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Decrescent and Descalator

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mckeonj
61787.  Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:41 pm Reply with quote

Decrescent and descalator, two words which are rarely used.

Crescent Moon looks like )
Decresent Moon looks like (
Escalator goes up, thus /
Descalator goes down \

Incidentally, 'down' really means 'up', or more precisely 'hill'; and to come adown the hill meant to come back from the top of the hill.
This does not explain why Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, since as far as I know, wells are not dug at the top of hills.

Extra points if you can say why a three-quarter moon is called gibbous

 
djgordy
61788.  Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:48 pm Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:

Extra points if you can say why a three-quarter moon is called gibbous


The bells Esmerelda, the bells. Sanctuary, sanctuary!

 
suze
61801.  Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:22 pm Reply with quote

DJG is right of course. Lest anyone didn't catch the allusion, "gibbous" means hump-backed, from the Latin gibbus = a hump.

I've never yet seen a sign for a gibbous bridge or seen a Star Trek movie talk about gibbous whales, but there's no reason why not ...

 
Flash
61825.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 3:47 am Reply with quote

Quote:
wells are not dug at the top of hills

I know it seems perverse, but two of the things you can find in my back garden are a trig point and a well. The well's dry, mind.

 
djgordy
61829.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 5:16 am Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:


Incidentally, 'down' really means 'up', or more precisely 'hill'; and to come adown the hill meant to come back from the top of the hill.
This does not explain why Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, since as far as I know, wells are not dug at the top of hills.



The rhyme doesn't actually say that there was a well at the top of the hill.

As with many nursery rhymes there is possibly a gruesome origin for the verse.

The roots of the story, or poem, of Jack and Jill are in France. Jack and Jill referred to are said to be King Louis XVI - Jack -who was beheaded (lost his crown) followed by his Queen Marie Antoinette - Jill - (who came tumbling after). The words and lyrics to the Jack and Jill poem were made more acceptable as a story for children by providing a happy ending! The actual beheadings occurred in during the Reign of Terror in 1793. The first publication date for the lyrics of Jack and Jill rhyme is 1795 - which ties-in with the history and origins. The Jack and Jill poem is also known as Jack and Gill - the mis-spelling of Gill is not uncommon in nursery rhymes as they are usually passed from generation to generation by word of mouth.

On the gruesome subject of beheading it was the custom that following execution the severed head was held up by the hair by the executioner. This was not, as many people think, to show the crowd the head but in fact to show the head the crowd and it's own body! It was thought that consciousness remains for at least eight seconds after beheading until lack of oxygen causes unconsciousness and eventually death. The guillotine is associated with the French but the English were the first to use this device. It is thought to be referred to in the ryhme 'Mary Mary Quite Contrary' which is about Mary Tudor. In that rhyme the 'pretty maids all in a row' are guillotines, which were called Maidens.


Last edited by djgordy on Sat Mar 25, 2006 5:34 am; edited 1 time in total

 
eggshaped
61832.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 5:25 am Reply with quote

A bold assertion there djgordy, though quite compelling I must admit - the use of the world "possible" at the top of that post is a useful addition.

I think it should be pointed out that the modern-day interpretations of nursery rhymes are often quite spurious, and that there are a decent number of conflicting opinions about the origins of the two above examples.

Of course, it could be the case that the rhymes are just nonsensical doggerel created by children.

 
djgordy
61834.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 5:32 am Reply with quote

I inserted the word 'possible' deliberately because, of course, nothing is certain. I did see an alternative explanation that the Jack and Jill rhyme referred to losing one's virginity, although the beheading explanation seems most likely. The wel known nursery rhymes are unlikely to be simply made up by children.

 
eggshaped
61838.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:31 am Reply with quote

Quote:
The actual beheadings occurred in during the Reign of Terror in 1793. The first publication date for the lyrics of Jack and Jill rhyme is 1795 - which ties-in with the history and origins.


Wikipedia and this site (which seems to be where the original post comes from) have 1795 as the correct date. But others disagree. It seems that the first citation of Jack and Jill was in Mother Goose's Melody in 1765. There are many websites which claim this, obviously they could be incorrect, but if not it points to an amazing prescience on Mother Goose's part.

I find more evidence for 1765 rather than 1795, but would be happy to be disproven. Incidentally the above link also claims that Ring a ring of roses is about the bubonic plague, which scholars have derided as bunk for decades. (the annotation addressing the sceptics is a somewhat pathetic attempt, it doesn't mention many of the problems with Leasor's theory)

http://www.pdinfo.com/list/j.htm
http://nurseryrhymes.allinfoabout.com/jack_and_jill.html
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=498723
http://www.rhymes.org.uk/ring_around_the_rosy.htm

 
laidbacklazyman
61839.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:33 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Quote:
wells are not dug at the top of hills

I know it seems perverse, but two of the things you can find in my back garden are a trig point and a well. The well's dry, mind.


I think you should lower a two way radio down the well. Then you can frighten children with cries of help as they pass

 
Celebaelin
61844.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:09 am Reply with quote

mckeonj wrote:
wells are not dug at the top of hills.

It doesn't say there was a well, a spring, stream or lake are possibilities. The accompanying illustrations usually show a stylised well though, or is that a well-like stile?

 
mckeonj
61851.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 9:46 am Reply with quote

Another explanation for the Jack and Jill rhyme is that it tells the series of pictures that could be descried on the moon as it passes through its phases. It's as good as any other theory.

 
tetsabb
61875.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:20 pm Reply with quote

Even as a child, I was puzzled by the reference to Jack wrapping his head in 'vinegar and brown paper'. I can see no benefit to a sufferer of a head injury from these items, and have never seen either of them in a First Aid manual or kit!

 
laidbacklazyman
61878.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:28 pm Reply with quote

Vinegar is the elixir to the gods didn't you know that.

There actually isn't much you cant fix with it. It's a lot like WD-40 but nicer on chips

 
djgordy
61879.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:33 pm Reply with quote

Actually it is believed that vinegar has a number of medicinal uses. Folding brown paper into a compress, soaking it in vinegar and pressing it to the head is an old folk remedy for alleviating headaches.

http://frugalliving.about.com/cs/tips/a/blvinmed.htm

 
laidbacklazyman
61881.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 2:54 pm Reply with quote

Not just medical benefits, as I said it truly is a wonder liquid

 

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