G. B. Shaw, John Bull’s Other Island (1904)

Dramatis Personae

Tom Broadbent: ‘A robust, fullblooded, energetic man in the prime of life, sometimes eager and credulous, sometimes shrewd and roguish, sometimes portentously solemn, somtimes jolly and empetuous, always bouyant and irresistible, mostly loikeable and enormously absurd in his most earnest moments.’

Doyle: a man of 36, with cold grey eyes, strained nose, fine, fastidious lips, critical eyebrows, clever head, rather refined and goodlooking on the whole, but with a suggestion of thinskinnedness and dissatisfactioin that contrasts strongly with Broadbent’s eupeptic jollity.’

Nora: ‘A slight weak woman in pretty muslin print gown (her best), she is a figure commonplace enough to Irish eyes; but on the inhabitants of fatter-fed, corwded, hustling and bustling modern countries she makes a very different impression. The absence of any symptoms of coarseness or hardness or attetite in her, her comparative deliciacy of manner and sensibility of aprehension, her fine hands and frail figure, her novel acccent, with the caressing plaintive Irish melody of her speech, give her a charm which is all the more effective because, being untravelled, she is unconscious of it, and never dreams of deliberately dramatising and exploiting it, as the Irishwomen in England do …. To Larry Doyle, an everyday woman fit only for the eighteen century, helpless, useless, almost sexless, an invalid withou the exsuse of disease, an incarnation of everything in Ireland that dore him out of it.

Cornelius: The almost total atrophy of any sense on enjoyment in Cornelius, or even any desire for it or toleration of the possibility of life being something better than a round of sordid worries, relieved by tobacco, punch, fine mornings, and petty successes in buying and selling, passes with his guest as a whimsicial affectation of a shrewd Irish humorist and incorrigible spendthrift.

PREFACE: […] Like most people who have asked me to write plays, Mr. Yeats got more than he bargained for. [Ccompares the ‘neo-Gaelic movement … bent on creating a new Ireland after its own ideal’ with his own ‘uncompromising presentation of the real old Ireland’ [439]

‘the loudest laugh that they [the Irish] could raise at the expense of the absurdest Englishman was not really a laugh on their side; that he would succeed where they would fail’

‘that his power of taking himself seriously, and his insensibility to anything funny in danger and destruction, was the first condition of economy and concentration of force, sustained purpose and rational conduct.’

‘English audiences … were perfectly willing to allow me to represent Tom Broadbent as infatuated in politics, hypnotised by his newspaper leader-writers and parliamentary orators into an utter paralysis of his common sense, without moral delicacy or social tact, provided I made him cheerful, robust, goodnatured, free from envy, and above all, a successful muddler-through in business and love.’

[on the success of the partnership:] ‘I am persudaded further - without pretending to know more about it than anyone else - that Broadbent'’ special contribution was simply the strength, self-satisfaction, social confidence and cheerful bumptiousness that money, comfort, and good feeding bring to all healthy people; and that Doyle’s special contribution was the freedom from illusion, the power of facing facts, the nervous industry, the sharpened wits, the sensitive pride of the imaginative man who has fought his way up throgh social persecution and poverty.’ Introduction proceeds to give Broadbent a ‘piece of my mind’ under the headings, ‘What is an Irishman?’ [‘I am a genuine typical Irishman of the Danish, Norman, Cromwellian and (of course) Scotch invasions. I am violently and arrogantly Protestant by family tradition; but let no English government therefore count on my allegiance. I am English enough to be an inveterate Republican and Home Ruler. It is true that my grandfather was an Orangeman; but then his sister was an abbess; and his uncle, I am proud to say, was hanged as a rebel. When I … see the Irishman everywhere standing clearheaded, sane, hardily callous to the boysih sentimentalities, susceptibilities, and credulities that make the Englishman the dupe of every charlatan … I percieve that Ireland is the only spot on earth which still produces the ideal Englishman of history.’]

‘The Protestant Garrison’ [‘A “loyal” Irishman is an abhorrent phenomenon, because I is an unnatural one’]

‘Our Temperaments Contrasted’ [‘however pleasant the relations between the Protestant garrison and the English gentry may be, they are always essentially of the nature of an entente cordiale between foreigners … I never think of an Englishman as my countryman’

‘it takes an Irishman years of residence in England to learn to respect and like a blockhead. An Englishman will not respect nor like anyne else’]

‘English Stupidity Excused’

‘Irish Protestantism really Protestant’ [‘In Ireland all that the member of the Irish Protestant Church knows is that he is not a Catholic’]

‘A Fundamental Anomaly’ [‘The Pretstant is theoretically an anarchist … the Catholic is theoretically a Collectivist’]

‘The nature of Political Hatred’ [‘I am perfectly aware that the Irish love their priests as devotedly as the French loved them before the Revolution …

the world is full of authentic examples of the concurrence of human kindliness with political rancour’]

‘The Revolt Against the Priest’ [‘Imagine being forbidden to read this preface … And imagine being bound to submit to all this because the popular side must hold together at all costs in the face of the Protestant enemy!’]

‘Protestand Loyalty: A Forecast’ ‘Protestant Pugnacity’[‘Protestantism is an essentially Nationalist force in Ireland’ (of O’Connell, ‘he died in the bosom of his Church, not in the bosom of his country’]

‘The Just Englishman’ [‘But the English are wise enough to refuse to trust English justice themselves, preferring democracy’]

‘Irish Catholicism Forecast’ [‘The roman Catholic Church would become the official Irish Church’ (and would) ‘meet with the one force on earth that can cope with it victoriously. That force is Democracy’]

‘English Voltaireanism’

‘Suppose!’ [‘In Ireland England is nothing but the Pope’s policeman … she imagines she is holding the Vatican cardinals at bay when she is really strangling the Voltaires ...’]

‘Ireland’s Real Grievance’ [‘Every Irishman is in Lancelot’s position: his horror rooted in dishonor stands; and faith unfaithful keeps him falsely true’ (to his church)]

‘The Curse of Nationalism’ [‘a quaint offshoot of pre-Raphaelitism called the Gaelic movement’]

‘A Warning’ [‘Ireland has been deliberately ruined again and again by England’

‘Ireland must have Home Rule because she has a natural right to it’]

‘Down with the Soldier’

‘The Denshawai Horror’; added to which, appendices: ‘A Year Later’; ‘Twenty Four Years Later’ [(of 1916) ‘Those who were executed accordingly became not only national heroes, but the martyrs whose blood was the seed of the present Irish Free State.’] [Nov. 1929].

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Act II
Broadbent, ‘to be rebuked by an Irish priest for superstition is more than he can stand’

Father Demspey [on round towers:] ‘Theyre forfigners of the early Church, pointing us all to God.’

[note pallyass, for palliasse]

Aunt Judy [on Patsy:] ‘Sure he’d say hwaterver was the least trouble to himself and the pleasantest to you, thinkin you might give him a thrupenny bit for himself or the like.’

Keegan: ‘When I went to those great cities I saw wonders I had never seen in Ireland. But when I came back to Ireland I found all the wonders there waiting for me. You see they had been there all the time; but my eyes had never been opened to them. I did not know what my own house was like, because I had never been outside it.’

Fr. Dempsey: ‘Cant you tell the difference between your priest and any old madman in a black coat?’

[Broadbent is unaware that he ‘unconsciously entertains Aunt Judy by his fantastic English personality and English mispronunciations’]’

Nora Reilly [after Broadbent has proposed to her]: ‘I suppose people are different in England, Mr Broadbent; so perhaps you don’t mean any harm. In Ireland nobody’d mind what a man’d say in fun, nor take advantage of what a woman might say in answer to it. If a woman counldn’t talk to a man for two minutes at their first meeting without being treated the way youre treating me, no decent woman would ever talk to a man at all.’

Hodson [on the Irish:] ‘Well, sir, theyre all right anywhere but in their own country. I’ve known lots of em in England, and generally liked em. But here, sir, I seem simply to hate em. … My mind rises up against their ways, somehow: they rub me the wrong way all over.’

Larry [on Haffigan’s labour:] ‘An Irish peasant’s industry is not human: it’s worse than the industry of a coral insect … an Irishman will work as if he’d die the moment he stopped’

Aunt Judy: ‘Sure never mind … theres harly any landlords left; and therll soon be none at all.’

LD: ‘On the contrary, therll soon be nothing else; and the Lord help Ireland then!

[LD to TB:] [Y]ou were evidently in a state of blihtering sentimentality.

[LD on Nora:] ‘Aristocracy be blowed … You compare her with your Englishwomen who wolf down from three to five meals a day[,] and naturlly you find her a sylp. The difference is not a difference of type: it’s the difference between the woman who eats not wisely but too well and the woman who eats not wisely but too little.’

Cornelius Doyle [on the present MP:] ‘We’re tired on him. He doesn’t know hwere to stop. Every an cant own land and some men must own it to employ them. … hwat man in his senses ever wanted to give land to Patsy Farrll [sic] and dhe like o him?’

Matthew [Haffigan]: ‘Am I to be compared to Patrst Farrell that doesnt harly know his right hand from his left?’

Cornelius: ‘Round here weve got the land at last and we want no more Government meddlin.’

LD: ‘I have strong opinions which wouldnt suit you.’

LD: ‘I always thought it was a stupid, lazy, good-for-nothing sort of thing to leave the land in the hands of the old landlords without calling them to a strict account for the use they made of it, and th condition of the people on it. I could see for myself that they thought of nothing but what they could get out of it to spend in England and that they mortgaged and morgaged until hardly one of them owned his own property or could have afforded to keep it up decently if he’d wanted to. But I tell you plump and plain, Matt, that if anybody things things will be any better now that the land is handed over to a lot of little men like you, without calling you to account either, there mistaken.’

[On Patsy being misused:] ‘He will be, if ever he gets into your power as you were in the power of your old landlord. Do you think, because youre poor and ignorant and half-crazed with toiling and moiling from morning noon and night, that youll be any less greedy and oppressive to them that have no land than old Nick Lestrange, who was an educated travelled gentleman that would not have been tempted as hard by a hundred pounds as youd be by five shillings? Nick was too high above Patsy to be jealous of him; but you, that are only one little step above him would die sooner than let him come up that step, and well you know it.’

‘… it was by using Patsy’s poverty to undersell England in the markets of the world that we drove England to ruin Ireland. And she’ll ruin us the moment … we trade in cheap labor.’

‘Is Ireland never to have a chance? … If we cant have men of honour own the land, lets have men of ability. If we cant have men of ability, let us at least have men with capital. Anyone’s better than Matt …’

‘I am a Catholic intelligent enough to see that the Protestants are never more dangerous to us than when they are free from all alliances with the State. The so-called Irish Church is stronger today than ever it was.’

‘Look at Father Dempsey! His is disestablished he has nothing to hope or fear from the State the result is that he’s the most powerful man in Roscullen.’

‘The Conservative party today is the only one thats not priestridden … because its the only one that has established its Church anc can prevent a clergyman becoming a bishop if he’s not a Statesman as well as a Churchman’

TB: ‘ I blush for the Union. It is the blackest stain on our national history.’

Hodson: ‘You Airish people are too well off: thes wots the metter with you. You talk of your rotten little fawn cause you mide it by chackin a few stown dawn a ill! Well, wot prawce maw grenfawther, Oi should lawk to knaow, that fitted ap a fust clawss shop … and then was chacked aht of it on is ed at the end of is lease withaht a penny for his goodwill. … Gawd! When Oi think of the things we Englishmen as to pat ap wth, and eah you Awrish ahlin abaht your silly little grievances …’

Keegan: ‘This world, sir, is very clearly a place of torment and penance, a place where the fool flourishes and the good and wise are hated and persecuted, a place where men and women torture one another in the name of love where children are scourged and enslaved in the name of parental duty and education where the weak in body are poisoned and mutilated in the name of healing, and the weak in character are put to th ehorrible torture of imprisonment, not for hours but for years, in the name of justice. It is a place where the hardest til is a welcome refuge for the horror and tedium of pleasure, and where charity and good works are done only for hire to ransom the souls of the spoilers and the sybarite. Now, sire, there is only one place of horror and torment known to my religion and that place is hell. Therefore it is plain to me that this earth of ours must be hell, and that we are all here, as the Indian revealed to me - perhaps he was sent to reveal it to me - to expiate crimes commeted by us in a former existence.’

Larry: ‘He [Broadbent] will take more than that from me before he is done’.

Act IV: LD [on TB:] ‘Oh no he wont: he’s not an Irishman. He’ll never know theyre laughing at him; and while there laughing he’ll will the seat.’

“Let not the right side of your brain know what the left side doeth”. … I learnt at Oxford tht this is the secret of the Englishman’s strange power of making the best of both worlds.’ [note: a ‘German Jew’]

Keegan [to TB:] ‘The Conquering Englishman, sir. Within 24 hours of your arrival you have carried off our only heriess, and practically secured the parliamentary seat’

TB: ‘I have great faith in Ireland’

K: ‘And we have none, only empty enthusiasms and patriotisms … you have the excuse for believing that if there be any future, it will be yours; our faith seems dead, and our hearts cold and cowed. And island of dreamers who wake up on your jails, aof cirtics and cowards whom you buy and tame for your own sevice …’

‘Ireland, sire, for good or evil, is like no other place under heaven; and no man can touch its sod or breathe its air without becoming better or worse. It produces two kinds of men in strange perfection: saints or traitors.’

[Keegan to Broadbent:] ‘You will drive Haffigan to America very efficiently; you will find a use for Barney Doran’s foul mouth and bullying temper by employing him to slave-drive your labourers very efficiently; and when at last this poor desolate countryside becomes a busy mint in which we shall all slave to make money for you, withour Polytechnic to teach us how to do it efficiently, and our library to duffle the few imaginations your distilleries will spare, and our repaired Round Tower with admission sixpence, and refreshments and penny-in-the-slot mutoscopes to make it intersting, then no doubt your English and American shareholders will spend all the money we make for they very efficiently in shooting and hunting, in operations fro cancer and appendicitis, in gluttony and gambling; and you will devote what they save to fresh land development schemes. For four wicked centuries the world has dreamed this folloish dream of efficiency; and the end is not yet. But it will come’

TB: ‘Too true, Mr. Keegan, only too true.’

K: ‘Sir, when you speak to me of English and Irish you forget that I am a Catholic. My country is not Ireland nor England, but the whole mighty realm of my Church. For me there are but two countries: heaven and hell, but two conditions of men: salvation and damnation. Standing here between you the Englishman, so clever in your foolishness, and this Irishman, so foolish in his cleverness, I cannot in my ignorance be sure which of you is the more deeply damned; but I should be unfaithful to my calling if I opened the gates of my heart less widely to one than to the other.’

LD: ‘In either case it would be an impertinence, Mr Keegan, as your approval is not of the slightest consequence to us. What use do you suppose all this drivel is to men with serious practical business in hand?’

‘Fine manners and fine words are cheap in Ireland: you can keep both for my friend here, who is still imposed on by them. I know their value.’K: ‘You mean you don’t know their value.’

K: ‘I only make the hearts of my countrymen harder when I preach to them: the gates of hell still prevail against me. I shall wish you good evening. I am better alone, at the Round Tower, dreaming of heaven.’

LD: Aye, thats it! there you are! dreaming! dreaming! dreaming! dreaming!’

K: ‘Every dream is a prophecy: every jest is an earnest in the womb of Time.’

TB: ‘Once, when I was a small kid, I dreamt I was in heaven. … It was a sort of pale blue satin place, with all the pious old ladies in our congregation sitting as if they were at a service, and there was some awful person in the study at the other side of the hall. I didnt enjoy it, you know. What is it like in your dreams?’ K: ‘In my dreams it is a country where the State is the Church and the Church the peoplc: three in one and one in three. It is a commonwealth in which work is play and play is life: three in one and one in three. It is a temple in which the priest is the worshipper and the worshipper the worshipped: three in one and one in three. It is a godhead in which all life is human and all humanity divine: three in one and one in three. It is, in short, the dream of a madman.’

TB ‘What a regular old Church and State Tory he is! He's a character: he'll be an attraction here. Really almost equal to Ruskin and Carlyle.’

LD: ‘Yes; and much good they did with all their talk!’

TB: ‘Oh tut, tut, Larry! They improved my mind: they raised my tone enormously. I feel sincerely obliged to Keegan: he has made me feel a better man: distinctly better. [With sincere elevation.] I feel now as I never did before that I am right in devoting my life to the cause of Ireland. Come along and help me to choose the site for the hotel.

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