T.E.Brown's Description of Ranters during the Cholera Epidemic (1832-3)

And then some ranters come in a cart
From Foxdale over—a dozen or more—
And had a camp-meetin' on the shore,
And shouted there most desperate.
And there was ones come down from the Sandy Gate
And jined them, and barrels goin'a proppin'
Under the tills1, and the preachers moppin'
Their faces, and all of them at it together,
And carryin' on; and the heat of the weather;
And water sarvin' out of a crock,
And singin' out like one o'clock,
And roarin' till the divils got hoarse,
And the women after them, of coarse!
And some of them was faintin' away
Like dead on the shore, I've heard them say.
And " Glory! glory ! " was all the cry,
You know the way; and willin' to die!
And Come, Lord Jesus ! Come! Come! Come !
And the preacher goin' with his fist like a drum
On the front of the cart, and roarin' greatly—
Aw, enjoyin' hisself completely
When all of a sudden who should appear
But Docthor Bell ! And " What's this here ?
" He says, " You rascals ! " he says, " be off !
Get out of this ! " he says, " you scruff! "
And they said his voice was just like thunder,
And took and kicked the barrels from under,
And down went the cart and the preachers too
And " Get home," he says, to the women, " do !
Get home ! " he says, " isn' that your place ? "
He says, "I wonder you've got the face,"
He says, and " bad enough of the others,"
He says, " Aye, bad; but you that's mothers",
He says, " It's the divil himself that's in't!
Go to your childher ! " he says. And they went.

And he turns to the preachers—
" Come, make tracks He says.
" Indeed ! and may I ax,"
Says one of them, " what's the meanin' of this ?
" And cussin', and squarin'up with the fist
At the Docthor; " You're makin' very free,"
He says. " Come on ! come on ! " says he.
And the Docthor gripped him, though, they said,
Till he rattled the very teeth in his head.
" Let go ! " he says, and black in the face;
" Let go ! " he says, " let go, If you plaise.
Let go! God's sake ! " and chokeder and chokeder. "
Ye dirty herpicrite ! " 2 says the Docthor,
And slacked the hoult,3 " a putty preacher ! "
He says, " and cussin' like that; I'll teach yer "'
He says, " and wherever do you expec'
For to go to ? " " I'm one of the elec',"
Says he. " Indeed ! " says the Docthor, " indeed ! "
He says, " I think I know the breed !
And who's electin' ye ? " he says.
" You're in the gall of bitterness
And the bond of iniquity," says the chap
" Come," says the Docthor, " yoke your trap
And cut, and don't come here again ! "
" Well, maybe not, though," says the men,
And yokes the cart, and cuts like winkin'.

1: Shafts of cart
2: Hypocrite
3: Hold

From The Doctor in Fo'c's'le Yans - second series



Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001