Gone Asouling [a-souling]

bloomcountry

Senior Member
Russian, Spanish
Doe this mean that the "beggars have lost their souls?"

"...Shadows of the men grow tall at dawn or short again at dusk,
...
Are sketched out by a newer light
As gulls dip down the freshened air with cries
Like beggars gone asouling Harvest Night"

("Please to Remember the Fifth of November: A Birthday Poem for Susan Marguerite", Ray Bradbury)
 
  • lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    It probably means "beggars gone hunting for souls." The "go a-verbing" construction exists in English; it means the same as "go verbing." (Here we come a-caroling!) You, the reader, have to imagine what "souling" means. To me, it sounds like going to gather or steal souls.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I think this might be better written with a hyphen: gone a-souling. It means "gone out to celebrate All Souls' Night by begging from door to door". Compare gone a-wassailing or gone a-carolling.

    Accepted British usage since 1779 (OED).
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Oh, well, Keith, if you're going to use a dictionary... I mean, that hardly seems fair to me.

    Good to know!
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    It probably means "beggars gone hunting for souls." The "go a-verbing" construction exists in English; it means the same as "go verbing." (Here we come a-caroling!) You, the reader, have to imagine what "souling" means. To me, it sounds like going to gather or steal souls.
    Actually during All Souls' Day in England beggars would go door-to door and beg for "soul cakes". Compare: http://www.crystalinks.com/halloween1.html
     
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