Thursday, October 21, 2010

Skimble Skamble

"Skimble Skamble" is a mind virus that has taken over my brain. Maybe this will exorcise it:
Sometime he angers me
With telling me of the mouldwarp and the ant,
Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies,
And of a dragon and a finless fish,
A clip-wing'd griffin and a moulten raven,
A couching lion and a ramping cat,
And such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff
As puts me from my faith.
That's Harry Percy, Hotspur, appraising the character of his ally Owen Glendower, in Shakespeare's Henry IV, part 1.  E. Cobham Brewer, in his Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, elaborates:
“Skamble” is merely a variety of scramble, hence “scambling days,” those days in Lent when no regular meals are provided, but each person “scrambles” or shifts for himself. “Skimble” is added to give force.

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