I suspect many comedic follies, enough to fill the architectural structures of Blackwood’s Follies will be featured as a result of my trip to Bath; which I’ll have to split into parts to give it the attention to it deserves.
To that end, something rhyming. I’m featuring a reproduction of a caricature from a satirical pamphlet, which was screen-printed onto the wall display of the Holburne Museum in Bath, also known as my dream house because it’s across the street from Jane Austen’s rental.
Proximity to town, friends and local amenities like a croquet lawn do have to be considered after all…
This is a slight to fashionistas then and now I think!
How Fantastick is that Nation,
Where ev’ry Coxcombe aims at Fashion,
They Study to distort there Shapes,
Tho th’are Humane, look like Apes.
Let us just revel in the above for sheer etymological pleasure. It is quite wonderful to see the word ‘fantastic’ so flamboyantly spelt with a ‘kicking K’ worthy of a lexicon-colonising Kardashian sister.
‘Fantastick’ here meaning ‘a fantasy, ridiculous and deluded.’
I’ve also been fond of the word ‘Coxcombe’ since reading Twelfth Night, (Act 5 Scene 1,) where the hapless comic character Sir Andrew Aguecheek staggers in bleeding, having been punched by Sebastian: ‘If a bloody coxcomb be a hurt, you have hurt me;’ A coxcomb(e) or cock’s comb is the red section of cartilage on the head of a cockerel. It was also then taken to mean the forehead and front crown of a human head; and also in conversation meant ‘a foolish person.’ Thanks to Shakespeare providing evidence of his character’s stupidity: you might well think Andrew deserved it.
And ‘th’are’ [they’re] is just a perfectly piratical contraction isn’t it? Cross a dandy with a highwayman and you pretty much get a pirate in a literary sense. Although I’m not sure you need to turn to a life of crime if you’re a dog in human drag, courting the vanity of a cat…
~ Pola ~