Wild Hairs and Maggots – Sources of Inspiration

Clio, Euterpe et Thalie by Eustache Le Sueur (1616–1655) (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
Clio, Euterpe et Thalie (The Muses)

Wild hairs, maggots, and muses are often cited as sources of inspiration.  “Wait a moment… maggots, did you say?” Why, yes I did. At the beginning of the 16th century, the phrase “maggots in the head” was used to indicate obsession with a notion or fantasy, and was interchangeable with  “bees in the bonnet.” (see Free Online Dictionary).  Why is this factoid significant? Because Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot is the horrible name of a beautiful piece of music. Although the song is used in many Regency-era productions, it’s a traditional English country dance tune first published by Henry Playford in 1695.

I first became aware of the song in the mini-series Pride and Prejudice (1995).

Here is the same tune played at a more lively pace:

My friends and I used to use high-sounding names for the mundane, such as Chez BigMac (McDonald’s), or we’d use a French pronunciation to make something sound better (ie: The Target department store would be pronounced with a soft ‘g’, like ‘Tarjez’).  I hereby propose Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot be pronounced ‘Mr. Beveridge’s Maj-oh,’ just to make it more palatable.

A maggot by any other name would be as whimsical.

~ S.G. Rogers


4 thoughts on “Wild Hairs and Maggots – Sources of Inspiration”

  1. I believe I can quote that movie word for word. Whenever anyone I know is going someplace I make sure to advice, “Take every opportunity of enjoying yourself.”
    Love the phrase ‘maggots in the head’ I’m sure I’ll be repeating it.


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