Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Resurce*, etc. (for Resource*)

We've blogged about Edgar Allan Poe here several times before, but given the breaking news last week that Edgar may not have been as lugubrious as all that (along with reports of the missing Poe Toaster), let's do it again now, shall we? (Last Tuesday marked the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth.) The Raven opens with Poe's protagonist moodily musing about his "lost love" Lenore:

Eagerly I wished the morrow;
Vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow,
Sorrow for the lost Lenore....

She also turns up in two other poems by Poe (the first being "A Paean" in 1831), so people are wont to wonder, who was Lenore? According to one theory, "Lenore" is a recurring reference to Poe's older brother, William Henry Leonard Poe. Edgar lionized Henry, writing: "There can be no tie more strong than that of brother for brother—it is not so much that they love one another as that they both love the same parent." Henry was a sailor for most of his short life and, just like "Anabel Lee," was buried by the sea. (It's also quite possible that Poe was simply partial to the name, either for poetic reasons or personal ones.) And what, pray tell, is surcease? One of Anu Garg's A.Word.A.Day words last week, it was defined there as: "stoppage, especially a temporary one; to bring or come to an end. Etymology: From Middle English sursesen/surcesen, via French from Latin supersedere (to refrain from), from super- + sedere (to sit). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sed- (to sit) that is also the source of sit, chair, saddle, assess, assiduous, sediment, soot, cathedral, and tetrahedron. The word cease is unrelated, though its spelling has influenced the word." We got 27 hits on Resurce*, 15 on Resorce*, and one on Resuorce* in OhioLINK today. So let's refrain from sitting on our resources and start assessing how they're spelled.

From our books, surcease of Resurce*
Sorrow for the lost Resorce*

—Edgar A. Typoe

(The Poe Toaster, by Maggie Schreiter, from the Quiltart Raven Challenge website.)

Carol Reid

No comments: