Bill

August 18, 2014 § 5 Comments

ORIGIN:
Like “Will“, a diminutive of “William“.

VARIATIONS and NICKNAMES:
Bil, Billie, Billy, Gwil, Liam, Lyam, Pim, Vila, Vili, Viljo, Ville, Wil, Wilkie, Wilkin, Wilky, Will, Willie, Willis, Willy, Wim, etc.

REFERENCES IN LITERATURE:
Bill, a little boy who lives on the Street with the Pages and the Wilsons and the rest in K. by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1914).
Bill, the bartender at Schwitter’s road-house in K.
Bill Blacksmith, a friend of John Fry’s in Lorna Doone, by R.D. Blackmore (written in 1869, set in the 1670s-1680s).
Bill (William) Creighton (b. 1838), Jethro’s favorite older brother, “a big, silent man who was considered ‘peculiar’ in the neighborhood”, in Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (1964; set during the American Civil War, 1861-1865).
Bill Dadds, a workman on John Ridd’s farm, in Lorna Doone.
Bill Oliver, wealthy owner of a needle-factory and iron-foundry near Morton, whose daughter, Rosamond, is in love with St. John Rivers, in Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Bronte.

WRITERS:
Bill James (b. 1929), pen name of Welsh novelist James Tucker, who also publishes as “David Craig” and “Judith Jones”.

QUOTATIONS:
– The 1902 song “(Won’t You Come Home) Bill Bailey“, written by Hughie Cannon (1877-1912) remains a standard among Dixieland and classic jazz performers: “Won’t you come home, Bill Bailey, won’t you come home? / I’ve moaned the whole night long / I’ll do the cookin’, honey, I’ll pay the rent / I know I done you wrong.”
– In Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s 1927 musical Show Boattorch singer Julie (working in a nightclub circa 1903),  sings “Bill“, a lament for the less-than-perfect man who stole her heart: “But along came Bill / Who’s not the type at all / You’d meet him on the street / And never notice him / His form and face / His manly grace / Are not the kind that you / Would find in a statue / And I can’t explain / It’s surely not his brain / That makes me thrill / I love him because he’s wonderful / Because he’s just my Bill / . . . He’s just my Bill, an ordinary man / He hasn’t got a thing that I can brag about / . . . I love him, because he’s, I don’t know, / Because he’s just my Bill.”
– From the 1945 Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical Carousel, set in 1873 or so, erstwhile barker Billy Bigelow sings a “Soliloquy” about his anticipated son: “Bill, my boy Bill, / I will see that he’s named after me, I will. / My boy Bill! He’ll be tall / And as tough as a tree, will Bill! / Like a tree he’ll grow / With his head held high / And his feet planted firm on the ground. / And you won’t see nobody dare to try / To boss him or toss him around.”
– In the “Wedding Bell Blues” (1969), written by Laura Nyro, the singer laments about a lover who won’t marry her: “Bill, I love you so, I always will / . . . I was on your side, Bill, when you were losing / I’d never scheme or lie, Bill, there’s been no fooling / But kisses and love won’t carry me ’til you marry me, Bill.”

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