January 13, 2014

"The Maids Complaint For want of a Dil doul."

To be filed under: Things Meade Found for Me When He Was Searching For Something I Needed But Was Too Afraid of the Internet to Look.

Writing that last post, I had a need to spell the plural of "dildo."

Me: "Is it like in Spanish, -os, or is there an 'e' in there, like potatoes?"

Meade: "You know they have this thing called Google."

Me: "Yes, but I'm afraid of what might pop out at me."

Meade found me the answer to my spelling question, and took the iffy topic in a scholarly direction with a wonderful item from the Magdalene College Pepys collection. Click the image above to enlarge, or read the salacious 17th century text here.
At night when I do go to bed
thinking for to take my rest,
Strange fancies comes in my head
I pray for that which I love best:
For it is a comfort and pleasure doth bring
to women that hath such a pritty fine thing....
The (unlinkable) OED pronounces "dildo" "A word of obscure origin, used in the refrains of ballads," and the earliest example of the word — from 1598 — puts an "e" even in the singular. Shakespeare used the word in the plural in "Winter's Tale" and used the kind of apostrophe people make fun of today: "He has the prettiest Loue-songs for Maids..with such delicate burthens of Dildo's and Fadings."

ADDED: I was wondering about "fadings" and found this key to Shakespeare about that line:
dildo (n.) nonsense refrain in a ballad; also: artificial penis

fading (n.) nonsense refrain in a ballad [with allusion to sexual energy]
Note that in that "Maids Complaint," "Dil doul" is a nonsense refrain: "For a dill doul, dill doul, dill doul doul." And you can see this in the OED examples, as well:
c1650 in Roxburghe Ballads II. 455 She prov'd herself a Duke's daughter, and he but a Squire's son. Sing trang dildo lee.
1656 S. Holland Don Zara i. vi. 57 That Gods may view, With a Dildo-doe, What we bake, and what we brew.
I take it "dildo" rhymed with "view" and "brew."


Anonymous said...

William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch:

Mary is strapping on a rubber penis. "Steely Dan III from Yokohama," she says, caressing the shaft.

"What happen to Steely Dan I?"

"He was torn in two by a bull dyke. She could cave in a lead pipe."

"And Steely Dan II?"

"Chewed to bits by a famished candiru in the Upper Baboonsasshole. And don't say 'wheeeeeeee!' this time."

Anonymous said...

Re: ""Yes, but I'm afraid of what might pop out at me."

You have 3-D Google? Stay at Least Ten Inches Away from the Screen on That Search.

Anonymous said...

A Dildo, Used Correctly, May Produce A Diphthong.

William said...

When Maureen Dowd takes out the Hitachi and the DVD of Obama's greatest speeches, I wonder if she just braces herself or goes for the scented candles and rose petals on the bedspread accessories.

jimspice said...


rhhardin said...

Probably a dildoe was a musical instrument.

rhhardin said...

Dildos were a lot more iffy with early lead-acid batteries.

rhhardin said...

econtalk.org has an interview with a monotone guy that I bet you can't listen to all of.

rhhardin said...

The Swiss had an edge in the market, as a music box sideline.

YoungHegelian said...

From Thomas Morley's First Book of Ayres 1600.

I prefer Nigel Roger's 1968 recording to Alfred Deller here, but, hey, gotta work with what's on youtube.

rhhardin said...

I was going to answer a commenter question that the lutenist sounds like Joseph Iodone but google won't let you comment without your real name and birthday now.

It looks like closing an information gap between two huge databases.


rhhardin said...

It closes a much-need gap, as the malaproprism goes.

jacksonjay said...

Who knew the Althouse was so delicate?

rhhardin said...

John and Ken (KFI) were going through the story of the Pope visiting somewhere where there was a giant blue phallus along the route from the airport.

Their newsbabe googled the phallus, and said "Ewwwww."

"That's the sound a woman makes when she sees a penis," John said.

She never did that again.

The pretense wasn't working.

LTMG said...

Pity the original music, if there was any, didn't survive. Just the thing for entertaining the crowd in a saloon. Maybe some enthused musician will write a rousing score for the lyrics presented here.

rhhardin said...

Terri Rae Elmer was the newsbabe.

Dr Weevil said...

YH mentions Nigel Rogers' recording of Thomas Morley's "Will you buy a fine dog?" When I was in college, I lent a classmate that very record to tape and use as incidental music in a production of Ben Jonson, The Alchemist. As I recall (it's been 39 years) he was trying to scandalize the faculty, and succeeded. He has since appeared as Torturer #2 in a Schwarzenegger moview.

Rusty said...

There is a village in Newfoundland Canada called Dildo.
Just as a point of interest.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

@ rhhardin:

Yes, T-Ray and her sister both had great radio voices! Can't say I heard THAT broadcast, but I'd recognize her voice (or Tracy's) anywhere.

Sam L. said...

So, tell me, if you can/will/care to, given the recent kerfuffle over "piv is rape", does using a dildo make/mean a woman so doing is raping herself? Inquiring minds want to know!

Beldar said...

As it happens, in my reading today in Thomas Maeir's 2009 book (from which Showtime has developed a hit TV series) "Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson," in the discussion (at Kindle Loc 4281) of "Ulysses," the clear, lighted, color-camera-capable dildo used by the sex researchers, I came upon these sentences (bracketed portion by Maeir):

"Lions of heterosexuality roared their displeasure. In 1971's The Prisoner of Sex, Norman Mailer fumed over 'woman's uibiqiutous plentitude of orgasms with that plastic prick, that laboratory dildoe [sic], that vibrator!'"

And yes, this made me think of former Vice President Dan Quayle.