Of Smugglers, a Parson and the Clerk

The smuggling tradition of Teignmouth and surrounding areas

The smuggling tradition of Teignmouth and surrounding areas

The apocalyptic storms which have hit the coast here over the last week or so brought one thread on the Teignmouth Oracle facebook site concerning the well-being of the Parson and the Clerk.  This is a cliff formation a couple of miles NE of Teignmouth close to Smugglers Cove.  Fortunately the formation survives but it reminded me of the “Smugglers’ Song” by Rudyard Kipling which sort of captures the notion of the smuggling history of the area as well as having the serendipitous reference to the parson and the clerk.

 

A SMUGGLER’S SONG

If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street.
Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie,
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Five and twenty ponies, trotting through the dark.
Brandy for the Parson, ‘baccy for the Clerk;
Laces for a lady, letters for a spy,
And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don’t you shout to come and look, nor use ’em for your play.
Put the brushwood back again – and they’ll be gone next day!

If you see the stable-door setting open wide;
If you see a tired horse lying down inside;
If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore;
If the lining’s wet and warm – don’t you ask no more!

If you meet King George’s men, dressed in blue and red,
You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said.
If they call you “pretty maid”, and chuck you ‘neath the chin
Don’t you tell where no-one is, nor yet where no-one’s been!

Knocks and footsteps round the house – whistles after dark –
You’ve no call for running out till the house-dogs bark.
Trusty’s here, and Pincher’s here, and see how dumb they lie –
They don’t fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!

If you do as you’ve been told, ‘likely there’s a chance,
You’ll be given a dainty doll, all the way from France,
With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood –
A present from the Gentlemen, along o’ being good!

Five and twenty ponies, trotting through the dark.
Brandy for the Parson, ‘baccy for the Clerk.
Them that asks no questions isn’t told a lie –
Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

 

Rudyard Kipling (from Puck of Pook’s Hill)

Want to know more?    Then check out these links on this site …..

Smuggling     and     The Parson and Clerk

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2 thoughts on “Of Smugglers, a Parson and the Clerk

  1. Pingback: The Parson and The Clerk | Teignmouth in Verse

  2. Pingback: The Parson and Clerk | Teignmouth in Verse

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