Farm - The Saint Report
Sylvia Wright & The Ants are My Friends
you haven't heard of mondegreens, you are in for a treat. A mondegreen
is a mis-heard lyric, almost always funny and often gut-wrenchingly
word 'mondegreen' was coined by Sylvia Wright, who wrote a column
about them in the fifties, when she recounted hearing a Scottish folk
song, 'The Bonny Earl Of Morray.' She heard the lyric, 'Oh, they have
slain the Earl o' Morray and laid him on the green' as 'Oh, they have
slain the Earl o' Morray and Lady Mondegreen.' (I think this came from Jessica Ross.)
Jessica Ross was the author of a site called"The Ants are My Friends" where she used to list mondegreens followed
by the correct line and the song. She had a million of them. The demise of this site is sad indeed. It was as reliable a source of laughing-until-tears-rolled-down-my-face as "The Utah Baby Namer" still is.
is tramping out the vintage where the great giraffes are stored
he is tramping
out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
The Battle Hymn of the Republic
the royal master, leans against the phone
Christ the royal master leads against the foe
Onward Christian Soldiers
walks with me, Andy talks with me
And He walks with me, and He talks with me
In the Garden
From Beatles songs:
such a feeling that my love, I get hives, I get hives, I get hives!
it's such a feeling that my love I can't hide, I can't hide, I can't
I Wanna Hold Your Hand
someone embarrassed the turnstile
suddenly someone is there at the turnstile
The girl with colitis goes
the girl with kaleidescope eyes
Lucy in disguise, with diamonds
Lucy in the sky with diamonds
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
is a columnist in San Francisco named Jon Carroll who has written several
columns on mondegreens, all of which I wish I had written. Here's an
excerpt from one of them:
that the most frequently submitted Mondegreen is still "Gladly, the
cross-eyed bear" (known in the real world as that fine old hymn "Gladly
The Cross I'd Bear"). A close second is "There's a bathroom on the
right," a mishearing of "There's a bad moon on the rise" from the
old Creedence Clearwater song "Bad Moon Rising."
place is still firmly held by "Excuse me while I kiss this guy," actually
"Excuse me while I kiss the sky" from the Jimi Hendrix song "Purple
Haze." Mr. Hendrix was himself aware that he had been Mondegreened,
and would occasionally, in performance, actually kiss a guy after
saying that line.
place is probably occupied by Round John Virgin, a Shakespearean figure
occasionally found in "Silent Night." Also high on the charts is a
Mondegreen from "Groovin'", a popular song of an earlier era. (Kids,
"groovin'" was kind of like "chillin'" except the clothing fit more
tightly). In that song, the Rascals were singing "You and me endlessly,"
but many people heard "You and me and Leslie," leading to speculation
about the exact identity of Leslie and the popularity of multiple
couplings in the music world.
those of you who have not yet received the pamphlet (mailed free to
anyone who buys me an automobile), the word Mondegreen, meaning a
mishearing of a popular phrase or song lyric, was coined by the writer
Sylvia Wright. As a child she had heard the Scottish ballad "The Bonny
Earl of Murray" and had believed that one stanza went like this: Ye
Highlands and Ye Lowlands Oh where hae you been? They hae slay the
Earl of Murray, And Lady Mondegreen.
Lady Mondegreen, thought Sylvia Wright. A tragic heroine dying with
her liege; how poetic. When it turned out, some years later, that
what they had actually done was slay the Earl of Murray and lay him
on the green, Wright was so distraught by the sudden disappearance
of her heroine that she memorialized her with a neologism.
a good word! It has two definitions, both of which I like a lot:
1 : a new word,
usage, or expression
2 : a meaningless word coined by a psychotic
I guess Mr. Carroll
could have meant either, depending on the degree of Sylvia's* distraughtness.
Saints o' the day
include Saint Credan, Saint John Eudes, Saint Mochta, and Saint Louis
Mochta ( who is not the patron saint of Starbucks) lived, according
to legend, 300 years because he doubted the ages of the patriarchs in
the OT. Apparently this was not a good thing. As Gershwin and Heyward noted in "Porgy and Bess,"
methuselah lived 900 years
methuselah lived 900 years
who calls that livin'
when no gal will give in
to no man what's 900 years
observe a moment of silence today and bow toward El Paso, where Gene
Roddenberry was born on this day in 1921. He died in Santa Monica on
October 24, 1991. What a world he gave us. And we gave a little of him
back to that world on April 21, 1997, when his remains and those of
Timothy Leary (high enough now, Tim?) were sent into outer space
Oddly enough, August
19 is also the birthday of Jonathan Frakes ("Riker" from ST:TNG) and
Diana Muldaur ("Katherine Pulaski" from ST:TNG). Diana Muldaur was also
in at least one of the original Star Trek shows.
"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."
-George Bernard Shaw
*Although Sylvia Wright is mentioned all over the internet wherever wild mondegreens roam, there is NO other reference to her. Who is Sylvia? If you know, drop me an email.
to August 20
to August 18
to the Farm
© Marilyn Jones 2002-2008