William Butler Yeats |
A cursing rogue with a merry face,
A bundle of rags upon a crutch,
Stumbled upon that windy place
Called Cruachan, and it was as much
As the one sturdy leg could do
To keep him upright while he cursed.
He had counted, where long years ago
Queen Maeve's nine Maines had been nursed,
A pair of lapwings, one old sheep,
And not a house to the plain's edge,
When close to his right hand a heap
Of grey stones and a rocky ledge
Reminded him that he could make.
If he but shifted a few stones,
A shelter till the daylight broke.
But while he fumbled with the stones
They toppled over; 'Were it not
I have a lucky wooden shin
I had been hurt'; and toppling brought
Before his eyes, where stones had been,
A dark deep hollow in the rock.
He gave a gasp and thought to have fled,
Being certain it was no right rock
Because an ancient history said
Hell Mouth lay open near that place,
And yet stood still, because inside
A great lad with a beery face
Had tucked himself away beside
A ladle and a tub of beer,
And snored, no phantom by his look.
So with a laugh at his own fear
He crawled into that pleasant nook.
'Night grows uneasy near the dawn
Till even I sleep light; but who
Has tired of his own company?
What one of Maeve's nine brawling sons
Sick of his grave has wakened me?
But let him keep his grave for once
That I may find the sleep I have lost.
What care I if you sleep or wake?
But I'Il have no man call me ghost.
Say what you please, but from daybreak
I'll sleep another century.
And I will talk before I sleep
And drink before I talk.
Had dipped the wooden ladle deep
Into the sleeper's tub of beer
Had not the sleeper started up.
Before you have dipped it in the beer
I dragged from Goban's mountain-top
I'll have assurance that you are able
To value beer; no half-legged fool
Shall dip his nose into my ladle
Merely for stumbling on this hole
In the bad hour before the dawn.
'Why beer is only beer.
'I'll sleep until the winter's gone,
Or maybe to Midsummer Day,'
And drink and you will sleep that length.
'I'd like to sleep till winter's gone
Or till the sun is in his srrength.
This blast has chilled me to the bone.
'I had no better plan at first.
I thought to wait for that or this;
Maybe the weather was accursed
Or I had no woman there to kiss;
So slept for half a year or so;
But year by year I found that less
Gave me such pleasure I'd forgo
Even a half-hour's nothingness,
And when at one year's end I found
I had not waked a single minute,
I chosc this burrow under ground.
I'll sleep away all time within it:
My sleep were now nine centuries
But for those mornings when I find
The lapwing at their foolish dies
And the sheep bleating at the wind
As when I also played the fool.
The beggar in a rage began
Upon his hunkers in the hole,
'It's plain that you are no right man
To mock at everything I love
As if it were not worth, the doing.
I'd have a merry life enough
If a good Easter wind were blowing,
And though the winter wind is bad
I should not be too down in the mouth
For anything you did or said
If but this wind were in the south.
'You cry aloud, O would 'twere spring
Or that the wind would shift a point,
And do not know that you would bring,
If time were suppler in the joint,
Neither the spring nor the south wind
But the hour when you shall pass away
And leave no smoking wick behind,
For all life longs for the Last Day
And there's no man but cocks his ear
To know when Michael's trumpet cries
'That flesh and bone may disappear,
And souls as if they were but sighs,
And there be nothing but God left;
But, I aone being blessed keep
Like some old rabbit to my cleft
And wait Him in a drunken sleep.
He dipped his ladle in the tub
And drank and yawned and stretched him out,
The other shouted, 'You would rob
My life of every pleasant thought
And every comfortable thing,
And so take that and that.
He gave him a great pummelling,
But might have pummelled at a stone
For all the sleeper knew or cared;
And after heaped up stone on stone,
And then, grown weary, prayed and cursed
And heaped up stone on stone again,
And prayed and cursed and cursed and bed
From Maeve and all that juggling plain,
Nor gave God thanks till overhead
The clouds were brightening with the dawn.
Marriott Edgar |
You've `eard `ow young Albert Ramsbottom
At the zoo up at Blackpool one year
With a stick with an `orse's `ead `andle
Gave a lion a poke in the ear?
The name of the lion was Wallace,
The poke in the ear made `im wild
And before you could say "Bob's yer uncle"
E'd upped and `e'd swallowed the child.
`E were sorry the moment `e done it;
With children `e'd always been chums,
And besides, `e'd no teeth in his muzzle,
And `e couldn't chew Albert on't gums.
`E could feel the lad movin' inside `im
As `e lay on `is bed of dried ferns;
And it might `ave been little lad's birthday-
E wished `im such `appy returns.
But Albert kept kickin' and fightin'-
And Wallace got up, feelin' bad.
Decided 'twere time that `e started
To stage a comeback for the lad.
Then puttin' `ead down in one corner,
On `is front paws `e started to walk;
And `e coughed, and `e sneezed, and `e gargled
`Till Albert shot out - like a cork!
Now Wallace felt better directly
And `is figure once more became lean.
But the only difference with Albert Was,
`is face and `is `ands were quite clean.
`Ad gone back to their tea, feelin' blue.
Ma said, "I feel down in the mouth, like.
" Pa said, "Aye, I bet Albert does, too.
Said Mother, "It just goes to show yer
That the future is never revealed;
If I'd thowt we was goin' to lose `im,
I'd `ave not `ad `is boots soled and `eeled.
"Let's look on the bright side," said Father,
"Wot can't be `elped must be endured;
Each cloud `as a silvery lining,
And we did `ave young Albert insured.
A knock on the door came that moment
As Father these kind words did speak.
`Twas the man from Prudential - `e'd come for
Their tuppence per person per week.
When Father saw `oo `ad been knockin',
`E laughed, and `e kept laughin` so -
The man said "`Ere, wot's there to laugh at?"
Pa said "You'll laugh and all when you know!"
"Excuse `im for laughing," said Mother,
"But really, things `appen so strange -
Our Albert's been et by a lion;
You've got to pay us for a change!"
Said the young man from the Prudential:
"Now, come, come, let's understand this-
You don't mean to say that you've lost `im?"
Pa said "Oh, no, we know where `e is!"
When the young man `ad `eard all the details,
A purse from `is pocket he drew
And `e paid them with interest and bonus
The sum of nine pounds, four and two.
Pa `ad scarce got `is `and on the money
When a face at the window they see-
And Mother cried "Eee, look, it's Albert!"
And Father said "Aye, it would be.
Albert came in all excited,
And started `is story to give;
And Pa said "I'll never trust lions
Again, not as long as I live.
The young man from the Prudential
To pick up the money began
But Father said "`ere, wait a moment,
Don't be in a `urry, young man.
Then giving young Albert a shilling,
`E said "`Ere, pop off back to the zoo;
Get your stick with the `orse's `ead `andle-
Go and see wot the tigers can do!"
Marriott Edgar |
You've 'eard 'ow young Albert Ramsbottom,
In the Zoo up at Blackpool one year,
With a stick and 'orse's 'ead 'andle,
Gave a lion a poke in the ear.
The name of the lion was Wallace,
The poke in the ear made 'im wild;
And before you could say 'Bob's your Uncle,'
'E'd up and 'e'd swallered the child.
'E were sorry the moment 'e'd done it,
With children 'e'd always been chums,
And besides, 'e'd no teeth in 'is noodle,
And 'e couldn't chew Albert on t'gums.
'E could feel the lad moving inside 'im,
As 'e lay on 'is bed of dried ferns,
And it might 'ave been little lad's birthday,
'E wished 'im such 'appy returns.
But Albert kept kicking and fighting,
Till Wallace arose feeling bad,
And felt it were time that 'e started to stage
A come-back for the lad.
So with 'is 'ead down in a corner,
On 'is front paws 'e started to walk,
And 'e coughed and 'e sneezed and 'e gargled,
Till Albert shot out like a cork.
Old Wallace felt better direc'ly,
And 'is figure once more became lean,
But the only difference with Albert
Was 'is face and 'is 'ands were quite clean.
Meanwhile Mister and Missus Ramsbottom
'Ad gone 'ome to tea feeling blue;
Ma says 'I feel down in the mouth like,'
Pa says "Aye! I bet Albert does too.
Said Ma 'It just goes for to show yer
That the future is never revealed,
If I thought we was going to lose 'im
I'd 'ave not 'ad 'is boots soled and 'eeled.
'Let's look on the bright side,' said Father
'What can't be 'elped must be endured,
Every cloud 'as a silvery lining,
And we did 'ave young Albert insured.
A knock at the door came that moment,
As Father these kind words did speak,
'Twas the man from t'Prudential,
E'd called for their 'tuppence per person per week.
When Father saw who 'ad been knocking,
'E laughed and 'e kept laughing so,
That the young man said 'What's there to laugh at?'
Pa said 'You'll laugh an' all when you know.
'Excuse 'im for laughing,' said Mother,
'But really things 'appen so strange,
Our Albert's been ate by a lion,
You've got to pay us for a change.
Said the young feller from the Prudential,
'Now, come come, let's understand this,
You don't mean to say that you've lost 'im?'
Ma says 'Oh, no! we know where 'e is.
When the young man 'ad 'eard all the details,
A bag from 'is pocket he drew,
And he paid them with interest and bonus,
The sum of nine pounds four and two.
Pa 'ad scarce got 'is 'and on the money,
When a face at the window they see,
And Mother says 'Eeh! look, it's Albert,'
And Father says 'Aye, it would be.
Young Albert came in all excited,
and started 'is story to give,
And Pa says 'I'll never trust lions again,
Not as long as I live.
The young feller from the Prudential
To pick up his money began,
And Father says 'Eeh! just a moment,
Don't be in a hurry, young man.
Then giving young Albert a shilling,
He said 'Pop off back to the Zoo.
'Ere's your stick with the 'orse's 'ead 'andle,
Go and see what the Tigers can do!'