Happy Friday! What a lovely, lyrical word we have today…”Woodnote!” When I first saw the word this morning, I imagined that it must have had its origin in the mind of some 17th Century poet who penned it on parchment giving it life!
Dictionary.com simply mentioned that it came into use around 1632. And of course that was my cue to dig a little deeper. No other dictionary expounded further on the issue but I was determined to find the poet who first wrote it … I was certain it was a poet…a poet knows these things…😉
How do I love the Internet…oh let me count the ways…not the least of which, it brings the world to one’s computer screen! After a bit of search engine tweaking, I found my bard!!! Oh yes, my hunch was correct. And what was even more spectacular? The man who coined the word woodnote in 1631 (later published in 1645) used it to describe THE quintessential Bard, Shakespeare. Mystery solved!
Who is the poet? He is John Milton who, in “L’Allegro,” refers to Shakespeare as “Fancy’s child” who warbles “his native woodnotes wild.” You can read the entire poem HERE.
L’Allegro, early lyric poem by John Milton, written in 1631 and published in his Poems (1645). It was written in rhymed octosyllabics. A contrasting companion piece to his “Il Penseroso,” “L’Allegro” invokes the goddess Mirth, with whom the poet wants to live, first in pastoral simplicity and then amid the “busy hum of men” in cities full of vitality.
And so, my challenge today is to pen a simple haiku using woodnote as my prompt. I do so hoping to channel a wee bit of Milton who gave us this wonderful word. Oh, if only. But knowing its origin makes my task so much sweeter!
Of lilting woodnotes…
birdsong, wind-tossed forest whispers…
these make my heart sing!
kat ~ 29 April 2016