Feb 9, 2008

Rapid Rhetoric: HAVELOCK

Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

havelock (HAV-lawk) n. a cloth covering for a cap with a flap that extends over the back of the neck to protect from the sun's rays; any cloth covering for the head and neck that is typically used by soldiers as a precaution against sunstroke.

The havelock is named after Major-General Sir Henry Havelock, who is best known for his recapture of the cities of Cawnpore and Lucknow from rebels during The Indian Mutiny of 1857. Armies on both sides of the American Civil War adopted the havelock, and one of the most famous wearers of the havelock was Lawrence of Arabia.

An 1861 ballad by British poet David Mitchell Aird entitled Havelock To His Warrior Band celebrates the major-general, who died of dysentery after the capture of Lucknow:

Hark! Hark! 'tis the shriek of the children!
And the wives of the brave who were slain!
Who in cold blood were brutally slaughtered,
While pleading for mercy in vain!

O spare, spare my wife, cries the soldier!
The mother, she pleads for her child!
But alas! Barbarity triumphs,
And Cawnpore with victims is piled!

On, on, then! cried Havelock the brave,
Nine battles we've fought on these plains;
The tenth will hallow our glory!
Charge! Charge! Till no rebel remains!

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