A Cag of Small Swipes (Chapbook No.14)

From the Introduction:

I have had it in the back of my mind for some while to produce a book, in the Chapbook series, that concentrates on Clare’s sometimes odd-seeming, or unusual use of language. ‘A Cag of Small Swipes’ if you will.  After all, Clare has a wide acquaintance with specialised vocabularies of all kinds.

Clare’s passion for words was founded on his knowledge of Chapbook nursery-rhymes and fairy-stories, and the games of his childhood.  He was also intimate with the language of the hedger, the ditcher, the thatcher, the ploughman, the shepherd and the cowman - paralleled by the language of the ‘ranter-preacher’, the village school-master and the pretentious local lawyer.  Plus all those words used in the many traditional songs he knew so well.  His language was that of village streets, fairs and fields.  It is the language of proverb and of popular, often vulgar rhyme.  So it is clear that Clare is an important source, one of very few, for finding words that were commonly used in Eastern and Northern England, as well as in Scotland, during his lifetime.

Clare often used words that he employed in his own speech and that he heard every day in the village street, and having great fun writing this way.   He is not looking down at his fellow-villagers for their speech-habits but enjoying, as we should, its vigour and variety.  

So, this as a book full of strange words and phrases, sometimes hiding sexual imagery, yet full of laughter and an ebullient sense of humour. Most especially when describing the love lives of the young people living all around him in Helpston, and the advice they are proffered or choose to reject:

Peggy ye might bin my death wi yer scorning 

Im sure tis yer pleasure to do as ye may 

For ere sin I helpd ye to milk in the morning 

Yeve 'ployd all my thoughts for the rest of the day 

Yer sweet slender body so light & so jimping 

Yer arms so well shapd & yer brown curley hair 

Yer gait so belady like spoilt wi no limping 

Left ye the power to gi joy or despair 

(from Hodges Confession)

A Cag of Small Swipes will be available from me from 1st September 2019 at £5 plus £1 postage and packing.

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