Monday, May 30, 2011

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Synge Scorned

Wow. When Synge didn't like you, he REALLY didn't like you. Here's a poem he wrote after Molly Allgood's sister expressed her negative reaction to The Playboy of the Western World

The Curse
To a sister of an enemy of the author's who disapproved of 'The Playboy'

Lord, confound this surly sister,
Blight her brow with blotch and blister,
Cramp her larynx, lung, and liver,
In her guts a galling give her.
Let her live to earn her dinners
In Mountjoy with other sinners:
Lord, this judgment quickly bring,
And I'm your servant, J. M. Synge.

The earlier drafts of the poem went like this:

With corns and bunions cramp her toes
Deck with pimples brown and nose
Contort her liver lungs and brain
For all her parts receive a pain
Contrive for every inch
Till devils though she wake or sleep
Through her flesh with horror creep
Till her breakfast, supper, dinner.

And the poem was actually published in 1909! Probably after Synge's death, since he didn't want his poetry published at all, let alone during his lifetime. But he first sent this poem to Molly in a letter. He wrote:

I have written a lovely curse on the 'flighty' one but I'm half afraid to send it to you...

Yeah. Sending a poem to your girlfriend about how much you hate her sister. Good move, J.M.

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