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What's a Dow?

artbrooks 27 Oct 17 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 27 Oct 17 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Morris-ey 27 Oct 17 - 12:40 PM
artbrooks 27 Oct 17 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Rigby 27 Oct 17 - 01:20 PM
MoorleyMan 27 Oct 17 - 01:47 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Oct 17 - 02:39 PM
Vashta Nerada 27 Oct 17 - 03:33 PM
Raggytash 27 Oct 17 - 03:40 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 27 Oct 17 - 04:00 PM
JeffB 27 Oct 17 - 05:03 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Oct 17 - 05:49 PM
Gurney 28 Oct 17 - 12:30 AM
Dave the Gnome 30 Oct 17 - 11:49 AM
Steve Gardham 30 Oct 17 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,JTT 30 Oct 17 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,JTT 30 Oct 17 - 07:15 PM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 01 Nov 17 - 08:30 PM
leeneia 02 Nov 17 - 11:41 AM
leeneia 02 Nov 17 - 11:54 AM
Tattie Bogle 02 Nov 17 - 02:54 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Nov 17 - 03:23 PM
Tattie Bogle 02 Nov 17 - 09:02 PM
BobL 03 Nov 17 - 04:28 AM
Steve Gardham 03 Nov 17 - 04:22 PM
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Subject: What's a Dow?
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 11:58 AM

The song 'Jesuitmont' has a verse, which appears just before the cook is about to render Lady Annie into a meat pastie, that goes:

"Ye maun dress the dow, the dow,
   That fair and milk-white dow;
   That in the parlor shines so fair,
   There's nane so fair to show."

So...what's a dow?


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 12:29 PM

A fat bloke with a beard, or more likely a Dove in this case. Pigeon Pie with human additives?
kind regards
(Fat bloke with beard)


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: GUEST,Morris-ey
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 12:40 PM

Possibly, doe - a deer, a female deer?


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: artbrooks
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 12:46 PM

Thanks! Mudcat strikes again - 31 minutes.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: GUEST,Rigby
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 01:20 PM

It comes into 'Fause Foudrage' also. Pretty clear from the context in that song that it means a girl.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: MoorleyMan
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 01:47 PM

It might be a cheeky texting abbreviation for Don't-Know
(although obviously not in the case of Guest Nick, a fount of all knowledge!!!)


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 02:39 PM

'dow' is more usually dove in older Scots ballads, but as already suggested here the euphemism or term of endearment is obvious.

According to Child's glossary it can also be the verb 'do' but obviously not here.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Vashta Nerada
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 03:33 PM

So the "w" in "dow" could be a "v" or an "e" sound. Interesting puzzle.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Raggytash
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 03:40 PM

A Dhou is a boat, but that is possibly not relevant in this context.

Also spelt Dhow it is a boat with one, sometimes two masts.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 04:00 PM

I'm used to hearing "doo" but not "dow."


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: JeffB
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 05:03 PM

I'm sure it's a doe, but doe or dove, it really means Lady Annie herself. It's the coded message to the cook from her step-mother to put her into the pies. But doesn't the cook say that in the next verse or two?


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Oct 17 - 05:49 PM

Child's glossary does not give 'dow' as 'doe'.

Chambers' Scots Dictionary
Dow. n. a dove; a term of endearment. (all other meanings are verbs).


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Gurney
Date: 28 Oct 17 - 12:30 AM

Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic Words: Meanings like to 'to mend in health,' 'a little cake,' 'Thou,' and more tellingly, 'a dove or pigeon.'


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 11:49 AM

Both 'dower' and dowager' refer to widows so the dow part could well refer to a woman.

DtG


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 12:16 PM

Fair and milk-white widow doesn't quite do it for me, though any port in a storm as they say. Dressing a little cake also seems somewhat not in keeping with a ballad, unless it contains poison of course.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 07:14 PM

Deer do not come into the parlour in well-kept households.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 30 Oct 17 - 07:15 PM

Dunno if it's related, but the Greek name Dorcas means a doe, I think.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 01 Nov 17 - 08:30 PM

According to the Authorised Version, the name Dorcas is explained as "which meaneth gazelle".


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 11:41 AM

In my first course of college English, the professor told us that when we encounter a strange word in archaic English, we can usually just ask ourselves what modern word it resembles.

In this case, going from dow to dov is reasonable, and the meaning makes sense. Go for it, otherwise you spend so much time looking up words that you can't enjoy the poetry.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: leeneia
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 11:54 AM

I happened upon this deathless fragment in a current Mudcat thread. It demonstrates how v and w are apt to change places in Germanic tongues.

IN THE VINTERTIME

In the vintertime, in the valley green,
When the wind blows on the window pane
And the women working in vaudeville
Ride velocipides in the vestibule....


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 02:54 PM

Having Googled the song and its lyrics, it becomes a lot clearer that "the dow" is indeed the fair Annie, who is about to be slaughtered and made into a pie! A cracking murder ballad, and a wicked stepmother! So Rigby was right.

JESUITMONT
There lived a knight in Jesuitmont
A huntin' he did ride;
His footmen all attending him,
And his horsemen by his side.

And they found out in Jesuitmont
A pleasant sport and play;
His lady goes exceeding fine,
To hear the masses play.

An' she's called on her daughter Anne,
To come to her with speed;
to go and tell the master cook
To dress the dinner straight.

To go her message for to tell,
Young Annie feared nae ill;
An' she is gone to the master cook,
The message for to tell.

Ye maun dress the dow, the dow,
That fair and milk-white dow;
That in the parlour shines so fair,
There's nane so fair to show.

Here is a panknife in my hand,
Will bereave thee of thy life;
For thou art the dow that I maun dress
unto thy fathers wife.

Up then spoke the kitchie boy,
An' he spoke loud an' high;
"O save, O save fair Annie's life,
An' bake me in your pie."

"I will not save fair Annie's life,
No not for such as thee;
But if thou divulge this lady's life,
Thy butcher I will be."

When day was done and night was come,
And they were all at dinner
When he's ca'd for his daughter Annie,
To come and carve his dinner.

Up he rose and away he goes,
Anangry man was he;
"One bit of meat I will not eat,
Till I fair Annie see."

Up then spak the kitchie boy,
An' he spak loud an' high;
"An ye wad your fair Annie see,
Ye maun break up the pie."

Her meat it was a' minced sme'
An' forced by the fire'
An' cursed be her stepmother
For it was her desire.

This lord his a' clad i' black
A' for his Annie's sake;
An' he has caused her stepmother
To be burnt at the stake.

An' he has caused the master cook,
in boilin' lead to stand;
An' he has made the kitchie boy
The heir o' a' his land.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 03:23 PM

Nobody here has questioned the fact that the 'dow' is Fair Annie. The OP was simply asking what a 'dow' was and I think this has been answered with very little doubt, my little turtle dove!


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Nov 17 - 09:02 PM

Well there's a totally different definition in the Scots online dictionary, which does not however, fit the context of the song.
dow [dʌu]
n. Worth, value.
v. To be able, to have the physical strength or means to do something.
pt. pp. docht ['doxt, 'dɔxt] Having been able or willing, tried to.

A dou or doo, not a dow, is a dove.


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: BobL
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 04:28 AM

Presumably the ballad predates the invention of spelling...


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Subject: RE: What's a Dow?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Nov 17 - 04:22 PM

Motherwell's version of Lord Randall, v2

'O what did ye get at your stepmother's, my bonnie wee croodlin dow?

His mother is using this of Lord Randall as a term of endearment.

Mrs Brown's version of Fause Foodrage, v22

'And I shall learn your turtle-dow as well to write and read.'

'Turtle-dow' is a bit of a give-away! Motherwell's version has similar.

Note that in Child's glossary 'dow, dou and doo' are interchangeable.

For instance Herd's version of 'The Jolly Beggar' v7

'And what wad ye do wi them, my hinny and my dow?'

Stall copy of 'Peggy Irvine' Child 235. v17

'...........Your lady is but sleeping
"Sleeping deary, sleeping dow, I'm afraid she's oer sound sleeping" '


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