Slaves to the World
DESCRIPTION: "Slaves to the world should be tossed in a blanket" like the mill wheel that rises and falls "the ground it touch until"
EARLIEST DATE: 1923 (Williams-Thames)
KEYWORDS: abuse nonballad slave
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Williams-Thames, p. 306, "Slaves to the World" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Mi 707 with tune)
cf. "There Was an Old Woman Tossed up in a Basket" (theme: tossing in a blanket)
NOTES: "Wy, he ought to be tossed in a blanket; it fills a true Briton with shame" (Punch, p. 97).
"[In 1715] there were reports of [small arms] ... intercepted by the vigilance of a riding officer of the excise, who was afterwards tossed in a blanket on a moonless night, by an association of stout yeomen, for his officiousness" (Scott, p. 26).
Tossing in a blanket seems to be intended to humiliate for relatively minor offences, and adds a humorous touch in literature. Addison has a character threatened, "that if thou dost not do thy business well ... thou wilt be tossed in a blanket" (Addison, Act 3, Sc. 1, V. V, p. 185). "I have seen a tale-bearer in the village tossed in a blanket by the maids, as it is represented in 'Don Giovanni on London,' a scene in the King's Bench" (Jehoiada, V. II, p. 1562). Don Quixote upbraids Sancho Panza for complaining of being tossed in a blanket once while he, Quixote, has been thrashed a hundred times (Cervantes, V. III, p. 16 [Part II, Book 1]). "Voiture has left a letter describing how he was tossed in a blanket as a punishment for failing in a game of forfeits" (Yonge, V. XX, p. 85). Pope has a character tossed "from the blanket, high in the air he flies" (Pope, p. 22, Book 2, l. 131). "[Pope] Leo applauded and rewarded successful authors and actors, but he had a monk whose piece was a failure severely tossed in a blanket before him" (Van Dyke, p. 322).
Sometimes neither the offence nor punishment were so trivial: "The gatekeeper ... made secret arrangements to open the castle gates, and deliver it [the castle] into the enemy's hands. His treachery was discovered, however, and, in punishment, his master ordered him to be tossed in a blanket from the top of the castle tower into the midst of the enemy's camp, where he was so anxious to be" (Guerber, p. 164).
There is sometimes a religious meaning: "And in Vendee, the farmer's wife, as the corn-mother, is tossed in a blanket with the last sheaf to bring good luck in the subsequent threshing. Perhaps Caesius had some of this in view when he associated our sky figure [Virgo] with Ruth, the Moabitess, gleaning in the fields of Boaz" (Allen, p. 461).
It is also reported for an Orange Society initiation (Cleary, p. 118).
Prince Henry, son of James I, apparently had the court fool condemned to blanket tossing for his officiousness in making a joke at the king's expense (Jesse, V. I, .p. 166)
In the time of James II there are reports of mayors, unfriendly to the king's "endeavors to restore popery throughout his dominions," being tossed in a blanket (Dalton, V. II, p. xxvi). In this connection see "There Was an Old Woman Tossed up in a Basket". - BS
Last updated in version 2.6
- Addison: Joseph Addison, "The Drummer, or The Haunted House" in Richard Hurd, The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison Vol V, George Bell and Sons, 1891 ("Digitized by Google"))
- Allen: Richard Hinckley Allen, Star-Names and Their Meanings , G.E. Stechert, 1899 ("Digitized by Google")
- Cervantes: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, T. Smollett, translator, The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote fifth edition, W Strahan etc, 1782 ("Digitized by Google")
- Cleary: H. W. Cleary, The Orange Society, Catholic Truth Society, 1899 ("Digitized by Google")
- Dalton: Charles Dalton, editor, English Army Lists and Commission Registers 1661-1714 Vol. II (1685-1689), Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1894 ("Digitized by Google")
- Guerber: H.A. Guerber, Legends of the Rhine, A.S. Barnes, 1899 ("Digitized by Google")
- Jehoiada: Letter by "Jehoiada" in William Hone, The Every-Day Book and Table Book Vol. II, Thomas Tegg and Son, 1838 ("Digitized by Google")
- Jesse: John Heneage Jesse, Memoirs of the Court of England During the Reign of the Stuarts including the Protectorate second edition Vol. I, Richard Bentley, 1846 ("Digitized by Google")
- Pope: Alexander Pope, The Dunciad, A. Dodd, 1728 ("Digitized by Google")
- Punch: "'Arry om 'Arrison and the Glorious Twelfth" in Punch, or the London Charivari Vol XCVIII, August 30, 1890 ("Digitized by Google")
- Scott: Walter Scott, Waverly, Gebbie Publishing Co, 1896 ("Digitized by Google")
- Van Dyke: Paul Van Dyke, The Age of the Renascence, The Christian Literature Co, 1897 ("Digitized by Google")
- Yonge: Charlotte M. Yonge, The Monthly Packet of Evening Readings for Members of the English Church 3rd Series Vol XX, Walter Smith and Innes, July 1890 ("Digitized by Google")
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