The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #92038   Message #1767478
Posted By: GUEST,Rikki Tikki
23-Jun-06 - 10:04 AM
Thread Name: Song Challenge: Lady Mondegreen
Subject: RE: Song Challenge: Lady Mondegreen
                     PUBLIC OFFICIALS NERVOUS

Hitherto a deeply held secret, Lady Mondegreen's maiden name before her marriage for money to doddering old Lord Mondegreen can now be revealed. Heretofore it had not been thought politic to discuss this, as her early career in a nearby county was grievously notorious. Now, however, who cares?

Sir Fencible J. Childproof says of it in his classic collection (in which it appears as #84), "The ballad is wrongly said by Stour in Scott's Classic Ballad Stamp Catalog, 1932, to derive from an ancient lay lampooning urban remediation. We know from other sources that it is, in fact, a peasant effusion dwelling upon dating practices, once much acted upon the stage, but since fallen into desuetude, from which it has had to be removed with fire-tongs."

In this instructive doggerel of the Olden Tyme such as amused our simple-minded ancestors, we unearth a story of great decrepitude. The future Lady Barbara, a chubby girl, was under a compulsion to binge and purge, amounting to full-blown archaic anorexia, before any emotional involvement. She cooked and ate pie and pudding, mostly of the native blueberry; an archeoculinary study has revealed unusual quantities of the fruit in her natal environs. Though she scraped a living selling the said berries, out of a primal fear of starvation, she denied them to her suitors.

One such suitor was the Willie who features in this ballad. He has provisionally been identified as the lad William Shakespeare (pre-plays), with whom she spent innumerable nights cracking peanuts and telling off-color jokes. Rumors of young Shakespeare's death (of love for the eponymous Barbara) at that juncture proved false, but in the fullness of time came true.

The future Lady Mondegreen's deplorable attitude is, it goes without saying, staunchly traditional. Further commentary will be interspersed among the lines below.


In starlit gown her pie was scorned,                [townsfolk felt it was sub-par, as pie]
Her buzz a fair-laid felon,                                [rumors of her affair with a criminal were rife]
May Devery's voice cried, "Will! Away!"        [her waiting-maid, ever alert]
Her game: blueberry sellin'.

He sent a serpent down her gown,                [a not infrequent courting tease]
What place (or three), no tellin',
"My master stickily beats his gums,
Your famous blueb'rry smellin'."

Then roly-poly she got stuffed,                                  [her binge stage; not pretty]
Went roly-poly nigh him,
And all she said when she got spare,                [just as well, perhaps, that the ballad
                                                                      omits to dwell upon the pool of her
"You're tan; I think you're dryin'."                          vomit on his floor]

"Oh yes, my schtick's arithmetic,                           [It appears he was the local schoolmaster]
And death is in misspellin',
Go-getter, go-getter I never can be,
If I can't have blueb'rry puddin'."

She burned his case of alcohol,                        [though anorexic, she was a teetotaler]
Her breath was him bombshellin',                [she had not brushed her teeth since
                                                                noshing on the pie]
"Air well, air well, ye maiden small!
Hard heart! No blueb'rry puddin'."

As she was talkin' on the phone,
She spied his gold horse comin',                        [a horse of a finer color, traditional sign of
                                                               upscale living]
"Play 'round, play 'round that gold, gold horse
That I mistook while slummin'."                        [in proletarian pride she disdains his
                                                          tasteless wealth]

The more mistook, the more inept,
She fell deep in the plumbin',                        [the earliest known ballad reference to flush toilets]
"Oh trick me out, and cram my dome,                [she regrets having been a C-minus student]
For I am fructifyin'."                                [puzzling survival, suggesting some outré aspect of archaic plant worship]

"Oh motor, motor me to bed,
And shake it like a sparrow,
My silly guy offed (big relief),
I'll try Sal's dye tomorrow.                        [she plans to change her hair color for the funeral]

In honored breath, dead attaché,
She egged a bee flayed by him,                        [Will was known for his unfortunate cruelty to insects]
And scored a penny dove ashtray                        [note tourist trade item readily available in nearby shop]
That seeded Erin's island.                                [survival of ancient record indicating first
arrival of vegetation in Ireland, 6,004,719 b.p.e.]

They scurried to the old sweatshop,                [indication of proto-industrial development in ballad-land]         
They hurried him right by her,                        [gender inequality raises its ugly head]
A bomber gave her a red prose push,                [she had not yet attained her later perfect purple prose.
                                                             The bomber is unidentified (Guy Fawkes?)]
And glommed her knave, a Buyer.                [Shakespeare's boyhood occupation; he was in gloves]

Skidoo, skidoo to the Research Tower,                [the building where new ballads were ritually produced]
Thursday, good-O! or prior,                        [she was double-booked for the party that afternoon]
Calcined astride, a true Big Shot,                        [in this incompletely understood passage she evidently
                                                             became an equestrian statue]
Tied red bows round her Buyer.                        [she indulges in the early ritual of gift-wrapping the
                                                             beloved so she can open him later]