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Lady Mondegreen

Over 50 years ago, the writer Sylvia Wright proposed that a series of misheard words of a statement or song lyric should be called a mondegreen, after Lady Mondegreen, the tragic heroine from the well known Scottish folk ballad, The Bonny Earl of Murray. Sylvia had learnt the song as a child and recalled the first verse told:
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh! Where ha’e ye been:
They ha’e slain the Earl of Murray,
And the Lady Mondegreen.
Sylvia had often wondered about this poor lady who is not mentioned elsewhere in Scottish history. She discovered years later that the last two lines went:
They ha'e slain the Earl of Murray,
And they laid him on the green.
Other notable mondegreens
Good King Wences’ car backed out
On the feet of heathens.

Olive, the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names.

The train will run over us,
God Save The Queen!
Ray Edmondson, age 7.

Somewhere, over the rainbow, weigh a pie.

Send three and four-pence, were going to a dance.

Don’t cry for me, Sergeant Tina.

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