Note: I read all comments and respond to most. --- New posts every 10 to 15 days...except when life decides to get in my way by dropping a log into my pond.

Friday, April 29, 2011

"Y" is for Yesteryear, Yore and Back in the Diz-ay

"A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty hi-ho, Silver! The Lone Ranger with his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early West. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear . . The Lone Ranger rides again!" ~ Opening Narrative, The Lone Ranger, TV show (1949-1957)

To be honest, I only watched it because I thought Silver was the coolest horse anywhere! Seeing those dates, I realize I not only saw the first runs, but was already watching reruns when I was only 8 and 9. A common occurrence today, I know. But, for me it's hard to believe, since TV hadn't even been around that long. 

My "thrilling days of yesteryear" go back to the days when I watched Silver run across the TV screen. I am certain we can all relate in some way. But I began to wonder who ever thought of that phrase in the first place, and whether or not anyone ever uses it anymore. 

I decided it'd be wise to look at a little etymology on the subject.
Word Origin and History
Coined in 1870 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti from "yester(day) + year" in order to translate the French word antan (from V.L. *anteannum  "the year before") in a refrain by Fran├žois Villon: Mais ou sont les neiges d'antan? which Rossetti then rendered, "But where are the snows of yesteryear?"
Since the time literature wrote about the snows of yesteryear, dictionaries decided to extend the meaning beyond just the previous year, to: past years; time gone by; yore. I like that one -- yore.
"In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly day of yore;" ~The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) 
In Cummings' Study Notes on this poem, day of yore is described as the distant past. I like that definition the best. 

Looking at the years Poe lived and wrote, I arrive at yet another conclusion. Yore preceded the development of yesteryear. (Doesn't it sound like there should be some sort of double meaning there?) 

In an excerpt from A Story of the Drunk Curse, this short story writer also refers to the days of yore. (I add this one simply because I like the way it's written :~)
"As these visions of the happy days of yore passed like fairy dreams before her she heaved an involuntary sigh as she passionately exclaimed: Oh drink, thou hast been our curse; turning our happiness into misery; our Eden of bliss into a waste, weary wilderness of poverty and woe!"  
~From Wealth to Poverty by Austin Potter (1842-1913)
And yet, it proves rather interesting when one considers that the traditional beginning of a bedtime story also arose from the phrase, days of yore.
"In days of yore and in times long gone before there was a King...," or, "There was once, in days of yore and in ages and times long gone before..."; in England, where we strive not to waste words, this becomes "Once upon a time..."  
~Arabian Nights, The Book of a Thousand Nights and a Night, by Sir Richard F. Burton
The question remains, are either yesteryear or days of yore still in use today? In response, I defer to what the Urban Dictionary coughed up when I made the query:
~days of yore isn't defined yet~  
But, it also rendered this phrase with its entertaining definition:
"back in the diz-ay" - n days of yore; olden times; mythical past where the girlies were hot, the beer cold, and the nintendo worked perfectly without having to blow inside the cartridge; the good old days
Does this mean I have to change my bedtime story-telling tactics? I hope not. Somehow, "Back in the diz-ay" just doesn't seem to have the same affect as, "Once upon a time, in days of yore and in ages and times long gone, before there was a King -- in the thrilling days of yesteryear..." 

A bit too long to start a story? Uh...what can I say...I'm not English :~)

10 comments:

Name: Luana Krause said...

Love those retro TV shows. I remember the Lone Ranger...so cool. I like the word "yore." Has a nice ring to it.

Bish Denham said...

I'm old enough to have seen the original shows, which I did, except they were broadcast out of Puerto Rico and dubbed in Spanish!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Did you know that they are filming a remake of the Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp??? :D

Madeleine said...

Great Y post. Oh the memories! Love the blog title too :O)

Sarah Allen said...

Great post! Learned something new here. Thanks for sharing.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

M Kathy Brown said...

Sam ~
Yep, heard about the movie and looking forward to it. I guess Depp would be the faithful Indian friend, Tonto, but nothing definite on the star yet. The last I read was something about the guy that played the twin character in Social Network.

Will be over to your site a little later :~)

Kathy

M Kathy Brown said...

Hi Luana ~
I've been a bit slow responding to everyone after completing the A to Z... fun, yet very challenging.

Interesting that you called The Lone Ranger a retro TV show... I'll have to think about that :~)

Kathy

M Kathy Brown said...

Bish ~
That'd be an interesting twist -- dubbed in Spanish. Guess it wouldn't have made any difference to me though, since I was primarily into Silver...and he would've sounded the same :-D lol

Kathy

M Kathy Brown said...

Madeleine ~

Thanks so much for your comments...looks like you've decided to follow too!

Welcome :~)

Kathy

M Kathy Brown said...

Sarah ~

Some of my favorite posts are the ones that have some little ditty of info that I never knew before... or, is being said in a way that nearly captivates me.

Thank you!
Kathy