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meaning: 'beechen gold' (from False Lover John)

DigiTrad:
FALSE SIR JOHN
FALSE SIR JOHN 2
LADY ISABEL AND THE ELF-KNIGHT
LADY ISOBEL AND THE ELF KNIGHT
OUTLANDISH KNIGHT
THE KING O' SPAIN'S DAUGHTER
THE LONELY WILLOW TREE


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Roberto 30 Aug 07 - 10:56 AM
Anne Lister 30 Aug 07 - 11:12 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Aug 07 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 30 Aug 07 - 01:36 PM
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Subject: 'beechen gold'
From: Roberto
Date: 30 Aug 07 - 10:56 AM

In Corny McDaid's recording of False Lover John (Child #4), Early Ballads in Ireland 1968-1985, edited by Hugh Shields & Tom Munnelly, European Ethnic Oral Traditions, there is this stanza:

It's hold your tongue, my little parrot
And tell no tales on me
And your cage'll be made of a beechen gold
Instead of a hazel tree

Question: how to translate "beechen gold"? The singer misunderstood/mispronunced the usual "beaten gold", or it is to think that the cage shall be made of beechen and gold, or of golden beechen, or of beechen with gold inlay? Thanks. R


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Subject: RE: 'beechen gold'
From: Anne Lister
Date: 30 Aug 07 - 11:12 AM

Or possibly the person writing the words down misheard "beech and gold"?

Most likely it's the "beaten gold" mishearing by the singer, though.


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Subject: RE: 'beechen gold'
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Aug 07 - 11:31 AM

It is beaten gold in a version in Bronson and in Child, undoubtedly what is meant. 'Yellow gold' in another.
Beechen is an old word for the word beech but obviously not meant here (see OED).
Some Irish had a hard time with t and d, thus murther for murder, and possibly beathen for beaten, but there is no reason to use this mis-pronounciation.


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Subject: RE: 'beechen gold'
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Aug 07 - 01:36 PM

Con sang beaten on the occasions I heard him.
Jim Carroll


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