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Re: Mystery word in Charlkes Lamb Poem 3/2003

Posted by Nancy Christy on April 19, 2004

I just happened upon this bit in looking for Lamb's poems. There was conjecture about a word in a line of Elegy on a Quid of Tobacco, a cautionary piece about the evils of tobacco
. The guesses were variously "pastry" and "parley" (pantry?)
I thought "barley" might be a possibility since it speaks of "an ambush in the ****** hid." Googling revealed something called "wall barley" found in Europe which is a tall wild grass that grows in waste land, ravines and roadsides. I would guess that tobacco-laden spittle might lie in wait along roadsides to foul the shoes and sensibilities of the wandering traveler.