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Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?

DigiTrad:
CAPTAIN HANLEY AND SWEET MAZIE
CAPTAIN WEDDERBURN'S COURTSHIP
THREE DISHES AND SIX QUESTIONS


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Capt Woodstock's Courtship (Ian & Sylvia) (15)
Lyr/Chords Req: Captain Wedderburn (15)
Captain Woodstock riddle (8)
Looking for Tabs not Chords: Capt Wedderburn (8)
(origins) Origins: The Laird o' Roslyn's dochter & Co (7)
Lyr Req: You and I in the One Bed Lie (5)
Joe Heaney version of 'Capt. Wedderburn' (10)


GUEST,Maeve 31 Jul 12 - 03:41 PM
Anne Neilson 31 Jul 12 - 03:46 PM
GUEST,Peter 31 Jul 12 - 03:59 PM
Anne Neilson 31 Jul 12 - 04:05 PM
GUEST,999 31 Jul 12 - 04:06 PM
GUEST,Blandiver 31 Jul 12 - 04:07 PM
Don Firth 31 Jul 12 - 04:07 PM
Fergie 31 Jul 12 - 04:40 PM
Don Firth 31 Jul 12 - 04:56 PM
Little Robyn 31 Jul 12 - 05:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Jul 12 - 05:38 PM
Phil Cooper 31 Jul 12 - 05:59 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 31 Jul 12 - 07:22 PM
kendall 31 Jul 12 - 07:48 PM
Nancy King 31 Jul 12 - 07:55 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Jul 12 - 08:32 PM
Gutcher 01 Aug 12 - 05:51 AM
GUEST,Blandiver 01 Aug 12 - 06:35 AM
maeve 01 Aug 12 - 06:59 AM
YorkshireYankee 01 Aug 12 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Elfie 24 Apr 17 - 09:21 PM
GUEST,Gerry 25 Apr 17 - 05:15 AM
Rob Naylor 25 Apr 17 - 06:26 AM
Thompson 26 Apr 17 - 02:09 AM
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Subject: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: GUEST,Maeve
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 03:41 PM

I'm completely new to this site but it was suggested to me that you all might have the answer. (I couldn't find any info by searching for "next to the wall")

I've noticed a few folk songs with lying next to the wall as a bit of a theme. Captain Wedderburn's Courtship and Kittie Lie Over are the two that come to mind at the moment but I'm sure I've come across others.

What does this mean? What does it suggest?

I'd love to know if anyone knows what this used to mean!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 03:46 PM

I've always assumed that it meant being in the position from which there was no possibility of escape, and so the girl would lose her maidenhead as an inevitability.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: GUEST,Peter
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 03:59 PM

I had assumed a reference to a box or closet bed which was reasonably common in some parts of the country.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 04:05 PM

I'd thought of it as a small room where the bed was pushed against the wall, so there could be no 'exit' other than climbing over the other occupant!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 04:06 PM

You And I In The One Bed Lie
        
Credits:         Traditional
        
Appears On:         Cathie Ryan
        
Language:         English
        
Lyrics:

A nobleman's fair daughter was walking down yon lane
When up comes Captain Dixon, the keeper of the game
Says he unto his serving man, "If it was not for the law
I'd have that maid within my bed and she'd lie next to the wall"

"Go away, young man," says she, "And do not me perplex
Before I lie one night with you, you'll answer questions six
Six questions you will answer, and I will make them all
Before you and I in the one bed lie and I lie next to the wall

What is rounder than a ring? What's higher than a tree?
What is worse than womankind? What's deeper than the sea?
What tree blooms first? What bird sings best? From where do dew drops fall?
Then it's you and I in the one bed lie and I lie next to the wall"

"A globe is rounder than a ring, sky higher than a tree
A girl is worse than womankind, hell deeper than the sea
The yew blooms first, the thrush sings best, from heaven the dew drops fall
So it's you and I in the one bed lie and you lie next to the wall"

"You must get for me some winter fruit that in December grew
Find for me a mantle, a weft it never went through
A sparrow's horn, a priest unshorn, a bird without a gaul
Then it's you and I in the one bed lie and I lie next to the wall"

"My father has some winter fruit that in December grew
My mother wears a mantle, a weft it never went through
A sparrow's horn's not hard to find, there's one in every claw
Melchizedek is a priest unshorn," and he rolled her to the wall


from

http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/ryan/you.htm


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 04:07 PM

Indeed. A bed next to the wall; someone's got to lie on the wall side. Maidenhead? Sounds a bit rum...

Brian O'Linn & his wife & wife's mother
All lay down in the one bed together;
the sheets they were torn & the blankets were thin -
I'll lie next the wall says Brian O'Linn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 04:07 PM

The woman "lying next to the wall" is very significant.

If they are married, the man lies next to the wall so the woman can get up and take care of the babies, fix breakfast, etc., leaving her hard-working husband (?) to get his much needed rest.

If they are NOT married, she lies next to the wall so that, if necessary, he can leap up, grab his sword, and fend of her outraged father, brother(s), or for that matter, her husband, should they break in on the couple with mayhem in mind.

Usually in these songs, the man is not suggesting marriage.

Or so it was explained some years ago by Prof. David C. Fowler in a class I took at the U. of Washington on "The English and Scottish Popular Ballad."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Fergie
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 04:40 PM

It is my understanding that in the context of traditional songs; to "lie next or close to the well" is a euphemism for sexual intercourse.

Fergus


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 04:56 PM

Well, that is as I described above. When the young man specifies that the young woman "lie next to the wall," he is indicating that he wants to have sex with her, but he is not suggesting marriage.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Little Robyn
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 05:25 PM

Have you ever tried sharing a single bed and being squashed into the wall? The alternative is being on the outside and pushed onto the floor.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 05:38 PM

I thought the song Captain Wedderburn's Courtship. Child 46, (DT, Jean Redpath version) expressed the meaning clearly.
Last verse:
Oh little did that lady think that morning when she raise
That this was for tae be the last o' a' her maiden days,
But noo there's nae within the realm tae be found a blither twa
For noo she's Mistress Wedderburn and she lies at the wa'.

(She is now the Captain's lady; she is in the protected position near the wall. The version in Contemplator ends,
And now they lie in one bed,
And she lies next the wall.

Joe Heaney explains:
In the olden times, the men was so fond of the women, that they put them lying next to the wall out of danger. Now, I don't know did they put them lying next to the wall so they couldn't run away, or because they wanted to protect them. Have it your way! But, they tell me it's to protect them they did it. Some people still do it !
www.joeheaney.org/default.asp?contentID=741
Heaney's version, these verses explain it:
.............
'For my breakfast you must get for me a cherry without a stone;
A chicken when it's in the egg surely has no bone;
The dove is a gentle bird, it flies without a gall;
So you and I on the one bed lie, but you'll lie next the wall.'
............
'Ah, go your way, young man,' she said and do not me perplex.
Before you and I on the one bed lie, you must answer me questions six,
Six questions you must answer me, and I'll set forth them all;
Then you and I on the one bed lie, and I'll lie next the wall.
................
This couple they were married, as you may plainly see:
They live happily together, and children they have three.
She set forth the questions; he answered one and all.
He rolled her in his arms, while she lay next the wall.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 05:59 PM

I had also heard what Don has posted. Our ancestors didn't really want to have sex did they? :)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 07:22 PM

The song for the married man lying next the wall, whose wife is very fat.

"I'll Never Get Over You!"

I'll get me coat...............
Don T.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: kendall
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 07:48 PM

In a prison it has a different meaning


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Nancy King
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 07:55 PM

Phil -- how do you suppose they got to be ancestors?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Jul 12 - 08:32 PM

And then there was bundling-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Gutcher
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 05:51 AM

In the song "Noo Haud Yer Tongue Dear Maggie" the last line of the 3rd verse is:--"Tae tak me in his strong airms and lay me neist the waa". The young wife, in this case being married to an old man, is in need of some action from a young man.

Bundling gets a mention in various songs including "The Braes O Kirkmahoe". The practice appears to have died out about the middle of the 18th.C. in S.W. Scotland.

V.7.
"Tae bundle there wi Annie
it was my sole intent
but o that loosum kimmer
man she wad provoke a saint".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: GUEST,Blandiver
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 06:35 AM

I think meaning here is a bit severe, but there are certain euphemistic overtones, even in the Brian O'Linn verse I quoted above (as sung by Seamus Ennis). Is our eternally optimistic hero suggesting his willingness to take a passive role in a Ménage à Trois with his wife and mother-in-law? Could be, but euphemism always implies a level of double entendre, which means it has to work both ways, and that some things are ultimately, best left unsaid.

In this sense (say) The Seeds of Love is either a load of blatent knob gags & sexual innuendo worthy of Roy Chubby Brown, or obscure verses about flowers, though no doubt the Folklorists amongst us could tell us exactly what it all means by way of exacting symbolism, thus making even the ghost of John England blush - let alone Cecil Sharp, who probably did think it was all about flowers. If only life (and language) were so simple!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: maeve
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 06:59 AM

Welcome to Mudcat, Other Maeve.

Maeve in Maine


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 01:40 PM

Then there's the last two verses of King Henry:

When the night was gone and the day was come
And the sun shone through the hall
The fairest lady that e'er was seen
Lay between him and the wall


I've met with many a gentle knight
That gave gave me such a fill
But never before with a courteous knight
That gave me all my will



Considering that this "fair lady" was originally a terrifying witch who forced Henry to give her food (his horse), more food (his hounds), drink (his dead horse's blood), a bed, and "all her will", it's extremely interesting (at least, I think it is) that it was her against the wall rather than Henry...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: GUEST,Elfie
Date: 24 Apr 17 - 09:21 PM

I think what Don Firth said makes sense.

Here is a copy/paste of what he said:


The woman "lying next to the wall" is very significant.

If they are married, the man lies next to the wall so the woman can get up and take care of the babies, fix breakfast, etc., leaving her hard-working husband (?) to get his much needed rest.

If they are NOT married, she lies next to the wall so that, if necessary, he can leap up, grab his sword, and fend of her outraged father, brother(s), or for that matter, her husband, should they break in on the couple with mayhem in mind.

Usually in these songs, the man is not suggesting marriage.

Or so it was explained some years ago by Prof. David C. Fowler in a class I took at the U. of Washington on "The English and Scottish Popular Ballad."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 25 Apr 17 - 05:15 AM

Does it bother anyone else that in the lyrics to You And I In The One Bed Lie, posted upthread, she says she's going to ask him six questions, but she actually asks seven?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 25 Apr 17 - 06:26 AM

Yes, it was one of the first things I noticed. That and the fact that he doesn't appear to have found her a "bird without a gaul" (gall?).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: What does 'lying next to the wall' mean?
From: Thompson
Date: 26 Apr 17 - 02:09 AM

I read in a behavioural study some time ago that men virtually always sleep on the side nearer to the door and women next to the wall - the authors suggested that it was an atavistic thing, the man being their for defence.


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