Wednesday, April 9, 2008

An unfortunate simile

Is it just that we are no longer such a nautical nation that this simile fails to strike the right note or was it always a wrong-footed compliment? I cannot imagine one female of my acquaintance that would happily receive this tribute even were I to try and justify it as the work of one our greatest poets. From Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's The Building of the Ship.

And as he turned his face aside,

With a look of joy and a thrill of pride,

Standing before

Her father's door,

He saw the form of his promised bride.

The sun shone on her golden hair,

And her cheek was glowing fresh and fair,

With the breath of morn and the soft sea air.

Like a beauteous barge was she,

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