Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemud

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?

Related thread:
(origins) Origins: Lyrics involving aprons (26)


GUEST,Paul Slade 27 Jul 10 - 08:07 AM
Gedi 27 Jul 10 - 08:10 AM
vectis 27 Jul 10 - 08:13 AM
pavane 27 Jul 10 - 08:13 AM
Will Fly 27 Jul 10 - 08:14 AM
Jim Carroll 27 Jul 10 - 08:15 AM
MtheGM 27 Jul 10 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Paul Slade 27 Jul 10 - 10:28 AM
michaelr 27 Jul 10 - 10:52 AM
open mike 27 Jul 10 - 10:52 AM
Charley Noble 27 Jul 10 - 05:08 PM
Richard Bridge 27 Jul 10 - 05:23 PM
michaelr 27 Jul 10 - 06:56 PM
Rumncoke 27 Jul 10 - 07:42 PM
Bill D 27 Jul 10 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,Carolin O'Carolan 27 Jul 10 - 08:21 PM
mousethief 27 Jul 10 - 08:39 PM
michaelr 27 Jul 10 - 10:32 PM
Don Firth 27 Jul 10 - 10:34 PM
mousethief 27 Jul 10 - 11:43 PM
Joe Offer 28 Jul 10 - 01:35 AM
open mike 28 Jul 10 - 02:16 AM
mousethief 28 Jul 10 - 02:21 AM
mousethief 28 Jul 10 - 02:30 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Jul 10 - 02:30 AM
Seamus Kennedy 28 Jul 10 - 03:05 AM
GUEST,Mike Rogers 28 Jul 10 - 03:45 AM
BrooklynJay 01 Jan 11 - 01:07 PM
Tootler 01 Jan 11 - 05:07 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:




Subject: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:07 AM

"When I wore my apron low,
He'd follow me through frost and snow,
Now that I wear my apron to my chin,
He sails on by and says nothing."

It's clear from these lines that a low apron equals a young and attractive woman, while a high one indicates a much older, unattractive one. But why?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Gedi
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:10 AM

I always took it to mean that she was pregnant. The version I know goes ' now my apron strings wont pin', ie she's put on a bit of a 'bump'. I could be wrong though.

cheers
Ged


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: vectis
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:13 AM

Aprons were worn high when they had to fit over a pregnant tummy. Low ties are only possible with flatter tummies.

Or so I thought


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: pavane
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:13 AM

Agreed, but it looks like it is the high apron which means pregnant here (Over the bump)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:14 AM

When she wasn't pregnant - and still desirable - her apron hung naturally over her hips. Now that he's made her pregnant - signified by the swelling tummy over which the apron sits - he doesn't want to know her! 'Twas ever thus! The apron is the signifier of the state of his desire for her.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:15 AM

High apron = preggers; low apron = ok for another month
Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: MtheGM
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:15 AM

No, not wrong: I agree absolutely that the high apron surely implies pregnancy. The [floating] verses generally follow pattern of "Apron low, would follow me thru frost & snow"; "Apron high, sees me not & passes by"; "Apron strings won't pin, passes my door & won't come in" ~~ or some such.

~Michael~


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: GUEST,Paul Slade
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 10:28 AM

Thank you very much. I did wonder about the pregnancy angle, but it's nice to have it confirmed.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: michaelr
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 10:52 AM

On the other hand, in Willie o'Winsbury the inspection of the naked, pregnant princess finds that "her apron was low, her haunches round". What gives?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: open mike
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 10:52 AM

need to have it confirmed?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 05:08 PM

And evidently there are no songs about men wearing aprons, tied high or low. Maybe that need should be addressed here?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 05:23 PM

1. I know that verse of Willie of Winsbury as "high" not "low".
2. High Apron equals either pregnant or fat. Neither to my taste! Yes, I know I'm fat. That's ANOTHER reason.
3. I am fairly sure there are Masonic songs about men's aprons.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: michaelr
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 06:56 PM

The DT has "low" (Child #100) - can anyone check Child to see whether the DT entry is correct? And, since Janet is naked, she isn't wearing an apron high or low...??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Rumncoke
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 07:42 PM

Apron is a term used for the lower belly - there is an operation called an apronectomy done to remove excess skin from there and restore a more youthful apearance.

As she is pregnant then perhaps the reference is not to a garment but her body?

In Willie of Winsbury shouldn't there be a line about the darkest place on his body being fairer than the lightest on mine, said by the lady's father?

Anne Croucher


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:16 PM

♫"*In Tarrytown* (John Allison)

This is a Hudson Valley version of the old English/Irish/Scots ballad "The Butcher Boy". From the singing of John Allison, this song dates back to the U.S. colonial era.

In Tarrytown, there did dwell
A lovely youth I knew him well
He courted me my life away
And now with me he will no longer stay

Refrain:
Oh, wide and deep, my grave will be
With the wild goose grasses growing over me

When I wore, my apron low
He courted me, through ice and snow
Now that I wear, my apron high
He walks right down the street and passes by

Oh, wide and deep, my grave will be
With the wild goose grasses growing over me

There is an inn, in Tarrrytown
There my love goes and sits him down
He takes another, girl on his knee
And she has gold and riches more than me

Oh, wide and deep, my grave will be
With the wild goose grasses growing over me
Oh, wide and deep, my grave will be
With the wild goose grasses growing over me."♫



and Jean Redpath sang: (from memory)
"When my apron did hang low,
He'd follow after thru wind & snow,
But now that my apron's to my chin,
He passes my gate...but he won't come in."

"I wish, I wish, though I wish in vain,
I wish I was a maid again.
But a maid again I can never be
Till apples grow on an orange tree"

I wish, I wish that my babe were born
And sitting on my mother's knee
And I, poor girl, were dead & gone;
Green grass growing over me"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: GUEST,Carolin O'Carolan
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:21 PM

Just wear a bloody overall! Worked for me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: mousethief
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:39 PM

The DT has "low" (Child #100) - can anyone check Child to see whether the DT entry is correct? And, since Janet is naked, she isn't wearing an apron high or low...??

Which song in the DT are you looking at? There are 3 songs that I found in the DT that (Careless Love, I Wish I Wish 4 (Died in Vain), and Dink's Song) use the conceit of when I wore my apron low, he liked me, and now that i wear it high, he doesn't. None of the 3 mention Child 100.

In my Loomis Press edition of Child, Willie O Winsbury (100) has J permutations (counts on fingers ... that's 10). There's none of them has anything about aprons.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: michaelr
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 10:32 PM

Child #100, Willie o'Winsbury


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 10:34 PM

Maybe I'm either painfully naive or worldly wise, but the meaning of the elevation of the young lady's apron and the guy's ducking out on her because of it has always seemed crystal clear to me.

She'e preggers, he got her that way, and he's shirking his responsibilty.

Claire, the lovely girl I was going with back in 1951-52 and who was primarily responsible for getting me interested in folk music in the first place had an interesting and revealing verse that followed the one about the height of the young lady's apron:
You pass my door, you pass my gate,
You pass my door, you pass my gate,
You pass my door, you pass my gate,
But you won't get by my thirty-eight!
Don Firth


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: mousethief
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 11:43 PM

Okay, I'll get the next stronger pair of reading glasses, and try again.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 01:35 AM

The version of "Willie of Winsbury" in the Digital Tradition has:
    Her apron was low, her haunches round
    Her face was pale and wan
Supposedly, the DT version comes from Sharps English Folk Songs, but I can't find it in any of the (condensed) Sharp books I have. Can anybody find the exact version of "Willie" that's in the DT, and tell us where the apron is.
No low aprons in Child - I checked.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: open mike
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 02:16 AM

is 38 a caliber of pistol?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: mousethief
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 02:21 AM

So I'm not going mad.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: mousethief
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 02:30 AM

Okay, here we go. From version "A". I checked this against my Loomis Press, my Cambridge Edition one-volume, and an online Child database; they all say the same thing.

Stanza 5:

She's coosten off her berry-brown gown,
Stooden straight upo yon stone;
Her apron was short, and her haunches were round,
Her face it was pale and wan.

I'm wondering if this short apron has anything at all to do with the low and high aprons in that other song -- I want to see what Joe finds in his Cecil Sharp.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 02:30 AM

The Scots version MacColl sang on The Long Harvest, which, I think, came from Peter Buchan, goes:

When her faither cam' hame frae hunting the deer
And his daughter before him cam',
Her belly it was big and her twa sides round,
And her fair colour was wan.

Jim Carroll


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 03:05 AM

Same in 'Careless Love'.

"Once I wore my apron low."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: GUEST,Mike Rogers
Date: 28 Jul 10 - 03:45 AM

Yes the 'apron strings won't pin' for pre-Mothercare gals.

I know a version of 'Careless Love' in which the gate and door are transposed, resulting in a larger calibre gun:

You pass my gate, you pass my door
You pass my gate, you pass my door
You pass my gate, you pass my door
But you won't get by my forty-four.

.38 or .44 - you takes your choice, but either would make a big hole in someone.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 01:07 PM

I have a version of Careless Love that also uses 44:

You can pass my window, pass my door
You can pass my window, you can pass my door
You can pass my window, you can pass my door
But you'll never pass my .44

I remember the strange thing about this old album was that on the cover it said Folk Songs by Ed McCurdy, but when you listened to the LP (and examined its label) it turned out that several of the songs (including Careless Love) were performed by Rex Trailer. I had never heard of Mr. Trailer, but I have since discovered that he was quite well-known in the Boston area.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Origins: Why is a low apron desirable?
From: Tootler
Date: 01 Jan 11 - 05:07 PM

This song from the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs has the exact verse the OP quoted.

I Wish, I Wish
Sung by Mrs Cecilia Costello of Birmingham

I wish, I wish, but it's all in vain
I wish I were a maid again;
But a maid again I never shall be
Till apples grow on an orange tree.

I wish my baby it was born,
And smiling on its papa's knee,
I to be in yon churchyard,
with the long green grass growing over me.

When my apron strings hung low,
He followed me through frost and snow,
But now my apron's to my chin,
He passes by and says nothing.

Oh grief, Oh grief, I'll tell you why-
That girl has more gold than I;
More gold than I and beauty and fame,
But she will come like me again.


This song is very similar to "In Tarrytown" which was posted by Bill D in July.


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: 24 July 8:14 PM 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.