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Skeealyn Vannin, Disk 5 Track 02: Speaker: Charles Watterson

Date(s): 1948

Creator(s): Irish Folklore Commission

Transcript: Four extracts from T. E. Brown

Extract from ‘The Schoolmasters’
There were three schools in the parish
Them times, I remember,

Now the school at the Church was countin’ the head
Of all the three. And Clukish, bedad,
Was a splandid Masther lek Jemmy Jem
For shortness, but eh Clukish all the same
Aye, James Clukish; and sarvin’ for clerk
As well as schoolmaster

Now the school at the Lhen was just for childher,
Enfans in perricuts; Danny Bewildher
Was the name of the Masther, that was callin him out
Of his proper name, which was Danny the Spout;
At least I think it’s Skillicorn,
I’ve heard them sayin, the man was born
Now bless my sowl!
Was it Skillicorn, or Cowle?

Well, I was goin’ to the school at the Lhen,
To Danny Bewildher, poor owl Dan!
Aw, the like of a school, like that you never
Poor Danny he thought he was taechin’ clever;
‘Letters!’ he’d say “ ’idickkiliss!
Jus clap a Testament in their fiss,
And off they goes; Aw bless your heart!
They’ll read soon enough, if ye give them a start.
But letters! Letters and spells and things like that?
ABC? Aw, jus bewild’rin’ the childer’”
And so we were callin him Danny Bewildher.

Aw, little things them times: but grew,
Until at last that battle of Waterloo
Betwix’ my mother and Danny, who took an’ plied me
With the cane one day till he nearly destroyed me.
And home I ran, and “Mother! mother!”
“Dan hev kilt me !” “What’s this bother?”
She says and hits me a clout along the head,

And looks me all over, and “Come!” she said.
And away with us there; and in on the school
“What’s this,” she says, “ye dirty fool?
Ye bogh! ye kyout ye! you a man?
You sniffikin’ creep!” she says to Dan
“You, and just a disgrace
To the place”
And the Bishop and the Archdakin
Aye, and she’d be spakin’
To the Pazon too - aw, she’d let him know!
Aw, deed she would so!
And pins him theer against the wall,
And turns me up, and shows him all the jeel he’d done.

“Gerr out!” says Dan; “Gerr out!” says he
“Is it out?” she says, and droppin me,
“Is it out?” and grips an inkstand there,
And ups and lets him have it fair
Betwix’ the two eyes; Aw, the ink and the blood!
And Danny all smotherin’ where he stood,
And puffin’ and blowin’, and splatt’rin’ and splutt’rin’,
And all the muck goin sloppin’ and gutt’rin’
Down on his breast, and his shirt? my annim!
Never had the lek upon him,
Or the name o’the lek.

“Gerr urrov this school!
Says Dan, and makes a grab at a stool,
And a run and a drive, and she couldn’ recover her
Footin’, and down, and Danny over her!
An’ there they were rowlin’, and crish an’ crash!
And the furrims capsized, and all mixed up in a mash
Of murder but stuck to him manful
Aye, aw bless ye and handful after handful
Of Danny’s hair goin’ flyin about;
And the childher began to shout,
The boys to cheer, and the gels to cry;
And I stepped behind on the sly,
And I give this Danny a clip on the ear,
And we saw our chance, and got clear,
And up and off with us, aw, it’s a fac’
And left poor Danny on his back.

Well, then I was goin’ to the school at the Church,
To Clukish himself, that’ld be usin’ the birch,
But very little, mostly a leather strap
An’ he’d be givin ye a rap
On the head with his knuckles and a little hem hem !
Aw, a grand ould man was Jemmy Jem.

Taechin! What was there he couldn’ taech?
Mensuration! Trigonomojough ! Navigation!
Aye taech it? Taech it like a bird!
But of course we couldn’ understand a word
And, ye wouldn’expec’ a man, that way,
That never was a week at say
A tailor he was to his trade,
And many’s the pair of breeches he’s made
In yandher school, cut out, you know,
On the desk before him;

Well, I didn’ larn much, but there’s plenty that did.
There was one little chap with a big round head
Aw, the round ye never seen
That chap was larnin’ everything.
And the more he larned, the bigger it got
This head and the rounder, just like a pot.
“Look at that boy!” ould Clukish was sayin;
“Fit enough to make your tay in
That head,” he’d say, “like the bottomless pit;
There's nothin that doesn’ go into it
And right, no doubt:
For it all went in, but it never went out
So there couldn’ of been much loss
At yandher fella. It’s grand
To have a head that’ll grow and ’spand,
And never leak a drop; the pride
Of the mother ! But, of coorse, he died.
Sartinly, aw, died, of coorse
Ye see, the workin and the foorce
Of all that was in him, just like a biler,
And no safety-valve, nor no grease for th’ile her
Nor nothin ye see?
Aye the poor fella died

That’s an end to it

Extract from Tommy Big-Eyes

Now Tommy was as shy as a bird:
“Yes” or “No” was the only word
You’d get from Tommy. So every monkey
Thought poor Tommy was a donkey.
But bless your heart! lave Tommy alone!
Aw Tommy had a stunnin’ head of his own;
And his copies just like copper-plate,
And he’d set to work and cover a slate
Before the rest of us had done a sum:
But you’d really have thought the fellow was dumb
He was that silent and bashful, you know;
Not a fool, not him, but lookin’ so.
Ugly he was, most desperate,
For all the world like a suckin’ skate.
But the eyes! the eyes! Why, blow the fella!
He could spread them out like a rumberella
You’d wonder where on earth he got them
Great dubs of blue light with the black at the bottom
Basins of light. But it wasn’t often
You’d see them that way, for he’d always keep
His head down on a book or whatever he had,
As if he was ashamed, poor lad!
But really they were a most awful size;
And so we were callin’ him “Tommy Big-eyes.”

Extract from Tommy Big-Eyes

The way that chap was knocked about
Was just a scandal. You hit him a clout
Whenever you saw him, that was the style:
Hit him once, and you’d get him to smile:
Hit him twice, and he’d drop the head;
Hommer away till you'd think he was dead.
And he’d stand like a drum, as if his skin
Was a sheep’s, and made for hommerin’.
Then his hair was so thick and so nice to grab it,
And pull it back like skinnin’ a rabbit,
And he’d have to look up, as you may suppose
And then we could welt him under the nose.
I do believe the cruellest fien’s
In the world is a parcel of boys in their teens,
One of them stirrin’ up the other.
But still, for all, the divil’s mother
Should have looked a bit more to the way
The chap was rigged; for it isn’t right
That there’s a boy that’s goin’ to school
As if he was born to be a fool.
Fancy a frill around his neck!
What in the world could the woman expec’?
And his trousers buttoned outside
Of his jacket, like these fellows that ride
At the races. Surely, it might occur,
Well, she’d a deal to answer for.

That’s enough.

Dear Countrymen - T. E. Brown 1887

Whate’er is left to us of ancient heritage-
Of manners, speech, of humours, polity
The limited horizon of our stage-
Of love, hope, fear,
All this I fain would fix upon the page;
That in the coming age,
Lost in the empire’s mass,
Yet haply longing for their fathers, here
May see, as in a glass,
What they held dear-
May say, “Twas thus and thus
They lived”; and, as the time-flood onward rolls,
Secure an anchor for their Keltic souls.

Language: Manx

Collection: Sound Archive

Level: WHOLE

ID number: SA 0579/5/2


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