There is a long Scottish tradiion of Bothy Ballads.  This is a well-known one.  They long precede Eliot, but since he visited in the Highlands several times, he may have heard them--but that was much later.  (To my knowledge, his first trip was in 1933.)

What I find so different is that this vulgarity is actually joyous,  not nasty-minded and sneering.  The first way I heard the lines was "If ye cannae get fucked on a Saturday night, / Ye cannae get fucked at a'.

I'm not recommending this either, but the tone is very different: they all seem to be having fun.

And I assume you mean the un-bowdlerized Burns, not the published?


P. S. In Northeast Scotland, "wh" is "f," so "fa" is "who." A Bothy is a farm servant's hut.




'Twas on the first of August the party, it began.
Now, never shall I forget, me lads, the gatherin' of the clans

Singing, ``Who hae ye, lassie, (last nicht)
Who hae ye noo?
The ane that hae ye last time (The mon wha hae ye last nicht)
He canna hae ye noo.''

'Twas the gatherin' o' the clans, mon, and everyone was there
A-playin' wi' the lassies an' twinin' curly hair

John McGowan, the father, was very surprised to see
Four and twenty maidenheads a hanging from the tree.

There was dancin' in the meadows, there was dancin' in the ricks,
Ye could nae hear the bagpipes for the swishing o' the pricks.

The bride was in the parlor explainin' to the groom
The vagina, not the rectum, is the entrance to the womb.

The queen was in the parlor, eatin' bread and honey
The king was in the parlor maid, and she was in the money.

The parson's daughter, she was there a sittin' way down front
A wreath of roses in her hair and a carrot up her cunt.

The parson's wife, she was there her arse against the wall,
Shoutin' to the laddie boys, ``I'll take ye one an' all.''

It's the first lady forward, and the second lady back
And the third lady's finger in the fourth lady's crack.

It's a' the ladies back, wi' yer arses tae the wall
If ye can't get fucked at Keriemuir, ye'll never get fucked at all!

The village priest, he was there and on the floor he sat
Amusing himself by abusing himself and catching it on his hat.
The undertaker, he went there dressed in a lime black shroud
Swinging on the chandelier and pissing on the crowd.

There was fuckin' i' the stable, there was fuckin' i' the ricks
An' ye couldna' hear the music for the swishin' o' the pricks.

The mayor's daughter, she was there and kept the crowd in fits
By jumpin' off the mantle piece and landin' on her tits.

There was screwing on the banister, screwing on the stairs
Ye couldna' see the carpet for the mess o' curly hairs.

The village idiot, he was there, he was a perfect fool.
He sat beneath the oak tree and whittled off his tool.

The village postman, he was there. the puir mon had the pox
He could nae fuck the lassies, so he fucked the letter box.

The chimney sweep, he was there, but soon he got the boot,
For every time he farted, he filled the room with soot.

The groom by now was excited an' racin' through the halls
He was pullin' on his pecker an' showin off his balls.

Big John, the farmer, swore an oath, an' then he cursed an' grat
For his forty acre corn field was completely fuckit flat.

The minister's wife was there as weel a' buckled to the front
Wi' a wreath o' roses roun' her arse an' thrissels roun' her cunt.

The minister's dochter tae was there an' she gat roarin' fu'
Sae they doubled her ower the midden wa' an' bulled her like a coo.

And when the ball was over, the opinion was expressed:
Although they liked the music, the screwin' was the best.

Alternate chorus (braider Scots than most):

Wi' a fa'll dae it this time
Fa'll dae it noo?
The yin that did it last time
Canna dae it noo.

Note: Written in the 1880's to celebrate the comings and goings
of a supposed actual social event in the Kirriemuir district of

@Scottish @bawdy
filename[ KERIMUIR

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>>> Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> 06/01/11 8:12 PM >>>
Get hold of a copy (British edition) of a book entitled _The Common
Muse_. It will give you a glimpse of what really _good_ dirty verse is
like. There are several other such collections. There was one I leafed
through about 50 years ago that had a fascinating poem about what
happened at a barn dance with quite a bit of grain dust on the floor. I
think the last line is (not quite accurately remembered) "His 40 acre
cornfield was nearly fuckit flat." Eliot simply didn't have the talent
for good dirty verse. Those poems are plain boring.

The Common Muse has one wonderful bit I can rougjhly remember:

They're digging up Grandpa's grave to build a sewer;
He never was a quitter and he ain't no quitter now
He'll wrap up in a sheet, and he'll haunt that shithouse seat
For the desecrating of a British worker's grave.

And of course there's Robert Burns. One on the equality of royalty and
commoner in certain contexts.


On 5/28/2011 3:15 PM, Tom Colket wrote:
> CR wrote:
> CR> Shocking the reader into an awareness of certain harsh
> CR> physical/psychic realities:
> CR> . . . And with all your presumptions of a high moral ground,
> CR> reader, if you accuse the poet of certain obscenities/madnesses
> CR> -- be it "The Triumph of Bullshit", "Ballade pour la grosse Lulu",
> CR> "Fragments: There was a jolly tinker" or "Columbo and Bolo verses"
> CR> -- he will only stand aside with an indifferent smile, or get back
> CR> to you à la Baudelaire and quip:
> CR> 'You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!'
> You have some rather bizarre examples of TSE "shocking the reader into an awareness of certain harsh physical/psychic realities". The Columbo and Bolo verses were dirty jokes meant to be shared only among TSE's friends; he never intended those jokes to be published. In "Inventions of the March Hare", editor Christopher Ricks quotes Dr. Gallup on the notebook containing the Columbo/Bolo verses:
> "In 1922, when Eliot sold to John Quinn (for $140) a notebook containing manuscript copies of all his early poems, published and unpublished, he took the precaution of excising those leaves containing parts of the Bolo series. He seems to have given them, along with scraps of other versions (probably laid into the same notebook) to Pound". [page XVI].
> =========================
> When TSE writes that poetry "[leaves] one still with the intolerable wrestle/With words and meanings" and that the poet is concerned "only with finding the right words or, anyhow, the least wrong words", do you really think he had _this_ type of verse in mind?? --
> "The queen she took an oyster fork
> And pricked Columbo's navel.
> Columbo hoisted up his ass
> And shat upon the table."
> Come on, CR, let TSE have his "down time" and tell his dirty jokes in private to his friends, but let's not elevate this to the status of great poetry, filled with lofty goals such as "shocking the reader into an awareness of certain harsh physical/psychic realities".
> Actually, these verses remind me of an old joke once told to me by a woman friend:
> Question: What's the difference between men and savings bonds?
> Answer: Savings bonds mature.
> - Tom -
> Date: Sat, 28 May 2011 05:18:22 -0700
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: TS Eliot vis-a-vis Naturalism
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Shocking the reader into an awareness of certain harsh physical/psychic realities:
> "Imaginations / Masturbations" -- "Imagination's / Defecations" -- "The withered leaves / Of our sensations"
> And when the dawn at length had realized itself
> And turned with a sense of nausea, to see what it had stirred:
> The eyes and feet of men --
> I fumbled to the window to experience the world
> And to hear my madness singing, sitting on the kerbstone
> This withered root of knots of hair
> Slitted below and gashed with eyes,
> This oval O cropped out with teeth:
> The sickle motion from the thighs
> (The lengthened shadow of a man
> Is history, said Emerson
> Who had not seen the silhouette
> Of Sweeney straddled in the sun.)
> And with all your presumptions of a high moral ground, reader, if you accuse the poet of certain obscenities/madnesses -- be it "The Triumph of Bullshit", "Ballade pour la grosse Lulu", "Fragments: There was a jolly tinker" or "Columbo and Bolo verses" -- he will only stand aside with an indifferent smile, or get back to you à la Baudelaire and quip:
> 'You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!'
> Cheers,
> CR
> --- On Fri, 5/27/11, Chokh Raj<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Do I dare
> Disturb the universe?
> Mais alors, vieux lubrique, à cet âge…
> “Monsieur, le fait est dur.
> Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled,
> With pungent sauces, multiply variety
> In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do,
> Suspend its operations, will the weevil
> Delay?
> But at my back from time to time I hear
> The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring
> Sweeney to Mrs. Porter in the spring.
> O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
> And on her daughter
> They wash their feet in soda water
> On the divan are piled (at night her bed)
> Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
> I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
> Perceived the scene, and foretold the rest—
> Cheers,
> CR
> --- On Fri, 5/27/11, Chokh Raj<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> TS Eliot vis-a-vis Naturalism
> To assert the inescapable physical reality and the seamy side of human nature -- an aspect of Naturalism -- formed the basis of Eliot's poetry. It accounts for so much of his self-deprecating irony. It's evident in his assault on the gentility and hypocrisy of New England Puritans. I think of "The Hippopotamus", "Mr. Apollinax", the Bolo verses. It is writ large in "The Waste Land".
> That is not to say Eliot subscribed to Naturalism. Far from it. He found it too myopic. All the same, he was always acutely conscious of the naturalistic dimension of life. IMHO, it formed the ground& basis of his spiritual struggle.
> Well, an impression based on my reading of Eliot's poetry only. I'd love to elaborate on it vis-a-vis the poetry.
> CR