"sling arms" (not in OED2) -- [1749], 1824

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Apr 17 16:05:35 UTC 2014

Amy [see at end],

At 4/17/2014 08:28 AM, Amy West wrote:
>On 4/17/14, 12:00 AM, Automatic digest processor wrote:
>>Date:    Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:27:24 -0400
>>From:    "Joel S. Berson"<Berson at ATT.NET>
>>Subject: Re: "sling arms" (not in OED2) -- [1749], 1824
>>I think this is the best interpretation yet.  I don't find "sl?ng*
>>arm*" in the OED or "sling arms" before 1824 ("Constitution of the
>>New England Guards", p. 54, a command) in GBooks.  But John Gittins's
>>"A compleat System of Military Discipline" (1735), p. 14, does have a
>>command "Sling your Firelock" (certainly an Arm) -- hang the firelock
>>and "let fall your Hands to your Sides".
>It makes sense as a command for long firearms as they have slings on
>them. Not so much for spear & sword, and I haven't heard a command like
>that in 1630s pike drill.
>---Amy West

A good point about no slings for spear and sword ... unless we can
find an image (in words or picture) of Bellona with a musket ...
well, Wikipedia, s.v. "flintlock", says "Examples of early flintlock
weapons can be seen in the painting "Marie de' Medici as Bellona" by
Rubens (painted around 1622-25)."  Lots of "impressions" at Google
Images.  I believe that's a musket, with bayonet, in her left had,
perhaps resting on a sling at her waist (images are very dark).

In passing, I note that the musket is in her *left* hand.  Was
Bellona left-handed?  (Not in many images I see online.)  Or did
Rubens make the same error as the artist of an early seal of the
Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, when he portrayed an Indian, now
right-handed on the Great Seal of the Commonwealth, with the arrow in
his right hand and the bow in his left? See http://tinyurl.com/pm2gyxx

Amy, what meaning would you give to our phrase in "Her Cheeks were
smooth, her Arms were slung"?  All of the interpretations we've
discussed so far seem absent from the OED.


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