Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0023627, Sun, 3 Feb 2013 15:41:53 +0000

Re: Lord Byron's Hock
I suspect VN may also be punning on the slang meaning of Œhock¹ = Œpawn.¹
You pawn/hock diverse objects at the pawn/hock-shop, depositing them as
security for short-term cash loans. Later your goods are REDEEMED = returned
to you, by paying back the loan plus, of course, an exorbitant interest. It
was a regular weekly feature of working-class Œcash-trickle management¹ in
my Liverpool youth: Paid Friday; Broke Monday; Pawn Tuesday; Redeem Friday.
Failure to redeem on time means you relinquish your goods, which then go on
sale in the pawn-shop window. That fate overtook my granny¹s false-teeth,
but I digress ...

Much celebrated in folksong & shanty:
³Me boots and clothes is all in pawn;
Chorus: ³Go down you Blood-Red Roses ... Go down!
³An¹ it¹s bleedin¹ drafty Œround Cape Horn!

There are fanciful ditties where the object being pawned is one¹s heart or
dream. VN¹s ŒOur Lady¹s Tears¹ falls into this category.
Stan Kelly-Bootle.

On 03/02/2013 00:11, "Alexey Sklyarenko" <skylark1970@mail.ru> wrote:

> 'Ah!' said Demon, tasting Lord Byron's Hock. 'This redeems Our Lady's Tears.'
> (Ada, 1.38)
> Hock is mentioned in Byron's The Waltz (1813):
> Imperial Waltz! Imported from the Rhine
> (Famed for the growth of pedigrees and wine),
> Long be thine import from all duty free,
> And hock itself be less esteem¹d than thee;
> In some few qualities alike‹for hock
> Improves our cellar‹thou our living stock.
> The head to hock belongs‹thy subtler art
> Intoxicates alone the heedless heart:
> Through the full veins thy gentler poison swims,
> And wakes to wantonness the willing limbs.
> In vain I hoped that VN's play The Waltz Invention had something to do with
> Byron's poem.* But his hock redeemed my disappointment.
> *According to some commentators, "Calembourg" mentioned in VN's play by Waltz
> is London. Yet, the poet Turvalski (whose poem is recited by one of the
> generals) seems to be in no way related to the Countess of Waltzaway (a
> distant relation of Horace Hornem's spouse). Horace Hornem, the fictitious
> author of The Waltz, was invented by Byron.
> Alexey Sklyarenko

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