David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

20 February 2009


On the occasion of the 100th bLOGOS/HA HA post,
this enlightenment-wish haiku for D and all :

from Wikipedia :

Alternative spellings
sparrowfart; sparrow fart; sparrow's fart

Has the folk etymology of being the time of day when the birds (including sparrows) first wake up, and presumably fart.

It has sometimes been thought to have originally been an Australian expression, and 'A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English' by Eric Partridge and Paul Beale does list sparrow's crow as an Australian euphemism. They list sparrow-fart as both daybreak, in colloquial use since before 1910, and popularised during WWI. Also as used in James Joyce's Ulysses meaning an inconsequential person.

It is included in Carr's Craven Dialect (1828) as from Yorkshire, with the definition given as 'break of day', according to Nigel Rees in 'A Word In Your Shell-like'.

Probably originates from an incorrect translation from the Urdu sawayray, meaning early, as used by members of the British Army since time immemorial.

Australia, slang) Very early in the day; dawn.