Beggar's Banquet

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Phil Carmody

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Apr 13, 2007, 9:44:12 AM4/13/07
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Does anyone know when or where the two-word phrase
"beggar's banquet" was coined. The OED seemed no more
useful than the internets, alas.

Many TIA,
Phil
--
"Home taping is killing big business profits. We left this side blank
so you can help." -- Dead Kennedys, written upon the B-side of tapes of
/In God We Trust, Inc./.

Mike M

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Apr 13, 2007, 10:00:22 AM4/13/07
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On Apr 13, 2:44 pm, Phil Carmody <thefatphil_demun...@yahoo.co.uk>
wrote:

> Does anyone know when or where the two-word phrase
> "beggar's banquet" was coined. The OED seemed no more
> useful than the internets, alas.
>

I don't recall hearing it before the Stones album came out. But it
sure *sounds* like an established usage, I admit.

Mike M


Peter Moylan

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Apr 13, 2007, 10:33:59 AM4/13/07
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It sounds like a good title for an opera.

--
Peter Moylan http://www.pmoylan.org

Please note the changed e-mail and web addresses. The domain
eepjm.newcastle.edu.au no longer exists, and I can no longer
receive mail at my newcastle.edu.au addresses. The optusnet
address could disappear at any time.

Don Phillipson

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Apr 13, 2007, 11:48:44 AM4/13/07
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"Phil Carmody" <thefatphi...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message
news:87veg0t...@nonospaz.fatphil.org...

> Does anyone know when or where the two-word phrase
> "beggar's banquet" was coined. The OED seemed no more
> useful than the internets, alas.

Not in Partridge or Brewer either . . . But I'd bet this
is a variant of "Barmecide Feast" (from an Arabian
Nights story) viz. a feast for which there are formal
invitations but nothing to eat.

--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)


Donna Richoux

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Apr 13, 2007, 12:58:18 PM4/13/07
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Phil Carmody <thefatphi...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> Does anyone know when or where the two-word phrase
> "beggar's banquet" was coined. The OED seemed no more
> useful than the internets, alas.
>

Google Books Advanced Search, when set to elimate recent decades, turns
up three or four examples. It was the title of a work mentioned in
"Who's who in Literature," 1924, by Gladys St. John-Loe. So there's a
reference point.

You checked "beggars" or "beggars'" as well as "beggar's", I hope.

--
Best -- Donna Richoux

Phil Carmody

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Apr 13, 2007, 6:18:03 PM4/13/07
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And beggers, and variants too, in case it came from a slightly
earlier era.

Don's Arabian Nights feast reference also sounds somewhat
tempting.

Thanks all for helping satisfy my idle curiosity.

Richard Maurer

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Apr 13, 2007, 10:37:59 PM4/13/07
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Phil Carmody wrote:
Does anyone know when or where the two-word phrase
"beggar's banquet" was coined. The OED seemed no more
useful than the internets, alas.


You might look for "Beggar's Feast", which goes back
to at least Walter Scott:
"Welcome, then, beggars, to a beggar's feast !"
and in other texts might indicate something like
today's potluck.

Or possibly Peter Moylan's allusion may be the source.
"The Beggar's Opera" has some eating scenes, the one
that starts Act II is in a tavern though.

-- ---------------------------------------------
Richard Maurer To reply, remove half
Sunnyvale, California of a homonym of a synonym for also.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
(He will not see me typing here)

Evan Kirshenbaum

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Apr 14, 2007, 4:25:06 AM4/14/07
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tr...@euronet.nl (Donna Richoux) writes:

> Phil Carmody <thefatphi...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> Does anyone know when or where the two-word phrase
>> "beggar's banquet" was coined. The OED seemed no more
>> useful than the internets, alas.
>>
> Google Books Advanced Search, when set to elimate recent decades,
> turns up three or four examples. It was the title of a work
> mentioned in "Who's who in Literature," 1924, by Gladys
> St. John-Loe. So there's a reference point.

The earliest Google Books hit appears to be from 1856:

Kit had pursued the calling of a beggar from the day that she was
able to guide her own steps and tongue; no friendly counsel, no
helping, mortal hand had ever offered to lead her faculties in any
other direction. And in real life fairies do not come to do the
work of Christians; so let no one look to see an angel in this
Kit. Accident, as it would seem, alone diverted her attention
from her calling.

Returning one night from her usual round, she dropped the bundle
of scraps which she had gathered from door to door, and from
barrels and troughs of refuse which stood just beyond the
pavement, inviting the attention of inspectors such as she.

As the food fell to the ground, two dogs darted toward it, and for
a moment seemed disposed to contend with her for possession of the
broken fragments; but after snuffing the unsavory mess a moment
they contemptuously tossed their heads, and trotted away, leaving
the owner in undisputed possession.

Kit watched that movement, doubting if she understood. Then, to
give her dark suspicion trial, she rose in bewildered amazement
from the position into which she had thrown herself while thinking
to defend her property, and she whistled and called to the curs--
and presently, though with wonderful deliberation, they paid heed
to her call, walking slowly back. With an air and an effect that
would have put an attitudinarian, or a stage ranter to the blush,
she pointed to the bankuet--to the "beggar's banquet of unsavory
things"--"Eat!" was the solitary, the authoritative exclamation
that issued from her lips.

She was not mistaken in her suspicion--suspicion so cruel and
wrathful that she dared not entertain it, until she had put it to
the test. Alas! after eying the food with a curious scorn, and
smelling it with a disgust that proved the charity to be
abomination, one of the dogs picked a bone out of the medley--but
the next instant he dropped it again, and followed on after his
companion.

Caroline Chesebro', _Philly and Kit_, 1856

There it seems to already be a fixed phrase, in quotes in a fuller
form ("beggar's banquet of unsavory things"), meaning roughly "a lot
of things, but nothing anybody would want".

It's used more metaphorically in William Sime's 1883 _King Capital_:

"Abel, you will promise me that you will not marry and bring nine
infants to the beggar's banquet of modern life."

"Beggar's feast" appears to go back at least to 1662:

The first portion of this scarce pamphlet, is in prose, and
comprises a prophetic Proclamation to the people of England,
&c. "given forth at Newgate ... in the 8th month of the Author's
imprisonment there." This must have been in April 1662 ...

"A Second Course of those Fragments of that Beggar's Feast, which
was dayly made him by a good Conscience, whilst he was prisoner in
Newgate."

Egerton Brydges, _The British Biographer_, 1810

--
Evan Kirshenbaum +------------------------------------
HP Laboratories |Sorry, captain. Convenient
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 |technobabble levels are dangerously
Palo Alto, CA 94304 |low.

kirsh...@hpl.hp.com
(650)857-7572

http://www.kirshenbaum.net/


Donna Richoux

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Apr 14, 2007, 5:15:29 AM4/14/07
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Evan Kirshenbaum <kirsh...@hpl.hp.com> wrote:
>
> The earliest Google Books hit appears to be from 1856:
[snip]

>With an air and an effect that would have put an attitudinarian,
> or a stage ranter to the blush, she pointed to the bankuet--to the
>"beggar's banquet of unsavory things"--"Eat!" was the solitary, the
>authoritative exclamation that issued from her lips.
>
> Caroline Chesebro', _Philly and Kit_, 1856
>
> There it seems to already be a fixed phrase, in quotes in a fuller
> form ("beggar's banquet of unsavory things"), meaning roughly "a lot
> of things, but nothing anybody would want".

Searching for that line shows it is from a poem entitled "The First Page
of the Album" by Major Calder Campbell. Rather than type it out, I'll
give a TinyURL to the Google Books page, from an 1844 magazine:

http://tinyurl.com/296jnp

What I don't understand is whether "beggar's banquet" has some sort of
significance *today*. I don't recognize it, and Googling doesn't turn up
much besides a Rolling Stones album and a music label. Is that it?

--
Best - Donna Richoux

kds...@gmail.com

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May 2, 2016, 2:13:55 AM5/2/16
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16th century Dutch revolt:

http://tinyurl.com/gn7teme

snide...@gmail.com

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May 2, 2016, 1:39:16 PM5/2/16
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On Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 11:13:55 PM UTC-7, kds...@gmail.com wrote:
> 16th century Dutch revolt:
>
> http://tinyurl.com/gn7teme

How odd to do a drive-by posting, but take the time to do a tinned earl.

Which seems to point to a rather terse end-note (in a Google Books view)
rather than directly at a passage of explanation.

GG says the reply was to Donna's post,
at least in terms of where it is grafted to the tree.
Less clear if it was a response to Donna's post,
since there is no comment on any of her content.

/dps


Dingbat

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May 5, 2016, 12:15:20 AM5/5/16
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On Friday, April 13, 2007 at 7:14:12 PM UTC+5:30, Phil Carmody wrote:
> Does anyone know when or where the two-word phrase
> "beggar's banquet" was coined.

... by a disgruntled guest when goats head soup was served:-)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goats_Head_Soup

CDB

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May 5, 2016, 9:26:18 AM5/5/16
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On 05/05/2016 12:15 AM, Dingbat wrote:
> Phil Carmody wrote:

>> Does anyone know when or where the two-word phrase "beggar's
>> banquet" was coined.

> ... by a disgruntled guest when goats head soup was served:-)
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goats_Head_Soup

>> The OED seemed no more useful than the internets, alas.

The phrase is reminiscent of the story of the Barmecide Feast.

http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=baldwin&book=fifty&story=feast

tanor...@gmail.com

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Jun 9, 2020, 6:40:08 AM6/9/20
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In Emily Dickensen's poem (313) she writes:
'Tis Beggars-Banquets-can define
'Tis Parching-vitalizes-Wine-

Peter T. Daniels

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Jun 9, 2020, 9:02:20 AM6/9/20
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Wow -- a drive-by answers a question that stumped 10 contributors
(including several still posting here) back in April 2007!

Jerry Friedman

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Jun 9, 2020, 10:32:59 AM6/9/20
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But that's not about a beggar's banquet. It means beggars are the people who
can define banquets.

--
Jerry Friedman
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