Tuesday 14 September 2010

In the Beginning........

Let me begin by explaining why I have called my blog “Let The Welkin Ring”.  It is, of course, in the first place, a play on my name.  But it is also a play on my daily life.
The word “welkin” comes from an Old English word “wolcen”, which meant the sky or cloud. In time it became a mainly poetic word for the sky or the heavens, and has been used in the phrase  about making the welkin ring to mean to make a very loud noise.  I feel sure that the phrase was used by Shakespeare but I cannot remember in which play.  Sports commentators have been know to get excited and use the phrase to describe the scene after a great goal or such like.
William McGonigle,the great (?) Scottish poet, used the phrase in his wonderful and hilarious Ode to Queen Victoria; I quote the first four verses below.

On Her Jubilee Year
Sound drums and trumpets, far and near!
And Let all Queen Victoria’s subjects loudly cheer!
And show by their actions that they revere,
Because she’s served them faithfully fifty long year!

All hail to the Empress of India and Great Britain’s Queen!
Long may she live happy and serene!
As this is now her Jubilee year,
I hope her subjects will show their loyalty without fear.

Therefore let all her subjects rejoice and sing,
Until they make the welkin ring;
And let young and old on this her Jubilee be glad,
And cry, “Long live our Queen!” and don’t be sad.

She has been a good Queen, which no-one dare gainsay,
And I hope God will protect her for many a day;

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