Something To Keep You Going

21 Oct

The painting is done but it’s taking as long to move in my stuff, arrange my books and pictures and so on as it took to decorate.  By way of apology for my continued absence, here’s a repost that I thought you might enjoy.

My First Mondegreen

A mondegreen is a mishearing of a phrase.  It was so named by Sylvia Wright, who misheard a line in a poem.  From Wikipedia:

In the essay, Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the last line of the first stanza from the 17th-century ballad “The Bonny Earl O’Moray“. She wrote:

 When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from “Percy’s Reliques“, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl O’ Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

 The actual fourth line is “And laid him on the green”. Wright explained the need for a new term:

The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original.

Other examples Wright suggested are:

  • Surely Good Mrs. Murphy shall follow me all the days of my life (“Surely goodness and mercy…” from Psalm 23)
  • The wild, strange battle cry “Haffely, Gaffely, Gaffely, Gonward.” (“Half a league, half a league, / Half a league onward,” from “The Charge of the Light Brigade“)

I experienced my first mondegreen as a child, courtesy of Kenny Rogers’ song, Lucille:

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille,
With four hundred children and a crop in the field.

I thought, ‘Four hundred children?  No wonder she left him.’  The line is actually,With four hungry children.

My second mondegreen came from the carol, Good King Wenceslas:

Good King Wensess last had gout


Here are a few more you might find amusing:

  • From: I’ve Had the Time of My LifeNow I’ve had a time with your wife
  • From: Ticket To Ride – She’s got a chicken to fry
  • From: Abracadabra – Abra Abra Cadabra… I wanna freak out and stab ya
  • From: The Christmas Song – Jeff’s nuts roasting on an open fire, check for snipping at your nose
  • From God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen – Get dressed ye married gentlemen, let nothing through this May

You’ll find more here and here


How about you?  Have you got any mondegreens to share?

30 Responses to “Something To Keep You Going”

  1. vivienne blake October 21, 2014 at 21:26 #

    My favourite is Lady Mondegreen!


  2. SchmidleysScribbling October 21, 2014 at 21:38 #

    Oh those accents. They get us very time. You should hear my retention of the Marseilles Hymn. Or maybe you shouldn’t.

    Mom says when I was little they took me to church and let me stand on the pew while they knelt on the kneelers. Apparently, I walked back and forth singing Marezy Dotes. Perhaps you know it as “Mare’s eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy?”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen Snyder October 21, 2014 at 21:39 #

    As to Mondegreens and that particular Kenny Rogers’ song: My late husband was an over-the-road trucker. When he and I married my youngest son was 8 years old, and one who loved the random play on words even at that young age. He rephrased Kenny’s song, “You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel.” I NEVER hear that song, that I don’t hear my son, singing that phrase at the top of his lungs. 🙂 Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sharechair October 21, 2014 at 21:58 #

    Recently enjoyed a Herman’s Hermits concert with Peter Noone. One of the songs on his “menu” is “She’s a Must to Avoid”. He said it was often thought to be “He’s a Muscular Boy.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Laughing Housewife October 22, 2014 at 21:43 #


      My niece was once married to a Hermit’s son… 🙂


      • sharechair October 22, 2014 at 22:00 #

        Fun!! The only Hermit I know of is Peter Noone. And I must say, for a guy in his late 60’s, he puts on a fine show. He knows his crowd is all in their 60’s, too, and he has fun with it. We were all singing along and had a great time.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Grannymar October 21, 2014 at 22:19 #

    Kenny Rogers and his four hundred children caught me out too! Painting at this time of the year when days are short, is not a good idea. I know, ’cause I am at it too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. judyt54 October 21, 2014 at 22:50 #

    These are hysterical, truly.

    Our priest always said the “Hail Mary” with especial reverence, and by the time I was 11 or 12 i was beginning to hear, instead of “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the lord is with thee” a much more visual and I thought snappier version: “Hail Mary full of Grapes, the Lord is Willie”…

    And still on a less than religious note, “Our father who art in heaven, Harold be thy name…”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Janie Jones October 22, 2014 at 01:00 #

    I know I’ve misheard many a song lyric, but the one that I remember best isn’t actually mine. Many years ago, back in high school, I had a friend who swore the song lyric “There’s a kind of hush all over the world tonight” was actually, “there’s a can of flesh all over the world tonight.” It always seemed perfectly clear to me what they were actually singing, but apparently it wasn’t that clear to everyone. Once we were riding along in the car listing to that song on the radio and I was singing along. My friend interrupted me and demanded to know what they were saying and when I told him he said, “Oh, yeah. That does make a lot more sense than a can of flesh.” It’s a moment I will remember and laugh about forever.

    And I’d never heard mistaken words called Mondegreens. We always call them malaprops. I like the story of Mondegreens better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Laughing Housewife October 22, 2014 at 21:45 #

      Malaprops, spoonerisms, and now mondegreens. I’m sure they won’t be the last.

      (Not) Your mondegreen really made me laugh, though it’s kind of creepy 🙂


  8. laurieanichols October 22, 2014 at 02:41 #

    Thanks for the laughs, especially the four hundred children lol. I am hoping for pictures of the finished room, I am sure that it is going to be perfect. 😀 I have a Mondegreen for you
    “Roll Nipsy Russell” it shoud be “Roam if you want to” The B-52’s “Roam around the world”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Three Well Beings October 22, 2014 at 06:01 #

    I have never heard the story behind mondegreens, and I’m glad to have the background. I can’t think of particular personal errors, but I do recall that the song “The Beat Goes On” by Sonny and Cher was a favorite, and I would sing along making words rhyme because I couldn’t really understand them on my little transistor radio. When it comes to popular music I’m sure I’ve filled in many a gap with my own interpretation. Now I know what to call them. Thanks for a great story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Laughing Housewife October 22, 2014 at 21:46 #

      You are just like the Hub. Even when he knows the words, he changes them. It drives me nuts!


  10. Arleen October 24, 2014 at 21:12 #

    “There’s a bathroom on the right” instead of bad moon on the rise, and Ozzy asking if someone could help him find his brain in Paranoid.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. judyt54 October 25, 2014 at 00:49 #

    One other song I have misheard for decades, “one toke over the line sweet Jesus” I have always heard as “One toe over the line…” and it makes perfect sense, in a challenging sort of way…but you have not lived until you hear the Lawrence Welk sweethearts singing it, and from their expressions its not possible to know if they really hadn’t a clue what a toke was, or were just delighted to be putting one over on the old man…

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Laughing Housewife October 25, 2014 at 08:16 #

      I don’t know the song but I’m laughing anyway 🙂


      • judyt54 October 25, 2014 at 14:04 #

        this is the song–I suspect Lawrence Welk approved it because of the words “sweet Jesus” which made it a “spiritual”. And that of course depended on whether you inhaled or not

        Liked by 1 person

  12. benzeknees October 25, 2014 at 06:25 #

    Waiting for pics of your completed room!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. beeblu October 26, 2014 at 02:10 #

    Mmmmmm – yours all have a rather violent edge to them…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. beeblu October 26, 2014 at 02:11 #

    This is one of mine –

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sven October 30, 2014 at 23:39 #

    Jimi hendrix purple haze ‘scuse me while I kiss this guy


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