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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


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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
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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.


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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.


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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!


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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.


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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.


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