There are some strings of words so perfect, so delectable, so full of bounce and exquisitely-paced clatter, that they give delight forever.
The musical Sweeny Todd has words and music by Stephen Sondheim, and a book by Hugh Wheeler based on the 1973 play Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Christopher Bond.
Sweeny Todd is a story of horror, but nevertheless there's one part of it so absolutely perfect that it lurks near the surface of my mind and emerges, grinning fiendishly, whenever I visit a supermarket.
Shepherd's pie, it whispers, with a small snigger of delight, as I stride past the neat plastic trays of ready meals (and I never dare stop). Shepherd's pie peppered/With actual shepherd...
Horrid, isn't it. Really horrid.
But perfect, all the same.
Word To Use Today: sweeny. Sweeny has been most commonly used as London rhyming slang: Sweeny Todd - Flying Squad. (The Flying Squad were a department of the London Police Force, and hence The Sweeny came to mean the police.) Sweeny is also a disease of the shoulder muscles of horses. In this sense the word is probably from the German Schweine, which means thinness.