Come unto these yellow sands,
And then take hands,
Curtsied when you have and kissed
The wild waves whist,
Foot it featly here and there;
And, sweet sprites, the burden bear.*
We all know about feats of strength, or athleticism, or endurance, but how does anyone dance featly?
I mean, dancing footly we could understand.
Well, a feat of something-or-other is a skillful or remarkable or daring achievement, and feat, as in trip it featly, means skillful, too, in a neat and suitable sort of a way.
So it follows, as you'll have noticed, that in the verse above tripping means, well, not tripping, but being balanced and graceful and generally twinkle-toed.
I'd love to see a rush-hour crowd tripping it featly instead of barging their way through the crush, but I suppose that's an impossible dream.
(though this elegant lot look as if they'd dance rather nicely. This is Shinagawa station, Tokyo. Photo by mdid.)
Never mind. We can try being neatly skillful in other things, like putting out the bins and stacking the dishwasher.
It would surely be a source of quiet but considerable satisfaction.
Thing To Be Today: feat. This word comes from the Old French fet, from the Latin facere, to make.
*I'm sure you know that's one of Ariel's songs from The Tempest.