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Peggy Ramsey - please translate Scots-English

DigiTrad:
PEG O' RAMSAY


Stower 27 Jan 12 - 03:10 PM
Paul Burke 27 Jan 12 - 03:20 PM
Stower 27 Jan 12 - 03:26 PM
Paul Burke 27 Jan 12 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,SteveG 27 Jan 12 - 05:52 PM
Stower 28 Jan 12 - 03:31 AM
Paul Burke 28 Jan 12 - 04:56 AM
GUEST,SteveG 28 Jan 12 - 05:46 AM
Stower 28 Jan 12 - 01:54 PM
GUEST,SteveG 28 Jan 12 - 02:27 PM
GUEST,SteveG 28 Jan 12 - 03:31 PM
Noreen 28 Jan 12 - 06:18 PM
Noreen 28 Jan 12 - 06:22 PM
Stower 29 Jan 12 - 02:37 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 29 Jan 12 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Auldtimer 29 Jan 12 - 06:19 AM
Stower 29 Jan 12 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 29 Jan 12 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,auldtimer 29 Jan 12 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,SteveG 29 Jan 12 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 29 Jan 12 - 01:20 PM
Paul Burke 29 Jan 12 - 01:39 PM
GUEST,SteveG 29 Jan 12 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,SteveG 29 Jan 12 - 03:05 PM
Paul Burke 29 Jan 12 - 03:13 PM
MGM·Lion 26 Jul 13 - 01:37 PM
MGM·Lion 26 Jul 13 - 01:39 PM
GUEST 27 Jul 13 - 06:54 AM
Jack Campin 27 Jul 13 - 07:50 AM
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Subject: ADD: Peggy Ramsey
From: Stower
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 03:10 PM

Below is the song, Peggy Ramsey, as it appears in Pills to Purge Melancholy, 1719-20. I'd like to know from a Scots speaker what this means, please. I'm more or less fine with the first three verses (except what is a Wethergig?), then after that I get completely lost. It's supposed to be a humorous saucy song, but I'm afraid it's lost on me! Even if you can only translate bits into English English, I'd be grateful for the help.

PEGGY RAMSEY

BONNY Peggy Ramsey that any Man may see,
And bonny was her Face, with a fair freckel'd Eye,
Neat is her Body made, and she hath good Skill,
And square is her Wethergig made like a Mill:
With a hey trolodel, hey trolodel, hey trolodel lill,
Bonny Peggy Ramsey she gives weel her Mill.

Peggy to the Mill is gone to grind a Bowl of Mault,
The Mill it wanted Water, and was not that a fault;
Up she pull'd her Petticoats and piss'd into the Dam,
For six Days and seven Nights she made the Mill to gang;
With a hey, &c.

Some call her Peggy, and some call her Jean,
But some calls her Midsummer, but they all are mista'en;
For Peggy is a bonny Lass, and grinds well her Mill,
For she will be Occupied when others they lay still:
With a hey, &c.

Peg, thee and Ise grin a poke, and we to War will leanes,
Ise lay thee flat upon thy Back and then lay to the steanes;
Ise make hopper titter totter, haud the Mouth as still,
When twa sit, and eane stand, merrily grind the Mill:
With a hey, &c.

Up goes the Clap, and in goes the Corn,
Betwixt twa rough steans Peggy not to learn;
With a Dam full of Water that she holdeth still,
To pour upon the Clap for burning of the Mill:
With a hey, &c.

Up she pull'd the Dam sure and let the Water in,
The Wheel went about, and the Mill began to grind:
The spindle it was hardy, and the steanes were they well pickt,
And the Meal fell in the Mill Trough, and ye may all come lick:
With a hey trolodel, hey trolodel, hey trolodel lill,
Bonny Peggy Ramsey she gives weel her Mill.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Paul Burke
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 03:20 PM

No Scots speaker, but it's fairly clear in meaning. Bury New Loom sort of stuff, technical terms used to denote whatever.
we to War will leanes, I suspect "wark" was intended.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Stower
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 03:26 PM

I'm glad it's clear to you, Paul, it isn't to me! If there are milling terms in there, I don't understand them, either! "grin a poke"? "clap"? "hopper"?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Paul Burke
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 04:06 PM

Grind a poke (sack)

Oh bugger here's Rabbi Burns, only a couple of days late:

    Address to the Unco Guid or the Rigidly Righteous

    My Son, these maxims make a rule,
    An lump them ay thegither:
    The Rigid Righteous is a fool.
    The Rigid Wise anither;
    The cleanest corn that e'er was dight
    May hae some pyles o caff in;
    So ne'er a fellow-creature slight
    For random fits o daffin.

    O ye, wha are sae guid yoursel,
    Sae pious and sae holy,
    Ye've nought to do but mark and tell
    Your neebours' fauts and folly!
    Whose life is like a weel-gaun mill,
    Supplied wi store o water;
    The heapet happer's ebbing still.
    An still the clap plays clatter!

    Hear me, ye venerable core,
    As counsel for poor mortals
    That frequent pass douce Wisdom's door
    For glaikit Folly's portals:
    I for their thoughtless, careless sakes,
    Would here propone defences
    Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes,
    Their failings and mischances.

    Ye see your state wi theirs compared,
    And shudder at the niffer:
    But cast a moment's fair regard,
    What maks the mighty differ?
    Discount what scant occasion gave,
    That purity ye pride in;
    And (what's aft mair than a' the lave)
    Your better art o hidin.

    Think, when your castigated pulse
    Gies now and then a wallop,
    What ragings must his veins convulse,
    That still eternal gallop!
    Wi wind and tide fair i your tail
    Right on ye scud your sea-way;
    But in the teeth o baith to sail,
    It maks an unco lee-way.

    See Social Life and Glee sit down,
    All joyous and unthinking,
    Till, quite transmugrify'd, they're grown
    Debauchery and Drinking:
    O, would they stay to calculate
    Th' eternal consequences,
    Or your more dreaded hell to state -
    Damnation of expenses!

    Ye high, exalted, virtuous dames,
    Tied up in godly laces,
    Before ye gie poor Frailty names.
    Suppose a change o cases:
    A dear-lov'd lad. convenience snug,
    A treach'rous inclination -
    But, let me whisper i your lug,
    Ye're aiblins nae temptation.

    Then gently scan your brother man,
    Still gentler sister woman;
    Tho they may gang a kennin wrang,
    To step aside is human:
    One point must still be greatly dark,
    The moving Why they do It;
    And just as lamely can ye mark,
    How far perhaps they rue it.

    Who made the heart, 'tis He alone
    Decidedly can try us:
    He knows each chord, its various tone,
    Each spring, its various bias:
    Then at the balance let's be mute,
    We never can adjust it.
    What's done we partly may compute,
    But know not what's resisted.

    Meaning of unusual words:

    dight=sifted
    caff=chaff
    daffin=larking
    weel-gaun=well-going
    heapet=heaped, pile up
    happer=hopper
    clap=clapper of a mill
    core=crowd
    douce=sober, respectable
    glaikit=stupid
    propone=state in a court of law
    donsie=unfortunate
    niffer=barter,exchange
    lave=rest
    scud=sail quickly over
    unco=uncommon
    lug=ear
    aiblins=perhaps
    kennin=known


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 27 Jan 12 - 05:52 PM

What makes you think the song is Scottish? If it's in Pills there's a very strong likelihood it was written by Tom himself. Pseudo-Scotttish songs were very popular towards the end of the 17th century.
It's full of the euphemisms one gets in many a song of its type, but looking at the last verse this one pushes the point rather too far.

It's getting late. If you really want a full explanation I'll have a go tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Stower
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 03:31 AM

OK, Steve G, I know about the renaissance/baroque fashion for writing "Scotch" songs. Pills To Purge is a mixture of pre-existing material and new songs. My Scots is virtually non-existent, so I can't tell good from bad, authentic from fake. But I'd still like to know what the song's getting at!

Below I have reproduced the words with the bits that puzzle me in CAPITALS.

Bonny Peggy Ramsey that any Man may see,
And bonny was her Face, with a fair freckel'd Eye,
Neat is her Body made, and she hath good Skill,
And square is her WETHERGIG made like a Mill:
With a hey trolodel, hey trolodel, hey trolodel lill,
Bonny Peggy Ramsey she gives weel her Mill.

Peggy to the Mill is gone to grind a Bowl of Mault,
The Mill it wanted Water, and was not that a fault;
Up she pull'd her Petticoats and piss'd into the Dam,
For six Days and seven Nights she made the Mill to gang;
With a hey, &c.

Some call her Peggy, and some call her Jean,
But some calls her MIDSUMMER [WHY MIDSUMMER?], but they all are mista'en;
For Peggy is a bonny Lass, and grinds well her Mill,
For she will be Occupied when others they lay still:
With a hey, &c.

Peg, thee and Ise GRIN A POKE, and we to WAR WILL LEANES,
Ise lay thee flat upon thy Back and then lay to the steanes;
Ise make HOPPER TITTER TOTTER, haud the Mouth as still,
When twa sit, and eane stand, merrily grind the Mill:
With a hey, &c.

Up goes the CLAP [WHAT IS A CLAP ON A MILL?], and in goes the Corn,
Betwixt twa rough steans Peggy NOT TO LEARN [MEANING?];
With a Dam full of Water that she holdeth still,
To pour upon the Clap for BURNING [WHY BURNING?] of the Mill:
With a hey, &c.

Up she pull'd the Dam sure and let the Water in,
The Wheel went about, and the Mill began to grind:
The spindle it was hardy, and the steanes were they well pickt,
And the Meal fell in the Mill Trough, and ye may all come LICK [= LIKE?]:
With a hey trolodel, hey trolodel, hey trolodel lill,
Bonny Peggy Ramsey she gives weel her Mill.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Paul Burke
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 04:56 AM

Wethergig- probably weather rather than something to do with sheep.

Let's try The Scots Dictionary.

gig - a silly girl, a prostitute, a silly, flighty fellow, a trifler.

gig - anything that whirls, an ingenious artifice, a curiosity, a charm, a winnowing fan, a jig, a state of flurry.


So, a whirligig or toy windmill, punning on sexual laxity.

Grin - grind, war, wark (= work)

Clap - possibly the lid of the hopper which contains the grist.
Or perhaps the governor, though this would be a very early reference.
titter totter- bounce around.

Burning- fire was an ever- present hazard in mills, with the grindstones and underlubricated mechanisms producing heat, and plenty of combustible material around. The miller might need a lot of water quickly.

As for the meaning, you need little Scots to know they were at it - like the clappers.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 05:46 AM

Nice one, Paul
Wether is a ram of one year but that doesn't seem appropriate. Wethergig doesn't appear in any of my slang dictionaries. A guess is that she is stockily built like a windmill.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Stower
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 01:54 PM

Thanks, Paul, much appreciated. The general meaning of the song was clear from the beginning, of course, but I may want to include this song in a show I'm planning, so every word in every line has to have a clear meaning. So, just to claify, any other thoughts on the meaning of ...

Wethergig (is she really going to have a square toy windmill?)

"But some calls her Midsummer" Why Midsummer?

"Peg, thee and Ise grin(d) A POKE, and we to Work will LEANES" grind a poke? Leanes to work?

"When twa sit, and eane stand" When you sit and I stand? When two sit and one stands?

"Betwixt twa rough steans Peggy not to learn" What does "not to learn" mean?

"and ye may all come lick" = like?

Any further ideas will be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Stower


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 02:27 PM

'When twa sit and one stand' is fairly obvious. Please don't expect exact matches in these analogies. The two stones are at once the man's testicles and the two mill stones. One stand is of course the penis and perhaps the miller who stands to do his work, or perhaps the spindle mentioned in a later verse.

The rest is pretty explicit but I'll have a go later.

'Peggy not to learn' one can only guess at, unless it's a misprint or mishearing. 'Peggy not forlorn' rhymes better with 'corn'.

The song is repeated in Farmer 2 p151 where it is dated at c1707 but Chappell in 'Popular Music' gives a long discourse on the tune which is quite a lot older being used for the earlier song 'London is a fine town' much used and parodied. See pp218-220.

BTW in Pills it's Vol 5 p139. I had bother finding it because it has only the title 'A Song' and I had given it the editorial title 'Bonny Peggy Ramsay' Chappell calls it 'Peg A Ramsay, or Peggie Ramsay'.

More anon.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 03:31 PM

The piece of wood or metal that strikes the hopper, presumably to stop the hopper from clogging up with flour, is called the clapper, but here I think the clap is simply the lid of the box that the grain is poured into. Hence lifting up the clap is the equivalent of lifting up her dress or smock, to put in his 'chiefest grain'.

The reference to the dam and holding back the water can surely only mean the lubricating love juices produced by the girl. Only when this is released can the operation really get going. As someone has said both operations produce friction. It could possibly mean that in both cases water is needed to cool them down. These double entendres are rarely precise especially once they get into oral tradition.

As for that last line 'ye may all come and lick' yeuch! Think about the last line of some versions of the crabfish 'There's an apple up me arse and you can have the core' for something similar.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Noreen
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 06:18 PM

From "A dictionary of sexual language and imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart literature" by Gordon Williams: link from google books

gig 1. a wanton lass...
      2. 'Woman's Privities' ... (ahem... you need to read this yourself...) certainly the lady in Bonny Peggy Ramsay (1707; D'Urfey V139) is well-equipped:
      "square is her wethergig made like a mill"


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Noreen
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 06:22 PM

Stower, I think you missed earlier where Paul put:

Grind a poke (sack)
(cf. pig in a poke)

ie they would grind a sack of corn together.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Stower
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 02:37 AM

Steve and Noreen - very *very* much appreciated, thank you for taking the time.

I've discovered that giglot is 14th c. term for a lewd, wanton woman, obscure origin, so gig in the sense above must be an abbreviation of that.

Peg a (also Peggy and Peg o') Ramsey or Ramsay is much older than Pills to Purge, being named as the tune for some 17th century broadsides. It must have been very well known indeed in c.1600 when Shakespeare used the song title - with the audience intended to know exactly what it implied - in Twelfth Night:

Sir Toby Belch: My lady's a Cataian, we are politicians, Malvolio's a Peg-a-Ramsey

Now whether D'Urfey reproduced what was already extant, added to it or simply rewrote the whole thing, we can't know, but the latter seems unlikely given the way it fits in Twelfth Night. If D'Urfey did rewrite the whole thing he almost certainly did it in the spirit of the original, just as the broadside The little Barley-corn was a rewrite of Stingo, with different words but exactly the same meaning. Unless you know otherwise ...


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 05:01 AM

"Square" probably doesn't mean an equilateral rightangled quadrilateral, but well- made, not crooked, correctly adjusted.

SteveG- I was hoping I wouldn't have to explain the dam.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 06:19 AM

The verses are mostly gibberish. Someone? is trying to pull the wool by making up what sounds like a Scotish set of verses but it's complete rubbish.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Stower
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 06:27 AM

If that's right, Auldtimer, then it would confirm that this was part of the renaissance/baroque fashion for English people to write "Scotch" songs. Auldtimer, are you a Scots speaker yourself? Not being one, could I ask if it's also possible that Scots has changed over the years (as languages do) or, in your view, is this just an obvious case of an English "Scotch" song?


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 07:01 AM

It's interesting even if it's NOT how Scots was spoken at the time. It tells us how people THOUGHT Scots was spoken. The noo.

And as we've pointed out, the song isn't nonsense when you allow for a few misprints (perhaps the typesetter couldn't make sense of it either?). It's a straightforward bawdy ballad in the tradition that includes the Bury New Loom, All Fours and the Kipper's excellent cricket match.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,auldtimer
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 10:39 AM

A well known "Scottish" song is The Broom of the Cowdenknowes but it's an English song written as what a Scottish song would sound like. (see Child Ballads) Scots has changed over the years, Robert Burns and his verses are in an almost unknown dialect in modern Scotland, although some 40-50 years ago they were readly understood, and my Grannie a further 60-70 years before that spoke very much in the Burns style.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 12:39 PM

I am making a collection of songs and ballads using sexual euphemisms, as expressed in previous threads, with a view to an anthology when I can get round to typing them all up. I have about 30 that include millers. I'll have a quick look through to see if these others shed any light on this one. Most of them just use the grinding metaphor when the girl comes to get her corn ground and of course the 2 stones. I wonder if the cliche of stones for testicles in such as the Derby Ram actually evolved from the milling metaphor.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 01:20 PM

I'd say the demise of Scots is much exaggerated. Burns certainly isn't incomprehensible to modern Scots speakers. There are some archaic words yes but the bulk of it is straightforward enough. People are maybe unfamilar with written Scots but in its spoken form less so. I suppose it depends on where you are about but here in the Borders there are plenty of kids who still speak Scots and I imagine it is so in other parts too. Certainly by the generation some words are lost but the bulk of what my grandad spoek is still spoken.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Paul Burke
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 01:39 PM

The milling metaphor isn't dead, as anyone who's had a good grind will testify.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 02:16 PM

Luckily the mill metaphor ballads are quite prolific so I've already typed up a good number. One worth a look is 'Grist Ground At Last etc.' in Pepys Vol 3 p110, repeated in Roxburghe Ballads, Volume 8 p622. When she gets to the Mill in the second verse the mill will not go round (windmill in this case)
3
She takes the matter in hand as loath of any delay
Whilst the Miller amazed did stand, she thus unto him did say;
Come hoist up the Canvas with speed, and I'l make the Stones go round
The Cogs from Cobwebs once freed, my grist will quickly be ground.
4
Then strait the sailes were drawn up, expos'd to the weather and wind;
When as the Miller a top, the weather-vein right did find;
Yet found the motion but small, which made him begin to misdoubt,
that he should do nothing at all for Molly began to pout.
5
But urging her grist to be ground, the fault she long searcht to know
And the Vice of the Mill she found, for why? the Stones were too low;
Then gently she moved the Beam and setl'd them in their place,
When rond the sailes did skim, and her grist was ground apace.

Also check out an oral song 'The Miller and the Lass' There's a version on the Take 6 site EFDSS.

This stanza from a Sharp version

Come sit you down, my sweet pretty dear,
I cannot grind your corn I fear,
My stones is high and my water low,
I cannot grind for the mill won't go.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST,SteveG
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 03:05 PM

Simpson: British Broadside Ballad and its Music' also has notes on the use of the tune, p570. He quotes a fragment from a medley (after 1610):
'Little pegg of Ramsay with the yellow hayre
& couldst thou greet if I were dead, marye would I feare'

This is just as likely to have been the song as mentioned by Sir Toby in Twelfth Night. There seem to have been several tunes/songs associated with Peg a Ramsey/Peggy of Ramsey in the 16th and 17th centuries. It could well have been a generic name for ladies of easy virtue. 'I'm goin ter peg ye afore 'e rams ye!'

Several of the milling ballads I have are real scots but none of these throw any light on the unexplained terms.

Barre Toelken in his excellent 'Morning Dew and Roses' (p122) goes into detail on German uses of the symbolism and indeed traces some of it back to the ancient world. 'In symbolic language, mill means the feminine member (mullos, from which mulier), and the man is the miller, and thus the satirist Petronius uses the term 'molere mulierum' for cohabitation......on which passage the Talmud comments under 'milling' is always to be understood the sin of cohabitation.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Paul Burke
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 03:13 PM

I suspect the origin lies in the rhythmic movements of a woman working a saddle- quern (it was woman's work- too laborious for men). If I remember aright, the late Romans had watermills (Belisarius famously improvised these on boats when besieged in Rome), but windmills didn't appear in Europe until after the Crusades.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Jul 13 - 01:37 PM

Very different words from those sung by Alfred Deller on old HMV red-label LP with Desmond Dupré, Shakespeare Songs & Lute Solos, which I have been singing for years:

Peggy is a bonnie lass and clever with her hands
And well can make a living at the things she understands
For when the Ramsey shepherd lad has trouble with the lambs he
Often gets the best of help from bonny Peg-a-Ramsey

Peggy is a pretty lass and nimble on hr feet
And when she skips an Irish jig her steps are bad to beat
And when the clumsy shepherd lad has slithered on his hands he
Soon will get a helping hand of bonny Peg-a-Ramsey

Peggy is a jolly lass and merry in her eye
And certain sure the shepherd will be happy bye-and-bye
For soon as he is finished with the rams and rams and lambs he
Won't be long to go to church with bonny Peg-a-Ramsey.


Anyone else know/sing this version?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Jul 13 - 01:39 PM

Sorry - penultimate line should read "rams and dams and lambs"


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jul 13 - 06:54 AM

I suspect that there is a touch of the Rambling Sid Rumpo in the derivation of some of the "Scotch" expressions.


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Subject: RE: Peggy Ramsey - pls transl Scots-English
From: Jack Campin
Date: 27 Jul 13 - 07:50 AM

D'Urfey did that sort of imitation Scots in a great many songs. You can tell what the Scots thought of them because they're quite rare in Scottish manuscript copies, while straight English songs circulated widely. On the other hand, they often had good tunes, and those were commonly re-used in Scotland.

The stereotyping is a lot like what you get in minstrel songs in the US.


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