From Monty Python's Flying Circus
episode sixteen, this skit loses a lot if you don't hear the dramatic poetry reading. Ewan McTeagle is voiced by Terry Jones
, while John Cleese
narrates the bit:
The rush of the mountain stream, the bleat of the sheep, and the broad, clear Highland skies, reflected in tarn and loch, form a breathtaking backdrop against which Ewan McTeagle writes such poems as "Lend us a quid till the end of the week."
It was the more simple, homespun verses that McTeagle's unique style first flowered.
If you could see your way,
to lending me a sixpence.
I could at least buy a newspaper.
That's not much to ask anyone.
For Lassie O'Shea, the memory of McTeagle is still alive. He wrote her two poems between January and April 1969
Lassie (Eric Idle):
To Ma Own beloved Lassie.
A poem on her 17th Birthday.
Lend us a couple of bob till Thursday.
I'm absolutely skint.
But I'm expecting a postal order
and I can pay you back as soon as it comes.
Critic: Since then, McTeagle has developed and widened his literary scope. Three years ago he concerned himself with still quite small sums -- quick bits of ready cash: sixpences, shilling
s, but more recently he has turned his extraordinary literary perception to much larger sums -- fifteen shillings, £4.12.6d ... even nine guinea
s ... But there is still nothing to match the huge sweep, the majestic power of what is surely his greatest work: "Can I have fifty pounds to mend the shed
Single dramatic actor in black leotard:
Can I have £50 to mend the shed?
I'm right on my uppers.
I can pay you back
When this postal order comes from Australia.
Hope the bladder trouble's getting better.
There seems to be no end to McTeagle's poetic invention. "My new checque book hasn't arrived" was followed up by the brilliantly allegorical "What's twenty quid to the bloody Midland Bank?" and more recently his prizewinning poem to the Arts Council: "Can you lend me one thousand quid?"