Posted by Smokey Stover on February 06, 2006
In Reply to: "Giddup (or get-up) Napoleon, it looks like rain"? posted by Jim Connolly on February 06, 2006
: What is the origin of the saying, "Giddup (or get-up) Napoleon, it looks like rain"?
It's part of a song, sung in the course of a comedy, "The Yankee Tourist." THe song was composed in 1907. There's a long thread about it on the Mudcat Café Website,
WAL, I SWAN (EBENEZER FRYE)
sung by Raymond Hitchcock
in Henry W. Savage's production of
THE YANKEE TOURIST
--Words and Music by Benjamin Hapgood Burt--
(this song to be recited, more than sung.)
I run the old mill over here to Reubensville
My name's Joshua Ebenezer Frye.
I know a thing or two, you bet your neck I do,
They don't ketch me for I'm too darn sly.
I've seen Bunco men, allus got the best o' them,
Once I met a couple on the Boston train,
They says "How be you!" I says "That'll do!
Travel right along with your darn skin game."
Wal, I swan! I mus' be gittin' on!
Git-dap, Napoleon! it looks like rain.
Wal, I'll be switched! the hay ain't pitched,
Come in when you're over to the farm again.
It goes on for several verses.
Google will lead you to other sites with relevant information as well.
Napoleon is, of course, a horse. Git-dap = Giddap = Giddyap = Giddyup. I've never heard a farmer say to a horse, "get up," unless the horse was lying down. I suppose "git up" is not unlikely for getting a horse or team in harness started. You can also say "gee up" or make a clicking sound with your tongue and palate out of the side of your mouth (or sometimes the front). SS