Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat

DigiTrad:
BUTTERMILK HILL
I'LL SELL MY HAT, I'LL SELL MY COAT
SHULE AGRA or JOHNNY HAS GONE FOR A SOLDIER
SHULE AROON
SHULE AROON 1


Related threads:
Chords Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier (16)
Shool, shool, shool la rue (29)
Gone the rainbow PP&M translation (13)
Chord Req: Siuil a Ruin Chords and sheet ... (33)
(origins) Lyr Req: Siul a Ruin (81)
traditional tunes in Irish gaeilge (32)
Lyr/Chords Req: Johnny has gone for a soldier (7)
Help: Siul a Ruin (36)
Help: Suil A Ruin, correct spelling? (18)
Lyr Req: Shule Aroon (23)
Help: Shule Aroon: sell my rock, rod, reel (59)
Dilemma with 'Siul A Ruin' (24)
(origins) Origins: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier (15)
Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier (44)
Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier (10)
Shule Aroon / Shule Agra / Buttermilk Hill: Scots? (6)
Lyr Req: Johnnie Has Gone for a Soldier (10)
Lyr Add: Mickey's Gone for a Larborer (5)
Lyr Req: Suil A Ruin (6) (closed)
Siul A Run (5) (closed)


GUEST,Lotusland 28 Aug 09 - 02:21 PM
VirginiaTam 28 Aug 09 - 02:56 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 Aug 09 - 03:49 PM
Emma B 28 Aug 09 - 04:03 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 28 Aug 09 - 04:16 PM
Emma B 28 Aug 09 - 04:25 PM
Azizi 28 Aug 09 - 05:43 PM
Emma B 28 Aug 09 - 08:53 PM
Rumncoke 29 Aug 09 - 06:45 PM
Bert 29 Aug 09 - 07:31 PM
mg 29 Aug 09 - 09:04 PM
Charley Noble 29 Aug 09 - 09:22 PM
Fidjit 29 Aug 09 - 10:40 PM
MGM·Lion 29 Aug 09 - 11:19 PM
Fidjit 30 Aug 09 - 12:38 AM
Rowan 30 Aug 09 - 01:55 AM
Sandra in Sydney 30 Aug 09 - 03:31 AM
Emma B 30 Aug 09 - 06:51 AM
Emma B 30 Aug 09 - 07:09 AM
Tattie Bogle 30 Aug 09 - 07:26 AM
Jack Campin 30 Aug 09 - 07:35 AM
Emma B 30 Aug 09 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Lord Moosejoy, Bart. 30 Aug 09 - 11:44 AM
Marje 30 Aug 09 - 11:57 AM
Lighter 30 Aug 09 - 11:59 AM
Emma B 30 Aug 09 - 12:13 PM
Bert 30 Aug 09 - 08:47 PM
Tattie Bogle 30 Aug 09 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,leeneia 31 Aug 09 - 09:58 AM
Emma B 31 Aug 09 - 10:33 AM
Emma B 31 Aug 09 - 11:45 AM
The Sandman 31 Aug 09 - 12:33 PM
Marje 31 Aug 09 - 01:04 PM
The Sandman 31 Aug 09 - 01:14 PM
The Sandman 31 Aug 09 - 01:43 PM
Tattie Bogle 03 Sep 09 - 08:03 PM
Marje 04 Sep 09 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Sep 09 - 04:55 PM
Tattie Bogle 04 Sep 09 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Sep 09 - 10:41 PM
Rumncoke 05 Sep 09 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Liz 19 Apr 10 - 09:07 AM
Marje 19 Apr 10 - 11:32 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Apr 10 - 03:12 PM
Rowan 19 Apr 10 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,Fiona 28 Oct 10 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Blowzabella sans cookie 28 Oct 10 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Pachong 08 Aug 17 - 10:53 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Aug 17 - 05:35 PM
Joe_F 09 Aug 17 - 05:46 PM
leeneia 10 Aug 17 - 02:23 PM
Jack Campin 10 Aug 17 - 03:29 PM
ripov 10 Aug 17 - 08:11 PM
GUEST 21 Sep 17 - 09:06 PM
Thompson 22 Sep 17 - 06:37 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:








Subject: I'll dye my petticoat
From: GUEST,Lotusland
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 02:21 PM

In "Johnny's Gone for a Soldier," the singer says,
    "I'll die my petticoat, dye it red
    And go out in the world and beg my bread
    Until my parents wish me dead.
    Johnny's gone for a soldier."

What is the significance of dying her petticoat red? Is it to commemorate the fallen soldiers or is she supplementing her begging with prostitution?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: I'll dye my petticoat
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 02:56 PM

I always assumed it was the prostitute image being conjured in that line. But I did a google.

Think the following is mostly speculation but supports your idea.
see last but one paragraph.
Uni of Idaho paper

This seems more researched and based on visual evidence namely 17th centuray dutch paintings.
Puritans wore red petticoats


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 03:49 PM

No idea in that specific context. But I always understood the red petticoat, to be traditionally associated with Irish country women, and travellers or tinkers in particular? Perhaps there may be a connexion.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Emma B
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 04:03 PM

In the Lichtbob's Lassie

I'll dye my petticoats red
Yface them with the yellow
Tell the dyster's lad
I follow a Lichtbob fellow

It is said that, as red was a dye colour that was cheap to produce, it was often used to dye women's flannel petticoats.
These being the garment of the poor were often attributed to prostitiutes but would also probably have been worn by the camp followers - the numerous women (and their children!) who followed their husbands and partners on campaigns and often provideding the services of laundresses, mending clothing, cooking meals and nursing the wounded.

'Camp followers were not from any select social class. Officers' wives and mistresses accompanied them on the march. Women of more learned background, however, were also able to provide services such as copying correspondence, knitting and managing field hospitals

Women and children's names were submitted to the commanding officers and these camp followers were entitled to receive a portion of a ration.
Those women less formally affiliated with the soldiers relied on the soldier to give up a portion of his own rations or she had to fend for herself. Quite often, women who suddenly found themselves far from home and widowed quickly remarried one of her husband's comrades'


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 04:16 PM

Was 'Madder' used for red?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Emma B
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 04:25 PM

'Dyer's madder' or 'Turkey Red' were used to dye fabrics such as the red coats of the Redcoats; 'Turkey' refers to the country, which was an important source of the dye.

"Given the difficulty of the dyeing process, it is highly likely that the Redcoat wool came in many different shades of red when it was new. Add to that the natural sun-bleaching in the field, and the continual soaking and drying experienced by the soldiers, then we would definitely see a range of reds in the Crown Forces. Officers' coats might well be dyed with the even more expensive Cochineal dyes"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 05:43 PM

Colors mean different things in different cultures. See this post from this Mudcat thread thread.cfm?threadid=91064#1729865

Wearing Red-or another color
From: Azizi - PM
Date: 29 Apr 06 - 08:53 AM

Some common verses to the African American spiritual "Wade in the Water" include color references:

Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children,
Wade in the water
God's a-going to trouble the water

See that host all dressed in white
God's a-going to trouble the water
The leader looks like the Israelite
God's a-going to trouble the water

See that band all dressed in red
God's a-going to trouble the water
Looks like the band that Moses led
God's a-going to trouble the water

-snip-

I believe that these verses refer to different religious groups that are represented by a specific color. In this instance, red is a symbol of life and white a symbol of spiritual purity.

There is historical & present day documentation that in certain African American [post emancipation]religious denominations women wear certain colored dresses or robes. Wearing certain colored clothing is an intregal part of traditional {if not contemporary} African religious beliefs and practices


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Emma B
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 08:53 PM

'Stroudwater Red'

The term Stroudcloth or simply 'Stroud' originated in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England which was known for its "Stroudwater Red"; the river water there enabled excellent red-dyed woollens.
The term has come to mean a brush-napped woollen fabric with striped white (undyed) selvedge edges.

This district was known for its fine quality broadcloth which was used for the uniforms of the king's army.

When they first came into contact with Europeans, the Indigenous Peoples of north-eastern America preferred certain colours for artistic and religious reasons

This type of fabric was used by the Cree and Blackfoot to make leggings, dresses, and to add decorative trim to hide shirts, bags, headwear, and necklaces.

When I was in Washington DC last year I visited the wonderful National museum of the American Indian which had an exhibition of some beautiful womens clothing including some made from imported red Stroud cloth

An invoice from the Rocky Mt. outfit 1836 under the charge of Fontenelle, Fitzpatrick & Co from papers
of the American Fur Co lists 1 ps [piece] fancy list blue cloth, 16 ps saved list blue cloth, 3 gray list blue
cloth, 3 black list scarlet cloth, 1 saved list scarlet cloth, 3 saved list scarlet cloth, 3 saved list green cloth.

There is an example of a traditional quilt made from pieces of woollen trade goods (a staple of the fur trade to distant posts such as Fort Edmonton from the Hudson's Bay post) in Edmonton ca. 1870. in the Royal Alberta Museum
Fraser Woollen Stroud Quilt, ca. 1930

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Rumncoke
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 06:45 PM

The traditional outer garment of English women was a red cloak - as worn by little red riding hood. Welsh women wore a red shawl - French invaders mistook them for the red coats of soldiers and decided not to invade that day.

In 'The Railway children' the girls had red petticoats which they used to signal to the train driver that there was danger.

In Preverbs 31 the good wife clothes her household in scarlet, and herself in purple, though if it was Imperial purple the colour is what we would call crimson these days.

I believe that cloth dyed with red madder causes a sensation of warmth when it touches the skin as it is slightly irritating.

I recall seeing some early colour photos of Irish women who wore red garments - very striking.

Anne Croucher.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Bert
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 07:31 PM

or green


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: mg
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 09:04 PM

I thought it had something to do with being married..but maybe not.

THey say my Tralee ggm wore red flannel petticoats until she died. mg


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 09:22 PM

Most likely only a woman with servants could afford to keep her petticoats white. Any other color petticoat would survive longer without looking "dingy" between washings. A colored petticoat would make great good sense if a woman were traveling.

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Fidjit
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 10:40 PM

City Wakes sing a song about, Yellow Handkerchiefs. Presumably to denote an available young man

Also Yellow Stocking had the same meaning.

White stockings on a woman in Germany, was of course a virgin.

Chas

I like threads like this.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Aug 09 - 11:19 PM

This presumably would have been in Will Shax's mind when part of the trick played on Malvolio, the uppity Steward in '12th Night', was to make him put on yellow stockings as part of his absurd costume as he approaches to court his Lady, Olivia, whom he has been deceived by a fake letter into thinking is in love with him.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Fidjit
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 12:38 AM

Anybody else can't sleep on a Sunday morning?

Chas


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Rowan
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 01:55 AM

Camp followers were not from any select social class. Officers' wives and mistresses accompanied them on the march.

True enough, but the differentiation between the classes (sometimes referring to differing connubial arrangements attributed to them) gave rise to the saying

"Officers and their ladies, sergeants and their wives, men and their women."

If the lass is going out into the world to beg her bread, she'd need her garments to be coloured to appear presentable for longer, as Charley mentions.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 03:31 AM

scroll down for Petticoat info - extract - Flannel was a fabric used for underwear in general and for petticoats in particular. Red flannel petticoats were very fashionable in the 1860s and remained popular throughout the rest of the Victorian period. But they were by nature very bulky and by the 1890s were perhaps more sensible than fashionable items of underwear.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Emma B
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 06:51 AM

Dress in traded Stroudwater red from Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC

Crow elk tooth cloth dress, ca. 1890. Montana.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Emma B
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 07:09 AM

and......

From a web page on American antique corsets!

'Red wool became fashionable for undergarments at the end of the 1850s and was used for petticoats, cage crinolines and corsets.

The fashion historians, C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington, cite a source from the early 1860's complaining that "the old- fashioned stays are still too generally worn" and "often of red flannel, boned".'

photos from the collection of L. Hidic
corsetsandcrinolines.com

I feel quite itchy and glad to be born in the 20thC :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 07:26 AM

Bert mentions green: several songs about "goon o' green", usually indicating that the lady is unattached, as in the song he quoted.
And as in "Mormond Braes" : she's been dumped, but not too worried:

MORMOND BRAES
As I gaed doon by Strichen toon,
I heard a fair maid mournin',
And she was makin' sair complaint
For her true love ne'er returnin'.
Chorus:
Sae fare ye weel, ye Mormond Braes,
Where aft-times I've been cheery;
Fare ye weel, ye Mormond Braes,
For it's there I've lost my dearie.

There's as guid fish intae the sea
As ever yet was taken,
So I'll cast my net and try again
For I'm only aince forsaken.
Chorus

There's mony a horse has snappert an' fa'n
An' risen again fu' rarely,
There's mony a lass has lost her lad
An' gotten anither richt early.
Chorus

Sae I'll put on my goon o' green,
It's a forsaken token,
An' that will let the young lads ken
That the bonds o' love are broken.
Chorus

Sae I'll gyang back tae Strichen toon,
Whaur I was bred an' born(in'),
An' there I'll get anither sweetheart,
Will marry me the morn(in').
Chorus


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 07:35 AM

None of the information provided so far really hits the mark.

Saying that she was going to dye her petticoats red implies that they weren't red to begin with - that not everybody in her culture wore red petticoats, and those who did had a reason for it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Emma B
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 08:27 AM

A 'red petticoat' was C17th slang for a prostitute

The song Siuil a Rún refers to a lover's enlistment in the Irish Brigade who left Ireland after the Williamite War (1691) to serve in the French Army
The Lichtbob's Lassie is about a woman who wishes to give up a life of relative luxury (feather beds are soft) to follow a soldier of the Light Brigade

Such camp followers were often regarded as no better than prostitutes (in many cases they actually were) and I feel the connection with the verse to dye petticoats red is simply a statement that the intention/wish is to follow a lover into a campaign as a prostitute, if necessary.

However the life of their own that some threads take on can be a lot of fun too :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Alan Lomax says
From: GUEST,Lord Moosejoy, Bart.
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 11:44 AM

The Folksongs of North America, Song #20, Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier. Alan Lomax writes: "The girl dies her petticoat red to show that she is engaged and loyal to her absent Johnny."
Lomax does not explain why petticoat dying = loyalty, so we must take it on faith.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Marje
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 11:57 AM

Sounds as if there would be ample grounds for misunderstanding there, if dying your petticoats red could mean either that:
1.You were spoken for, and true to your absent lover, or
2. You were anybody's for the price of a drink.

Must have led to some interesting complications!

But I think there's an in-between explanation too. In the Lichtbob's Lassie, and also the similar Leaboys' Lassie, dying the petticoats red and having them faced with yellow does sound undeniably brash, but the girl is only interested in one man. I took it to mean that the she was going off following the soldiers/ leaboys, and had to accept the somewhat shameful status and dress code of a "camp follower" in order to be with the one she loved.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 11:59 AM

What it meant to the writer of the lines I don't know, but my guess is like Charley's and Rowan's: since she's going around the world to beg for bread , she'll need a petticoat that won't look dingy. But perhaps the writer had nothing spevial in mind - just needed to round out the stanza ("Hmmmm. 'I'll beg for bread...they'll wish me dead'...what rhymes with dead?")

What one makes of it today is an individual matter. If you think you know and pass it on, you're a "folklore source." If you know you don't know, and admit it, you're an academic. (Well, one sort of academic, anyway.)

When it comes to interpreting folk lyrics, as Rod Serling used to say, "the only boundary is that of imagination."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Emma B
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 12:13 PM

Much as I respect Lomax as a collector I've never heard of red being used to denote fidelity!

Many folk songs however refer to blue ribbons worn by either gender as a symbol of fidelity/betrothal
An ancient custom - dating from Biblical times, I believe, reflected in the modern wedding custom of 'something blue' - and used in such songs as "The Trees they do Grow High" and the nursery rhyme "Johnny's So Long at the Fair"
- He promised he'd bring me a bunch of blue ribbons.
To tie up my bonny brown hair

Then there's always the traditional broken token - but that's another thread :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Bert
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 08:47 PM

Oh Granny's red drawers
Oh Granny's red drawers
There's a hole in the middle
so Granny can piddle
Oh Granny's red drawers.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 30 Aug 09 - 08:54 PM

Even the fellas wore the blue ribbons! As in "Puir Rovin' Lassie":
"There's a bunch o' blue ribbons tae my love I'll prepare,
And through the lang simmer, I'll gie him tae wear".

And another green one, from Leezie Lindsay:
"She has kilted her coats o' green satin"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 31 Aug 09 - 09:58 AM

Speaking as a person pretty familiar with cloth, I want to know how far back that verse is known. (see first post)

Because I suspect it's a modern filler slapped on to make the song more emotional. If you've ever dyed anything, and you've ever owned any woolens, you would know that a finished petticoat would shrink drastically when subjected to the hot temp's and harsh chemicals involved in dying fabric.

And, to me, the line 'until my parents wish me dead' sounds like somethng from a modern soap opera, not from a traditional song.
It also sounds like a man trying to make himself think like a woman and not succeeding.

If I were singing this song, I would drop the whole verse.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Emma B
Date: 31 Aug 09 - 10:33 AM

leenia, the characteristics of wool broadcloth are slightly different from other broadcloth. It is usually twill with a two up and one down construction.
The fabric is fulled* after weaving, and before dyeing
It has a napped face and is closely sheared and polished.

*Fulling is a process where the cloth is cleansed, SHRUNK and thickened with moisture, heat and pressure.

As stated earlier, Stroud cloth which was used extensively for military uniforms and for cheap underwear was tradionally dyed in red, navy and green.

It's popularity as a trade cloth to North America can be seen that modern 'reproductions' of the fabric are still on sale
Matoska Trading Company


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Emma B
Date: 31 Aug 09 - 11:45 AM

Macaronic songs and verse are especially common in cultures with widespread bilingualism or language contact, such as Ireland before the middle of the nineteenth century.

According to Wiki macaronic traditional songs, such as Siúil A Rúin are quite common in Ireland but - despite the ref to the "Wild Geese" or Irish Brigade -

'the reference to the spinning wheel the girl wants to sell is more suggestive of the 19th than of the 17th century, and it is possible that the song was composed in the 1800s with the conscious intention of styling it after older songs.

Amnyways, that's 'traditional enough for me :)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Aug 09 - 12:33 PM

the yellow handkerchief,as in the Suffolk song Flash Company.
I was under the impression, perhaps mistakenly,was a sign that the person was suffering from venereal disease.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Marje
Date: 31 Aug 09 - 01:04 PM

That would be handy, wouldn't it, if people who had a sexually transmitted diseases all wore a yellow handkerchief, so we'd all know? But I can't help suspecting that the practice would never be widely adhered to.

As to the girl dying her petticoats: maybe it was some pre-shrunk fabric that could be dyed, or maybe it's just poetic licence - she's saying that she might as well go around in red petticoats from now on because she's going to be thought of as a bit of a trollop.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Aug 09 - 01:14 PM

Marje,do you have an explanation,for the term wear the yellow handkerchief in remembrance of me.
what you suspect is immaterial


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: The Sandman
Date: 31 Aug 09 - 01:43 PM

I think it meant that the person was dying from a venereal disease,
but the yellow handkerchief was a way of remembering and reminding people not to lead a dissolute life,more than a warning to keep away,does not the song belong in the same family as The Streets Of Laredo?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 03 Sep 09 - 08:03 PM

Wasn't the yellow flag flown on ships to indicate there was infectious disease on board - "the quarantine flag"?
And the song "Tie a yellow ribbon" was in hope that the lover would come back from the war?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Marje
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 05:12 AM

Yellow ribbons have for a long time been used to signify that someone absent was being waited for. A yellow handkerchief worn by an individual would seem to be a suitable substitute, and "in remembrance of me" could well mean nothing more than this. There's a recent film called "The Yellow Handkerchief" that uses it in this way, although I accept that this doesn't prove it's a long-standing custom.

On the other hand I can find nothing to prove or even suggest that it signified that the wearer had venereal disease, and it seems, as I indicated in my flippant comment above, unlikely that anyone thus afflicted would want to advertise their condition to the world in this way. But I'm keeping an open mind on this, and interested to learn more if anyone has evidence.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 04:55 PM

and don't forget:

Around her neck she wore a yellow ribbon.
She wore in the springtime and the winter, so they say.
And if you asked her why the heck she wore it,
She wore it for her lover who was far, far away.

and then there's:

Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree (that pop song by what's-his-name.)

So there's a minor tradition that yellow means remembrance. However, let us think about the names of colors:

white
black
tan
green
pink
red
blue
turqoise
yellow
orange
purple

Note how many have one syllable. If you need two syllables, as is often the case, you have to take yellow, purple, orange, or turquoise. Of these, purple is comic (Flying Purple People-eater), orange is ugly to sing, and turquoise is twee. That leaves yellow.

Decorator colors (mauve and chartreuse) don't come into it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 05:01 PM

Another one who doesn't read previous posts: I'd mentioned "Tie a yellow ribbon" only 2 posts above yours, Leeneia!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Sep 09 - 10:41 PM

I wished to summarize the entire corpus. Please don't be offended.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Rumncoke
Date: 05 Sep 09 - 03:04 PM

http://www.wofecostumesociety.org/newsletters/08_nov_wecs_news.pdf

I noticed that in the above newsletter it is mentioned that red petticoats were regarded as healthy.

It gives no other information, but the newsletter is an interesting read for anyone into costume.

Anne Croucher


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: GUEST,Liz
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 09:07 AM

I know nothing about the pedagogery of the music...I've just sung the song. I always interpreted this as that she had given herself to her love before he left on the trip and perhaps even was pregnant as a result. Therefore, she could not longer wear "pure" petticoats and her parents tossed her out of the house.

She doesn't follow her love in the lyrics...she's waiting for him at home, so the idea of a camp follower doesn't fit.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Marje
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 11:32 AM

There's more than one "red petticoat" song under discussion.

In "johnny's gone for a soldier" the girl is left behind, but in "Lichtbob's Lassie" she goes and follows him.

Marje


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 03:12 PM

The stanza in question that describes the dying of the petticoat and some of the others that Shule Agra and Lichtbobs Lassie have in common are 'commonplaces' that occur in several old songs. An eighteenth century version of that same stanza runs thus. 'The Hairy Cap'/'Jack and his Dandy Hat' of which there are several versions.

Then I'll go and sell my gown you know,
Likewise my scarlet roccelo,
I'll sell them upon my word,
All for to buy a good sword:
I'll look as rakish as young Jack,
With a scarlet cloak and a Hairy Cap.

In an English oral copy
'Sweet William among the Rushes' it runs

I'll have my petticoat bound wi' red (dye in the slip song)
And the lad I love, I'll beg his bread,
And then my parents'll wish him dead.
Sweet William in the morning among the rushes.

This derives from a late 18thc Yorkshire slip song 'Sweet William'.

In Herd 1776 we have

I'll sell my rock, my reel and tow
My gude grey m,are and hacket cow,
To buy my love a tartan plaid,
Because he is a roving blade.

In beaumont and Fletcher's 'The Two Noble Kinsmen' 1634 we have possibly related stanzas with other colours brought in.

For I'll cut my green coat a foot above my knee
And I'll clip my yellow locks an inch below mine ee
Hey, nonny, nonny, nonny.

He'll buy me a white cut, forth for to ride,
And I'll go seek him through the world that is so wide.
Hey nonny etc.

FWIW EmmaB seems to know what she's talking about.

The meaning of the red cloth could easily change from century to century as the verse has been reused in different songs, but, Jonathan, I presume your slighting remarks on those who are trying to put some historical background on this, are tongue in cheek!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Rowan
Date: 19 Apr 10 - 07:32 PM

Decorator colors (mauve and chartreuse) don't come into it.

Dimly recalled from my school chemistry classes is the information that mauve didn't exist as a colour until the invention of coal-based organic chemistry (circa 1870?) after which mauve and its relatives (magenta et al.) became all the rage; it was new and it was inexpensive. Later reading led me to the info that the colour was taken by the first wave of feminists to give their cause an identifying colour, not unlike the current association of red shirts and yellow shirts with opposing political groups in Thailand.

Oscar Wilde had something to say about the overwhelming availability of magenta in his last days, in France.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: GUEST,Fiona
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 03:46 PM

I recall that it was said that Mary Queen of Scots "dressed herself as a martyr... and dyed her petticoat red" before her execution. So, I've always thought that the song "Siuil a Rún" refers to the lady perceiving herself as a martyr for her husband's needs.

It is possible that red has been considered a brash color only in the past hundred or so years.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: GUEST,Blowzabella sans cookie
Date: 28 Oct 10 - 05:15 PM

Interesting thread -

On the 'yellow' thread of the discussion, I have a CD somewhere, of tudor music and I know there's a song on there called 'Bring Me My Yellow Hose' where the singer is hearkening back to his bachelor days. I also found this which is very similar:

Give Me My Yellow Hose

Give Me My Yellow Hose

When I was a bachelor,
I led a merry life,
But now I am a married man,
And troubled with a wife.
I cannot do as I have done,
Because I live in fear;
If I but go to Islington,
My wife is watching there.
Give me my yellow hose again,
Give me my yellow hose
For now my wife she watcheth me,
See yonder where she goes.

But when I was apprentice bound,
And my indentures made,
In many faults I have been found,
Yet never thus afraid,
For if I chance now by the way
A woman for to kiss,
The rest are ready for to say,
Thy wife shall hear of this.
Give me my yellow hose, etc.

Thus when I come in company,
I pass my mirth in fear,
For one or other merrily
Will say my wife is there.
And then my look doth make them laugh,
To see my woeful case,
How I stand like John-Hold-My-Staff,
And dare not show my face.
Give me my yellow hose, etc.

Thus marriage is an enterprise,
Experience doth show,
But scolding is an exercise.
That married men do know;
For all this while there were no blows
Yet still their tongues were talking,
And very fain would yellow hose
Have had her fists a walking.
Give me my yellow hose, etc.

This maketh bachelors to halt,
So long before they wed,
Because they hear that women now
Will be their husband's head.
And seven long year I tarried
For Jackaman my wife,
But now that I am married,
I'm weary of my life.
Give me my yellow hose, etc.

But now I see she is so hot,
And lives so much at ease,
I will go get a soldier's coat,
And sail beyond the seas;
To serve my captain where and when,
Though it be to my pain,
Thus farewell, gentle Jackaman,
Till we two meet again.
Give me my yellow hose, etc.


From Broadside Ballads, Vol 2, Folkways, 1961
AJS
apr97




I know that, at one stage in history, prostitutes were required to wear a striped hood - but I'm not sure whether the colour of their petticoats was ever prescribed. I'll be interested to hear more and will continue looking myself.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat red
From: GUEST,Pachong
Date: 08 Aug 17 - 10:53 PM

= During the earlier Middle ages, the only available Dye was red and came from a mollusk. It was expensive and only royalty could afford It then. Most homespun was not dyed but was colored as raw as its fiber source.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Aug 17 - 05:35 PM

We have no way of knowing what passed for folksong in the earlier Middle ages. Even the possibles that survive from the 15th century are very scarce. As a folksong the song under discussion has not been traced any further back than the 18thc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Joe_F
Date: 09 Aug 17 - 05:46 PM

Possibly off topic: When the women heard that Brady was dead, did they rerag in red to mourn, or to celebrate?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: leeneia
Date: 10 Aug 17 - 02:23 PM

Speaking of dyeing things, take a look at this page:

pelle's new suit


Does it bring back fond memories? It does for me. It seems to be late-19th or early 20th C., and in the sixth row, right tend, we see wool being dyed right on the farm. So when the singer says,

    I'll dye my petticoat, dye it red...

it may not be as far-fetched as it seems.
==========
I don't believe red has any special meaning. It simply rhymes with bread and dead.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Aug 17 - 03:29 PM

During the earlier Middle ages, the only available Dye was red and came from a mollusk. It was expensive and only royalty could afford It then. Most homespun was not dyed but was colored as raw as its fiber source.

Not true. Plant-based dyes and pigments go back to the Neolithic.

The hard-to-achieve, really expensive dye colour for mediaeval clothing was black.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: ripov
Date: 10 Aug 17 - 08:11 PM

The suggested association of a yellow handkerchief with infection is interesting, a yellow signal flag, representing the letter "Q" - for "Quarantine" - was (is?) flown by a ship to warn of a case of infectious disease on board. One can imagine that sailors would joke that some women (and probably some men - see, i'm not sexist) - should fly a yellow flag!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Sep 17 - 09:06 PM

The woman sold her means of living (flax, spinning wheel, [yarn] reel) and - taking inspiration from Steve Gardham's contribution,
[I'll sell my rock, my reel and tow
My gude grey m,are and hacket cow,
To buy my love a tartan plaid,
Because he is a roving blade.]
- maybe the less valuable tow from the flax plant,too. And that woman sold her horse and cow, too. So, I think "rock" might have originally been "flock", to complete the spinning motif.
Having done that, she could well be destitute. "Rod" in one version presumably is due to someone assuming the reel is a fishing reel, which makes no sense in the context, but at least it is alliterative.
Begging plus prostitution makes sense to me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Meaning: I'll dye my petticoat
From: Thompson
Date: 22 Sep 17 - 06:37 AM

Prostitution, I think.

Be cautious about assigning relatively modern images to very old songs.

I've never personally heard red petticoats associated with either Irish country women or Traveller women. They were the traditional dress of Connemara women and women of the Aran Islands in the 19th century. Earlier? I don't know, and am inclined to think not.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 21 October 7:11 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.