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> stormy ones, and bun biting
delirium
post Feb 12 2014, 02:45 PM
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I'm translating Robert Buchanan's poem The Stormy Ones. Not being too familiar with English idiom, there's a part that puzzles me. I had no idea where to ask for some ideas, I thought to inquire your cultured absinthe community.. there is a mention of absinthe in the poem anyway. sp_ike.gif

Are you familiar with Lord Byron's Don Juan? There is a reference. I have a sense that there are more than one meanings here in a sense of a word play, but it doesn't seem to make sense to me:

Byron swears as he grasps the tiller,
Haidee sobs as she bites her bun


If there are references to a body part, why is Haidee sobbing? Hell, why is she biting her bun?


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Artemis
post Feb 12 2014, 03:54 PM
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I think it means literally, bun (bread). Bun as a euphemism for buttocks is an American invention, and Buchanan was not American. Why she's eating a bun, or sobbing, I don't know. There are a number of paintings of Haidee, maybe there's a bun in one of them.


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Tibro
post Feb 12 2014, 05:03 PM
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I agree. I don't think there's more to read into it. It probably appears just to set up the rhyme with "fun".

If he had chosen to have her gnaw on hard tack, which might have been contextually more appropriate, then Joaquin in the ensuing line would have had to exclaim the symbol "Wack!" which probably wasn't widely understood at the time.


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Artemis
post Feb 12 2014, 07:03 PM
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And a man in the back said everyone attack
and it turned into a ballroom blitz
Ballroom Blitz










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Tibro
post Feb 12 2014, 08:07 PM
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Sweet


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Artemis
post Feb 12 2014, 08:36 PM
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Reaching out for something
touching nothing's all I ever do


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Provenance
post Feb 12 2014, 10:04 PM
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QUOTE(Artemis @ Feb 12 2014, 07:54 AM) *
I think it means literally, bun (bread).

Likely true. Don Juan contains several references to Haidee making breakfast. For example:
QUOTE
He had a bed of furs, and a pelisse,
For Haidee stripped her sables off to make
His couch; and, that he might be more at ease,
And warm, in case by chance he should awake,
They also gave a petticoat apiece,
She and her maid—and promised by daybreak
To pay him a fresh visit, with a dish
For breakfast, of eggs, coffee, bread, and fish.

QUOTE
And Zoe, when the eggs were ready, and
The coffee made, would fain have waken'd Juan;
But Haidee stopp'd her with her quick small hand,
And without word, a sign her finger drew on
Her lip, which Zoe needs must understand;
And, the first breakfast spoilt, prepared a new one,
Because her mistress would not let her break
That sleep which seem'd as it would ne'er awake.

Food is also prominent in other ways in Don Juan. For example:
QUOTE
The Count Strongstroganoff I put in pain,
And Lord Mount Coffeehouse, the Irish peer,
Who kill'd himself for love (with wine) last year.

QUOTE
Well —Juan, after bathing in the sea,
Came always back to coffee and Haidee.

Although there are many travel references in Don Juan ("She had resolved that he should travel through All European climes, by land or sea, To mend his former morals, and get new, Especially in France and Italy") I would guess that the Byron grasping the tiller refers to Byron's travel to Greece.


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delirium
post Feb 13 2014, 01:04 PM
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I did try to read through some parts of Don Juan that mention Haidee but couldn't make sense of the poem anyway. There were even some mentions of cannibalism which confused me even more. Well, seems like my twisted mind attempted to read more to the poem than there is. Thanks for your opinions.

QUOTE("Provenance")
I would guess that the Byron grasping the tiller refers to Byron's travel to Greece.

Interesting. Why is this?


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Artemis
post Feb 13 2014, 05:43 PM
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Probably because going to Greece was an ill-fated decision for him. He got involved in a fight that wasn't his (although apparently he thought it was) and died there while still a young man.
Buchanan seems to have had a sardonic sense of humor.
QUOTE
He was a frequent contributor to periodicals, and obtained notoriety as a result of an article which, under the nom de plume of Thomas Maitland, he contributed to The Contemporary Review for October 1871

Apparently the article attacked some other poets of the time and pissed them off a little.
Joaquin the "little stowaway" was a real person, it seems:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joaquin_Miller


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Tibro
post Feb 13 2014, 07:27 PM
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Wack™!


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When I wake up,
I try to convince myself that my arm
isn't there --
to retain my sanity.

Then I try to convince myself that it is.

Frank Bidart
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