Mudcat Café message #3215062 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16707   Message #3215062
Posted By: GUEST,Lighter
30-Aug-11 - 07:26 AM
Thread Name: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
Subject: RE: Help: Origins of Carrickfergus
If anybody's wondering about the "handsome boatman": the word "handsome" often meant "adept, skilled, or clever," according to my dictionary.

That's the kind of boatman he wants.

Or, more recently, "she" wants. I've heard a woman sing the song with the pronouns suitably altered. Same goes for "Down by the Salley Gardens."

Identification of the singer with the song is now so complete that audiences apparently get very queasy if the pronouns don't match.

It's something that never bothered traditional singers. Unless told otherwise, everybody knew that the "I" of a song was fictional.