Tuesday 1 March 2011


Nympholepsy is, according to the OED:

Passion supposedly inspired in men by nymphs; an ecstasy or yearning, esp. that caused by desire for something unattainable.

It's therefore a rather similar word to pisgah, and equally useful. So far as one can tell from the literature, ancient Greece was overrun with shepherds who were forever pining after vanishing arboreal nymphs.

A couple of nymphs have made it into the language where they can at last be possessed by pastoral poets, if not pastoral farmers. These are Echo, who pined away for love of Narcissus until she was just a voice; and Calypso, an island nymph who somehow gave her name to Caribbean island music, but nobody's sure how.

The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in the orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

When Internet dating works

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