high high he

Discuss word origins and meanings.
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high high he

Post by incarnatus est » Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:08 pm

In the Caisson Song, is there a story to the "high high he" in the lyrics? Line 7. Thank you, Hugh Gilmore (Incarnatus est)

Here are the lyrics:

Over hill, over dale,
We will hit the dusty trail,
And those Caissons go rolling along.
Up and down, in and out,
Counter march and left about,
And those Caissons go rolling along,
For it's high high he,
In the Field Artillery,
Shout out your "No" [numbers] loud and strong,
For wher-e’er we go,
You will always know,
That those Caissons go rolling along.
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Re: high high he

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:47 pm

Well, 'Hey ho Silver' doesn't rhyme.
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Re: high high he

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Oct 07, 2014 4:33 am

It doesn't scan either. QED.
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Re: high high he

Post by Wizard of Oz » Tue Oct 07, 2014 12:09 pm

.. hi Hugh .. first up >>
Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Definition of CAISSON
1 a :  a chest to hold ammunition
b :  a usually 2-wheeled vehicle for artillery ammunition attachable to a horse-drawn limber; also :  a limber with its attached caisson
.. so it is established that caissons are, were, horse drawn vehicles .. and Field Artillery was drawn by horses with riders seated on the horses as well as seated on the limbers ..

.. now I found out there in webland, so no I can't claim credit, the following idea >>
I think the line was originally: "For it's haw and gee in the Field Artillery," which makes a lot more sense. "Haw" and "gee" (jee) are commands to horses. "Haw" means "turn left" while "gee" means "turn right."
.. now to me this does make sense as far as it goes, but of course it would require that it was possible to find an original written copy with this line in the song .. or we could just suppose that it was a classic mondegreen ..

WoZ hawing and geeing away
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

End of topic.
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