TIM TEG

Roger now has another suitor to worry about.  All’s fair in love and war they say, but he didn’t expect to be ousted by Tim Teg.

Oh me muther a'l'ays keeps running her rigs on
& s a'l'ays tongue banging poor meg
& calling one nicknames ‘base baggage’ & fixon
Becaus' Im in love wi tim teg

Caus' shes an old mizer & hes a poor codger
& I am her on'y wench meg
But she may keep mouthing bout money & roger
Ill neer turn my back on tim teg

She tells me Im driving my hogs to a market
That'll scarce buy me matches to beg
That she wornt gi me sixpence for being so forked
But Ill hazard all wi tim teg

She leads me a life like a toad neath a harrow
The deuce tak' her bother thinks meg
She prophesies nothing but trouble & sorrow
& Ill suffer all wi tim teg

& tho I may come to want salt to my porridge
& tramp out wi matches & beg
Tho a squire string his purse wi the proffers of marriage
Ill neer turn my back on tim teg

From the quite wonderful second volume of the OUP Clarendon Early Poems (my favourite of the 9 volumes) : EP II 278 (Pet MS B2 p232a-233)

Think what we would lose if this wonderful slice of Helpstone rustic life was ‘translated’ into ‘proper’ English.  I am unequivocally on the side of leaving Clare’s words exactly as he wrote them.  Priceless.

Incidentally, I wonder if Clare invented the wonderful proverb / aphorism “I’m driving my hogs to a market”?  So expressive…

2 comments:

Toffeeapple said...

I am with you and your desire to kee[ things as originally written, it is so much nicer than 'plain English'.

I have to admit though, that I have no idea what 'driving my hogs to a market' might mean.

Arborfield said...

Read the two lines together... "driving my hogs to market" means doing something for little reward.