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Lyr Req: Hishie Ba / When I Was Noo But Sweet 16

Allan S 05 Feb 06 - 08:14 PM
Drumshanty 06 Feb 06 - 09:48 AM
Malcolm Douglas 06 Feb 06 - 10:08 AM
Drumshanty 06 Feb 06 - 06:09 PM
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Subject: Hishie ba- when i was noo but sweet 16
From: Allan S
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 08:14 PM

In the Scots song, "Hishie ba",also known as "When I was noo but sweet sixteen" as sung by Arthur Argo and Jean Redpath the last 2 lines of the last verse are as follows
It's gi'en me balance tae my stays
and thats in the latest fashon, o
What does the line "It's gi'en me balance tae my stays" mean??
Something about a corset??


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Subject: RE: Hishie ba- when i was noo but sweet 16
From: Drumshanty
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 09:48 AM

I sing "It's gi'en me ballast tae my stays". Maybe I heard it wrong. I learned it from the Christine Kydd singing on the Chantan CD Primary Colours.


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Subject: RE: Hishie ba- when i was noo but sweet 16
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 10:08 AM

James Porter and Herschel Gower (Jeannie Robertson: Emergent Singer, Transformative Voice, Tuckwell Press/University of Tennessee Press 1995, pp 233-4) note that "Jean Redpath adds to Jeannie's text another stanza that she learned from Lucy Stewart via Arthur Argo:

It's keepit me frae loupin' dykes
Frae balls and frae waddins O
It's gi'en me balance tae my stays
And that's the latest fashion O."


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Subject: RE: Hishie ba- when i was noo but sweet 16
From: Drumshanty
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 06:09 PM

In answer to the original question, I got this from the Long Island Staylace Association! (I am bemused by the amount of corset websites to be found).

Stays: (a pair of) C17th and c18th term for the boned underbodice previously known as a "pair of bodies." The term persisted into the c19th but was more usually replaced by its French equivalent, the "corset." The term was also applied to the stiff inserts of whalebone or steel which shaped this garment.

The OED has: a corset made of two pieces laced together and stiffened by strips of whalebone.

That's certainly how we used the word in our family.

Some of the sites I've looked at have said one of the functions of these things were to make the lady walk upright and gracefully, so maybe that's why they give her "balance". Or maybe they've restrained her bad behaviour? I thought "ballast" made sense as her waist would have been thickened because she'd had a baby.


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Mudcat time: 17 July 9:48 PM EDT

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