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


Why the willow in All Around My Hat?

DigiTrad:
ALL AROUND MY HAT
ALL AROUND MY HAT (I will wear the Green Willow)
ALL AROUND MY HAT (Parody)
ALL ROUND MY HAT (variants)
I'M GOING TO DROWN MY CAT


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: All Around My Hat (82)
Lyr Req: I'm Going to Drown My Cat (parody) (20)
all around my hat (17)
A misleading DT note - All Around My Hat (23)
Chords/Tune: All Around My Hat (11)
Lyr Req: I am going to kill my cat (5)
Origins: All around my hat (Steeleye Span) (6) (closed)
Lyr Req: All around my Fat (31)
Lyr Add: All around my hat (filk) (4)


GUEST,Eluned 18 Jan 01 - 09:01 PM
GUEST,Eluned 18 Jan 01 - 09:37 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 18 Jan 01 - 09:44 PM
GUEST,Eluned 18 Jan 01 - 09:46 PM
Sorcha 18 Jan 01 - 10:04 PM
harpgirl 18 Jan 01 - 10:08 PM
Deckman 18 Jan 01 - 10:13 PM
Jimmy C 18 Jan 01 - 11:11 PM
Sorcha 18 Jan 01 - 11:16 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 18 Jan 01 - 11:28 PM
GUEST,IanC 19 Jan 01 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,leeneia 19 Jan 01 - 10:25 AM
LR Mole 19 Jan 01 - 11:01 AM
LR Mole 19 Jan 01 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,Bill W 19 Jan 01 - 11:07 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 19 Jan 01 - 11:09 AM
IanC 19 Jan 01 - 11:14 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 19 Jan 01 - 11:46 AM
mousethief 19 Jan 01 - 11:51 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 19 Jan 01 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Ferrara 19 Jan 01 - 01:39 PM
Matt_R 19 Jan 01 - 01:47 PM
Hollowfox 20 Jan 01 - 09:07 AM
Bernard 20 Jan 01 - 09:50 AM
dick greenhaus 20 Jan 01 - 10:39 AM
Bernard 20 Jan 01 - 11:15 AM
Elise 21 Jan 01 - 03:01 AM
Garry Gillard 21 Jan 01 - 05:05 AM
GUEST,robin 29 Mar 04 - 04:58 PM
Raedwulf 29 Mar 04 - 08:05 PM
Hrothgar 30 Mar 04 - 05:58 AM
Mr Happy 10 Sep 13 - 08:58 AM
Big Al Whittle 10 Sep 13 - 09:26 AM
Claire M 10 Sep 13 - 01:10 PM
Gurney 10 Sep 13 - 04:17 PM
GUEST,Steve M 10 Sep 13 - 04:52 PM
Gurney 11 Sep 13 - 12:08 AM
GUEST, Paul Slade 11 Sep 13 - 01:06 PM
GUEST,JTT 11 Sep 13 - 01:23 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,Eluned
Date: 18 Jan 01 - 09:01 PM

Does anyone know WHY he/she (there're at least two versions) wears a green willow all around his/her hat for an absent "true love" (in the female version, he was NOT very true...) in the English traditional "All Around My Hat (I will wear the green willow)"????
I'd like to sing the song at some upcoming gatherings, but I just _know_ that somebody will ask that question!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,Eluned
Date: 18 Jan 01 - 09:37 PM

Can't anybody suggest at least a place to look for the answer to this one??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 18 Jan 01 - 09:44 PM

Sadness for something lost, usually love.

How now shepherd what means that,
Why wearst willow in thy hat

See Desdemona's 'Willow Song' in Othello, and search under 'willow' in the broadside ballad index on my website for others.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,Eluned
Date: 18 Jan 01 - 09:46 PM

Thanks, Bruce!
er, "broadside ballad index"? How do I find that?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Sorcha
Date: 18 Jan 01 - 10:04 PM

Try Clicking Here . Sounds like part of the "flower language" to me. You know, "rosemary for rememerance" type stuff. Nearly all the plants/flowers have some "ulterior" meaning.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: harpgirl
Date: 18 Jan 01 - 10:08 PM

rosemary says that you'll remember ...clover sweet as love we share...mrytle says that you will miss me...ramblin roses say you care...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Jan 01 - 10:13 PM

My memory tells me that Burl Ives performed this song at the 1952 "Coronation Concert" in London. I also think it was recorded and distributed by DECCA records. I've always enjoyed the song CHEERS, Bob Nelson


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Jimmy C
Date: 18 Jan 01 - 11:11 PM

Maybe it may also have something about a willow being a weeper ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Sorcha
Date: 18 Jan 01 - 11:16 PM

Actually, that's it, exactly Jimmy. "Weeping" willows for sorrow, etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 18 Jan 01 - 11:28 PM

I should, of course, have said 'symbol of' in my posting above.

"How now shepherd what means that" is in Chappell's PMOT from a garland of 1620. Part of it was incorporated in a similar song on a late 17th century broadside ballad (ZN218) which can be seen on the Bodley Ballads website, "The Shepherd's Lamentation for his Phillis"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,IanC
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 06:10 AM

Actually, in most versions of this song I've heard, it's a yellow ribbon. The green willow one is just the most famous as it was sung by Steeleye.

It was quite common for people to wear flowers & leaves around their hats in the C19th and earlier. I'd suppose the willow motif is symbolic of sadness - willows are traditionally associated with tears (and not just the weeping variety).

Cheers
IanC


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 10:25 AM

I beg to differ with Ian C. I'm willing to bet that "willow" got changed to "yellow" by people who half-remembered the words. After all, willows are naturally sad, since they often weep, but yellow is not naturally sad. In fact, it's quite cheerful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: LR Mole
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 11:01 AM

This from Dottie Parker, bless her bones: "They Part" "And if, my friend, you'd have it end/There's naught to hear or tell. But need you try to black my eye/ in wishing me farewell?

Though I adit an edge'd wit/ In woe is warranted, May I be frank?...Such words as "____"/Are better left unsaid.

There's rosemary for you and me;But is it usual, dear, To hire a man, and fill a van/By way of souvenier?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: LR Mole
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 11:02 AM

That's "admit", of course.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,Bill W
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 11:07 AM

In support of the association of the willow with the theme of sadness and separation,it was often used as a motif on tombstones in the 19th century.I was just looking at some fine examples in an abandoned cemetary a few days ago.The scientific name of one specie of weeping willow is salix babylonica recalling the exile of the ancient jews to Babylon. BW


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 11:09 AM

The weeping willow motif is very common in early folk art as a sign of mourning. I recently saw a mourning painting with a huge, overpowering willow drooping over the mourners and the grave- surely willows in music have the same significance.
Let's see if I can remember this old English song

A poor soul sat sighing
All under a tree
Singing all a green willow,
O, willow, willow, willow willow
My garland shall be.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: IanC
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 11:14 AM

Could be right, but yellow has quite a lot of significance in its own right. see this thread

Why Yellow ?

I'm looking in the Bodleian collection to see what I can find about this song!

Cheers!
Ian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 11:46 AM

Willow is a biblical symbol for mourning or sorrow

see Psalms 137


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: mousethief
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 11:51 AM

Psalm 137, verses 1 through 4, from the Authorized Version:

1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. 3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land?

For looking up bible verses online at any time, nothing beats The Bible Gateway. A very useful research tool for people who need to look up Bible verses -- you can also do searches using key words and such. Better than a concordance! This is an unpaid testimonial.

Alex


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 12:00 PM

The broadside ballad expansion of Desdemona's "Willow" song, "A poore soule sat sighing under a Sicamore tree" (ZN2222 in my broadside ballad index) is given in the Scarce Songs 2 file on my website. There are two early tunes for it given as ABCs in the broadside ballad tunes there, B524 and B525.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,Ferrara
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 01:39 PM

In "Mary on the Wild Moor," the final verse is,

The father did soon pass away
And the child to the grave was soon borne
And no one lives their to this day
And the cottage to ruins has gone.
The villagers point to the spot
Where a willow droops over the door
Saying there Mary perished, alas,
From the wind that blows o'er the wild moor.

I've always taken willows to be a symbol of grief or mourning in folklore, presumably because they droop and "weep."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Matt_R
Date: 19 Jan 01 - 01:47 PM

Willow, weep for me...

BTW, There is a gorgeous musical arrangement of Psalm 137 (Lament of the Hebrew Slaves) in Stephen Schwartz's "Godspell". Ah...it's getting me in the mood now. Sing us one of the songs of Zion...sing us one of the songs of Zion...sing us one of the songs of Zioooooooooooon....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Hollowfox
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 09:07 AM

I can't recall my source (from many years ago) at the moment, but I believe that the willow, at least in this case, could also imply infidelity, as it tends to rot and so become hollow from the center of the trunk out. In "The Bitter Withy"(willow), the ending line is "the willow shall be the very first tree to perish at the heart."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 09:50 AM

The Steeleye Span song 'All Around My Hat' isn't the song! All they used was the chorus and the tune!

The verses are actually from a different song altogether - 'Farewell She'.

'Green Willow' implies newness, but the willow analogy is, indeed, infidelity.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 10:39 AM

From my experience, a flourishing willow tree is a sign of a damp basement nearby.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Bernard
Date: 20 Jan 01 - 11:15 AM

From my experience, a damp basement is a sign of a flourishing incontinent nearby...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Elise
Date: 21 Jan 01 - 03:01 AM

Funny, Matt R, that's exactly what I was thinking. Billie Holliday came to mind. I was also thinking of the music hall song my grandfather used to sing to me:

Fare thee well for I must leave thee, do not let this parting grieve thee and remember that the best of friends must part. Adieu, adieu kind friends adieu. I can no longer stay with you. I'll hang my harp on a weeping willow tree, and may the world go well with thee.

And as for Dottie Parker:

By the time you swear you're his, shivering and sighing, And he vows his passion is infinite, undying Lady, make a note of this: One of you is lying.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 21 Jan 01 - 05:05 AM

Mike Waterson's version of "The Bitter Withy".

Garry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,robin
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 04:58 PM

Also, willows symbolize endurance. Remember the old story of the competition between the oak and the willow? The oak broke, the willow bent in the winds ( of adversity) and survived. If you endure the absence and keep hope "green" then mayhap your love will return. Just another possibility.

There's also the liminality of a willow. It grows on river banks half in the water half on the land. If your true love leaves you you're neither single nor wed. You're in limbo.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Raedwulf
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 08:05 PM

What endurance? IIRC, the story (not a competition at all) of the oak & the willow is one of Aesop's. Except that it's not the oak & the willow, it's the oak & the reeds! I may have the bendy plant wrong, but the story (in its older forms) is invariably "Why am I, who was so strong, being borne broken down the stream?" "Why, brother? Because I bend before the storm & thus weather it!"

Or words to that effect.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 05:58 AM

I'll hang my HEART on a weeping willow tree ... ?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 10 Sep 13 - 08:58 AM

Since aspirin is derived from willow bark, could the fashion have arisen from it's use in headache relief?

Aspirin


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 10 Sep 13 - 09:26 AM

Originally it was a green willy.

She ripped his dick off, tied it round her hat, and it went mouldy.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Claire M
Date: 10 Sep 13 - 01:10 PM

Hiya,

If your true love leaves you, they obviously weren't your true love in the 1st place :. you're well rid of them!

It's said you should sit under a willow if/when grieving, cos it'll cry your tears for you. I've a friend who sings 'All Around My Fat' whilst wobbling his belly about.

Also know a Japanese tale where the translation of the woman's name is Green Willow. She's a ghost; but her true love doesn't realise until it's too late, ending up dying of a broken ♥. Now that would make a fantastic song........


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Gurney
Date: 10 Sep 13 - 04:17 PM

I remember Cyril Tawney introducing the song 'All Around My Hat' by saying that wearing the distinctive willow leaves was a sign of mourning.
Not everyone has black clothing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,Steve M
Date: 10 Sep 13 - 04:52 PM

Personal message for Gurney; Hello our kid,I have been waiting until you posted on this site again. I haven't spoken to T&T in a while & I have lost your home address & phone number. My email address is gunnersteve6@gmail.com Can you get in touch bruv. Steve


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: Gurney
Date: 11 Sep 13 - 12:08 AM

Mudcat. Bringing families together.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST, Paul Slade
Date: 11 Sep 13 - 01:06 PM

"Over the centuries, [willow] has become identified with sadness, and become an emblem of grief, melancholy and lost love. In times gone by it was common for sprigs of willow to be worn as a symbol of grief." - Cassell Dictionary of Folklore.

"To wear the willow: To go into mourning,especially for a sweetheart or bride, to bewail a lost lover." - Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Why the willow in All Around My Hat?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 11 Sep 13 - 01:23 PM

Oh for goodness sake, it's perfectly simple. As Mr Happy has noted, salix is an ancient cure for headaches. The singer's hat is too tight, and so it's handy to have willow worn on it, to be handy in use as a headache cure.


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: 19 June 10:53 AM 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.