Q: "travelling lady"? (and "goal"0

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Sat Oct 16 00:26:52 UTC 2010

At 10/15/2010 05:52 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>Well, there's the evidence from the eponymous Leonard Cohen song--
>And why are you so quiet now
>Standing there in the doorway?
>You chose your journey long before
>You came upon this highway.
>Traveling lady, stay awhile
>Until the night is over.
>I'm just a station on your way
>I know I'm not your lover.

A little bit later than my quotation.

>I'm still puzzled by the "Goal" for "Gaol", though, especially since
>the OED doesn't provide the former as a variant spelling of the
>latter.  The Ballad of Reading Goal?

Yes it does -- s.v. jail, gaol, n.:

Forms: {alpha}. 3-4 gayhol(e, 5 gayll(e, gaille,
5-7 gayole, gayl(e, gaile, 6 gaiell, gaill, 6-7
gaole, goale, *7-8 goal*, 7- gaol. {beta}. 4
iaiole, 4-7 iaile, iayle, 5 iayll, 6-7 iaole, 7-8
jayl, (7 jale), 7- jail. {gamma}. 6 geyle, geayle, (gial), 7 geale.

1647 CLARENDON [Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon;
historian and statesman; grandfather of Queen
Mary II and Queen Anne] Hist. Reb. v. ยง51 To be
committed to the Common Goal of Colchester.

1779 J. BURGOYNE [General John, "Gentleman
Johnny", army officer and dramatist] Let. to
Constituents (ed. 3) 15 The goals..were resorted to for other recruits.

And several times in vol. 2 of _The History and
Adventures of ... Don Quixote_ (1755), tr. by
T[obias] Smollet, M.D. [Britsh navy surgeon and author].

Would these ingenious Gentlemen misspell?

"Goal" is very common in American newspapers of
the 18th century (I've seen it more often than
"Gaol"), and considering that they took much of
their news from British journals I expect in those publications also.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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