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'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?

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Greycap 22 Mar 03 - 12:06 PM
Nigel Parsons 22 Mar 03 - 12:21 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Mar 03 - 12:46 PM
DMcG 22 Mar 03 - 12:47 PM
GUEST,Q 22 Mar 03 - 02:08 PM
open mike 22 Mar 03 - 02:10 PM
Geoff the Duck 22 Mar 03 - 02:14 PM
Bat Goddess 22 Mar 03 - 02:57 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Mar 03 - 03:12 PM
MMario 22 Mar 03 - 03:18 PM
GUEST 22 Mar 03 - 03:26 PM
greg stephens 22 Mar 03 - 05:27 PM
McGrath of Harlow 22 Mar 03 - 08:01 PM
Nigel Parsons 23 Mar 03 - 04:31 AM
SussexCarole 23 Mar 03 - 04:45 AM
M'Grath of Altcar 23 Mar 03 - 09:19 AM
nutty 23 Mar 03 - 11:57 AM
Jim McLean 23 Mar 03 - 12:08 PM
Richard Bridge 23 Mar 03 - 06:02 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Mar 03 - 06:10 PM
greg stephens 23 Mar 03 - 06:13 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Mar 03 - 08:10 PM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 24 Mar 03 - 02:03 AM
Greycap 24 Mar 03 - 03:25 AM
Steve Parkes 24 Mar 03 - 03:41 AM
Gurney 24 Mar 03 - 04:28 AM
Dave Bryant 24 Mar 03 - 04:54 AM
Steve Parkes 24 Mar 03 - 04:59 AM
AKS 24 Mar 03 - 06:08 AM
Mr Red 24 Mar 03 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 24 Mar 03 - 10:44 AM
Steve Parkes 24 Mar 03 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere) 24 Mar 03 - 11:45 AM
Schantieman 24 Mar 03 - 12:24 PM
Steve Parkes 24 Mar 03 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,JohnB 24 Mar 03 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,Jon Berger 24 Mar 03 - 12:42 PM
the lemonade lady 24 Mar 03 - 12:45 PM
GUEST,Jon Berger 24 Mar 03 - 12:48 PM
Snuffy 24 Mar 03 - 07:52 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 24 Mar 03 - 09:39 PM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 25 Mar 03 - 02:48 AM
Sarah the flute 25 Mar 03 - 03:30 AM
Steve Parkes 25 Mar 03 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 25 Mar 03 - 04:11 AM
Steve Parkes 25 Mar 03 - 04:56 AM
Gurney 25 Mar 03 - 05:06 AM
Dave Bryant 25 Mar 03 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Jon Dudley 25 Mar 03 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,Jim Ward 25 Mar 03 - 07:35 AM
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Subject: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Greycap
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 12:06 PM

Song by the Copper family, also sung by the Young Tradition, contains the word 'relope'. I can't find it in any dictionary, can anyone help me here? What the hell does it mean? I'm baffled.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 12:21 PM

Just checked the DT entry Innocent Hare in case it was a typo, and the word 'relope' does appear. I can't find it in the dictionary, I only guess that it is being used to mean 'Run away' based on 'Lope' (to jump or run) and re-lope, to jump or run back the way the hare came.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 12:46 PM

I've always assumed that it was some sort of specialised hunting term, but I don't actually know. It also appears in the Coppers' Gentlemen of High Renown; but nowhere else that I can think of. Perhaps it's local.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: DMcG
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 12:47 PM

I don't know what dictionary Nigel used, but I've just checked the full OED dictionary (the 20-odd volume one) and its not in that!


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 02:08 PM

We need someone who knows English fox-hunting, or hunting with hounds, to tell us. Like DMcG, I failed with the OED and other dictionaries as well. I couldn't find it in the John Peel threads.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: open mike
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 02:10 PM

i think it must have something to do with a Jack-a-lope,
wild west relative to the hare, with antlers.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 02:14 PM

Nigel checked the Digital Tradition to find if relope was the word used in the song - Not to find if it is in a dictionary.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 02:57 PM

It's definitely the word used in the song. I've always figured it was a regional hunting term.

Thanks for reminding me (as Tom did last night) that I need to sing this more often.

Linn


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 03:12 PM

You can always ask the Coppers themselves. They can be contacted via the (approved) website: The Copper Family


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: MMario
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 03:18 PM

from context it appears to be the sound of the hunting horn.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 03:26 PM

Consider it poetic liscence

lope means to canter, gallop, leap.

It makes for better poetry and meter to say relope, relope, retiring hare.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 05:27 PM

I did a quick yahoo search for "relope" and only found 9 mentions. I think they were all hunting song references, except for one "hardcore men sex" site. I did not venture further.


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Subject: Lyr Add - extra verse for Master McGrath
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 22 Mar 03 - 08:01 PM

You'd need someone who knows about hare coursing.

What I've always taken it to mean is the kind of rapid changing of direction that hares make, as they try dodge the dogs and escape, which I gather most of them do.

As mentioned in a verse of Master McGrath that isn't in the DT, where the term "turn" is used:

Then the hare she went on just as swift as the win.
He was sometoimes before her and sometimes behind.
Rose gave the first turn according to law -
Butb tne second was given by Master McGrath.


But I may of course be wrong. Apart from The Innocent Hare and Master McGrath, I know nothing about coursing.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 23 Mar 03 - 04:31 AM

DMcG: I clearly stated I couldn't find it in the dictionary, which was why I tried putting forward a suitable derivation.

Nigel


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: SussexCarole
Date: 23 Mar 03 - 04:45 AM

From Dictionary of Sussex Dialect:   Lope-off means to go away in secret, sly manner (probably connected with the word elope).

Carole


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: M'Grath of Altcar
Date: 23 Mar 03 - 09:19 AM

The song is about hare hunting not hare coursing.

Rapid changes of direction ( turns or wrenches ) are seen on the coursing field but not so much on a hare hunt. Certainly on a recent hunt near here the huntsman said that our local hares do not seem to turn at all!

In most hunts the hare tends to be "overhauled." or more commonly, in the second or two after it leaves cover. A hare hunting beagle has no chance whatsoever of catching a twisting, jinking hare.

I have asked a couple of huntsmen, including one of the masters of a beagle pack, about the term relope and they do not know the term.

One of them suggested that it probably refers to a situation where the hare follows its own tracks, leading to a very confusing situation for hounds. The situation only arises when hounds are a long way behind the hare.

Interesting extra verse to Master M'Grath by the way. May I ask its source?

Tally-Ho!


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: nutty
Date: 23 Mar 03 - 11:57 AM

I believe that "The Relope" was likely to be a hunting call ......
In the past,it could have been local to a particular area and is now no longer used.

One German site I found by putting "hunting horn" into Google, states that there are appox. 3,500 different calls that can be played on a hunting horn.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 23 Mar 03 - 12:08 PM

The extra verse seems to be a mixture of two, as printed in Dominic Behan's book 'Ireland Sings' 1965.

The hare ran on with a wonderful view,
And swift as a rocket it crossed Waterloo,
Rose gave the first turn which is according to law,
For the second was given by Master McGrath.

McGrath paced the hare just as swift as the wind,
He was sometimes before it and sometimes behind,
Then he jumped on her back and he held up his paw,
"We've beaten the Saxons!" said Master McGrath.
Jim Mclean


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Mar 03 - 06:02 PM

I don't know where the idea came from but (and I have never hunted or coursed at all, but I know a man who does and I might ask him) I have always thought that the word "relope", of a hunted hare, meant to change direction so as to return towards one or more of the pursuers


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Mar 03 - 06:10 PM

That verse as I gave it comes from Colm O Lochlann's "Irish Street Ballads". The couplets in this song seem to move around and get assembled into different verses according to taste.

My father had the ending as:

Then he leapt on its back and he held up his paw -
"Up the Republic" says bold Master McGrath.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: greg stephens
Date: 23 Mar 03 - 06:13 PM

Seems to be a bit of a dispute between McGrath and M'Grath. There's a "name spelling " BS thread current at the moment where this could be adressed.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Mar 03 - 08:10 PM

I note in this piece about the Master from the Dungarvan Museum in Co Watrford, near where he came from, that both spellings are used. That's the way to do it.

It's an interesting story on the end of that link too - about how he nearly got drowned when he went thropugh the ice on a river at the Waterloo Cup in 1870, but got saved by a hero called Michael Wilson, and retired to stud. A happy ending. (And about his visit to meet Queen Victoria.) But in deferance to Joe and the Cut and Paste business, I'll just leave the link to it.

But there ought to be a song about the Master's last run. Perhaps there is.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 02:03 AM

Well blow me down! We've been singing 'relope' for ever and like many of your contibutors, been puzzled by it's meaning, thinking it to be a hunting cry along the 'Tally-Ho!' lines.

However, we were idly looking through Brasser Copper's (born 1845) songbook the other evening and what should we see? Within 'Sportsmens Arouse', it is clearly written 'alope' - not 'relope'. Now given Brasser's idiosyncratic and charming spelling we have 'elope' , the Chambers definition of which is 'to escape privately' or 'run away', but more fascinatingly we have in the Oxford Dictionary (from memory) 'alope', meaning the same but from the Old French! Not a language with which the old chap was familiar.

We were even asked the question not so long ago after a gig in London and could not give a satisfactory answer. We've deduced that through the oral process, probably in Jim Copper's generation the word got changed to 'Relope' .They couldn't refer back to Brasser's book because they didn't have it - it being written for a Mrs. Corrie daughter of the local farmer and a precious copy of it not passing to Bob Copper's generation until much later.

Problem solved I reckon.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Greycap
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 03:25 AM

That does it for me! Many thanks to all contributors, I can sleep at nights now. Come to Ripon Folk Club one Sunday night and I'll buy beers.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 03:41 AM

I seem to recall reading it in George McDonald Fraser's "Flashman at the Charge": Flashy fights a duel; his opponent fires without harming him Flashy relopes, i.e. deliberately aims away from him. I shall have to look it up, of course: it might be a completely different word that I've misremembered. And it doesn't help explain the hare-hunting meaning.

Steve


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Gurney
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 04:28 AM

'Rollop' is Ipswich/Bury dialect for a noisy gallop.
'Relaie' is a fresh set of hounds.
'Releve' is rally.
'Reliez' is proceed.
'Lope' is leap.
just a few of hundreds of vague possibilities from my 1850 'Dictionary of Archaic Words. Hope this adds some confusion. Heh Heh.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 04:54 AM

Ah well if John Dudley, a member of the Copper Family, says it's elope (or alope) then I suppose we'll all have to start singing it differently. Perhaps I'll have to correct my copy of "A Song for every season" !


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 04:59 AM

And "tally-ho" comes from the French "il est haut--il est haut": "it/he's up", the "t" of "haut" being sounded before the vowel at the start of the repeat (say it out loud several times). Nothing to do with haring, but that's according to T H White in The Once And Future King.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: AKS
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 06:08 AM

The hare, when retiring for the night or on the escape, makes various 'manoeuvres', one of which is to suddenly make a long leap sideways off the course, to distract the tracer or the pursuer.
I read in the context that the singer is encouraging 'the innocent hare' to make one!

AKS


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Mr Red
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 07:18 AM

there used to be a BBC radio4 prog that loved these kinds of questions but the series is only on rarely. 'Praps we could throw a bag of these like "scorpe" and see if they can answer at least one. Anyone know if it is going to be braodcast again? There is always "Quote Unquote".


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 10:44 AM

To put Dave Bryant's mind at rest...we won't be singing it any differently to the way we always have done...being respecters of the oral tradition!


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 10:46 AM

I've already passed it on to Michael Quinion at World-Wide Words. We'll have to wait a few days to see if he can answer the question.

Meanwhile, there's a new series of "Quote Unquote" starting on Monday (rpt Sunday), but I expect most or all of the programmes have been recorded already. I'll leave it to you to have a go at Nigel Rees, but I'm not sure if he charges for that kind of thing.

Steve


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,Penny S. (elsewhere)
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 11:45 AM

I think the duelling usage may be delope, not relope.

Penny


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Schantieman
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 12:24 PM

Now there's a thing.   I used to sing this song years ago before most people started worrying about killing nice furry animals. I haven't sung it for years, chiefly for fear of offending these people. Yesterday, a vegetarian lady of my acquaintance (who used to hunt foxes) suggested that I sing it!

The question is, will I get hounded out (ouch!) of the club? Does singing the song imply approval of the pastime? Does it matter?

(Alright, the questions are - but it doesn't sound right!)

Any ideas?

(And I live about 4 miles from Altcar, home of the Waterloo Cup)

Steve


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 12:28 PM

Oh gosh -- you're absolutely right, Penny! No wonder it didn't make sense ...

Steve: hate the sin, love the sinner, I say! Not only does the Devil have al the best tunes, he has a lot of the good lyrics; it's up to us righteous folks to liberate 'em. (Let me know if this works for you, and I'll try it myself.)


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 12:36 PM

Jon Dudley, is it "oral tradition" to maintain what could be a "mondegreen" ? I have over the years corrected/ammended some words of songs, which I learned/heard incorrectly or, to make more sense.
JohnB (who also sings "relope")


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,Jon Berger
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 12:42 PM

What Flashman did in the duel was delope, not relope. Close, though.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 12:45 PM

I think it a barbaric sport and am amazed that it still happens. Had it have been an old sport and part of our history, I would approve of it being sung. One could introduce the song by saying that one does not approve of the carrying on of the sport but....

Hmmm, I'm not sure about it but the tune is great. And I know of someone who sings it with great Gusto!

Sal


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,Jon Berger
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 12:48 PM

Re changing words to make the song more comprehensible: I do that pretty routinely, but I don't actually think that "alope" is any more comprehensible than "relope." I learned this one from the Young Tradition recording, and Peter Bellamy had such a distinctive way of singing "relope" that I just can't imagine it any other way.

I do, however, sing "The secrets of *my* heart, dear girl, and the best of *my* good will / So let *my* body be where it might" in another Copper Family song, "Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy." I think the Coppers sing (or at least most people who learned it from them sing) "your" for the first two and "my" for the middle one, which to me doesn't make any sense at all.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Snuffy
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 07:52 PM

I always sing it that way too, Jon. Otherwise it's just nonsense.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 24 Mar 03 - 09:39 PM

Decades of wonder have gone into this interesting word! I love singing it with great enthusiasm, and always I feel humorously concerned that I am not 'quite' sure what I'm so passionate about.

aloper - "Norman French... a legal term applied to a wife that runs away with her lover"... American Heritage

elope - "To run away; abscond" AH

abscond - "To leave quickly and secretly and hide oneself; especially to avoid arrest or prosecution" AH

Auw get you, you dwoyty wabbit! ttr


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 02:48 AM

Well, John B., if I knew what a mondegreen was (couldn't find it in Chambers) I'm sure I'd agree you had a point. Taking an (un)educated guess I think you mean perpetuating a mistake (word in this case) and singing something which doesn't make sense. Hmm, there's loads of cases of that and I'll give you a 'for instance'...in 'Admiral Benbow ' we sing 'Come all you seamen bold, landed here, landed here'...makes sense until you think it probably started out as 'Come all you seamen bold, lend an ear, lend and ear'. Well, personally, be it a mondegreen or not, I find it charming and will carry on singing it that way. Glad to hear that Relope stays in your rendition , though!


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Sarah the flute
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 03:30 AM

I always thought relope meant "give up" or "repent"

Sarah


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 03:32 AM

... or and draw near, and draw near, which is how I learned it (from Alasdair Clair's "100 folk songs and new songs"). Here's a good intoduction to mondegreens.

Anyone asked the Coppers yet, btw?

Steve


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 04:11 AM

Steve Parkes...see 24th March, the posting 2 before yours...although only a Copper-in law, I think the question was answered.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 04:56 AM

Jon, I obviously need to pay more attention! But then, I am supposed to be working!

Steve


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Gurney
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 05:06 AM

So,it seems we are all just as well informed as each other.
I'll continue with 'relope' too, and maybe introduce the word into conversational usage. Since we accept into common usage dozens of words and reinterpretations and phrases every year, why not one that only phokies know? My suggested meaning, 'run away and hide.'

Reloping now.

(Phokies are people who poke sly fun at the earnest. I made that up, too.)


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 05:17 AM

I think I agree with you Jon (sorry about misspelling your name earlier), there's a pleasant bit of alliteration in the phrase "Relope, relope retiring hare". Singing "elope" is rather a bit of a tongue-twister. Anyway if it got changed during Jim's time - and I can definitely remember Bob singing "relope" with Ron - then why not keep it as part of "the folk proccess". I bet you start having a careful look through your copy of Brasser's manuscript now.

Yes the term Mondegreen refers to words or phases which have been mis-heard and the error then proliferated. There are several Mudcat threads on the subject including this one on the subject. A good example is the way that many Irish singers sing "The shoals of Herring" as "The Shores of Erin"

BTW Jon - It's great to see you on Mudcat - why not become a member rather than just a guest It doesn't cost anything and we'd be honoured to have you as a member.


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,Jon Dudley
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 07:05 AM

Dave... There's absolutely no likelihood of our reverting to 'elope' now...I get sucked into these stimulating discussions on Mudcat, but (and I hope I didn't sound chastising, Steve) Iike most of us, I'm supposed to be working too!

Keep up the good work.

Jon

P.S. Re. Mondegreen...Jeff Davis told me the one which I'm sure you all know..."The ants are my friends..." rather than "The answer my friends etc etc"...ho! ho!


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Subject: RE: 'Innocent Hare' What does 'relope' mean?
From: GUEST,Jim Ward
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 07:35 AM

The Sussex County Magazine of February, 1931 gives the texts of some hunting songs collected by one G.B.Shiffner. During the forward he states the songs are "no doubt given in a perverted text owing, I think, to the habit of the rural singer of learning them by rote rather than from the printed word, and the fact that the sense of a sentence troubled him little, so long as the tune pleased him".
'Sportsman Arouse' was noted as a great favourite, and the verse in question is given as

All on the green turf she pants for breath
The huntsman, he shouts out "Tis death!"
Elope! Elope! We have tired our hare!
Wine and beer we will drink without fear
And drink success to the innocent hare.


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