Mudcat Café message #3180160 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4074   Message #3180160
Posted By: GUEST
02-Jul-11 - 10:26 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Wildwood Flower / I'll Twine 'Mid the ...
Subject: RE: Origins: Wildwood Flower / I'll Twine 'Mid the ...
Hi Owen,
See my post from 11 Apr. We agree on all but oleander - good!

But, I think angelica, accenting the third syllable, is a far better deduction than oleander, and here's why, both phonetically and botanically. In all of this, keep in mind that AP Carter traveled into remote hollows in the '20s to transcribe these songs, many of which had been passed down by oral tradition - he could often only write what he heard - there was no songbook.

Now, phonetically, I don't see a misunderstood word starting O being replaced with one starting with A. The sounds are just to common and distinct. Plus, the d in 'and' is rarely pronounced. Now run the first two together in comparison - An'ge / An'(dt)h' There is no contest with that vs. 'O le' - the 'le' doesn't come till the third syllable, and both 'an'ge'li-' and 'an' th' le-' match. Oleander only wins on the last syllable, but the score may not be that overwhelming in that frame. I've lately noticed that many English and New Englanders put an r on the end of words ending in a vowel, so it seems not that unlikely that at some point angeli-ca became angeli-ker.

Now, botanically, the first thing you read about oleander is that IT IS POISONOUS, and apparently more than just a little. It's also non-native (to either the US or England), and thus NOT A WILDFLOWER. Then, have a look at angelica and oleander. Which, aesthetically, seem more appropriate to put in one's raven black hair.

If you knew how angelica is ordinarily pronounced but you'd never heard the song, and someone handed you these lyrics, I think you'd pretty quickly figure that you'd accent the third syllable to make it all work. But if you knew nothing of the plant (as, I suppose AP didn't) and heard it accented on the wrong syllable to boot, it seems to me that you could pretty easily write 'And the Leader' in place of 'AngeLIca' with barely a shrug, and keep writing.