REHupa

The Robert E. Howard United Press Association.

Archive for the 'Word of the Week' Category

REH Word of the Week: blent

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 4th November 2013

beheading1

Beheading Facsimile of a Miniature on Wood in the
Cosmographie Universelle” of Munster in folio Basle 1552

past or past participle of blend

1. a mixture of different substances or qualities

[origin: 14th century; Middle English, probably from Old Norse blend-, present stem of blanda to mix; akin to Old English blandan to mix, Lithuanian blandus impure, cloudy]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Sir Thomas Doughty, executed at St. Julian’s Bay, 1578

They carried him out on the barren sand where the rebel captains died;
Where the grim grey rotting gibbets stand as Magellan reared them on the strand,
And the gulls that haunt the lonesome land wail to the lonely tide.

Drake faced them all like a lion at bay, with his lion head upflung:
“Dare ye my word of law defy, to say that this traitor shall not die?”
And his captains dared not meet his eye but each man held his tongue.
….
The axe flashed silver in the sun, a red arch slashed the sand;
A voice cried out as the head fell clear, and the watchers flinched in sudden fear,
Though ’twas but a sea-bird wheeling near above the lonely strand.

“This be every traitor’s end!” Drake cried, and yet again;
Slowly his captains turned and went, and the admiral’s stare was elsewhere bent
Than where cold scorn with anger blent in the eyes of Solomon Kane.

Night fell on the crawling waves; the admiral’s door was closed;
Solomon lay in the stenching hole; his irons clashed as the ship rolled,
And his guard, grown weary and overbold, laid down his pike and dozed.

He woke with a hand at his corded throat that gripped him like a vise;
Trembling he yielded up the key, and the sombre Puritan stood up free,
His cold eyes gleaming murderously with the wrath that is slow to rise.

[from “The One Black Stain”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 28; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 431]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: ane

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 28th October 2013

ane3

noun

1. one; [according to the Scottish-English translation website, it can also be used to avoid repeating a noun of the kind already mentioned, e.g., REH’s usage below could be: The world’s my world, I’ll gang!]

[origin: before the 12th century; Middle English an, variant of on one]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

“I’ve hands and a tongue and I am young
“And aye, the road is long,
“Shall I bide at home like a moss-co’ered stone?
“The world’s my ane, I’ll gang!”

Over the rolling oceans,
The Scotchman wandered wide,
As free as the singing sea winds,
As free as the wandering tide.

[from “The Rover”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 631 and Rhymes of Salem Town, p. 129]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: begad

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 21st October 2013

7 up2
civil war card game

interjection

1. used to express mild surprise or for emphasis; a mild oath

[origin: archaic; euphemism for “By God”]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Carl Macon was a kollege kid of far and wide renown,
Also a champ at seven-up and the wildest sot in town.
And in a way there came a day of high and lofty fame
For title of the eating house was the prize for a game.

Carl gave a yell and dealt the cards unto the other chumps
And they all whooped with joyous glee when diamonds turned up trumps.
“High, jack and game is here, begad!” Pink bellered with a scowl;
“You lie, you sot! You have it not!” Carl answered with a yowl.

Pink led the ace of trumps full soon, and “There,” said he, “is high!”
Carl followed suit, it was a trey, with a tough light in his eye.
Then Pink led out the queen of trumps and gave an ugly frown;
Carl snickered with unholy glee and laid a four spot down.

Pink swore full long and loud and rough and led the deuce of clubs;
Carl caught it with a king and said, “You’re all a lot of dubs.”
He led an ace and caught a king, “Here’s a game for me, egad!”
For many an ace and many a face the wicked scoundrel had.

[from “The Seven-Up Ballad”;to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 604 and last page of the Appendix in Post Oaks and Sand Roughs]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: mullah

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 14th October 2013

Black Dawn3

noun

1. an educated Muslim trained in religious law and doctrine and usually holding an official post

[origin: 1613; Turkish molla & Persian & Urdu mulla, from Arabic mawla]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Mohammed, Buddha, Moses, Satan, Thor!
I lifted fanes to each of you betimes,
And proved your worth by murder, rape and war
And bloody whips and chants and pious rhymes.
My sacrificial smoke put out the sun;
I shook the world to give the gods a feast.
I read their kinship plain in every one—
The mullah, the evangelist, the nun,
The voo-doo dancer and the mumbling priest.
I knew you when you raised a dabbled beard,
And shook the gory dagger in the sky,
While trumpets crashed and horses neighed and reared
And victims on the altars sank to die.

[from “Black Dawn 3. Shrines”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 188; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 469 and Night Images, p.20]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: eyes-of-red-ice

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 7th October 2013

red ice

noun

1. “Mice with eyes of red ice” (see poem below) are albinos. The redness is due to the lack of the natural dark pigments of the iris. Instead what is seen is the color from their blood vessels. Referred to as tapetum lucidum, it is a reflecting structure that contains crystals. It is especially developed in many nocturnal animals, rodents, birds and it helps their eyes to catch all the available light. The redness is not in the iris (the outer part that gives eyes their color) but at the back of the eye, behind the retina.

When light shines directly into eyes that have a tapetum lucidum, it produces “eyeshine” (it appears to glow). Many fish have white eyeshine, some mammals have yellow or blue eyeshine, and others such as rodents have red eyeshine. Tapetum lucidum is an adaptation to life in environments with little light.

[origin: tapetum lucidem: Latin for “bright tapestry”]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

A granite wind sighed from the crimson clay desert.
A witch laid her shoon
On the horn of the moon;
The stars in the east
Were the robes of a priest,
And a granite wind roared from the crimson clay desert.

A king on a sapphire hill brooded forever.
A queen glimmered cold
In opal and gold;
Kissing white mice
With eyes of red ice,
And a king on a sapphire hill brooded forever.

[from “A Far Country”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 281; Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 151; and Shadows of Dreams, p. 73]

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Uncategorized, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: abeam

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 30th September 2013

 

abeam3

adjective

1. off to the side of a ship or plane especially at a right angle to the middle of the ship or plane’s length

[origin: ca. 1836; nautical, literally on beam]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Dusk on the sea; the fading twilight shifts;
The night wind bears the ocean’s whisper dim—
Wind, on your bosom many a phantom drifts—
A silver star climbs up the blue world rim.
Wind, make the green leaves dance above me here
And idly swing my silken hammock—so;
Now, on that glimmering molten silver mere
Send the long ripples wavering to and fro.
And let your moon-white tresses touch my face
And let me know your slim-armed, cool embrace
While to my dreamy soul you whisper low.

South Seas! I watch when dusky twilight comes
Making vague gods of ancient, sea-set trees.
The world path beckons—loud the mystic drums—
Here at my hand the magic golden keys
That fit the doors of Romance, Wonder, strange
Dim gossamer adventures; seas and stars.
Why, I have roamed the far Moon Mountain range
When sunset minted gold in shimmering bars.
All eager eyed I’ve sailed from ports of Spain
And watched the flashing topaz of the Main
When dawn was flinging witch fire on the spars.
…..
I am content in dreams to roam my fill
The vagrant, drifting sport of wind and tide,
Slave of the greater freedom, venture’s thrill;
Here every magic ship on which I ride.
Gold, green, blue, red, a priceless treasure trove,
More wealth than ever pirate dared to dream.
My hammock swings—about the world I rove.
The sunset’s dusk, the dawning’s glide and gleam,
Moon-dappled leaves are murmuring in the wind
Which whispers tales. Lo, Tyre is just behind,
Through seas of dawn I sail, Romance abeam.

[from “The Adventurer”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 269 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 112]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: neive

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 23rd September 2013

Rane

noun

1. closed or clenched fists

[origin: mid-to late 1700’s; auld warld Scots language from the Robert Burns or Sir Walter Scott era]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Rane o’ the Sword, wha’ men misca’ the fool,
Has turned his galley to the unco’ lands;
Now in the dragon girten prow he stands.
Billows abune the token o’ his rule,
Great fold on fold, the rover’s banner spread.
The hard neives dirl the ash ayint the tide
The war shields klish amain alang the side,
The red moon hammers dune a sea o’ red.

Rane o’ the Sword, nae sairly do we greet
To see your taps’yls scuddin’ dune the west,
Nae muckle love bear we for a’ your breed—
Bluid willna dry like water—yet ’tis meet
We gi’ ye due, that curious unrest
Wha’ gars ye seek the deed beyant the deed.

[from “The Deed Beyond the Deed”; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 10]

[to see a translation of this poem, go to the Conan Forum Poetry and Verse of REH thread: http://www.conan.com/invboard/index.php?showtopic=3484&page=57#entry230979]

 

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: spume

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 16th September 2013

spume3

noun

1. froth or foam, especially that found on waves

[origin: 14th century; Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin spuma]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Shadows and echoes haunt my dreams with dim and subtle pain,
With the faded fire of a lost desire, like a ghost on a moonlit plain.
In the pallid mist of death-like sleep she comes again to me:
I see the gleam of her golden hair and her eyes like the deep grey sea.
* * * * * * * * * *
We came from the North as the spume is blown when the blue tide billows down;
The kings of the South were overthrown in ruin of camp and town.
Shrine and temple we dashed to dust, and roared in the dead gods’ ears;
We saw the fall of the kings of Gaul, and shattered the Belgae spears.

And South we rolled like a drifting cloud, like a wind that bends the grass,
But we smote in vain on the gates of Spain for our own kin held the Pass.
Then again we turned where the watch-fires burned to mark the lines of Rome,
And fire and tower and standard sank as ships that die in foam.

[from “An Echo From the Iron Harp”; to read the complete poem, see The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 7; Night Images, p. 48 and Robert E. Howard Selected Poems, p. 190]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: beeves

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 9th September 2013

beeves2

noun

1. archaic plural of the word beef defined as the flesh of a cow, steer, or bull raised and killed for its meat

[origin: 1250-1300; Middle English from Anglo-French beof, Old French boef from Latin bovern]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

Harlots and choir girls,
Deacons and thieves,
All flowing hell-ward
Like a drove of beeves.

Priests and grafters,
Women of shame,
The swine that roots deepest
Shall gain greater fame.

[from “L’Envoi (2. 'harlots and choir girls')"; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 419]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |

REH Word of the Week: lay

Posted by Barbara Barrett on 2nd September 2013

lay4

noun

1. A narrative poem, such as one sung by medieval minstrels; a ballad, song or tune

[origin: Middle English, from Old French lai ]

HOWARD’S USAGE:

The ancient boast, the ancient song;
The ghostly dream that clings and stays,
A guest unbidden, overlong,
A stranger in unfriendly days.

The yester-ages men know not,
The dust consumes the broken spears—
The spectre of a harp forgot
Comes chanting down the dying years.

Why should I bid a phantom stay?
Retain the out-worn lay and tale?
My day was done with yesterday,
And eons claim the House of Gael.

[from “The House of Gael”; this is the complete poem as it appears in The Collected Poetry of Robert E. Howard, p. 449 and A Rhyme of Salem Town, p. 94]

Posted in REH Poetry, Word of the Week |