Mudcat Café message #3269928 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13536   Message #3269928
Posted By: Jim Dixon
07-Dec-11 - 01:49 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Dreg Song (from Archie Fisher)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Dreg Song (from Archie Fisher)
A later book called "Songs from David Herd's Manuscripts" gives these translations:

Rade = rode
Cruket = crooked
Cock = turn up
Deil-drum* = melancholy
Moniefald = bowels
Jimp-deus = light dancing shoes
White breek = foot soldier
Steel-pike = lancer
Whalpet = gave birth
Skail'd = crossed against the current
Steek = shut, bar
Grape = feel about
Clekit = hatched
Averile = April
Tentlins and fentlins = hooks and eyes
Bing = heap

[* Is this where "doldrums" comes from?]

[Furthermore, it has this commentary:]

"Dreg songs" were the interminable delight of the harvest dinner-hour—especially among the Irishmen, who took a share in harvest operations before machinery took away the social jollity from the workers. I have heard an old man recite one of these long-blown medleys for three-quarters of an hour without a break. The more mixed the metaphor the more delight it gave. Any sing-song tune serves for the recital, if the cadences can be worked in. The "Dredging Song" of the fishermen is of a similar class, but it is called by a different name. I have heard two men in different fishing villages give practically the same song word for word. It is more of the nature of a sailor's "chantie."—(Hay.)

Of the present "strange jumble of nonsense" the only lines of any interest are lines 57 and 58, because they are in some way or other connected with Elspeth Mucklebackit's rhyme:—

"The herring loves the merry moonlight,
   The mackerel loves the wind;
But the oyster loves the dredging-sang,
   For they come of a gentle kind."

The Antiquary (Border Ed. p. 519).

Another Dreg Song parodied by Burns in his Ken ye ought o' Captain Grose? with a little more sense in it is in Songs 2 II, 99. It begins:

"Keep ye weel frae Sir John Malcolm: Igo and ago,
If he's a wise man, I mistak him: Iram coram dago,
Keep ye weel frae Sandie Don: Igo and ago,
He's ten times dafter than Sir John: Iram coram dago" &c.