another 18th century question...rock and reel?

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Posted by Christina on August 08, 2000 at 22:03:36:

Okay, you all have helped me with nocake, and bundling cloths. Does anybody know what a rock and a reel would be?
These items are mentioned in a ballad, "Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier," which was originally an Irish tune adapted for the Revolution. (featured on the Mark O'Connor "Liberty" CD). In it, a woman sells her "rock and reel" to buy her lover a sword. Now, I know what a ROD and reel is, but I don't imagine they're talking about fishing equipment. The phrase "rock and reel" was also used in several other Highland and Scottish ballads from the period I've heard, usually it's a woman selling "rock and reel" to run off with a Highland laird or head for America. So what in the world are they talking about????

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