Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 2


page break


Although I have not had, as yet the pleasure of paying a visit to Mr. P. Murphy at his residence "Lambton Kay, Willin'ton," that gentleman has honoured me by asking me to contribute a few introductory remarks to his "Budget." The task is a very light one, indeed, for Paddy's effusions are so widely known and so much appreciated in New Zealand by all lovers of good-natured banter, that a lengthy preface would be a superfluous addition to the book. It is now over five years since Paddy first took up his facile pen to amuse the readers of the Saturday Advertiser, and to let the general public into the secrets in connection with the working of our political machinery at Wellington, and from that time to the present he has grown in popular favor. His "pomes an" ipistols" have been re-published in nearly every newspaper of any note in the Colony, and this fact alone is indicative of their merit. I think it will be conceded that no other patois is so capable of being made the medium for the transmission of broad humor and harmless raillery as the Irish brogue. The rich array of epithets (many of them evolved from the mixture of Erse and English phrases brought about by the fusion of the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon races), which are in general use among a large proportion of the Irish working classes, are peculiarly expressive and racy. The idiomatic drollery of the Irish brogue is proverbial, and observations which would fall pointless if expressed in plain English, become mirth-provoking when infused with the quaint phraseology of the Green Isle. Thackeray understood this, and he has given the world some of his most sparkling gems of humor dressed up in the brogue. I have not the temerity to institute a comparison between the "pomes" of my Wellington friend and the "Lyra Hibernica" of the inimitable satirist, but still I make bold to affirm, on the authority of competent critics, that there are at least three or four of Paddy's effusions which would do no discredit to the illustrious page break English author in question. The total absence of anything approaching to bitterness is a marked characteristic of the writings of Mr. Murphy, and those who have received the hardest blows from his shillelagh have often been the first to enjoy a laugh against themselves. My Wellington friend can well say to his readers, in the language of Quarles:—"I here present thee with a hive of bees, laden some with wax and some with honey. Fear not to approach! There are no wasps, there are no hornets here. There's none will sting thee. If any do, she hath honey in her bag will cure thee too." Though the primary object of the "pomes an' ipistols" is to amuse, rather than instruct, some grains of common sense may be picked up among Paddy's chaff, for we often find

"Sound sense in seeming nonsense, as the grain is hid in chaff."

If, however, the "Budget" be the means of enlivening a leisure hour now and again, the purpose of its author will be served, for although my acquaintance with him is but slight, still I know enough of his character to feel assured that he is only happy when those around him are also happy.

Thomas Bracken.