Oh, they have slain the Earl of Moray and Lady Mondegreen
What's the meaning of the phrase 'Oh, they have slain the Earl of Morray and Lady Mondegreen'?
The misheard lyric that was the source of the generic term for misheard lyrics - mondegreens.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Oh, they have slain the Earl of Morray and Lady Mondegreen'?
This line was coined inadvertently by the American writer Sylvia Wright. Following her mishearing of the words of the Scottish ballad The Bonny Earl of Moray, she wrote an essay entitles The Death of Lady Mondegreen. This was published in Harper's Magazine in November 1954:
"When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy's Reliques. One of my favorite poems began, as I remember:
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
And Lady Mondegreen."
The actual words of the ballad are:
Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands,
O where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl of Moray,
And hae laid him on the green
Wright did us all a service by giving a name to these mishearings - which must always have been with us in the language.