Dingle Cottage II.

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When Thee an’ Me wer Yung.
 

AWM thinkin’, lass, abeawt thoose days
    When thee an’ me wer yung,
When life wer sweet, morn, noon
            an neet,
    An’ we wer hale an’ strung;
Eh, heaw we made th’ owd shuttle fly,
    Fro’ early morn till dark,
An’ while aw whistled, keepin’ time,
    Theau sung, lass, like a lark.

Poo up thi cheer, come closer, lass,
    For th’ wynt blows dree an’ cowd;
It didna, lass, feel hawve as keen
    When we wer yung an’ bowd;
Theau look’d as fresh an’ breet, my lass,
    As blossom on a tree;
Thank God, theau’s still a smile as sweet
    To cheer an’ comfort me.

Eh, thoose wer breet an’ happy days,
    When aw wer courtin’ thee;
Theau’d dimples in thi rosy cheeks,
    Theau’d th’ love-leet in thi ee;
An’, oh, that witchin’ winsome smile
    ’Twer’ like owd Sol at noon —
It seem’d as if some angel fair
    Had sent it fro aboon.

We geet eawr share o’ sunshine, lass,
    We’n felt good fortune’s kiss,
When th’ noon o’ life wer free fro’ strife,
    God sent sweet heawrs o’ bliss;
An’ if Dame Fortune in her pranks
    Sent trouble for a while,
Theau someheaw kept a cheerful heart,
    An’ met it wi’ a smile.

We’n seen eawr precious little bairns
    Pray softly at thi knee;
We’n felt ther warm an’ lovin’ kiss;
    We’n watch’d ’em droop an’ dee.
Ther’s little een ’ats watchin’, lass,
    Wheer neet is changed to noon
Their little honds oft beckon us
    To that breet lond aboon.

Come, dreigh thi een, theau munno’ let
    Eawr darlin’s see thi cry,
Aw know full weel they’re watchin’ lass, —
    We’st meet ’em by and by;
W’hen God sees fit to co us whoam
    To that sweet lond o’ bliss,
Aw know eawr precious little lambs
    Will greet us wi’ a kiss.


――――♦――――

 
My Bonny Lass.
 

THERES a bonny lass ’at aw know weel
    Lives in yon little dell,
An’ th’ leet ’at comes fro’ her blue een
    Charms me just like a spell;
Her kindly smile will oft beguile,
    An’ taitch a lesson, too,
For one can trace, i’ Mary’s face,
    A heart both kind an’ true.

Aw never slept a wink last neet
    For thinkin’ what hoo said;
Thoose kindly words hoo whisper’d low
    Kept runnin’ throo’ mi yed.
Aw’ll seech a cot an’ garden plot
    A mile or so fro’ th’ teawn,
An when th’ owd parson’s made us one
    We’ll go an’ sattle deawn.

We’re nobbut poor an’ country bred,
    We conno’ boast o’ wealth,
But, thank the Lord, wer yung an’ strung,
    An’ brimmin’ o’er wi’ health.
A king may wear a creawn o’ gowd,
    An’ o’er his kingdom reign,
Aw’ll bet a groat, an’ that to nought,
    His heart’s noan hawve as fain.

Aw never yerd yon throstle sing
    Owt like he’s sung to-day;
Aw never seed yon hawthorn bloom
    Look hawve as breet an’ gay.
There’s music from yon little brook,
    An’ th’ sky looks breet aboon,
Aw’m sartin sure its Mary’s love
    ’At keeps this heart i’ tune.

Sing, throstle, sing; bloom, hawthorn, bloom;
    Let nature have full sway;
Long ere cowd winter’s snow appears
    Your joys will pass away.
When comes sweet spring the thrush will sing,
    An’ June bring hawthorn spray,
But Mary’s love an’ mine shall last
    Until life’s closing day.


――――♦――――

 
Waitin’ here.

PART I.
 

AW wish yon lad would stop that neighse,
    He’s noan bin waitin’ lung;
He happen thinks aw winno’ come,
    Well, if he does he’s wrung.
If he d just whistle once or twice
    One wouldna’ feel so queer;
It’s like an engine screechin’, when
    He whistles “Waitin’ Here.”

Eawr Bill says it’s a hootin’ owl,
    He’s yerd it oft enoof;
Mi feyther says some foreign brid
    Has made it neest i’th’ cloof;
An’ when he raitches deawn his gun,
    Aw fairly quake wi’ fear:
He swears he’ll stop yon dismal din —
    He’ll give it “waitin’ here!”

Mi mother smiles an’ looks so fawse,
    Then whispers softly, “Nell,
Aw think theau’d better tak’ thoose cans —
    Neaw off theau goes to th’ well.
Yon brid may happen help thi, lass,
    No doubt theau’ll find it theer:
Husht! harken! yer thi! hie thi, lass,
    It’s whistlin’ ‘Waitin’ Here.’”

Yon lads i’th’ fowt are gradely nowt,
    It surely is a shawm;
Why they should play sitch peevish pranks
    Is moor nor aw con gawm;
For if aw stir eawtside o’th’ dur,
    They’n greet mi wi’ a cheer,
Then th’ little rascals cock ther lips
    An’ whistle “Waitin’ Here.”

Neaw if he’d nobbo’ come to th’ heawse,
    An’ face up like a mon; —
Aw’ve hinted once or twice, but then,
    He’s rayther shy is John.
To yer him mak’ yon screechin’ din,
    It puts one eawt o’ geer;
Aw wish he’d bite his fingers, when
    He whistles “Waitin’ Here! ”

Aw dunno’ think he’ll be so lung
    Afore he axes me;
He nobbo’ used to want one kiss,
    Neaw he tak’s two or three.
He wouldna need to stond i’th’ cloof
    Nor whistle “Waitin’ Here; ”
Just let th’ owd parson tee that knot,
    He’ll find me awlus theer.



PART II.


It’s weary wark o’th’ edge o’th’ dark
    To prowl abeawt this cloof;
Bi’th’ mass, aw think aw’ll start for whoam,
    Aw’ve waited lung enoof.
Mi jacket’s weet, mi honds an’ feet
    Are gettin cowd an’ numb;
Aw dunno’ think hoo cares a rap,
    Or else hoo’d surely come.

Why aw should stond an’ whistle here
    Aw conno’ weel mak’ eawt;
Aw’m fast to tell what’s keepin’ Nell, —
    There’s summat rung, aw deawt.
Aw’ve whistled “Ar’to comin’ eawt?”
    Aw’ve whistled “Waitin’ Here;”
Aw’ve whistled while aw’m short o’ wynt, —
    Hoo’ll coom noan neaw aw fear.

Aw met as weel just howd mi neighse,
    Hoo winno’ come to-neet;
Aw do believe it’s Clinker Bill
    ’At keeps her eawt o’ seet:
He tries to mak th’owd folks believe
    He’s coed to see their Tom;
It may be so — aw dunno’ know;
    Aw wish he’d stop awhoam.

Aw dunno’ like yon Clinker Bill,
    He’s far too fawse, someheaw;
Aw’ve seen ’em talkin’ once or twice, —
    They’re happen talkin’ neaw!
If once aw catch him nee yon well,
    When hoo come deawn i’th’ cloof,
Aw’ll bet afore he starts for whoam
    He’ll know he’s had enoof!

Aw conno’ stand this mak’ o’ wark,
    There’s summat very queer;
Aw deawt, bi gum, at hoo’ll noan come
    While Clinker’s skulking theer.
If once hoo comes, aw’ll tell her straight
    ’At aw know reet fro’ rung; —
Hello! bi th’ mass, hoo’s comin’ neaw, —
    Aw’d better howd mi tung!

Eh! heaw one talks when one feels vex’d
    Aw’m fit to jow mi yed;
Let Clinker Bill come when he will,
    He’ll find we’st soon bi wed:
An’ then aw shanno’ prowl this cloof,
    Nor whistle till it’s dark;
For when aw’ve made mi brid a neest,
    Aw’ll sing just like a lark.


――――♦――――

 
Mi Owd Basoon.
 

To my old and esteemed friend Mr. Geo. Seel,
Tame Valley, Dukinfield.


THEAU lies upsteers, my faithful friend!
Eawr happy days, alas! mun end,
For never moor ast sit an’ croon,
Or talk to thee, mi owd bassoon!

Theau’rt noan to blame, it isno’ thee —
If ther’s a fawt, it lies wi’ me;
Aw’m short o’ wynt, aw’m eawt o’ tune,
Aw winno’ blame mi owd bassoon.

Sometimes aw think aw yer thi voice,
Then o’ mi dreams are sweet an’ nice;
Oh, heaw aw’d like to dream till noon,
An’ hearken thee, mi owd bassoon!

Theau’d comforts stored when times wer bad
Theau cheered mi heart when it wer sad;
An’ th’ cowdest winter felt like June
While croonin’ thee, mi owd bassoon!

Fro’ th’ Little Moss to Daisy Nook
We’n trudged, owd brid, wi’ music-book;
An’ th’ Medlock looked like th’ Bonnie Doon
While playin’ thee, mi owd bassoon!

When th’ panic coom, aw yerd thi soik;
Choilt-like, theau could laugh or skrike;
Theau know’d mi thowts, an’ towd ’em soon,
My bosom friend, mi owd bassoon!

Aw’m turn’t three-score, an’ th’ time’ll come
To pike mi gate to t’other whoam;
Aw’d care not whether neet or noon
If aw could tak’ mi owd bassoon!

Aw’d want no trumpet then, not I,
Nor gowden harp in yon fair sky,
If aw could play, when up aboon,
My faithful friend, mi owd bassoon!


――――♦――――

 
The Sunny Month o’ June.
 

AW like to roam at early morn
    I’th’ bonny month o’ June,
When hay lies shorn, an’ risin’ corn
    Looks up to th’ sky aboon;
To hear the thrush pipe in the bush
    It puts one’s heart in tune,
When daisies sweet grow at one’s feet,
    I’th’ sunny month o’ June.

Yo’ talk abeawt yo’re parks an’ lawns!
    Give me yon bonny dell,
Wheer th’ ripplin’ rill comes deawn fro’ th’ hil
    An’ trickles into th’ well;
Wheer th’ primrose shy is peepin’ sly
    To bluebells up aboon,
An’ hawthorn bloom sheds sweet perfume
    I’th’ sunny month o’ June.

Aw like to see th’ owd layrock rise,
    An’ warble through his score,
When th’ mower blythe hangs up his sythe,
    An’ mowin’ time is o’er;
When lasses sweet look just as breet
    As butterflees at noon,
While every lad feels blythe an’ glad
    I’th’ sunny month o’ June.

Ther’s a rake for ev’ry bonny lass,
    A fork for every lad;
Ther’s mony a smile ’ats free fro’ guile,
    An’ mony a heart ’ats glad.
It maks one think to see ’em wink
    Ther’ll bi some weddin’s soon,
For love grows strung when hearts are yung,
    I’th’ sunny month o’ June.


――――♦――――

 

Eawr Jammie’s Noan so Weel.
 

EAWR Jammie’s noan so weel to-neet,
    He’s gradely ill aw’m sure,
Aw deawt his ailments ov a mak’
    ’At fisslck winno’ cure.
Aw feel reet sorry for eawr Jim,
    Aw hardly like to tell,
But when aw wer abeawt his age
    Aw felt just same mysel’!

He ne’er complains o’ aches or pains,
    He knows it wouldno’ do,
An’ if aw mention Doctor Grimes
    He stares just like a foo’.
Bi th’ mass, he’ll ha’ to awter soon,
    Or he’ll go eawt o’ seet;
Owd Parson Brown is just the chap
    To set eawr Jammie reet.

He winno’ stop i’th’ heawse at neet
    When he comes whoam fro’ wark,
He’s off a-netting butterflees,
    An’ stops till welly dark.
O’th’ buzzarts mun ha’ flown away,
    Or else they hanno’ come;
He’s oather late, or else too soon,
    He ne’er brings ony whoam.

So off he scutters every neet
    Deep deawn i’th’ hazel dell,
To watch yon lass fotch wayter up
    Fro’ eawt o’th’ fairy well.
If aw wer th’ lass aw’d sarve him eawt,
    Aw wouldno’ wait so lung,
For aw’d deawse him weel wi’ wayter —
    Aw’d mak’ him find his tung.

If Jim would nobbo’ ax yon lass,
    Hoo’d mak’ a rare good wife;
Beside, aw know o’ th’ kit an’ kin —
    We’n neybour’d o’ eawr life.
Aw dun know what he’s thinkin’ on,
    Aw’m sure aw conno’ tell:
Just fancy, catchin’ buzzarts, an’
    A bonny lass i’th’ dell.

Eawr Jim’s noan like his feyther wer,
    Just let mi tell yo’ this,
He’d ha’ flung his arms reawnd yon lass
    An’ wrostled for a kiss;
What — talk o’ nettin’ butterflees,
    He’d ha’ thrut his nets to th’ deil;
Well, happen th’ lad ’ull mend i’ time, —
    Aw know he’s noan so weel.


――――♦――――

 
Eawr Jammie’s Gettin’ Weel.
 

EAWR Jammie says he feels fost rate,
    He’s lookin’ weel shusheaw,
He dons hissel’ so smart an’ fine,
    Yo’d hardly know him neaw;
He’s done wi’ catchin’ butterflees,
    His nets are eawt o’ seet;
Ther wer nobbo’ one he wanted,
    An’ he catched it t’other neet.

Aw wonder what eawr Jim would think
    If he know’d what aw’d done?
Aw shanna tell him till he’s wed,
    An’ then ther’ll be some fun.
It werno’ likely th’ lass would spake,
    An’ Jim wer awlus shy,
To mak’ things reet, last Monday neet
    Aw towd a thumpin’ lie.

“Neaw, Jim,” aw said, “theau knows that chap
    ’At taitches singin’ class,
Folk say he’s welly crazy o’er
    Jack Grundy’s owdest lass,
An’ he’s sent this lass a letter
    To meet him deawn i’th’ dell,
When hoo goes o’ fotchin’ wayter
    Fro’ eawt o’ th’ fairy well.”

Aw look’d at Jim, he hung his yed,
    Aw seed his face go white,
He wer shapin’ for his baggin’
    But he couldna touch a bite.
“Well, well,” aw said, “hoo’s farrantly,
    Aw’ve know’d th’ lass o’ her life,
Let’s wish ’em luck, aw like his pluck,
    Hoo’ll mak’ a rare good wife.”

At last he sheawted, “wheer’s mi cap?
    Bi th’ mass, aw’ve yerd enoof,”
An’ he neer baited heel or toe
    Till he geet deawn i’th’ cloof.
An’ theer he met this bonny lass,
    Just gooin’ deawn to th’ well,
An’ o coom reet, for every neet
    He meets her deawn i’th’ dell.

Aw sometimes think ’at aw should like
    A gron-choilt on mi knee,
It seems so lung sin’ last aw sung,
    “Hush-a-babby, hush-a-bee.”
An’ neaw mi cup o’ happiness
    Is filled reet up to th’ brim:
Aw’ve manag’d things so nicely neaw
    Between yon lass an’ Jim.


――――♦――――

 
Aw’d rayther Pike me Own.
 

MI feyther sits broodin’ i’th’ corner,
    Mi mother looks peevish an’ nowt,
Aw’m sartin if things dunno’ awter,
    Aw’ll pike off an’ flit fro’ this fowt;
Sitch looks fro’ mi mother’s past bearin’,
    It’s enoof for to drive a wench mad;
An’ feyther, he’s never done swearin’
    He’ll make mi brake off wi yon lad.

They want mi to wed wi’ Owd Bogey,
    A miserly, keen, bitten blade;
Afore aw’ll link May wi’ December,
    Aw’ll live an’ aw’ll dee an owd maid!
They’re tryin’ ther best, aw feel sartin,
    To wreck an’ to sunder two lives,
An’ fasten a lass ’at’s noan twenty
    T’ a felly ’at’s buried two woives.

Two wives in one lifetime’s quite plenty!
    Owd Bogey’s had moor nor his share;
To tak’ on a third, aw’m just thinkin’,
    It noather looks honest nor fair.
Aw care nowt for Bogey! why, bless yo’,
    He’s wrinkled, an’ peevish, an’ owd;
If the de’il doesna tak’ him while livin’,
    He’ll dee o’ a surfeit o’ gowd!

When mother geet wed to mi feyther,
    Aw’m thinkin’ hoo just pleas’d hersel’;
Aw thowt aw’d just keep to th’ same notion,
    An’ pike eawt a lad for mysel.
Let Bogey trip off to thoose Mormons,
    Wheer women run mad for a mon,
He’ll find lots o’ saints ready waitin’,
    An nob’dy ull miss him when gone.

Let him keep o’ his gowd an’ his acres,
    But gi’ mi yon lad! if he’s poor,
He’s yung an’ he’s strung, an’ he’s hearty,
    An’ loves mi reet well, aw feel sure.
So neaw aw’ll just go an’ meet Jammie,
    To keep him so lung isna’ reet,
An’ if aw’m noan rung aw’ve a notion
    He’ll ax mi to wed him to-neet.


――――♦――――

 
Aw winno’ Stir To-neet.
 

AWM gradely fain aw’ve getten whoam
    To rest mi weary shanks,
Aw deawt afore this storm is o’er
    This wynt ull play some pranks.
Aw’m welly soakin’ through to th’ skin,
    An’ witcher’t o’ my feet,
But neaw aw’m londed safe awhoam
    Aw winno’ stir to-neet.

Neaw, Billy, lad, thee fotch some coal,
    Come, hie thi, go thi ways,
For if aw brun o’th’ cobs i’th’ nook,
    We’n have a gradely blaze;
Aw smell ther’s summat nice o’ th’ hob,
    Aw’st soon be feelin’ reet,
An’ when aw’m donn’d i’ summat dreigh
    Aw winno’ stir to-neet.

Come, Matty, lass, aw’m ready neaw
    For oather broth or stew;
Aw’ve never had a bite sin’ noon —
    Believe mi, lass, its true.
An’ let that dog come close to th’ feigher,
    It’s hungry, lawm an’ weet;
Come, Pincher, lad, theau’s sarv’d me weel,
    Theau’s stop i’th’ heawse to-neet.

We’n trail’d yon moor fro’ eend to side
    To gether in yon sheep;
Aw’ll tell thi’, lass, we’n had a job,
    For th’ drifts are rare an’ deep;
But neaw they’re snug, an’ fast i’th’ fowd,
    An’ safe fro’ snow an’ sleet,
Aw’ll ceawer an’ smook i’th’ ingle nook—
    Awst stir noan eawt to-neet.

Come, put that lamp i’th’ window, lass,
    An’ then its glimmer breet
To some poor mortal gone astray
    May prove a welcome seet;
Aw care not whether friend or foe,
    If they be worn an’ weet,
They winno’ stir eawtside this dur —
    They’n goo no fur to-neet.


――――♦――――

 
Three Young Recruits.
 

THREE sprightly lads in Lancashire,
    Full bent on seein’ fun,
Once vow’d an’ swore they’d work
            no more
    Till Krugerlond wer won;
They took no heed o’ dad’s advice,
    An’ smil’d at mother’s fears,
So off they went, their minds full bent,
    To join the Volunteers.

They felt reet brave i’ khaki suits,
    An’ talked o’ havin’ fun;
They said they’d tickle Cronje’s ribs,
    An’ mak’ owd Kruger run;
Then each lad swore when th’ feight wer o’er,
    If he wer wick an’ weel,
He’d seek his lass, an’ vow’d bi th’ mass
    He’d prove as true as steel.

They wouldna let these yung chaps walk,
    They wer but i’ ther teens, —
Too yung bi far to think o’ war,
    Or feight for kings or queens;
An’ when fro’ th’ quay they sail’d away,
    Ther coom three mighty cheers,
For these recruits i’ khaki suits,
    An’ th’ rifle volunteers.
 

.    .    .    .    .    .


Three starvin’ lads fro’ Lancashire,
    Wi’ tunics weet an’ tore,
Three raw recruits, i’ tatter’d suits,
    Stood on Tugela’s shore;
Their faces pale towd sorrow’s tale,
    They hadno’ seen mitch fun,
Nor had they met wi’ Cronje yet,
    Or made owd Kruger run.

Neaw these three lads, like theawsands
            moor,
Fowt with a stubborn will:
    Three times they crossed Tugela’s
            stream
    To climb that mighty hill.
Well, let us draw the curtain o’er
    That steep and bloody track;
It meant retreat an’ dire defeat,
    In spite o’ Buller’s tack.

Sin’ these three lads geet safely whoam,
    They’n dropt their swagger talk;
They’re feelin’ rayther nervous too,
    An’ shaky i’ ther walk;
An’ when they think of Ladysmith,
    Their tears perchance may drop
For thoose recruits i’ khaki suits
    They laft on Spion Kop.


――――♦――――

 
Social Reform.
 

AWVE just bin o’ seechin’ eawr Jack,
    Aw fun him as drunk as a foo’:
He wer sit wi’ a rook o’ th’ same mak’,
    Enoof just to sup a whul brew;
They made sitch a clatter an’ din,
    Their notions aw couldna weel gawm,
Till Clinker sheawts, “Lads, let’s begin
    An’ goo in for Social Reform.’”

Taxation, he said, werno’ reet,
    They’d summat gone rung he wer sure,
An’ he swore fro’ that blessed neet
    They’d rate him an’ tax him no moor;
They fine us for noan walkin’ straight,
    Then tax ’em for sellin’ us ale:
He’d oather have justice or feight,
    Or goo like a hero to jail.

Owd Enock sheawts, “Let’s have Free Trade
    Or Protection, aw dunno’ care which;
Aw’ll vote booath roads if aw’m paid,
    Aw’m hang’d if it matters so mitch.”
If Dizzy ’ud nobbut ate pork,
    An’ owd Billy ’ud bury that axe,
He wer sure ’at sensible foke
    Would stick to ’em booath like wax.

Then Clinker jump’d straight to his feet —
    Owd Gladstone, he said, wer a foo’,
An’ Dizzy he swore werno’ reet,
    He wer nowt but a Cockney-bred jew;
These Parliament chaps are o’ cant,
    Their notions no mortal could stond,
Let’s tell ’em reet eawt ’at wi want,
    That keaw an’ three acre o’ lond.

Then Nudger coed Clinker a foo’,
    An’ Enock took owd Nudger’s part,
An’ just for a bit of a do
    He’d feight ’em o’ reawnd for a quart;
When Clinker grabb’d Nudger bi th’ throat,
    Their cooats were doff’d in a crack,
So aw laft ’em o’ feightin’ i’th’ cote —
    An’ neaw aw’m just waitin’ for Jack.

Ther’s Clinker’s wife waitin’ for Tom,
    Th’ owd doctor browt twins t’other neet
An’ Nudger he darno’ goo whoam,
    Bum baillies are waitin’ i’th’ street.
Ther’s Enock’s wife stondin’ at th’ dur,
    Aw’m thinkin’ ther’ll soon be a storm:
Hoo swears ’at hoo’ll noan awse to stir,
    Till hoo’s gan him a taste o’ reform.

If aw live while yon mon comes i’ seet,
    Aw’ll bet he’s noan lung eawt o’ bed, —
Ther’s summat bin waitin’ o’ neet,
    ’At’s itchin’ to get at his yed;
If yo’ see eawr Jack lookin’ bad,
    He happen may walk a bit lawm,
Just tak’ it fro’ me ’at he’s had
    Fost lesson in Social Reform.


――――♦――――

 
On Contentment.
 

WHEN thinkin’ o’ life wi’ its ups an’ its deawns,
    Its losses and crosses, its smiles an’ its freawns,
One’s apt to forget thoose breet sunny hours,
    When life wer as sweet as a garland o’ flowers.

We’re troubled sometimes, an’ talk rayther bowd,
    Abeawt thoose at’s rich, wi’ ther lond an’ ther gowd;
Wi forget for a time ’at a store o’ good health
    Is worth moor by far nor ther pomp an’ ther wealth.

Heaw fearless wi are when midway in life,
    Heaw wi strive for that goal that often brings strife;
It’s wise to look forward, an’ see what wi lack, —
    Ther’s a lesson, sometimes, in just lookin’ back.

We’re natter’d an’ peevish if things arno’ reet,
    Then th’ sunshine o’ life soon fades eawt o’ seet,
For wi brood till wi lose booath patience an’ pluck,
    Then wi moan an’ wi groan an’ co’ it ill luck.

Ther’s a Solomon’s wisdom in bein’ content,
    An’ makin’ th’ best use o’ blessin’s ’at’s sent;
God grant us moor patience, wi’ wisdom an’power,
    To hail wi’ true gladness each breet sunny hour.


――――♦――――

 
Gods Bless thi, Lass.
 

GOD bless thi, lass, aw feelreet fain
    Theau’s towd yon felly straight
Just let him once come i’mi seet
    He’ll find aw’m just his weight;
He’s far too full o’ self-consait,
    His talk it’s mitch too fine,
It doesna suit poor workin’ folk —
    He’ll cooart no lass o’ mine.

He’s far too keen o’th’ bowlin’ green,
    Or prowlin’ wi’ his gun;
He pities nowt, he’ll bang at owt,
    If it con fly or run.
On runnin’ dogs he’s gradely gone,
    An’ pidgeon shootin’ too;
He likes to mix wi’ sportin’ chaps
    An’ bets just like a foo’.

His feyther laft him lots o’ brass —
    What’s that to thee or me?
Afore aw’d see thi wed yon chap,
    Why, lass, aw’d sooner dee.
Well, let him sport amung his sort,
    And spend his feyther’s brass,
But let him keep his distance fro’
    An honest workin’ lass.

He said he’d wed thi in awhile,—
    He’s towd that tale afore;
There’s one or two ’at aw know weel
    Wi’ hearts ’at’s sad an’ sore.
He just towd them what he’s towd thee
    Then laft ’em, wench, to pine.
It winno’ do — aw’m noan a foo’ —
    He’ll jilt no lass o’ mine.

Yon lass i’th’ cloof could tell enoof,
    If hoo’d just spake her mind;
’Tw’r plain to see what th’ eend ’ud be —
    He munno think folk blind.
Just let their Jack get on his track,
    There’ll bi some gradely fun, —
If he once meets yon devilskin,
    He’ll mak’ him feight or run.

The dule tak’ him an’ o’ his brass!
    He’s caus’d enoof o’ strife;
He’d better far walk deawn i’th’ cloof,
    An’ mak’ yon lass his wife.
God knows aw’ve pray’d, mi lass, for thee,
    Sin fost he coom i’ seet,
But, thank the Lord, theau’s kept thi word,
    An’ towd him straight to-neet.


――――♦――――

 


To a Throstle.
 

NEAW, lads, just yer yon throstle sing
    Let’s ceawr us deawn awhile,
An’ hearken nature’s music,
    Sung in a gradely style.
He’ll bother noan wi’ semitone,
    He’s noather flat nor sharp,
He’s just as sweet, booath morn an’ neet,
    As David’s famous harp.

Just hearken that! theer’s music, lads
    He’s off i’th’ oppen C!
Neaw, sit yo’ still, just yer that trill,
    He’s pipin’ eawt i’ C!
Husht! howd yo’re din; he’ll soon begin
    An’ pipe his gamut o’er;
He winno’ split a single note
    While runnin’ through his score.

Yo’ talk abeawt th’ owd chapel choir,
    Or th’ Philharmonic Band;
Yo’re “Madam” this, or “Signor” that,
    They arno’ hawve as grand.
He doesna need invitin’, lads,
    He starts off free an’ bowd,
An’ he mak’s no lawm excuses
    For havin’ catched a cowd.

Aw awlus like to yer him sing
    When th’ twileet’s growin’ dim;
When t’other brids are gone to roost
    He pipes his Vesper hymn;
He tries to cheer his little mate, —
    Just watch him tak’ a peep:
He’s lookin’ if his little brood
    Are snug an’ fast asleep.

An’ neaw we’n yerd him, let’s go whoam,
    He’ll sing no moor to-neet,
But what we’n yerd is music, lads,
    Booath simple, pure, an’ sweet.
Good neet, owd friend, theau’rt fost to come
    An’ tell us when its spring,
An’ hearts ’at’s sad grow leet an’ glad
    When theau begins to sing.


――――♦――――

 
Aw’d just do the same Ogen.
 

WHILE strollin’ eawt one summer’s neet —
    ’Twer just o’ th’ edge o’ dark —
Aw geet a gradely fearin’, mon,
    While walkin’ in a park:
Bi th’ leet o’ th’ moon, an’ stars aboon,
    As plain as owt could be,
Aw seed a chap beawt hat or cap
    Keep lookin’ straight at me.
He whisper’d low, “Mon, doesna know
    A wayver coed Owd Ben?”
Aw scrat mi yed, “By gum,” aw said,
    “It’s Owd Ab o’er ogen.”

“Bi th’ mass,” aw said, “theau’s made mi swet,
    Neaw ar’to gradely wick?
Aw thowt theau’d bin wi’ Ned an’ Sam,
    Owd Bamford, Prince an’ Dick.
Neaw, if theau’rt wick, just read a tale,
    Aw see theau’s browt thi book,
So read one skit, come, just one bit
    Abeawt owd Daisy Nook.”
He said, “Why, mon, do’st think aw con
    At three score yer an’ ten?
If aw wer nobbo’ yung enoof
    Aw’d read ’em o’er ogen.”

“By gum, owd lad, theau’rt gettin’ tall,
    Theau’rt growin’, mon, shusheaw;
Has owd Jim Thurston ta’en a fit
    An’ kilt a deead keaw?”
“Well, well,” he said, “aw’ll own chep beef’s
    A very good prescription,
But gradely folk, ’at lik’d mi joke,
    Soon raised me bi subscription;
For doesna see, ’tween thee an’ me,
    Aw cheer’d ’em wi’ mi pen;
If aw wer’ nobbo’ yung enoof
    Aw’d just do th’ same ogen.”

“Theau’s towd some rare good tales, mi lad
    An’ played some funny pranks,
If theau’ll believe me, Ben, owd brid,
    Theau’rt welcome to eawr thanks.
Theau’s made us sorry for that lad
    Wi’ crooked legs an’ hump;
Theau’s made us roar till we’n bin sore
    O’er th’ ‘Boggart up o’ th’ Stump.’”
He said, “Owd lad, theau’s made me glad,”
    An’ he chuckled like a hen,
“If aw wer nobbo’ yung enoof
    Aw’d just do th’ same ogen.”

‘Do’st remember owd ‘Fawse Juddie’
    Gooin’ to shoot that thief,
An’ that little trip for bacon,
    An’ heaw he coom to grief?
Theau played th’ owd lad some marlocks,
    When theau wer in thi prime;
Theau’d mony a doo wi’ th’ knowin’ foo’,
    An’ sowd him every time.”
He said, “It’s true at every do
    Aw made owd Juddie sken;
If aw wer nobbo’ yung enoof
    Aw’d just do th’ same ogen.”

“Aw sighed when poor ‘Owd Shadow’
    I’th’ warkheause pass’d away;
An’ if aw think o’ ‘Little Jack’
    Aw skrike, mon, to this day;
But when theau wrote o’ th’ Panic an’
    Thi struggles when a lad,
Aw someheaw feel, well, noan so weel, —
    Aw, feel, mon, gradely bad.”
He drop’t a tear, an’ said, “Look here,
    Aw had to scrat an’ fen,
An’ if aw wer but yung enoof
    Aw’d just do th’ same ogen.”

“By gum,” aw said, “aw’m feelin’ cowd,
    ‘Mi flesh begins to creep;
It’s rainin’, too, aw’m soaking through,
    Bi th’ mass, aw’ve bin asleep.
Aw thowt, owd brid, ’at theau’d bin wick,
    But find theau’rt nobbo’ stone,
So neaw aw’ll bowt toar’t Walmsley Fowt,
    An’ leeove thee here alone.
Good neet, mi lad, when hearts were sad
    Theau cheer’d ’em wi’ thi pen;
If theau wer wick an’ young enoof
    Theau’d just do th’ same ogen.”


――――♦――――

 
Dunno’ be a Foo’.
 

AW prithee, Jammie, howd thi din,
    Thi tung its never still,
To yer thi prate at sitch a rate,
    It makes one gradely ill;
Theau swaggers fost o’ what theau’s done,
    Then what theau’rt beawn to do;
Aw wish theau’d nobbo’ talk wi’ sense, —
    Mon, dunno’ be a foo’.

Neaw, if theau’d nobbo’ come straight whoam,
    An’ delve yon garden o’er,
Theau’d find it, lad, a better gam’
    Nor runnin’ up a score.
Neaw, Jammie, do tak’ my advice,
    Just shun yon drunken crew,
O’th’ folk i’th’ fowt are talkin’, lad, —
    Mon, dunno’ be a foo’.

Yon greenheawse plants look welly lost,
    They’re deein’ one bi one,
An’ th’ garden plot’s a dreary spot,
    O’th’ posies, lad, are gone;
An’ neaw it’s thick fro’ eend to side
    Wi’ chicken-weed an’ rue;
Do’st never mean to awter, lad, —
    Mon dunno’ be a foo’.

Aw dunno’ blame yon lass one bit, —
    Do’st think hoo isno’ reet
To wed a chap ’ats lost his wit
    Through drinkin’ every neet?
Poor lass! theau’s welly broke her heart,
    ’Theau’ll brake thi mother’s, too,
Or else theau’ll ha’ to mend, an’ soon, —
    Mon, dunno’ be a foo’.

Aw’m sometimes fain thi feyther’s gone,
    For when one comes to think,
It’s a blessin’ he wer laid aside
    Afore theau took to drink;
Do’st mind that neet he pass’d away,
    Theau said theau’d help mi through?
Neaw try to keep thi promise, Jim, —
    Mon, dunno’ be a foo’.

Neaw, Jammie, lad, theau knows full weel
    Aw’m gettin’ on i’ life,
Aw want to see thi sattle deawn,
    Wi’ yon lass for a wife;
Theau knows hoo’s th’ pride o’th’ country side,
    Hard workin’, kind, an’ true, —
Poo’ up an’ get thi baggin’, lad,
    An’ dunno’ be a foo’.

Aw often think abeawt thoose days
    When theau led th’ village band,
An’ when yo’ march’d thoose scholars reawnd,
    Theau did look some an grand;
Do’st never think abeawt that class
    Theau taitched i’th’ chapel skoo’?
Neaw, doesna shawn to meet thoose lads? —
    Mon, dunno’ be a foo’.

What, do’sta say theau’ll mend thi ways,
    Theau winno’ drink no moor?
God bless thi, Jim, for sayin’ that,
    Theau means it, lad, aw’m sure;
Just let yon chaps come tootin’ reawnd,
    They’n find it winno’ do‘!
Aw winno’ ha’ thi led astray,
    An’ made into a foo’.

An’ neaw aw’ll goo an’ seek yon lass,
    Aw’st meet her deawn i’th’ dell,
It’s just her time to fotch her cans,
    For wayter eawt o’th’ well;
Raitch me that shawl, aw’st noan bi lung,
    Afore aw’m deawn yon broo;
Here, tak this napkin, dreigh thoose een
    An’ dunno’ be a foo’.


――――♦――――

 
GOIN’ OFF.
 

PART I.


AW feel reet fain theau’rt gooin’, lass,
    Aw know it’s o’ for th’ best,
An’ if theau’ll tak’ eawr little Joe,
    Theau’ll see aw’ll manage th’ rest.
Aw think one month o’ th’ briny breeze
    Ull mak’ thee strung an’ breet;
So if theau’ll nobbut rest content,
    Aw’ll manage things o’ reet.

Theau munno’ fret o’er th’ childer, lass,
    Th’ fost thing ’at aw shall do,
Aw’st fill ’em o’ wi’ porritch weel,
    An’ send ’em off to th’ skoo’;
Then, while eawr Mally’s wipin’ th’ pots,
    An’ Sally’s sweepin’ th’ room,
An’ th’ lads are windin’ bobbins up,
    Aw’ll rattle at mi loom.

What! cook a Sunday dinner, lass!
    Neaw, dunno’ be a foo’!
Aw’ve watched thee cook one mony a time,
    An’ mak’ a puddin’, too.
Do’st think aw conno’ beighl some broth?
    Or mak’ a mug o’ stew?
Bi’ th’ mass, aw con, wi’ onny man,
    An’ cook a dumplin’, too!

Eawr lads, theau knows, con do odd jobs
    When they get back fro’ th’ skoo’;
They’ll happen weed mi onion beds,
    An’ wind mi bobbins, too.
So rest thisel’ content, owd lass,
    An’ look to little Joe;
Aw’ll bet a creawn, when theau comes back,
    Aw’ve th’ nicest heawse i’th’ row!

So get thi boxes ready, lass,
    An’ don thi Sunday dress,
Then Tommy Breawn’ll run thi deawn
    To catch that fast express;
An’ when theau comes back whoam thro’ th’ fowt,
    Reet full o’ health an’ bloom,
Theau’ll yer me singin’ like a lark,
    Or whistlin’ at mi loom.


 
Comin’ Whoam.

PART II.


Aw’m gradely fain theau’rt comin’ whoam,
    For while theau’s bin away
Aw’ve had a seet o’ trouble, lass, —
    Ther’s bin the dule to play.
Aw whistled when aw seed thi off,
    An’ kissed eawr little Joe —
Aw’st whistle when aw see thi back,
    An’ dance a jig an’ o’.

Just let me tell thi, th’ fost ov o’,
    Theau’ll noan find things so breet;
Aw’ve tried mi best, but someheaw, lass,
    Aw couldn’t keep things reet.
Eawr hearthstone doesna look so weel,
    Thi fender’s red wi’ rust,
An’ th’ orniments on th’ chimbley-piece
    Are thick wi’ soot an’ dust.

Theau winno’ find so mony pots —
    Eawr Matty’s smashed a mug;
An’ when eawr Sally went for th’ milk
    Hoo slipped an’ broke a jug.
An’ as for saucers, cups and plates,
    Bi th’ mass, we’re welly beawt;
But if theau’ll nobbut howd thi tung
    Aw’ll rig thi th’ cubbort eawt !

Eawr childer, too, look welly lost,
    An’ ’specially little Bob;
Aw awlus thowt ’at keepin’ heawse
    Wer sich a yezzy job.
Eawr little Tum’s bin lost o’ day—
    Neaw, lass, theau munno’ fret —
O’ th’ folk i’th’ fowt are seechin’ him,
    We’st happen find him yet.

Aw’ve just bin skelpin’ Ned an’ Bill
    For givin’ me ther cheek;
They’n spent ther skoo’-wage deawn at th’ wakes,
    An’ wagged it o’ last week.
Eawr Bill coom skrikin’ whoam last neet,
    O’ covered o’er wi’ dirt —
He’d bin a bathin’ deawn i’th’ brook,
    An’ lost his cap and shirt.

Aw geet a summons t’other day —
    Eawr chimbley’s bin ablaze —
An’ th’ landlord swears he’ll mak’ me flit,
    Or mend mi silly ways.
’Theau’ll find eawr kettle’s lost it lid,
    An’ taypot’s broke it nose,
An’ Billy’s sportin’ two black een
    Through feightin’ Ned o’ Joe’s.

Theau’ll heardly know me when theau comes,
    Aw’ve gone so pale an’ thin;
Ther hasna’ bin mitch wark, mi lass,
    Between mi nose an’ chin.
Folk shake ther yeds, and whisper low —
    Aw feel aw’m gradely ill,
An’ if theau doesna come back soon,
    Ther’ll be a doctor’s bill.

Neaw mind theau doesna miss thi train,
    Aw’ll meet thi — if aw con;
Do catch it, lass, or else, bi’ th’ mass,
    Theau’ll want another mon.
Aw’ve had three week — aw’m satisfied, —
    A day’s abeawt enoof;
Before aw’ll tak’ it on ogen
    Aw’ll hang mysel’ i’th’ cloof.


――――♦――――

 
Aw’ll Dee close to Whoam.
 

AWM a plain workin’ chap, an’ aw think
        it so queer,
An’ aw wonder sometimes when aw’m
        sit i’ mi cheer
Why o’ this sad rumpus and bother should be, —
Its o’ very strange, an’ a puzzle to me.

When ther’s some foreign nation ’at’s itchin’ to feight
If they just send us word wi’ play for it straight;
I’th’ name o’ good Katty why should wi’ goo theer,
If they want to feight us, well, let ’em come here!

Ther’s leaders that’s born wi’ grim war i’ their veins ,
Ther’s some ’at praitch peace get snubbed for ther pains,
Neaw, aw’m no politican, nor a leader o’ men,
An’ for that blessed mercy aw whisper, Amen.

Aw’m a plain workin’ chap, an’ aw think it so queer,
An’ aw wonder sometimes when aw sit i’ mi cheer
Why o’ this sad rumpus an’ bother should be. —
Its o’ very strange, an’ a puzzle to me.

Aw’m noan fond o’ feightin’, aw’ve nobbot one life,
But aw’ve four little bairns, beside a good wife;
Neaw, why should aw feight oather Jack, Bill, or Tom
While th’ wife has to feight wi’ starvation awhoam?

Aw like to see sport, aw’m reet fond o’ good fun, —
Just co’, an’ aw’ll show yo’ some prizes aw’ve won;
Aw con jump, feight or wrostle, play cricket or run,
But aw never could see any fun wi’ a gun.

Just think for a minit, supposin’ aw shoot
Some poor harmless lad ’at’s coed a recruit,
Do yo’ think God ud blame my actions i’th’ strife,
Or would thoose ’at sent mi bi charged wi’ his life?

Aw happen met shoot a kind feyther, yo’ see,
’At’s getten a wife, an’ some childer like me;
No matter what colour, it o’ comes to one,
A feyther’s a feyther, an’ missed when he’s gone.

This plunder an’ feightin’, an’ sheedin’ o’ blood
For lond, pomp, an’ peawer conno’ do ony good;
Contentment’s a jewel, so whatever may come
If aw have to dee feightin’, aw’ll feight close to whoam!


――――♦――――

 
Owd Robin’s Singin’ Yet.
To my eternal friend Isaac Bardsley.
 

SING on, owd veteran songster,
    Let’s yer thi merry voice,
Thy cheerful lay drives care awa
    An’ bids eawr hearts rejoice;
Theau’s sung to us these forty yer,
    Through sunshine, frost an’ wet;
Husht!  H’arken!  Yer yo’!  Howd yo’r din!
    Owd Robin’s singin’ yet!

Theau sung wi’ Waugh in days gone by,
    When he sung “Lobden Moor”;
Just let me quote th’ owd brid for once —
    “God bless thi silver yure! ”
An’ tho’ it’s winter wi’ thi neaw,
    Aw’m fain theau doesno’ fret;
Husht!  H’arken!  Yer yo’!  Howd yo’r din!
    Owd Robin’s singin’ yet.

Sing on, owd merry songster, sing,
    Theau’rt seldom ever tired;
Like David with his tuneful harp,
    Aw’m sure ’at theau’rt inspired.
Come, run thi gammot o’er, owd brid,
    Thi music’s ready set;
Husht! H’arken! Yer yo’! Howd yo’r din!
    Owd Robin’s singin’ yet!

At “Three-score-ten” theau’rt pipin’ eawt,
    While younger brids are cheepin’;
Theau’rt like a fiddle owd an’ worn,
    Theau’rt better, mon, for keepin’;
Thi music’s sweet morn, noon, or neet,
    Aw’m fain, owd brid, we’n met;
Husht!  H’arken!  Yer yo’!  Howd yo’r din!
    Owd Robin’s singin’ yet.

Theau artno’ singin’ bi thysel’,
    Ther’s other brids abeawt,
An’ if theau doesno’ yer ’em sing,
    They’re happen bad i’th’ meawt;
Sometimes, theau knows, they’re seechin’ feed
    For mony a little pet;
Husht!  H’arken!  Yer yo’!  Howd yo’r din!
    Owd Robin’s singin’ yet!

Theau’ll soon shake honds wi’ good owd “Sam,”*
    He stonds wi’ “Ned”†  an’ “Ben "‡
They’re waitin’ patiently until
    Owd Robin drops his pen.
Theau munno’ drop it yet, owd brid,
    Thi friends for thee would fret;
Husht!  H’arken!  Yer yo’!  Howd yo’r din!
    Owd Robin’s singin’ yet!


* Samuel Laycock.
† Edwin Waugh.
‡ Ben Brierley.


――――♦――――

 
Ben-my-Cree.
A sketch.
 

EAWR Nelly an’ me, just for a spree, wi
        thowt we’d have a eawt,
Just for a change, an’ not to look strange,
        wi piked another reawt;
So off we went, wi’ reet good glee, for Mona’s Isle
        on th’ Ben-my-Chree,
Ut lee teed up in Princess Dock, an’ sailed away at one
        o’clock.
Owd Sol wer shinin’ breet an’ clear, an’ everything
        looked gay,
An’ aw‘ felt like a chap should feel when off for his
        holiday;
Wi bid owd Liverpool good-bye, an’ aw’m sure bi two
        o’clock
Yo’ couldna see oather fielt or tree, a steeple or a
        dock.
Music wer playin’, folk wer sayin’ heaw grand th’ owd
        ocean look’d;
Childer pranced, an’ lasses danced, an’ th’ sailors
        look’d welly cook’d.


.        .        .        .       .       .


But in a bit there coom a breeze, then it geet to a
        blow,
Un’th’ say, ’at look’d so nice an’ smooth, coom dashin’
        to an’ fro;
Owd Ben, he gan a little lurch, then he played at pitch
        an’ toss,
An‘ everytime he ducked his prow aw could feel it
        gettin’ woss;
Aw felt mi yed grow dizzy, an’ aw felt mi een grow
        dim,
An’ then a gradely sickenin’ pain coom creepin’ throo
        each limb;
Then aw thowt abeawt owd Lancashire, an’ o’ mi
        childhood days, —
Aw thowt abeawt th’ owd folk awhoam, an’ o’ mi
        wicked ways;
“If this is pleasurin’,” aw said, “it’s weel mixed up
        wi’ pain;
If this is comin’ for a eawt, gi’ mi fact’ry smook
        an’ rain;
But if aw nobbut once get whoam, aw’ll be a better
        mon,
Aw’ll start an’ goo to’th’ Sunday skoo’, an’ do o’th’
        good aw con!”
Aw turned mi reawnd, an’ aw seed eawr Nell as white
        as ony sheet,
Her yure wer deawn, an’ her bonnet it lee scrumpled at
        her feet;
“Heaw ar’to, wench? theau’rt lookin’ bad! aw think
        theau’rt woss nor me;
Heaw do’sta like thi eawt, owd lass? what do’st think
        o’th’ Ben-my-Chree?”


.        .        .        .       .       .


“Eh, Joe,” hoo said, “aw’m welly gone; aw feel booath
        sick an’ sad;
Raitch me that can — do’st yer? look sharp! — eh, Joe,
        aw’m gradely bad!
Aw wish wi wer on shore,” hoo said; “aw’m sure mi
        time has come! ”
“Well, lass,” aw said, “just bide thi time, aw wish
        theau wer awhoam.
“Eh, Joe,” hoo said, “What would theau do if owt
        should happen me?
What would theau do wi’ th’ childer, an’ what would
        become o’ thee?
Neaw, Joe, look here, just tell mi true, an’ spake eawt
        plain an’ free,
Theau’d ne’er get wed again, owd lad, if owt should
        happen me?”
“Well, Nell,” aw said,” “just thee look here, theau
        knows aw’m noan so owd,
An’ winter-time comes creepin’ on, un’th’ neets get dree
        an’ cowd;
Ther’s Sall o’ Dick’s, hoo’s a pratty wench; aw’ve
        nob’dy else i’ seet.”
“Howd on!” hoo skriked, “theau’s said enoof; by gum,
        aw’m welly reet!”


.        .        .        .       .       .


At last they geet owd Ben to th’ side, an’ folk begun o’
        shiftin’;
They’d had enoof o’ pitch an’ toss, his lurchin’ an’ his
        liftin’;
Then Nelly shook her fist an’ said, “Farewell, owd
        Ben-my-Chree,
Theau’rt biggest nuisance ever wer, theau’s near bin
        deeoth o’ me!
Good-bye for good; neaw off theau goes! once moor
        get on thi track,
For when wer ready t’ start off whoam, by gum, we’ll
        walk it back!”


――――♦――――

 
Those Bonny Blue Een.
 

AWVE just said good-neet to my Mary,
    Aw feel fit to pipe eawt an’ sing;
Mi heart’s reet full o’ sweet gladness,
    Aw’m just like a brid up o’th’ wing.
Hoo’d a smile that wer past o’ resistin’,
    An’ to me it wer plain to bi seen,
A love that wer truly bewitchin’,
    I’th’ leet o’ her bonny blue een.

Her voice it wer low, sweet an’ tender,
    Like a brooklet it’s awlus i’ tune,
An’ someheaw it seems to remind me
    O’th’ layrock, i’ breet sunny June;
Hoo’s cheeks like two bonny roses,
    Wi two pratty dimples, aw ween,
An’th’ love-leet, it’s gradely enchantin’,
    At comes fro’ her bonny blue een.

Aw thowt when aw seed her i’th’ garden
    Hoo looked like a sweet poesy bloom;
Tho’ twileet wer fast comin’ o’er us,
    Aw seed nowt o’ neet fo’ — or gloom.
Mi heart it wer fill’d wi’ emotion,
    ’Twer useless mi feelin’s to screen; —
Ther’s summat at’s truly entrancin’
    I’th’ leet o’ yon bonny blue een.

Aw whisper’d fond words to my Mary,
    An’ axed my true lass if hoo’d wed;
Hoo blushed like a gleam o’ breet sunshine,
    And silently hung deawn her yed;
So like a true lover aw coaxed her,
    And coed her my own little queen,
Then softly hoo whisper’d, “God bless thi,”
    Wi’ tears in her bonny blue een.


――――♦――――

 
Eawt o’ Wark.


 

Aw conno’ see why aw should fret,
    Or poo a great lung face,
Ther’s smiles an’ freawns, ther’s
            ups an’ deawns,
    I’ life’s uncertain race;
An’ though mi lot seems rayther hard,
    An’ th’ world looks cowd an’ dree,
Ther’s lots o’ folk’ aw ’at know weel
    ’At’s far wur off nor me.

Aw’ve got a reet hard-workin’ wife,
    Hoo’s moor to me nor wealth;
We’n th’ roughest lads ther is i’th’ fowt,
    O’ brimmin’ o’er wi’ health;
Their appetites are sharp an’ keen, —
    They’n ne’er bin speighlt wi’ choice, —
Just let ’em smell yon porritch pon,
    They’ll noan want sheawtin’ twice.

This country side looks fine an’ breet,
    An’ th’ brids sing eawt wi’ glee;
Ther’s sweet perfume fro’ every bloom
    In dell an’ posied lea.
O’ this to me is grand to see,
    Aw like Dame Nature’s book,
But aw’d rayther yer yon fact’ry bell
    An’ see a bit o’ smook.

We’n porritch mornin’, noon, an’ neet,
    An’ fain to get it, too,
But should aw strike a bit o’ luck,
    We’n oather broth or stew;
Aw’ll tackle owt, aw care for nowt,
    If it be honest wark;
If aw con addle hawve a creawn
    Aw sing just like a lark.

This trailin’ reawnd to find odd jobs
    Aw’ve never tried afore;
Well, happen times ’ll awter soon,  —
    Aw wish this strike wer o’er.
Aw’m trudgin’ here, an’ seekin’ theer,
    Till its grown welly dark;
Aw get a bit, but then, yo’ know,
    It’s noan like gradely wark.

This country side looks fine an’ breet,
    An’ th’ brids sing eawt wi’ glee;
Ther’s sweet perfume fro’ every bloom
    In dell an’ posied lea.
O’ this to me is grand to see,
    Aw like Dame Nature’s book,
But aw’d rayther yer yon fact’ry bell,
    An’ see a bit o’ smook.


――――♦――――

 
Sam Hill.
Dedicated to my esteemed friend, the Stalybridge
Historian and Bard.

 

WELL, Sam, owd lad, aw’ did feel glad
    When aw geet that letter;
Aw’re noan so weel, but it made
                me feel,
    Well, just a trifle better.
To praise my rhyme at sitch a time
    Did moor nor doctor’s skill;
It cheer’d mi heart, an’ made me part
    Wi’ thowts ’at aw wer ill.

’Tw’r Jammie Leigh ’at fost showed me
    A piece or two o’ thine;
Aw scrat mi yed, “By gum,” aw said,
    “Eh, Jammie, mon, they’re fine.”
But Sammy, lad, aw did feel sad
    One day when aw wer towd
’At ramblin’ Sam, just like a lamb,
    Had wandered fro’ his fowd.

Do’st never dream abeawt a stream,
    Somewheer close to th’ Brushes?
Do’st never think theau yers a pink,
    Or sees a neest o’ thrushes?
Some sheaves o’ corn ’at’s just bin shorn,
    Or cops o’ new-mown hay? —
They’re grand to see, an’ moor to thee
    Nor th’ biggest ship on th’ say.

Theau never sees no butterflees,
    Theau never yers a chitty,
But sparrows bowd, so aw’ve bin towd,
    Cherrup in yon city.
Eh, what hurry, what endless worry!
    Eh, what neighse an’ jostle!
Theau wants to be wheer theau con see
    An’ yer booath lark an’ th’ throstle.

A drink fro’ th’ well, in a shady dell,
    Wheer fern an’ bracken mingle,’
An’ th’ ripplin’ rill fro’ th’ distant hill
    Would mak’ thi ears tingle.
A quiet smook in a cosy nook
    Would fill thi wi’ devotion;
Theau’d sooner look at a runnin’ brook
    Nor Laycock’s “Grand owd ocean.”

Cheer up, owd lark, if things look dark,
    Theau munno’ stop thi singin’,
For brids like thee, if close to th’ sea,
    Some comfort’s awlus bringin’.
Let’s yer thi voice, it seawnds so nice,
    It mak’s one’s heart feel leet,
So pipe thi lay booath neet an’ day —
    God bless thi, lad, good neet!


――――♦――――

 
When we Buried Little Jack.
 

COME, Mary, lass, come ceawr thi deawn,
    An’ sit aside o’ me;
An’ let me dry that tear, mi lass,
    ’At’s tricklin’ fro’ thi ee.
Theau looks so pale an’ weary too,
    An’ awlus seems so sad,
Aw know thi poor heart’s breakin’, lass,
    Abeawt yon little lad.
Theau munno’ cry an’ fret so mitch,
    Or else as’t lose thee too;
Neaw, do just try an’ breeten up,
    An’ God’ll poo’ thi throo;
Just thee ax the Lord to help thi,
    Wi conno’ bring him back;
God bless thi, lass! thi mind’s upset,
    Sin’ wi buried little Jack.

Let’s put those little things away
    Theau’rt nussin’ in thi lap:
That top an’ whip, an’ rubber bo’,
    His shoon, an’ little cap;
Theau treasures up thoose little things
    They awlus mak’ thi sad,
They’re o’ ’at’s laft to thee an’ me,
    ’At once belunged yon lad.
We’n plenty, lass, to live for yet, —
    Just look at little Joe,
He wonders what theau’rt cryin’ for,
    An’ so does Dick an’ o’;
They look into thi sweet sad face,
    Their little minds they rack,
They conno’ mak’ things eawt at o’,
    Sin’ wi buried little Jack.

God bless thi, lad! aw’ll dry mi een,
    Aw winnot look so sad,
But when aw see thoose little things,
    ’At once belunged eawr lad,
Theau knows aw conno’ help but fret,
    An’ fancy aw con see,
An’ yer his little prattlin’ tung
    While sittin’ on mi knee.
As oft he played an’ romped abeawt
    In o’ his childish ways
Aw ne’er thought ’at wi should lose him,
    In thoose breet sunny days;
Mi’ little lad were clemmed, theau knows,
    For trade were awful slack;
Theau’d nowt to do, an’ friends wer few
    When we buried little Jack.

True, true enoof, lass, Jack were clemmed,
    Aw seed him sinkin’ fast;
He’re th’ wakest brid wi had i’th’ neest,
    Aw knowed he couldna last.
Aw’st ne’er forget that neet he deed,
    Wi o’ stood reawned his bed:
Aw thowt aw’d lost thee, too, mi lass,
    When they towd thi he wer dead.
We trailed his little corpse through th’ snow
    An’ then we staggered back;
We’d bin beawt meat an’ feigher o’ day,
    When we buried little Jack.
But neaw we’n booath meat an’ feigher,
    An’ wark, lass, is’no’ scant,
Besides, we’n getten th’ grace o’ God, —
    What moor, lass, con we want?
An’, then, eawr little lad neaw sees
    Wi follow in his track;
Christ placed a jewel in God’s creawn
    When we buried little Jack.


――――♦――――

 
Owd Polyant’ and Chitty.


 

OWD Chitty wer a merry brid, his voice
            wer awlus ringin’,
Booath neet an’ day he’d pipe away —
            th’ owd brid wer awlus singin’.
Owd chitty lived wi Polyant, at th eend o’
            Daisy Lone,
An’ as they’d noather wife nor choilt, th’owd
            couple lived alone.

They’d a little cot a story heigh, weel covert
            o’er wi’ thatch;
It had little teeny windows, an’ th’ dur a
            wooden latch;
Shepsters neested under th’ thatch, while
            sparrows built i’ th’ speawt,
An’ th’ swallows throo a hole i’ th’ wo’ kept
            dartin’ in an’ eawt.

They’d the nicest garden reawnd abeawt;
            yo’ talk abeawt perfume,
An’ swarms o’ bees an’ butterflees when
            th’ posies wer i’ bloom;
They doated on ther little plot, they know’d
            each tree an’ plant,
It wer like a little paradise to owd Chit an’
            Polyant’.

They’d clip a hedge, or plant a bed, for th’
            better e’end o’ folk;
Leet a naybour’s greenheawse feigher, or
            fotch a bit o’ coke;
An’ if their beds wer hard an’ dreigh, they’d
            toddle deawn to th’ dell,
An’ fotch up cans o’ wayter fro’ owd
            Johnny Grundy’s well.

They kept a little jackass, an’ they did odd
            jobs for folk:
Sometimes they’d fotch a bit o’ coal, an’
            neaw an’ then some coke;
They didna use poor Baalam oft, ’twer
            nobbo’ neaw an’ then,
When aw yerd ’em co’ it Dimple, aw thowt
            o’ Besom Ben.

Owd Polyant’ rung th’ chapel bell, an’
            taiched i’th’ afternoon;
Chit wer awlus perched wi’ th’ choir, an’
            played an owd bassoon;
Th’ owd brid wer full o’ music, an’ wer
            seldom eawt o’ tune:
Aw’ll bet a groat he’s singing neaw — well,
            somewheer up aboon.

Owd Dimple hangs his yed i’th’ lone, an’ th’
            brids o’ seem i’th’ meawt,
O’th’ butterflees an’ th’ hummibees are
            nowheer seen abeawt;
Their bonny little garden plot is cover’d o’er
            wi’ weed:
Its sad to see booath plant an’ tree are
            gooin’ fast to seed.

Owd Polyant’ is bloomin’ neaw for ever up
            aboon,
Wheer Chitty’s voice will seawnd so nice,
            an’ ne’er bi eawt o’ tune.
An’ if we toddle on toth’ eend witheaut
        deceit or cant,
We’st ree an’ twit wi’ good owd Chit, an’
    bloom wi’ Polyant’.


――――♦――――

 
Lost in London, or the Dialect
in Distress.

(Supposed conversation betwixt an Author and his book).
 

ALAS, that I should find thee here
            neglected and forlorn,
In the midst of mighty London
            thy leaves both seared and torn;
Fond memories recall the past, and bid my
            tears to start,
To find thee so dejected now upon a hawker’s
            cart.

Was it for this that I bestowed long hours of
            midnight labour,
To gratify ambition, and to please my
            humble neighbour?
Oh, how I loved each line and page, when
            first thou left the press!
Now I find thee so dejected, I love thee
            none the less.

True, I wrote thee in a tongue spoken by
            my mother,
I did not wish, nay, I would not write thee
            in any other;
I’ll purchase thee, for thou once cheer’d my
            simple youthful heart,
I could not bear to leave thee now upon a
            hawker’s cart.

Stay, good master, and ponder well, pray
            think of what you’ve said,
My seared leaves most surely prove that
            I’ve been ofttimes read;
’Tis many years since last we met, then you
            were young and gay,
But now, alas, your form is bent, your locks
            are thin and gray.

I remember when you wrote me, with
            anxious thoughts and fears,
I’ve heard your merry ringing laugh, and
            seen your honest tears;
Oh, how your neighbours praised you for
            your genius and skill, —
I remember, too, a jolly row about a printer’s
            bill!

With what rapture I was hailed when first
            I left the press:
I was quoted, read, recited, ofttimes in
            evening dress;
At bands of hope and festivals I’ve often
            taken part,
For juveniles, and elders, too, recited me by
            heart.

In family circles I was read when nights
            were dark and long;
What tears of pity I have seen at some
            pathetic song;
And I have heard their merry laugh at some
            rural joke;
Ah, that was up in Lancashire where the
            dialect was spoke.

But at last came Mr. Board School, who said
            that it was wrong
To read or write, sing or recite, in our
            own mother tongue;
The teaching in the Board School now was
            rather circumspect,
And they had made a solemn vow to kill
            the dialect.

My owner then grew furious; he loved my
            rural song,
He gloried in the dialect, he loved his
            mother tongue;
He oft would take and read me when
            journeying by rail,
Whilst others thought me out of date, and
            said that I was stale.

But, alas, one day we parted, and not to
            meet again, —
My owner clean forgot me, sir, and left me
            in the train,
And I was taken on for miles, through
            stations not a few,
With no one, sir, for company but a
            tawny-looking Jew.

Ah, how well do I remember that little
            German Jew,
How sly he picked me up, sir, and without
            much ado
He hid me ’neath his shabby coat, and
            hurried from the train
To his little shop of curios near by in
            Drury Lane.

When Moses tried to read me he opened
            wide his eyes,
And shouted, “Father Abraham, here is
            a glorious prize!
This language was not spoken these thou-
            sand thousand years;
’Tis worth ten thousand ducats,” and he
            was moved to tears.

He then sent for learned professors, and
            students not a few;
They came from far-off countries; he
            brought the Rabbi, too;
When all were well assembled, each with
            a knowing look
Gazed with wonder and surprise on this
            antiquated book.

He’d a Russian and a Prussian from o’er
            the briny main;
He’d students, too, from Timbuctoo, and
            one from sunny Spain;
A Welshman and a German, too, from dear
            old fatherland,
Who had lately joined the college and
            given up the band.

The Rabbi rose with look profound, he was
            the first to speak,
He swore by Father Abraham that I was
            ancient Greek;
Then a Grecian youth rose up and said the
            Rabbi was a liar
That no such tongue was ever used by any
            Grecian sire.

The Spaniard tried to read me, but gave
            his jaw a wrench,
So he threw me down disgusted, and swore
            that I was French;
This set the Frenchman all ablaze; he
            swore by Waterloo
That I was just a mixture vile of Spanish,
            Greek and Jew.

The Russian said he’d studied well ancient
            manuscript:
There had been a resurrection in some
            forgotten crypt;
I was not Spanish, French, or Greek; he
            bade them calm their fears,
The tongue he said was surely dead these
            thousand thousand years.

But Taffy Jones, the Welshman, said,
            indeed, but they were wrong,
If memory served him true he oft had
            heard the tongue;
Far, far away on mountain tops, in fairy
            glens and dales,
The tongue was freely spoken by trippers
            up in Wales.

The German student said, if memory
            served him true,
He’d heard that self-same tongue, both
            sung and spoken, too;
When first he came to England from
            dear old fatherland,
Ofttimes he’d heard it in the north when
            playing with the band.

Poor Moses then grew furious when he
            found I was not dead;
He nearly lost his reason, too, and had to
            go to bed;
But when the doctor brought his bill, he
            raised himself and cried,
“I will not pay; give him the book,” then
            gave one gasp and died.

No wonder I am tatter’d, sir, I’ve had the
            worst of luck,
I think with me you will agree I’ve shown
            some British pluck;
I’ve mystified the Cockneys quite, and
            learned professors, too;
Nearly broke a student’s jaw, and killed a
            German Jew.

No wonder I’m dejected now, for I’ve been
            knocked about;
No wonder that the Cockneys grin: they
            cannot make me out.
They gaze on me with mute surprise, but
            don’t retain me long --
They cannot read, less understand, my
            simple northern tongue.

Though you find me so neglected, you will
            own I’m not to blame,
The company I’m keeping, sir, each bears
            an honoured name:
There’s Dickens, Scott, and Thackery, with
            Tennyson and Glover,
And now I blush to own, sir, I am favoured
            with a Lover.

There’s Shakespeare lying on my left, and
            there upon my right
Are Witty Steel, and Bobby Peel, with
            Gladstone, Burke, and Bright;
I’m well supplied with Coke and Cole,
            besides a Barr and Hook;
There’s Bacon, Lamb, and Greens galore,
            also a Lady Cook.

But I want to be where I can see the gentle
            rippling rill;
Oh, let me look at the little brook that
            wanders by the mill;
The village church, ’midst trees of birch,
            the dingle and the wood;
Oh, take me home to Lancashire where I
            am understood.

I took the book with its tattered look, and
            pressed it to my heart;
I paid the man his sixpence and left the
            hawker’s cart.


――――♦――――


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