The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #101778   Message #2056520
Posted By: Jack Campin
19-May-07 - 02:00 PM
Thread Name: Child #20 - what is Lindsay?
Subject: RE: Child #20 - what is Lindsay?
I very much doubt whether that sort of contrived clan symbolism ever made it into a song. There is nothing else in the song that refers to any family specifically.

I can't find any reference to "linsey" being used in isolation from the phrase "linsey-woolsey", but flax is used as a metaphor for fair hair in both Scots ("lintwhite") and English ("flaxen"). "Rose" also characterizes complexion. So I would guess the line is telling us the woman had rosy cheeks and fair hair.

Variants of this song tend to attract nonsense refrains. "Bonny Saint Johnstone that stands upon Tay"? Er, why????