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Old Words, New Light: 1

In this first entry to Old Words, New Light, I offer you (drum roll, please) cumberworld. 

What a fantastic old word–cumberworld–softly rounded, laden with nuances of dark burden and undertones of melancholia. Jeffrey Kacirk of Forgotten English fame tracked the word back to Robert Nare’s Glossary (of) the Works of English Authors 1859 and the definition: “That which is only a trouble, or useless burthen to the world.” Kacirk also offered the following 1593 poem by Michael Drayton entitled Shepherd’s Garland:

“A cumberworld, yet in the world am left,

A fruitless plot, with brambles overgrown,

Mislived man of my worlds joy bereft,

heartbreaking cares, the offspring of my moan.”

Cumberworld, a charming antique word which I think ought to be resuscitated and rejuvinated, painted into prose with the careful, affectionate brush strokes of those logophiles and wordsmiths who share my desire to salvage beautiful words that may be falling by the wayside. I ask you: why say “useless crapheap” when you could say “cumberworld”? *grin*

For more lovely disappearing words, please see Jeffrey Kacirk’s:

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