“Words, words, words.” Hamlet Act 2 scene 2
What are words? According to Ward S. Miller “Words are the means to nearly all we are or hope to be on this planet.” Perhaps this is why we choose our words carefully and allow some words to disappear into a never-ending abyss. According to Jane A. Seymonds, “ Style is the use of right words in the right place.” In this modern world today we are all about fads and style. Words are just like fashions or hairstyles - once they lose their popularity, they die off. But “ the very future of mankind may depend upon the rectification of word habits” which is (PERHAPS?) why we rid this world of the words we do.
“Thou blind fool, love, what dost thou do to mine eyes.” Sonnet 137 Shakespeare
This enchanting line is musical because of the way the words are composed. But if Shakespeare were to have used what are now dead words we would see the poetic value of this line be lost to a fad. For example: “Thou blind fool, Storge, what dost thou do to mine wink-a-peeps.”
Ever heard of a wrinkle in time? Well, what if the word “wrinkle” is lost to the abyss of dead words and we now use ribble? It just doesn’t hold the same kind of eloquence that the word wrinkle does.
Some words that have been lost were once used by the great writers of the past. Shakespeare in Love’s Labours Lost uses the word “welkin” to represent the evening sky. “… Who now hangeth like a jewel in the ear of coelo, the sky, the welkin, the heaven” (Holofernes Act 4-scene ii) (are you contradicting yourself?)
As well, Dylan Thomas used “dingle,” the word for a dell, in his poem “Fern Hill”: “ The night, above the dingle, starry…..” Words that are dead today once held the same value that we place on the words we use today. Possibly, today we suffer from the habit of belittling the words that were once great achievements to others or rather we suffer floccinaucinihilpilification.
Emily Dickinson said, “A word is dead when it is said some say./ I say it just begins to live that day.” The truth is words have a life span like people. Some live an eternity while others have their fifteen minutes of fame and then drift away to oblivion. The object is to taste all the words you can (even the lost ones) so that you can deem what words are an adlubescence or to the ear pleasure and what words dretch or torment our ears. We write the words the whole world sings, so reach into the abyss and drag out the worthy and bury the unworthy deeper.