The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #753   Message #3445868
Posted By: MGM·Lion
02-Dec-12 - 04:27 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Indian Maid? / Silver Bell + Red Wing
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Indian Maid? / Silver Bell + Red Wing
Another WW1 song, quoted in Ernest Raymond's WW1 novel Tell England [1922], Were "The moon shines bright on Mrs Porter, And on her daughter, A regular snorter. She has washed her feet in dirty water. She didn't oughter. The Dirty cat!'

cf T S Eliot's The Waste Land -

Lines 196-202 of T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land are:

    196)    But at my back from time to time I hear
    197)    The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring
    198)    Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.
    199)    O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
    200)    And on her daughter
    201)    They wash their feet in soda water
    202)    Et, O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole!

{Line 196 refs Andrew Marvell's [1621-78] To His Coy Mistress. ~M~}

Eliot's note for line 199 was:

    I do not know the origin of the ballad from which these lines are taken: it was reported to me from Sydney, Australia.

Mrs. Porter was a madame of a Cairo brothel and she and her daughter were well known to Australian troops who created new (risque) lyrics to a popular ragtime song. Kenneth Asher on page 44 of his T.S. Eliot and Ideology, supplies the following text that the troops sung:

    O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
    And on the daughter
    of Mrs. Porter.
    They wash their ____s in soda water
    and so they ougther
    To keep them clean

{From website "Exploring The Waste Land"}