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Origins: The Tailor and the Louse

DigiTrad:
THE TAILOR AND THE LOUSE
THE TAILOR AND THE MOUSE


Related threads:
Lyr Req: The Tailor & The Mouse (14)
Lyr Add: The Tailor and the Louse (11)


GUEST,The Vulgar Boatman 09 Dec 07 - 06:02 PM
Leadfingers 09 Dec 07 - 07:27 PM
Little Robyn 10 Dec 07 - 01:36 AM
Malcolm Douglas 10 Dec 07 - 02:04 AM
RoyH (Burl) 10 Dec 07 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,Ian cookieless 10 Dec 07 - 08:16 AM
The Vulgar Boatman 10 Dec 07 - 04:20 PM
GUEST 18 Nov 11 - 11:08 AM
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Subject: Origins: The Tailor and the Louse
From: GUEST,The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 06:02 PM

I've just been looking at this again - wonderful imagery, good tune, what the !$&*@ is it about? Is it pure nonsense, yet another dig at the poor tailor by way of the company he keeps or is there something political. All ideas welcome.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Tailor and the Louse
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Dec 07 - 07:27 PM

Are you looking at Benjamin Bowmaneer V B ? or a similar song ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Tailor and the Louse
From: Little Robyn
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 01:36 AM

I used to know The Tailor and the Mouse. High diddle um tum feedle!
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Tailor and the Louse
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 02:04 AM

Not 'Bowmaneer', but perhaps in some degree related to it. See threads:

Lyr ADD: The Tailor and the Louse: text and tune noted by the Hammond brothers from George Udall, Halstock, Dorset, July 1906. Also in DT at The Tailor and the Louse.

Lyr Req: The Tailor & The Mouse: text and tune from Baring-Gould and Sharp, English Folk-Songs for Schools. Derivative text and tune, from Burl Ives Song Book, in DT: The Tailor and the Mouse.

Those discussions also contain links to 'Bowmaneer' threads; all can be found via the search engine. There is some brief mention of the C18 broadside song 'A Bloody Battle between a Taylor and a Louse' and the C17 'A Dreadful Battle between a Taylor and a Louse' (mid C17, reissued later as 'The War-like Taylor'), in the notes to Classic English Folk Songs, the recent revision of The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, for which supplementary material can be seen at Classic English Folk Songs: Supplementary material.

How far the later songs can be said to be 'related' to the earlier, as opposed to being separate compositions on a familiar theme, I wouldn't like to guess. There may, I suppose, have been some specific target intended by the broadside writers; but I don't recall authorities like Ebsworth making any suggestion along those lines. As like as not, the songs are all just swipes at a popular butt for ridicule, the tailor.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Tailor and the Louse
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 07:03 AM

Is this the one with the 'Heigh Ho The Weaver, and 'Gentlemen, the Tailor' chorus lines?   I've sung it from time to time and usually announced it as 'a bit of nonsense'. If there is any deeper meaning I'd love to know it. Burl.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Tailor and the Louse
From: GUEST,Ian cookieless
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 08:16 AM

VB, it's my understanding that tailors in folk culture (not just song, note that the original peeping Tom in the Godiva story was a tailor, for example) are always stereoyped and ridiculed as tight-fisted, lecherous and leering, scheming and over-charge for their work. Why? Well, in European history Jews were prevented from owning land and thereby prevented from doing a whole host of jobs. One of the key professions Jews entered was tailoring, so it's no coincidence that the professional caricature of the tailor is identical to the anti-semitic caricature of the Jew. And that's why trad. songs invariably try to make the tailor look ridiculous, though The Tailor and the Louse does this in a rather opaque way.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Tailor and the Louse
From: The Vulgar Boatman
Date: 10 Dec 07 - 04:20 PM

That's the one, Burl. Sounds almost like the weavers taking the rise out of the tailors with a sarcastic toast...
Ian, as to anti-semitism, curiously enough the only Jewish tailors I've been personally acquainted with have been far more like Morry in Mankowitz's "Bespoke Overcoat", but that's a bit modern. Was tailoring a major profession for Jews when the likes of The Tailor and the Louse or even The Tailor's Breeches came into being, or are we rationalising the stereotype to include anti-semitism? As you may gather from the original question, that bit of history is a weak point for me.
As an aside, though, I have to admit that when an old Jewish friend of mine was called up to the Army in WW2, he was greeted with "You're Jewish - you must be good at tailoring..." and set to altering uniforms!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Tailor and the Louse
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 11:08 AM

i love the talior and the mouse


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