Back in action after a week of guest poems...
(Poem #389) The Ballad of Persse O'Reilly
Have you heard of one Humpty Dumpty How he fell with a roll and a rumble And curled up like Lord Olofa Crumple By the butt of the Magazine Wall, (Chorus) Of the Magazine Wall, Hump, helmet and all? He was one time our King of the Castle Now he's kicked about like a rotten old parsnip. And from Green street he'll be sent by order of His Worship To the penal jail of Mountjoy (Chorus) To the jail of Mountjoy! Jail him and joy. He was fafafather of all schemes for to bother us Slow coaches and immaculate contraceptives for the populace, Mare's milk for the sick, seven dry Sundays a week, Openair love and religion's reform, (Chorus) And religious reform, Hideous in form. Arrah, why, says you, couldn't he manage it? I'll go bail, my fine dairyman darling, Like the bumping bull of the Cassidys All your butter is in your horns. (Chorus) His butter is in his horns. Butter his horns! (Repeat) Hurrah there, Hosty, frosty Hosty, change that shirt on ye, Rhyme the rann, the king of all ranns! Balbaccio, balbuccio! We had chaw chaw chops, chairs, chewing gum, the chicken-pox and china chambers Universally provided by this soffsoaping salesman. Small wonder He'll Cheat E'erawan our local lads nicknamed him. When Chimpden first took the floor (Chorus) With his bucketshop store Down Bargainweg, Lower. So snug he was in his hotel premises sumptuous But soon we'll bonfire all his trash, tricks and trumpery And 'tis short till sheriff Clancy'll be winding up his unlimited company With the bailiff's bom at the door, (Chorus) Bimbam at the door. Then he'll bum no more. Sweet bad luck on the waves washed to our island The hooker of that hammerfast viking And Gall's curse on the day when Eblana bay Saw his black and tan man-o'-war. (Chorus) Saw his man-o'-war On the harbour bar. Where from? roars Poolbeg. Cookingha'pence, he bawls Donnez-moi scampitle, wick an wipin'fampiny Fingal Mac Oscar Onesine Bargearse Boniface Thok's min gammelhole Norveegickers moniker Og as ay are at gammelhore Norveegickers cod. (Chorus) A Norwegian camel old cod. He is, begod. Lift it, Hosty, lift it, ye devil, ye! up with the rann, the rhyming rann! It was during some fresh water garden pumping Or, according to the Nursing Mirror, while admiring the monkeys That our heavyweight heathen Humpharey Made bold a maid to woo (Chorus) Woohoo, what'll she doo! The general lost her maidenloo! He ought to blush for himself, the old hayheaded philosopher, For to go and shove himself that way on top of her. Begob, he's the crux of the catalogue Of our antediluvial zoo, (Chorus) Messrs Billing and Coo. Noah's larks, good as noo. He was joulting by Wellinton's monument Our rotorious hippopopotamuns When some bugger let down the backtrap of the omnibus And he caught his death of fusiliers, (Chorus) With his rent in his rears. Give him six years. 'Tis sore pity for his innocent poor children But look out for his missus legitimate! When that frew gets a grip of old Earwicker Won't there be earwigs on the green? (Chorus) Big earwigs on the green, The largest ever you seen. Suffoclose! Shikespower! Seudodanto! Anonymoses! Then we'll have a free trade Gael's band and mass meeting For to sod him the brave son of Scandiknavery. And we'll bury him down in Oxmanstown Along with the devil and the Danes, (Chorus) With the deaf and dumb Danes, And all their remains. And not all the king's men nor his horses Will resurrect his corpus For there's no true spell in Connacht or hell (bis) That's able to raise a Cain.
No, this is not an April Fool's prank; it's an actual poem. I'm not sure I understand it (in fact, I'm sure I _don't_ understand it), but I do enjoy it for its wordplay and humour and (there's no other phrase for it) low linguistic cunning. thomas. Here's an explanation of sorts: ... from the books of verse produced by Joyce, Chamber Music and Pomes Penyeach, it is impossible to take the novelist very seriously as a poet, but The Ballad of Persse O'Reilly is in a different class. It is written in the language of Finnegan's Wake, which is a kind of 'Babylonish Dialect' - a phrase used by Dr Johnson is speaking of Milton's language in Paradise Lost. Mr Eliot has pointed out the parallel between the blind and musically gifted Milton and the blind and musically gifted Joyce. Joyce's blindness or near-blindness forced him away from the visual to the musical and emotional associations of words, and his linguistic erudition supplied another element for the construction of the language of Finnegan's Wake... ... Finnegan's Wake - 'a compound of fable, symphony and nightmare' (Campbell and Robinson) - is an allegory on many planes of 'the fall and resurrection of mankind. The 'hero' is H. C. Earwicker, a Dublin tavern-keeper in Chapelizod, whose universal quality is indicated by the names Here Comes Everybody and Haveth Childers Everywhere. He is a candidate in a local election, but he loses his reputation as a result of some never quite defined impropriety in Phoenix Park, and suffers from the guilt of it ever afterwards. In another context of meaning Phoenix Park is the Garden of Eden and the impropriety is Original Sin. Three down-and-outs, Peter Cloran, O'Mara and Hosty, 'an ill-starred beachbusker', pick up the rumour of Earwicker's Fall, and Hosty lampoons him in the 'rann', 'The Ballad of Persse O'Reilly'. Note that perce-oreille = earwig. -- Kenneth Allott, The Penguin Book of Contemporary Verse. [Links] To get an idea of the sheer intellectual density (pun half-intended) of Finnegan's Wake, you might want to read this essay on Joyce's use of the classics: [broken link] http://www.ucd.ie/~classics/98/Dillon98.html There's a (extensively hyperlinked) glossary of words used in FW (or at least, the first four chapters thereof) at [broken link] http://www.ucd.ie/~classics/98/Dillon98.html