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45 votes

Why must "she" perform impossible tasks in order to be "a true love of mine" in "Scarborough Fair"?

Scarborough Fair is a folk song which dates back to at least the 17th century. Folk songs were, as the name suggests, passed on by oral tradition and relatively little was written about them until ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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18 votes

Why must "she" perform impossible tasks in order to be "a true love of mine" in "Scarborough Fair"?

Matt's answer is exceptional. And I fully agree that it is now impossible to know for certain. In fact, with so many versions, it is quite possible it has held multiple meanings over the years ...
TimothyAWiseman's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Meaning of "sheer hulk" in the poem/song "Tom Bowling" by Charles Dibdin = "just a hulk of a ship" or "a floating crane"?

Although, as remarked in the comments, it may not be possible to definitively settle this question, I think that nonetheless there are certain indications that let us assess the balance of ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
7 votes

Why must "she" perform impossible tasks in order to be "a true love of mine" in "Scarborough Fair"?

Seemingly impossible tasks appear in mythology quite frequently, but often with a loophole. In the Welsh Mabinogion, Lleu Llaw Gyffes "... cannot be killed during the day or night, nor indoors ...
Simon Crase's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

"I saw the thunder and heard the lightning, and felt the burden of his shame"

This is an instance of the figure of speech hypallage, which Collins Dictionary defines as a figure of speech in which the natural relations of two words in a statement are interchanged. I ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
  • 12.5k
5 votes

A song in Pierre Martin's "Madame le Commissaire"

All the clues are in the text. The name of the song is the same as the first few words of the lyrics: “Non, la vie n'est pas triste”. Auf dem Tisch standen noch die Teller mit den Essensresten, ...
Segorian's user avatar
  • 802
1 vote

What does "I've mortgaged all my castles in the air" mean?

A "castle in the air" is a dream, a fancy. Cambridge Dictionary gives it as plans that have very little chance of happening Figuratively, he would have to have given up even on dreams (by ...
Mary's user avatar
  • 6,055
1 vote

A song in Pierre Martin's "Madame le Commissaire"

TL;DR: Non la vie n'est pas triste Long answer: I have found the song - it actually has the same name as the lyrics. There is only a small part of the lyrics provided in French, however, in the end it ...
T L's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote

What does "To be continued" mean at the end of Michael W. Smith's "Go West, Young Man" album?

"To be continued" is the normal end for a serial installment that is not complete. Outside a serial, it could be used to indicate that the situation in the song is not resolved. For ...
Mary's user avatar
  • 6,055
1 vote

Summer Wine: what was the 'unfamiliar line' with which the girl reassured her lover?

May the Lana del Rey cover video shows clearly the meaning of « un familiar line » playing with a strange tree. Then I guess summer wine that drugs the man is directly produced by the woman body. If ...
user20324's user avatar

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