Friday, April 06, 2012

Is that a badelynge I see before me?

Have you ever read "The Sports & Pastimes of the English People" by Joseph Strutt, Chatto and Windus, 1876? I didn't even know I had a copy till I cleared out a bookcase to make way for the decorators. It's full of baffling stuff, and the part that I really enjoyed was the section on "Terms used in Hawking", with some splendid nouns of assembly:
"a sege of herons, and of bitterns, a herd of swans, of cranes and of curlews; a dopping of sheldrakes; a spring of teels (sic); a covert of cootes; a gaggle of geese; a badelynge of ducks; a sord or sute of mallards; a muster of peacocks; a nye of pheasants; a bevy of quails; a covey of partridges; a congregation of plovers; a flight of doves; a dule of turtles; a walk of snipes; a fall of woodcocks; a brood of hens; a building of rooks; a murmuration of starlings; an exaltation of larks; a flight of swallows; a host of sparrows; a watch of nightingales; and a charm of goldfinches."
Let me know if you ever run into a dopping, a sord, a dule or a badelynge of anything.

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