August 18, 2014 § 5 Comments

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

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

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.

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

– 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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