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I need help with vocabulary...

Margo 03 Feb 99 - 03:12 PM
Allan C. 03 Feb 99 - 03:22 PM
Pete M 03 Feb 99 - 03:32 PM
Bill in Alabama 03 Feb 99 - 03:48 PM
Barbara 03 Feb 99 - 04:31 PM
Jerry Friedman 03 Feb 99 - 04:44 PM
Margo 03 Feb 99 - 06:35 PM
Barbara 03 Feb 99 - 08:29 PM
gargoyle 03 Feb 99 - 10:04 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Feb 99 - 10:49 PM
Barry Finn 03 Feb 99 - 11:34 PM
Murray on Saltspring 04 Feb 99 - 03:20 AM
Alan of Australia 04 Feb 99 - 05:38 AM
Felipa 04 Feb 99 - 07:18 AM
Barry Finn 04 Feb 99 - 09:44 AM
Margo 04 Feb 99 - 10:13 AM
Steve Parkes 04 Feb 99 - 12:30 PM
Jerry Friedman 04 Feb 99 - 02:04 PM
alison 05 Feb 99 - 08:32 AM
Penny 09 Feb 99 - 12:07 PM
Penny, again 09 Feb 99 - 12:12 PM
Margo 09 Feb 99 - 01:16 PM
Barbara 09 Feb 99 - 01:59 PM
Margo 09 Feb 99 - 05:26 PM
Pete M 09 Feb 99 - 09:20 PM
MGM·Lion 29 Nov 10 - 01:05 PM
Gutcher 29 Nov 10 - 02:45 PM
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Subject: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Margo
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 03:12 PM

In the ballad "Captain Wedderburn's Courtship": " And Melkisitik was a priest unborn" Is Melkisitik a real person, or what?

In "The Besom Maker": "I eased him of his gink" What is gink?

In the shanty "Paddy West": "And we'll think on them cold nor'westers that we had" To what is nor'westers referring?

If anyone has suggestions for good language reference books I would be delighted to hear them - I try to look up as much as I can before asking. Thanks

Margarita


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Allan C.
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 03:22 PM

To what is nor'westers referring?

Depending upon which ocean you are sailing in the northern hemisphere, foul weather is usually thought of as coming from the northeast or northwest. "nor'westers" must surely refer to this. Although there is the possibility that the stormy weather may be metaphoric.


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Pete M
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 03:32 PM

Margarita,

can't help with the first two, but the third is so obvious you'll kick yourself. From memory the answer is the next line in the song "...on the Banks of Newfoundland".

In case you are not familiar with the North Atlantic, the Banks are an area of comparitively shallow sea where the Gulf stram and Labrador current meet giving rise to very cold damp air most of the time. The general track of depressions from the Carribean up the coast of America and out across the North Atlantic gives prevailing winds from the Western quadrant (SW - NW) across the Atlantic. Finally the reason ships going to New York and other ports on the N American seaboard go across the banks is that this is the shortest (great circle) route.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Bill in Alabama
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 03:48 PM

Margarita-- The very nature of folk music is that it be in the folk idiom of whatever language its makers/performers speak; consequently, there is not likely to be any single source or even any readily available group of sources to consult, outside a good public library which contains specialized works on dialect. Your best bet is to come here and ask; then, from all the answers you get, you can pick the one that you like best. As my grandpa used to tell folks when he invited them to come see us, *We'll treat you so many ways you're bound to like some of 'em.*


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Barbara
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 04:31 PM

I would guess the first is really "a priest unshorn", a phrase I've run into before, and I know it refers to the haircut, the bald patch in the center being shaved into the priest's head, so I'd guess the line is talking about a priest that has been away from civilization, on retreat or such.
Or maybe it means a recent one, or a false one. Anyone?
Possibly it's "unshriven and unshorn" I've heard before.
The name "Melkisitik" rings vague newage bells for me. I seem to recall deleting some message recently about the end of the world attributed to Melchisedek? Some name like that. Is this someone like Nostradamus, does anyone know?
Haven't a clue about 'gink' but would suspect a typo again.

Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 04:44 PM

For Melchizedek (the correct spelling in English) see Genesis 14:18 and Psalms 110:4. The apostle Paul refers to the latter passage in Hebrews chapters 5-7.

A nor'wester is a strong wind or storm coming from the northwest. Mostly a sailor's and maybe country people's term.


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Margo
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 06:35 PM

Barbara,

I looked "gink" up in the dictionary and the definition I found didn't make sense in the context of the song; Gink slang, a man, especially one thought of as foolish or contemptable.

A priest unshorn makes more sense to me...

Pete, I think of nor'wester as referring to wind, but I thought that in the song "Paddy West" the expression might be used metaphorically, perhaps referring to some good times they had? Or maybe that when the cold nor'wester were blowing the fellows were glad to be at Paddy's instead at sea?


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Barbara
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 08:29 PM

Here's the lines for "gink".
The word is obviously a double entendre, and could mean 'money', 'load', or 'dust,dirt'(whatever needed sweeping with her bonny green besom). Sort of an early version of "getting your ashes hauled", as it were.

One day as I was roving, over the hills so high,
I met with a rakish squire, all with a rolling eye;
He tipp'd to me the wink, I wrote to him the tune,
I eased him of his gink, a-gathering of green broom.

One day as I was turning all to my native vale,
I met Jack Sprat the miller, he asked me to turn tail;
His mill I rattled round, I ground the grists so clean,
I eased him of his gink, a-gathering broom so green.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: gargoyle
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 10:04 PM

Melchizedek is a "Christ Image." He was of the highest order of priests.

Jerry can probably expostulate, and edifiy better than I upon the subject,.....but if he won't... I will add an additional tag. He has wonderful, mystical position, within the history of "believers."


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 10:49 PM

Melkisitik probably is a mis-spelling of Melchizedek, but I'm not familiar with his appearance in the ballad. Child doesn't include him. The "priest unborn" is explained by the same sort of "not of woman born" used in MacBeth: a Caesarian delivery, either by doctors or, in at least one version, by a wild boar. Can someone pleasepost the version of Captain Wedderburn in question?


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Barry Finn
Date: 03 Feb 99 - 11:34 PM

"Tis I maun hae some winter fruit that in December grew
And I maun hae a silk mantil that waft gaed never through
A sparrow's horn, a priest unborn, this nicht to join us twa
Before I lie in your bed, at either stock or wa'."

"My father has some winter fruit that in Dec. grew
My mither has a silk mantil the waft gaed never through
A sparrow's horn ye soon may find, there's ane on every claw
And twa upo the gab o it, & ye shall get them a'.

"The priest he stands without the yett, just ready to come in
Nae man can say he e'er was born, nae man without sin
He was haill cut frae his mither's side, & frae the same let fa'
Sae we'll baith lie in ae bed, & ye'se lie at the wa'."

From the Viking Book of Folk Ballads. Barry


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Murray on Saltspring
Date: 04 Feb 99 - 03:20 AM

In Hebrews vii.3 we're told Melchizedek was "without father, without mother, without descent" etc.; so he's a good example of the unborn. As for "gink", if it's pronounced with a hard G (as in "get"), then the only meaning is "odd fellow" etc., a pejorative word. But if it's got a soft G, as in "gin", then it's either a mishearing or a viable variant of "chink", money [since the 1600s; colloquial; used by Ben Jonson]. Margarita--what texts are you quoting there??


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 04 Feb 99 - 05:38 AM

G'day,
The versions of "Captain Wedderburn's Courtship" (Child #46) that I have all consistently say "Priest unborn". The solution to this riddle being that torn or cut from his mother's side, in one version by a wild boar.

e.g.
'Oh then', quo he, 'my young brother from mother's side was torn,
And he's a gentil English priest, of woman never born'

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Felipa
Date: 04 Feb 99 - 07:18 AM

just to say that I recall hearing Ian and Sylvia (Fricker/Tyson; Canadian duo) sing a version of Capt Wedderburn's courtship. I don't think they had that title but the woman did ask for "fruit that in December grows" and also for "a priest unborn...before I'll lie one night with you..." and "Melchizedek" was the answer to the latter query.


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Barry Finn
Date: 04 Feb 99 - 09:44 AM

Maybe those in the Canadian Maritimes could shed a little more on the Nor'wester part here. The trades in the northern Hemisphere come from the southwest & blow towards the nor'east hence nor'easter & the rain cap that's low in the back called a Nor'easter, shelters the back of the neck while standing at the wheel with your back exposed to the nor'east winds if your running with the wind (no sense running into it). the Nor'easters are the storms that we in the northeast of the US have to watch, they can equal & sometime exceed hurricanes. 1 in 10 nor'easters are what's now called a bullet because they're nothward track is very hard to forcast & they're increased speed coming up the coast is like the bullet they're named for. My guess is that when the winter wind comes from the nor'west it's no so much a mighty storm as it is a very bitter blast of raw damp cold wind coming down under a warmer high & in an area of warmer water setting up either very foggy & choppy or slopy & soggy sea conditions out over the banks. A green hand would be far better off at Paddy's house rather being out on the Banks no matter what the winter sea conditions in the North Alantic were. Barry, from a warm spot in the northeast, must've been in the 50's yesterday.


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Margo
Date: 04 Feb 99 - 10:13 AM

Hi Murray, thanks for the input. The song "The Besom Maker" is in Liam's brother's new song book, THE BONNIE BUNCH OF ROSES. His note preceeding the song just says that the text is from a broadside printed by Disley of St. Giles, London. I'm afraid I don't know what a broadside is aside from an auto accident....maybe you can enlighten me there also.

Margarita


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 04 Feb 99 - 12:30 PM

Broadsides, or broadsheets, were printed songs which were sold in the streets in the 19th century and before - sometimes by the yard (36"), literally! quite a few printers used to run broadsides off as a sideline when trade was a bit slack; they brought in a modest but steady income. People "below stairs" and other hoi-polloi were the usual customers, although it wasn't unusual for the lady of the house to send out for them ("but don't tell the Master!"). Broadsides could contain any sort of song, often with the instruction "to the air of ..." - no music! It was usual for broadsides to appear at historical and popular events, especially public executions; "Maria Marten, or the Red Barn Mystery" is one such, where the alleged "last confession of the condemned man" were written down in his cell the night before and published just in time to sell to the audience. If there was any likelihood of an escape or a rescue, then the appropriate broadside would be ready at hand to replace the "confession" when the time came!

They were printed in London, Birmingham and other places. I'm sure someone can come up with a few printers' names; Catnach is the only one I can remember off-hand.

Steve


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 04 Feb 99 - 02:04 PM

Sorry, Gargoyle, I can't expound or explicate anything on Melchizedek beside what I looked up at the Bible Gateway. Except that I don't know what "believers" you're talking about, but I think priesthood in the order of Melchizedek has an important place in the LDS Church.


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: alison
Date: 05 Feb 99 - 08:32 AM

Hi,

I agree with Dick....... can't remember much about Macbeth, (am I allowed to say that here.. or do we refer to "the Scottish play"?).

But wasn't one of the 3 conditions given that he could only be destroyed by someone not of woman born...... and then it turned out that whoever the character was had been "from his mother's womb untimely ripped." (??caesarean section).

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Penny
Date: 09 Feb 99 - 12:07 PM

If I had come to these verses cold, I would have thought that the priest unborn was one not yet alive, as in no priest, and that words were being used as John Donne used them in

"Go and catch a falling star, Get with child a mandrake root, Tell me where all times past are, Or who cleft the devil's foot..."

or in Scarborough Fair, where impossible things are set out as tasks for a lover. No need to seek out Melchisadek at all. And the song provides a solution where none was expected in the Caesarian birth.

Also, over here by the North Sea, the shoulder-length water-proof hat is a sou-wester: our nor-easters bring the cold from Siberia.


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Penny, again
Date: 09 Feb 99 - 12:12 PM

Additional thought: "priest unborn," as in "you can wait until a baby born tonight has grown up, studied, gone to university, graduated, served as a deacon and a curate, been ordained as a priest and come back to marry us, before I'll go to bed with you. So there!"


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Margo
Date: 09 Feb 99 - 01:16 PM

Penny, that's really cute! So there. As you can see by this thread there are a lot of thoughts about Melchizidek. In the end of this particular song, He answers all the questions correctly, and she has to go with him.

The words in Paddy west are "and we'll think of them cold nor'westers that we had at Paddy West's". I suppose they are winds and the fellows are glad they're at Paddy's instead of at sea as those cold winds blow. But I can't help thnking that they could be referring to beer! One would remember a cold beer more fondly than a cold wind.

I didn't know about the sou wester being a hat. I learn new things all the time from everyone here at the mudcat. Thank you all.

Margarita


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Barbara
Date: 09 Feb 99 - 01:59 PM

Those are good guesses, however, in the song "Paddy West" he and his wife train 'landlubbers' to pass as sailors by faking -- in their rooming house -- the conditions of being at sea.
Here's part of it from the database:
As I was walkin' down London Street, I come to Paddy West's house,
He gave me a dish of American hash; he called it Liverpool scouse,
He said " There's a ship and she's wantin' hands, and on her you must sign,
The mate's a bastard, the captain's worse, but she will suit you fine."

(Chorus) then:
When we had finished our dinner, boys, the wind began to blow.
Paddy sent me to the attic, the main-royal for to stow,
But when I got to the attic, no main-royal could I find,
So I turned myself 'round to the window, and I furled the window blind.
(Chorus)
Now Paddy he pipes all hands on deck, their stations for to man.
His wife she stood in the doorway, a bucket in her hand;
And Paddy he cries, "Now let 'er rip!" and she throws the water our way,
Cryin' "Clew in the fore t'gan'sl, boys, she's takin on the spray!"

Like that. The point was to allow them to lie and say they were experienced sailors.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Margo
Date: 09 Feb 99 - 05:26 PM

Hey Barbara, I get it. Sometimes I'm pretty slow on the uptake but once I have it, I have it. Thanks, Margarita


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Pete M
Date: 09 Feb 99 - 09:20 PM

Margarita,

Just to round off the Nor'wester bit, it is definately refering to the wind, real or faked in PW's attic. They are cold because in simplistic terms winds are circular about the weather system creating them. In the Northern hemisphere, a Nor wester is either the lower trailing quadrant of a depression or the leading upper quadrant of an anticyclone; either way if you are on a great circle route between Europe and N America the air mass has been dragged up over the Arctic before it hits you. The only thing to be said in their favour is that they are, generally speaking not as strong as sou'westers, and don't carry as much rain.

Pete M


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 29 Nov 10 - 01:05 PM

An 11-year-old thread I've only just come across. Hope not too late to point out that in the version in Roy Palmer's "Songs Collected By Ralph Vaughan Williams" (Dent 1983), this song appears in a Somerset version under title "Bizzoms". The word 'gink' does not appear: in verse 2, she eased the squire of his 'jingle O'; in verse 3, Jack Sprat the miller of his 'chink' ~~ both clearly meaning money, & both usages of which 'gink' could be a 'minced' variant. I adopted these versions of the word [I think perhaps in reverse order] for this song on my Butter&Cheese&All record. I sing it thus also on my YouTube channel

http://www.youtube.com/user/mgmyer

♥♫❤Michael❤♫♥


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Subject: RE: I need help with vocabulary...
From: Gutcher
Date: 29 Nov 10 - 02:45 PM

the priest he"s staunin at the door jist ready tae come in
nae man can say that he was born tae lie it were a sin
a wild boar ripped his mithers side he oot o it did faa
sae we"s baith lie in yae bed and ye"s lie niest the waa.
Joe.


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