mother hubbard love

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  • Penguin!*

    *Penguin?

    January 23, 2008

  • For a minute there, I thought you were channeling sionnach, Asativum. ;->

    January 22, 2008

  • I heart Asativum, too. That was awesome.

    January 22, 2008

  • Aw, shucks, sionnach...

    I think that makes two of us, resetee. And maybe only two of us.

    January 22, 2008

  • I heart Asativum

    January 22, 2008

  • I love that Humboldt guy! I've read all his stuff. (Or hers. I can't tell.)

    January 22, 2008

  • Ah, but it only takes a little history to make the connection clear! Mother Adélie Hubbard was the mother superior of a small convent of Spheniscidan nuns in pre-Reformation London. Toward the end of her life, the nuns were called to feed a nearby community of Dominican friars decimated by a famine. The nuns themselves were on the verge of starvation but nonetheless were inspired by Mother Hubbard to heed the call.

    The first verse of the popular children's nursery rhyme is a reference to this event: Old Mother Hubbard is of course the mother superior herself; the cupboard represents the convent's food stores; the Dominicans were known as the "dogs of God" (a Latin pun: Domini canes); a bone makes a poor meal, symbolizing the fact that the nuns had little to spare; and of course, the cupboard was bare -- starvation ultimately wiped out both communities. (Subsequent verses are later additions, and probably just pleasant nonsense.)

    The dress, as you can see, got its name from its loose fit -- as on an emaciated nun -- and its lack of a belt. Spheniscidines wear no adornment of any kind, including belts.

    More on this etymology from cultural linguist and medieval English scholar Gentoo Humboldt at the Royal Fiordland University in Oslo.

    January 22, 2008

  • I assume that the old woman who was surveying her cupboard in order to find her poor dog a bone was probably wearing just such a loose unbelted dress. ;)

    January 22, 2008

  • Say what? How does this tie in with the nursery rhyme, exactly?

    January 22, 2008

  • a woman's loose unbelted dress

    January 20, 2008