Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You've a Fine Bit of Talk, Stranger

Come along with me now, lady of the house, and it's not my blather you'll be hearing only, but you'll be hearing the herons crying out over the black lakes, and you'll be hearing the grouse and the owls with them, and the larks and the big thrushes when the days are warm, and it's not from the like of them you'll be hearing a talk of getting old...and losing the hair off you, and the light of your eyes, but it's fine songs you'll be hearing when the sun goes up...

This is Synge's character the Tramp from his play In the Shadow of the Glen. The play is based off a tale that Synge recorded on the Aran Islands about an unfaithful wife who is caught in the act by her husband who was pretending to be dead in order to ambush her. In Synge's play, it's unclear whether the wife, Nora, has been unfaithful, but it's clear she has been terribly unhappy with her old, tyrannical husband, who she married for security, not for love.

Photo from Druid Synge Production
A wandering Tramp who had come upon the house in the glens of Wicklow earlier in the evening became embroiled in their conflict, and when Nora's husband kicks her out of the house, the Tramp invites her to go with him and live the life of a tramp (a wanderer). He assures her that a life lived free, in nature, will make her feel more youthful and happy than she's felt stuck in this isolated cottage.

It's clear to me that the Tramp is Synge - the man who wants to rescue a woman from her lonely life and bring her on a journey of love and adventure, and to share with her his adoration of the natural world.

You've a fine bit of talk, stranger, and it's with yourself I'll go.


  1. Dear Emily, I wish you good vibes for your wonderful journey to Aran Islands and Wicklow Synge’s Summer School (lucky You!) and I am waiting for your commentary impatiently.


  2. Thanks Mariola! I'll definitely keep you posted.