Words (A Poem)

The following is from the poem, Words, by William Charles Wentworth (1793-1872):

“A simple proverb tagged with rhyme
May colour half the course of time;
The pregnant saying of a sage
May influence every coming age”

If you want to read the entire poem, following are some notes to help you with some of the more obscure references, as well as terms which might be commonly used to convey a different meaning today.  (Ironic that a piece titled “Words” would require such a thorough explanation of its words.)

  • raree-show = peep show
  • Thermopylae = famous Spartan battle (recently depicted in the movie, 300)
  • lay = narrative poem or song
  • scan = read
  • Inkerman = 1854 battle in which the English and French defeated the Russians

So, just to be clear, the line “many a lay that schoolboys scan” is not a 19th century prediction of 21st century teenagers converting pornographic pictures into digital format.  😉

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