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1596 Readen' n riten' (Er legge e scrive)
Translated by Peter Nicholas Dale


Wot's the point uv all this riten an readen?
Leave it ta priests n’ doctors, ta learnèd chaps,
Ta freres an kings, t’ Emparers even, p'raps,
Ta blokes obliged by law ta learn: we don’ need’em.

Open yer eyes! the wirld’s chock full a gents
Ut Christ looks after, featheren their own nests.
N’ all they know is how da fart, them pests,
N’ burp n’ yawn, n’ kick an bash their servents.

Bugger it! At best thing's uv all’s ta get
Jus the boys ad home ta learn ta read n' rite.
Bud it’s a helluva scandal when a dad'ull let

His dordas swot up. They cotten on, mug up a clue
Frum readen bluddy books by candlelite
N’ get fancy ideas n’ start pennen' billy doos.

 

1/10/99 revised 17/4/2001
The sonnet is translated into "Strine", the dialect spoken in Australia down to the 1960s.


1596 Readen' n riten'  (orthographically normalized version)

Translated by Peter Nicholas Dale

What's the point of all this writing and reading?
Leave it to priests and doctors, to learnèd chaps,
To freres and kings, to Emperors even, perhaps,
To blokes obliged to learn by law: don’t need’em.

Open your eyes! the world’s chock full of gents
That Christ looks after, feathering their own nests.
And all they know is how to fart, the pests,
And burp and yawn, and kick and bash servents.

Bugger it! At best, the thing is just to get
The boys at home to learn to read and write.
But it’s a hell of a scandal when a dad'll let

His daughters swot up. They cotten on, mug up a clue
From reading bloody books by candlelight
And get fancy ideas, and start penning billets doux.

1/10/99 revised 17/4/2001