The Droichis Part of the Play

The Droich’s Part is a poem by William Dunbar (1459/60 – 1530) which briefly features a giant-sized Fionn Mac Cumhaill and his descendants.

It claims that Fionn “struck the devil and made him yowl,” and had a son, Gog Magog, with a mouth “eleven miles wide.” Gog’s wife was equally giant-sized, and the poem takes a turn for the crude when describing exactly how large her every body part and function were…

While an interesting relic and a sign that Fionn was considered an important giant in folklore at the time, the poem itself is not meant to be taken seriously. The narrator (the Droicht), is a blind dwarf (possibly an African or Asiatic Pygmy), who mistakenly believes himself to be giant-sized and boasts about his enormous ancestors. Part of the humour of the poem comes from hearing such boasts of enormity come from someone of such small stature, and realising that the poor fellow has been totally misled about his size and importance in the world.

It’s quite a long poem, so I’ve only translated to the end of the verses about Fionn and his ancestors, below.

You can read the full version (in 15th – 16th C English) here.


Hirry harry hubbilschow!
See ye not what is come now
But yet I never wait
With the whirlwind

A ruler out of Soudoun (Saudi?) land
A giant, strong for to stand
That with the strength of my hand
Bears may bind

But yet I know that I differ
I am but one blind Harry
That long has been with the fairies
Marvels to find

And yet if this be not I
I believe it is the spirit of Gy
Or else Fle be the sky
And light as the tree

What is come here but I
A fierce violent ruffian
Among you all to cry a cry
With one mighty sound?

That born am of giants kind
From the strong Hercules be descended
Of all the occident and India
My elders wore the crown

My great-grandfather High Fyn-Mackowll (Fionn Mac Cumhaill)
That struck the devil and made him yowl
The skys rained when he would yowl
He troubled all the air

He begat my grandfather Gog Magog
He, when he danced, the world would shake
Ten thousand men fit in his cloak
Of Highland plaid, and more

And yet he was of tender youth
But after he grew large at four
Eleven miles wide measured his mouth
His teeth were ten miles square

He would upon his harness stand
And pluck the stars down with his hand
And set them in a gold garland
Above his wife’s hair

He had a wife who was large of thigh
Her head was higher than the sky
The heaven thundered when she burped
The lass was nothing slender

She spat Loch Lomond with her lips
Thunder and lightening flew from her hips
When she was crabbit, the sun would eclipse
The devil dared not offend her

For cold she took the fever tartan
For all the cloth in France and Britain
Would not be to her leg a garter
Though she was young and tender

Upon a night here in the north
She took the gravel and pissed Craig Gorth
And pissed the great water of Forth
Such tides ran out behind her

Yet anything written of her I find
In Ireland when she blew behind
On Norway could she raise the wind
And great ships drown there

She fished in all the Spanish seas
With her chemise between her thighs
Three days sailing between her knees
It was estimated, and more.

The hanging charcoal (labia?) on either side
She parted with her fingers wide
Lasses might learn from her to ride
Would go to lovers bed

She brought laughter to the land
She pissed five whales in the wood
That creeped into her c*nt for shelter
Rolling among the sh*t

My father, large Gow Macmorne
Out of his mother’s womb was born
And little she was forlorn
Such a champion to bear

When was he was aged three years
He would step over the Occraine (Orkney? Oriental?) sea
The moon never rose above his knee
The heavens had of him an equal

One thousand years is past from mind
Since I was born of his kind
Far forth in the deserts of India
Among lion and bear

Worthy king Arthur and Gawain
And many a bold bairn of Britain
Are dead and in the wars are slain
Since I could wield a spear