Mellifervescent

This ‘word’ didn’t exist until just now. My brain concocted it this morning as I woke. ‘Mellifervescent.’  From the Latin mel, mellis (honey) + -(ef)fervescere (boil up, seeth, bubble, effervesce). The only thing I can think of that could be directly described by this new word is sparkling mead.

Mead, that most ancient adult beverage, produced by the fermentation of honey and water, sometimes with the addition of fruit, spices, or hops.  It predates all other forms of alcoholic beverages and its production is first observed in Northern China between 7000 and 6500 B.C.E.

Mead is featured prominently in Norse, Danish, and Early English literature, think Beowulf and the like. That being the case, it was probably also normal fare in the early monasteries of England, including that of Venerable Bedé and Saint Cædmon – Streoneshalh (Whitby Abbey). It was common for the monks and sisters to enjoy a light repast after their evening meal while hymns or psalms were sung. It was likely at such a table, imbibed with mead, that Saint Cædmon gave his now famous hymn. Click play below to hear it read in its original Northumbrian Old English dialect.

Cædmon’s Hymn

Nu sculon herigean / heofonrices Weard
[Now must we praise / heaven-kingdom’s Guardian,]

Meotodes meahte / and his modgeþanc
[the Measurer’s might / and his mind-plans,]

weorc Wuldor-Fæder / swa he wundra gehwæs
[the work of the Glory-Father, / when he of wonders of every one,]

ece Drihten / or onstealde
[eternal Lord, / the beginning established.]

He ærest sceop / ielda bearnum
[He first created / for men’s sons]

heofon to hrofe / halig Scyppend
[heaven as a roof, / holy Creator;

ða middangeard / moncynnes Weard
[then middle-earth / mankind’s Guardian,]

ece Drihten / æfter teode
[eternal Lord / afterwards made –]

firum foldan / Frea ælmihtig.
[for men earth, / Master almighty.]

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