6.7.06

Very Sturdy Rogues

... so Louise Varèse translates the first sentence of Rimbaud's Parade - Des drôles très solides. Been thinking about this word, sturdy, because there was a category of miscreants in Elizabethan England who went by the name of sturdie beggars, viz:

... all Fencers, Bearwards, Common Players in Enterludes & Minstrels not belonging to any Baron of this Realm ... all Jugglers, Pedlars, Tinkers and Petty Chapmen, and have not Licence ... shall be taken and adjudged to be deemed Rogues, Vagabonds and Sturdie Beggars ...

This is an excerpt from a statute that was used to prevent travelling players travelling and playing ... but why were those beggars sturdy? Turns out that behind a modern, if rare usage - vigorous and determined - is an older meaning - reckless and violent - from the French verb, estourdir, to stun or daze; and behind that is a Latin word ex + turdus, thrush, used to describe a kind of drunkenness, that is, presumably, drunk as a thrush.

But what I always think about is a pop star hero of my youth, the lead singer in a band called Larry's Rebels, whom I once saw live at a dance in a country hall out the back of Morrinsville when I was about 16. Well, Larry went down a few years later for selling LSD to a policeman and part of the demystification process, I guess, was the revelation that his real name was Larry Sturdee. Not a Rebel after all but a Very Sturdy Rogue, perhaps.

3 comments:

I.oana said...

It was really nice browsing through your blog and reading your recent posts. I love life and I like learning as much as possible about it, even from others' experience. I am an artist and I would truly appreciate it if you gave me your opinion about my creatsions. Thank you

chiefbiscuit said...

I like the enjambments - perfect! From the lofty academic heights of French poetry to Morrinsville - I like that.

Martin Edmond said...

thanks, chief - trying to think of Larry's official 2nd name - was it Morris?

like your dresses i.oana but not the kind of thing I wear these days ...