“I do not think that word means what you think it means… “

…or maybe it does.

While I was listening to one of my fav songs by Stephen Fearing recently, I was once again stuck by the lyrics, particularly by his use of a word central to the song: beguiling. And once again, I wondered at his use of the word, for most of my exposure to it in a lifetime of reading (usually) good books rendered the word in my mind’s ear once again as “leading with deception” or some such. So, this time, I went to Meriam-Webster online and found…

1: to lead by deception
2: hoodwink
3: to while away especially by some agreeable occupation ; also : divert 2
4: to engage the interest of by or as if by guile

But when I thought to check the same resource’s thesaurus I found

1 to attract or delight as if by magic— see charm 1
2 to cause to believe what is untrue— see deceive
3 to lead away from a usual or proper course by offering some pleasure or advantage— see lure

Ahhh, there the meaning Fearing’s song alludes to is most akin to the primary meaning cited. And then methought, “The third listing: ‘Lure’? Fearing uses the word almost in the sense of ‘alluring’ (to entice by charm or attraction) doesn’t he?” Well, almost. But I think I’ve finally found the heart of the song in the fact that the “beguiling eyes” Fearing sees are… (at least partly) in the eyes of the beholder.

Quite apart from all that, Fearing’s wonderful artistry on the guitar, and the lyrics and melody taken as a whole, make this song one that can occupy my mind’s ear for hours. Yeh, yeh, I could wish for better vocal artistry, but the guy apparently wrote the thing as he heard it in his mind’s ear, and discovered he couldn’t quite manage some of the (very well-written) melodic devices. Someone with a better vocal instrument might do the melody more justice, but they’d have a hard time matching the overall artistry of Fearing’s own performance.

Here’s a small sample–just a portion of the intro. Get your own copy of the entire song for under a buck at the link I provided above. And no, I’m not getting anything out of the link–twc has, for now at least, been entirely “de-monetized”. All that went along with taking steps to kill off most of my traffic last year.


And no, I’m not going to post the lyrics. Go buy a copy of the song and listen for yourself.