21 May 2009

And Back to the Weed

Exceptionally clement day in Boston today. For my lunch break this afternoon, I went across the street to the park, sat on a bench, and read for half an hour: The Sot-Weed Factor by John Barth.

— I had read up to p.534, who knows how long it’s been (my bookmark is the Borders receipt, and I purchased the book 4 Apr 08). I read:
“In plain English,” remarked the Captain, “ye was her pimp.”
No surprise (for it is a delightfully circuitous and rollicking narrative), I am completely lost . . . so I back up to the start of the chapter. Reached a point where I was tired of reading, but I still had time of my own before I had to be back in the saddle . . . so I grab a few cushions and lie out on the sunny grass . . . came close to nodding off, too. A little slice of heaven, in the middle of the work-day.

Originally read The Sot-Weed Factor decades ago, and (probably), appropriately enough, in upstate New York. At that time, I had an already-yellowing copy I had found at a used bookstore. So the desire to re-read the book, after all these long years, came with the need to scare up a fresh copy.

(“Ye was” can’t be right, can it?)


Cato said...

"Ye was" would be a dialect usage.

"Ye" is often misused: there was on older orthography where "th" resembled a "Y", which means that businesses attempting to recreate an Anglo-Saxon charm using it e.g. "Ye Olde Apothecary Shoppe" should nevertheless pronounce "Ye" as "The."

Or so I have been told!

Karl Henning said...

Aye, I guessed 'twas dialectish!

J.Z. Herrenberg said...

'Dialect usage' - I was thinking that, too. In the UK they often say, in a sort of mock lower class expression of indignation, 'We was robbed!', when something you think you had been entitled to eventually doesn't come (like winning a football match).

(Hi, Karl! ;))