impure limestone.

    "Fagot" of brushwood? I say, Prof, careful how you bandy that around across the Pond, what?

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