Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: Dooley Is a Traitor (James Michie)

Rowan 25 Oct 07 - 09:31 PM
Peace 26 Oct 07 - 02:19 PM
Joe Offer 26 Oct 07 - 02:42 PM
Peace 26 Oct 07 - 02:52 PM
Joe Offer 26 Oct 07 - 03:00 PM
Peace 26 Oct 07 - 03:10 PM
Joe Offer 26 Oct 07 - 03:17 PM
Peace 26 Oct 07 - 03:25 PM
Mrrzy 26 Oct 07 - 05:52 PM
Rowan 26 Oct 07 - 11:11 PM
Beer 26 Oct 07 - 11:52 PM
GUEST,Boris Johnson 7th. Nov. 2007 25 Jan 12 - 12:23 AM
GUEST,Vin 25 Jan 12 - 12:31 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector
From: Rowan
Date: 25 Oct 07 - 09:31 PM

In 1970 I came across a document used by an English teacher in a high school in Victoria. Conscription to serve in Vietnam was in full swing and the subject of the text was a dialogue, in poetic form, between a judge and a plaintiff who wished to be excused conscription as a conscientious objector. It went for about two foolscap pages and presented almost all the arguments used by the state, requiring citizens' compliance with lawful edicts, and a thoughtfully dissenting individual.

As it was a typescript duplicated by a Gestetner I haven't a clue as to its title and the only form of words I can now recall is the repeated reply "Your Honour; that's right" that recurs, in various responses by the plaintiff to a proposition from the judge. From the tone of the language used I suspect it originated in Britain, possibly as early as WWI.

To date, searches have produced limited (but interesting) results, none of which is relevant. I would be most grateful for any assistance from Mudcatters.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector
From: Peace
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 02:19 PM

Rowan,

try asking at

community.livejournal.com/whitefeathers


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: DOOLEY IS A TRAITOR (James Michie)(poem)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 02:42 PM

Is this it, Rowan? Powerful, isn't it?
-Joe-

DOOLEY IS A TRAITOR
(James Michie)

'So then you won't fight?'
'Yes, your Honour,' I said, 'that's right.'
'Now is it that you simply aren't willing,
Or have you a fundamental objection to killing?'
Says the judge, blowing his nose
And making his words stand to attention in long rows.
I stand to attention too, but with half a grin
(In my time I've done a good many in).
'No objection at all, sir,' I said.
'There's a deal of the world I'd rather see dead --
Such as Johnny Stubbs or Fred Settle or my last landlord, Mr Syme.
Give me a gun and your blessing, your Honour, and I'll be killing them all the time.
But my conscience says a clear no
To killing a crowd of gentlemen I don't know.
Why, I'd as soon think of killing a worshipful judge,
High-court, like yourself (against whom, God knows, I've got no grudge --
So far), as murder a heap of foreign folk.
If you've got no grudge, you've got no joke
To laugh at after.'
                    Now the words never come flowing
Proper for me till I get the old pipe going.
And just as I was poking
Down baccy, the judge looks up sharp with 'No smoking,
Mr Dooley. We're not fighting this war for fun.
And we want a clearer reason why you refuse to carry a gun.
This war is not a personal feud, it's a fight
Against wrong ideas on behalf of the Right.
Mr Dooley, won't you help to destroy evil ideas?'
'Ah, your Honour, here's
the tragedy,' I said. 'I'm not a man of the mind.
I couldn't find it in my heart to be unkind
To an idea. I wouldn't know one if I saw one. I haven't one of my own.
So I'd best be leaving other people's alone.'
'Indeed,' he sneers at me, 'this defence is
Curious for someone with convictions in two senses.
A criminal invokes conscience to his aid
To support an individual withdrawal from a communal crusade
Sanctioned by God, led by the Church, against a godless, churchless nation!'
I asked his Honour for a translation.
'You talk of conscience,' he said. 'What do you know of the Christian creed?'
'Nothing, sir, except what I can read.
That's the most you can hope for from us jail-birds.
I just open the Book here and there and look at the words.
And I find that when the Lord himself misliked an evil notion
He turned it into a pig and drove it squealing over a cliff into the ocean,
And the loony ran away
And lived to think another day.
There was a clean job done and no blood shed!
Everybody happy and forty wicked thoughts drowned dead.
A neat and Christian murder. None of your mad slaughter
Throwing away the brains with the blood and the baby with the bathwater.
Now I look at the war as a sportsman. It's a matter of choosing
The decentest way of losing.
Heads or tails, losers or winners,
We all lose, we're all damned sinners.
And I'd rather be with the poor cold people at the wall that's shot
Than the bloody guilty devils in the firing-line, in Hell and keeping hot.'
'But what right, Dooley, what right,' he cried,
'Have you to say the Lord is on your side?'
'That's a dirty crooked question,' back I roared.
'I said not the Lord was on my side, but I was on the side of the Lord.'
Then he was up at me and shouting,
But by and by he calms: 'Now we're not doubting
Your sincerity, Dooley, only your arguments,
Which don't make sense.'
('Hullo,' I thought, 'that's the wrong way round.
I may be skylarking a bit, but my brainpan's sound.')
Then biting his nail and sugaring his words sweet:
'Keep your head, Mr Dooley. Religion is clearly not up your street.
But let me ask you as a plain patriotic fellow
Whether you'd stand there so smug and yellow
If the foe were attacking your own dear sister.'
'I'd knock their brains out, mister,
On the floor,' I said. 'There,' he says kindly, 'I knew you were no pacifist.
It's your straight duty as a man to enlist.
The enemy is at the door.' You could have downed
Me with a feather. 'Where?' I gasp, looking round.
'Not this door,' he says angered. 'Don't play the clown.
But they're two thousand miles away planning to do us down.
Why, the news is full of the deeds of those murderers and rapers.'
'Your Eminence,' I said, 'my father told me never to believe the papers
But to go by my eyes,
And at two thousand miles the poor things can't tell truth from lies.'
His fearful spectacles glittered like the moon: 'For the last time what right
Has a man like you to refuse to fight?'
'More right,' I said, 'than you.
You've never murdered a man, so you don't know what is it I won't do.
I've done it in good hot blood, so haven't I the right to make bold
To declare that I shan't do it in cold?'
The the judge rises in a great rage
And writes Dooley Is A Traitor in black upon a page
And tells me I must die.
'What, me?' says I.
'If you still won't fight.'
'Well, yes, your Honour,' I said, 'that's right.'


from the Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse


James Michie

1927 -


source: http://belparis.blogspot.com/2004/05/james-michie-1927-dooley-is-traitor-so.html
I searched under books at Amazon.com for dooley is a traitor, and an excerpt of the Oxford book came up. The excerpt contained the entire poem - looks like the above is a good transcription of it, although I admit I didn't compare the two word-for-word.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector
From: Peace
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 02:52 PM

Now THAT is amazing. 'fess up. How did you find that, Joe?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 03:00 PM

I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, ya know. I searched for "that's right, your honor" and came up with nothing, and then changed it to "honour" and added war and object to my search to narrow it.

-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector
From: Peace
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 03:10 PM

Dang. I got to the 'honour' part but no 'war', 'object'. I am now a happy camper. Learned something new today. Thanks, Joe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 03:17 PM

Yeah, except that now I can't duplicate the search that found the poem. I guess the real answer is that I got lucky, but the luck was guided by legitimate hunches. Generally, my method is that I search for a phrase I'm sure of and put it in quotes - and then I guess at other words that might be in there, and keep changing them until I get the result I want.
-Joe-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector
From: Peace
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 03:25 PM

It's also occasionally the discriminate use of quotation marks for parts of phrases and other words not quoted. The hunch part is important to about 20-25% of the stuff I go looking for. That, and stay with it. I appreciate the tips, Joe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 05:52 PM

Since i can't read music, could someone call me and sing it? PM if yes... thanks!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector
From: Rowan
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 11:11 PM

Joe, you're brilliant!!!!!
I dips me lid!!
I am truly gobsmacked and grateful!

I too had tried various combinations, with and without quotation marks but got nowhere near it, as far as the results tell me. And I'm pleased Peace saw it as the main reason for trying to hunt it out was that, as a poem, it spoke very powerfully to me when I first came across it and, although I had lost contact with the document for most of the time since 1970 (burglaries, the odd fire, shifting house etc) the concept and its dialogue still speak to me. As far as I can tell, the text is the same as in the document I saw all those years ago.

Mrrzy, I've never known a tune to be associated with it. Your (almost immediate?) suggestion that there might be one illustrates an hypothesis I have formed over the years; that one of the differences between the Oz 'folk tradition' (however defined, and I have no wish to divert this thread into debating such propositions) and the US 'folk tradition' (ditto) is that spoken word recitations are more prominent in the Oz one while almost neglected in the US one. Since both have been at least influenced and, in some parts and senses, 'inherited' from the British 'folk tradition' such differences are intriguing; to me anyway. There may well be a tune attached to it but the thought had never occurred to me. Feel free!

Unless doing so would contravene propriety I would like to add it to the thread on poems that speak to you, with acknowledgement to Joe, rather than just provide a link.

Cheers, Rowan


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The would-be Conscientious Objector
From: Beer
Date: 26 Oct 07 - 11:52 PM

Wow! That was some read. Thank you.
Couldn't help thinking as I was reading that there are so many other things that could have been said.
Beer (adrien)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Dooley Is a Traitor (James Michie)
From: GUEST,Boris Johnson 7th. Nov. 2007
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 12:23 AM

James Michie, gentle genius
Boris Johnson
07 November 2007

Jaspistos remembered

It is a measure of James Michie's extreme modesty that most of the younger people who bumped into him in the offices of The Spectator probably hadn't the foggiest idea who he really was.

They might see him reading in the afternoon, sitting with a glass of wine and a half-smile, in the room that led out to the garden. They might have met him on the stair, bearing a sheaf of scrupulously emended proofs.

They would have heard him addressed only as 'James', and the hordes of young thrusting proto-journalists who passed through the offices of The Spectator would have concluded that this was some kind of landmark of literary London.

He was plainly a man of great gifts. His headlines were lapidary, and swiftly produced. He seemed to be full of quips. His opinions seemed to be greatly valued by the editors.

Yes: they said to themselves, this is evidently some corduroyed bohemian wordsmith, some chum of Larkin and Amis — and they would hug themselves with pleasure at rubbing shoulders with such picturesque folk, and rejoice at whichever string it was they had pulled to secure their work experience.


James Michie, who died last week, was in reality one of the most distinguished poets and translators of the 20th century, the winner in 1995 of the Hawthornden Prize for poetry. He was also a publisher of great brilliance and originality, with a string of hits and scoops, from J.D. Salinger to Sylvia Plath to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, not forgetting Sebastian Faulks.

For more than 30 years he incarnated the eccentric genius of the magazine as 'Jaspistos', the creator of the literary and poetic competitions whose objective was to show not just wit but also a mastery of verse — rhyming and scanning — and since he placed a premium on those skills, Jaspistos seemed to be fighting a lonely and glorious struggle against the loss of disciplines which once made English poetry great.

He translated into English verse from Greek and French and Latin, but it is probably his 1964 translation of Horace's Odes that will be most familiar. Auden is supposed to have said that he was thinking of having a crack at Horace himself, but then read Michie and concluded that he could not be surpassed; to which someone is supposed to have retorted that this was a bit rich coming from Auden, since he did not even know Latin.

The key to understanding Michie's triumph was that he did know Latin, and he was sufficiently dextrous to take the odes of Horace (which are themselves fantastically ingenious Latin tributes to Greek lyric), and turn them into English Alcaics — rhyming English Alcaics, close enough to the original to make a perfectly usable crib.

He also knew the mind of Horace, if that is possible; and the two men certainly had much in common. Like the Roman poet, James Michie had a keen sense of life's pleasures, made sharper by a preoccupation with death. He was romantic, and unconventional in his love life.

He wrote whimsically, sometimes with bite. The magazine was almost taken before the Council for Race Relations after a squib he wrote about the Scots.

Like Horace, he was capable of public poetry, about the big issue of the relation between the citizen and the state. Michie was a conscientious objector, and was sent to Bavaria and Jamaica, whence he returned with a young Jamaican wife.

He explains this decision in an early poem called 'Dooley is a Traitor', which begins:

'So then you won't fight?'
'Yes, your Honour,' I said, 'that's right.'
'Now is it that you simply aren't willing,
Or have you a fundamental objection
to killing?'
Says the judge, blowing his nose
And making his words stand to attention
in long rows.
I stand to attention too, but with half a grin
(In my time I've done a good many in).
'No objection at all, sir,' I said.
'There's a deal of the world I'd rather see dead —
Such as Johnny Stubbs or Fred Settle or my last landlord, Mr Syme.
Give me a gun and your blessing, your Honour,
and I'll be killing them all the time.
But my conscience says a clear no
To killing a crowd of gentlemen I don't
know.

Who is there left who can address an important subject with rhyme, scansion and wit? James Michie gave every appearance of a consummate lack of ambition, but he has left his monumentum aere perennius.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Dooley Is a Traitor (James Michie)
From: GUEST,Vin
Date: 25 Jan 12 - 12:31 AM

"Dooley is a Traitor" was a poem written by James Michie who was himself a conscientious objector.

I heard it being recited many times in London pubs and poetry recitals around that city in the late 60's and 70's.
I believe he came from Liverpool.
As far as I know there is no musical tune associated with this most powerful poem.
It is a brilliant piece.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 14 December 2:48 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.