Pebbles fro' Ribblesdale (II.)

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MI books, befoor to-morn's breet sun shall shine,
Yo'll be away; yo'll nod be books o' mine.
Like me, when aw wer young, yo'r turn'd adrift,
Among strange fooak i' different teawns to shift.
But O, as time draws near when we've to part
Strange feelin's come a-creepin' reawnd mi heart;
Ay, mony a happy heawr aw've hed wi' yo';
Far mooar than t'world 'll ever kear to know.
Bud, hevin' fun a place for every one,
Aw'll try mi best to bear id like a mon.
My brother seems to smile thro' mony a line
(An' when t' truth's towd aw'm preawd o' some o' mine!)
For t' weakest childer t' mooast affection's shown,
'Cause every gradely mother likes her own:
Bud durn'd ged preawd and think yorsel too grand
To mate wi' moral books 'at's second-hand, ―
Durn'd climb too high — yo'll nod hev far to fo',
For t' Robin sings his song on t' backyard wo'!
Whol t' lark wi' lofty nooat sings sweet i' th' sky —
Yet t' robin may charm odd 'uns passin' by.
When t' speckled throstles pipes their silvery nooats
Ther's little twitterin' birds 'll tune ther throoats.
When t' moon's at full, an' shinin' clear an' breet
Some little twinklin' stars 'll come i' th' seet.
Be thankful when yo see books claim reneawn
As yo'r quite eawt o' t' reych o' envy's freawn!
Near th' owd Green-side, wheer Ribble wanders past,
An' wheer aw hooap they'll lay me deawn at last.
In after years aw may yet live to see
Yo' spreaded eawt on some fair woman's knee,
Wheer gradely fooak wi' gradely fooak con meet
Reawnd winter's fires wheer tales are towd at neet.

.            .            .            .            .            .            .            .            .

In spring or in Summer-born June,
    Fooak 'll wander abeawt into t' fields;
When t' birds are i' feather an'i tune,
    Or to pick nuts as Autumn-time yields;
But i' Winter, when t' neets are so long,
    When hooam looks so cosy an' sweet,
Yo' may join in ther mirth an' ther song
    Whol they're camping reawnd fire of at neet.

When owd Sol hes done o' his day's reawnd,
    An' unbarr'd his gowd door into t' west;
An' when shadows cum creepin' o'er t' greawnd,
    Fooak 'll mek tort ther hooams to find rest:
Then they may, just for t' sake of owd time,
    Mek yo' welcome when t' villagers meet,
An' may read fro' yo' some simple rhyme,
    Whol they're campin' reawnd t' fire of a neet.

.            .            .            .            .            .            .            .            .

Neaw tho' yo'r gooin away to friends o' mine,
I' t' world o' books yo' cornd expect to shine,
They're sent away fro' t' printers neaw bi' t' looad,
Then thrutched i' nooks an' corners eawt o' t' rooad.
Ther's some o' yo' as may ged lent, or lost,
It's best, mi books, to be prepared for t' wost.
Yo' may ged crushed wi big an' nowty books,
Or left to fret or pine i' dusty nooks.

For weeks an' weeks whol some owd sluggard dame,
Is med to come an' cleyn, thro' fear or shame,
An' when hoo's been i' every other room,
Hoo may then come to yo', an' bring her broom,
An', mutterin' to hersell o'er dusty weather,
May tek an' shake an' jowl yo'r heyds together.
Hoo'll happen rub yo'r back and cleyn yo'r face,
An' put yo' reet to t' front i' t' nicest case.
I' t' life o' books strange things may come to pass,
Yo' may ged ta'en an' sowd for ready brass!

Excuse me, books!   Aw'm moved to tears,
Aw'm thinkin' o'er these auctioneers —
Like critics, they're i' every teawn —
They lift books up to knock 'em deawn!
To ged knock'd deawn because yo'r bowt,
An' ta'en away for t' next to nowt,
To some owd musty broker's shop,
Wheer theives an' rooags 'll often stop!
For, speykin neaw, 'tween yo' an' me —
Nod wod aw've heeard, bud wod aw see
(Durn'd turn id o'er when yo've bin towd —
Aw've watch'd 'em till mi blood's run cowd),
Aw've seen men bring a rooap an' string,
An' hoist books up to led 'em swing.
Aw've bidden whol aw couldn'd bide
To see books hung at's ne'er bin tried!
Bud cheer up, books! an' hooap for t' best —
Yo' may yet find a haven of rest.
Aw know ther's mony an oppen hand
'Ll smile to greet yo' when yo' land.
They'll look to yo' when bent wi' age:
My brother's name's on mony a page;
Aw hooap yo'll allus howd id fast,
An' keep it nice an' cleyn to th' last.
His every line wi' yo' aw'll trust,
Whol men an' books booath come to dust —
Till death meks earthly singin' dull,
An' angels' songs moor beautiful!



Aw dreamt last neet aw'd th' magic wand,
    An' th' lamp to see on every throne;
An' things wer changed at my command,
    An' fooak could claim an' ged their own.
        Religious fooak hed o' agreed,
        Of every colour, every creed;
        An' Avarce' poss hed bin untee'd,
    An' everybody geet their own.

An' sitch a change as wor i'th teawn,
    Wi' pen o' mine con ne'er be shown;
For things seem'd flyin up and deawn,
    Bud everybody geet their own.
        Aw' see pianos, heeard um play,
        An' then they seemed to walk away
        Fro' fooak as never meant to pay,
    An' everybody geet their own.

Aw waved mi wand o'er t' pop-shop dooar,
    Then stown things fooak hed browt to pawn;
Fro every shelf fell flop to t' flooar,
    An' everybody geet their own.
        An' t' fooak as hed th' mooast childer geet
        I'th biggest heawse i' every street;
        An' rogues wer o' put eawt o'th seet,
    An' everybody geet their own.

An' then aw went to th' werkheawse gate,
    Aw'd heeard th' owd fooak gie mony a moan;
Aw could'nd do to see um wait —
    They toddled reawnd an' claimed ther own.
        In there they'd perted mon and wife,
        Aw waved mi wand an' banished strife;
        Owd couples were re-wed for life,
    An' everybody geet their own.

An' every church i' th' land wer free,
    An' fooak flocked in when this wer known;
An' th' rich wi' t' poor hed bent their knee,
    An' God's rich gifts wer o their own.
        An' saintly footprints show'd so plain,
        Men dud'nd preach for earthly gain;
        For hope hed come an' banished pain,
    An' everybody geet their own.

For Truth hed come on t' earth to dwell,
    An' kicked eawt smiling flattering fawn;
An' toll'd big supersticion's knell,
    An' everybody geet their own.
        For mony a place there wor abeawt,
        Where common sence wur livered eawt;
        An' th' air wer rent wi' mony a sheawt,
    As everybody geet their own.

Owd Discooard kicked an' breathed his last,
    Then friendship spooak wi' sweeter tone;
An' merit won i' every cast,
    An' everybody geet their own.
        For envy hed foo'n fast asleep,
        An' owd dull care wer buried deep;
        Life's broo' worn'd hawf as rough an' steep,
    For everybody geet their own.

Aw think this life is bud a dreeam,
    An deeath u'll be like morning's dawn;
When rogues no moore u'll plot an' skeeam,
    An what's bin stown u'll o be shown.
        Ut finish up o' life's short race,
        An' when we've doffed eawr rags an' lace,
        Then th' pooar may climb to th' topmost place,
    An' everybody ged their own.



ELLENOR SHORROCK died March 2nd, 1889,
aged 4 years 6 months.

So full of life — now dead — in one short week;
    'Twas better not to know the world's rude frown.
Where thou art I will ever try to seek —
    Thy brow is decked with God's immortal crown.

I wander now in Blackburn Park alone,
    The thrush's song can only give me pain,
The water rolls along with mournful tone —
    To Auntie's thou wilt never come again.

And I had hoped to lead thee by the hand,
    To show thee Spring in all her beauty drest,
Her bright robe trailing o'er the smiling land, —
    But thou didst haste to reach thy Father's rest.

The snowdrop's rising from the frozen ground,
    And soon the daises will bedeck the sod;
All these upon thy grave will soon be found, —
    Thou hast gone home: it was the will of God.





It's thi birthday to morn,
    Bud aw'm writin' to-day,
For time like a shadow
    Keeps flitting away.
Theaw'rt learning thy patience
    I' sufferings rough skoo;
Just read on to th' finish,
    Be patient, lass, do.

This life's nod o' sunshine,
    We've sleet an' we've rain;
For pleasures soon vanish
    An' leave us wi' pain.
Aw've kept slippin' back'ard,
    Theaw'rt welly up t' brow;
Theaw'll land where it's breeter,
    Be patient, lass, do.

Theaw's booked thro' for heaven,
    Theaw's sin its breet ray,
But th' world an' its pleasures
    May leead me astray.
Aw corn'd show credentials
    Nor virtues enoo;
Theaw'll werk eawt thy passage
    Be patient, lass, do.

An when theaw'rt in heaven
    Wod greetin's ther'll be.
Aw wish theaw could just speak
    A good word for me.
I' my heart, like mi head,
    Ther's a soft place or two;
Aw wish aw could help tha,
    Be patient, lass, do.

Theaw'll then see eawr Nelly
    As never knew sin;
Just tell her fro' me neaw
    Aw want to come in;
Hoo'll ax' 'm so nicely,
    They'll led me go thro';
Aw's find tha wi' t' singers,
    Be patient, lass, do.

FEB. 13th, 1890.



MY wife hoo's bin away o week,
    Eawr Tom's looked after t' shop;
Aw think bi th' letter as hoo's sent
    Hoo's nod so long to stop.
Her letter's plain, it's just like hor,
    It's rather short an' sweet;
Hoo ses ther is no place like hooam —
    Aw wish hoo'd cum to-neet.

It's terrible quare when hoo's at home —
    Hoo'll sauce mo mony a time;
Hoo tells mo too aw'm fit for nowt
    Bud mekkin' silly rhyme.
An' neaw then, when hoo's far away,
    Hoo co's mo dear owd Jack,
An' ses hoo's my affectionate,
    An' wishes hoo were back.

Aw know hoo used to talk like thad
    At time we use to cooart;
Bud sin thad weddin' knot wer teed,
    Ther's seldom owt o' th' sooart.
Hoo's hed an angel's visit neaw,
    An' med mi heart feel leet;
Aw'll carry o her luggage hooam —
    Aw wish hoo'd cum to-neet.

Her cheer, like me, looks lonesum neaw,
    It's sulkin' into th' nooak;
My pipe aw've nossed id day bi th' length,
    Aw've hed no heart to smook.
My collar button brasted off,
    An' when aw felt id crack,
Aw knew aw couldn'd set id on
    Because it's reet at back.

Eh! what's thad pooastmon browt ageean?
    A letter aw con see;
Eh! Tom, tha'rt fain to read id, lad,
    Bud nod as fain as me.
We's see her smilin' sunburnt face,
    Aw'll kuss id when we meet,
For t' letter ses "Just wait for me,
    Dear Jack, to-morn at neet."



        SHE'S a shy little miss,
        But she's fond of a kiss,
Though she's only eleven months old;
        And when sleepy she'll cry,
        With a tear in each eye,
But she won't go to sleep when she's told.
        When awake you should see
        How she dances with glee,
While her cheeks get as red as at rose;
        They may put on her hat
        When they take her a-tat
But she won't have them wiping her nose!

        When dimpled her chin,
        There is laughter within —
It is sunshine to me is her face;
        For when out of my room
        There is nothing but gloom,
And the things always seem out of place.
        Then I do feel so cross,
        I'm afraid she is lost,
And my feelings I cannot compose;
        There's a cry I well know!
        To the rescue I go,
When I find they are wiping her nose!

        If she gives me her smile,
        I am happy the while,
And I care not what selfish men say,
        For this life is not long,
        And the world's often wrong;
Let the star of love shine on her way!
        For I know when I'm sad,
        She will cheer her old dad,
How she loves me there's nobody knows!
        I can keep on good terms,
        While I'm praising her charms,
But I can't when I'm wiping her nose!

        I have care, I have strife,
        In my struggle with life,
And grim Sorrow may come to my door;
        But well do I know
        He will soon have to go,
When I hear a pit-pat on the floor,
        For I know it's her feet —
        How my heart it will beat! —
And myself I don't wish to disclose,
        But so slyly she'll peep,
        Then away she will leap —
She's afraid of me wiping her nose!

        I have heard men who preach,
        And I think they all teach,
That there's angels in heaven above;
        But I know, since her birth,
        There is one upon earth,
And 'tis her that shall teach me to love!
        She is bright, she is fair,
        Though she hasn't much hair,
I can patiently wait till it grows;
        She is handsome and stout,
        She'd be happy without,
If they would not keep wiping her nose!

        Old time is a thief
        If we entertain grief,
But, like Nell, I can smile through a tear,
        So I care not a jot,
        For whatever's my lot,
I will never count life by the year.
        But I trembled last night,
        She'd a terrible fright,
So I tried and I found out the cause;
        She had waked in a dream —
        Oh how hard she did scream! —
For she dreamt I was wiping her nose!

        But she's naughty indeed,
        For she knows she can't read,
Though sometimes she will earnestly look;
        And she thinks she's a right,
        So she pulls with her might,
When I'm reading my paper or book.
        Now I don't like to tell,
        But her name it is Nell.
She is welcome wherever she goes,
        Like the bright month of May;
        But then still I must say
She 'frigs' when they're wiping her nose!

AUG. 24th, 1889.



AW'M beawn to learn phrenology,
    Aw've bowt t' book for t' job;
It's nice to feel eawtside an know,
    Whod fooak hes i' their knob.
Just look at me, I wed eawr Nell,
    An thout aw'd med a mark ,
An' neaw when thirty year's gon past,
    Aw find her yure's to dark!

It's strange aw never thowt o' this,
    An' bin deceived so oft;
When fooak hes cum an' towd their tales,
    Aw've awlus bin so soft.
An' that's th' way as aw've getten wrong,
    Like, — never gradely shure;
Aw'll feel ther heads, that's whod aw'll do,
    They'll nod cheat me no moore!

An' th' best on 't is, it's good to learn,
    Ther's th' index into th' book;
Aw've nowt to do bud oppen th' page,
    To find um o' th' fust look.
An' every bump's so plainly mark'd,
    On th' model med o' pot;
An' th' little squares wi' t' numbers on,
    As shows mo reet to th' spot.

Whey, bless mi life, ther's nowt so strange,
    At me bein' sitch a foo;
They never learn't mo nowt like this,
    Whod bit aw went to t' skoo.
Aw've bin so fast when th' wife's bin
    An' sterted wi her din;
Aw've nobbut fun id eawt this week,
    As th' temper's in her chin!

Last neet, aboon o' other neets,
    When sittin wi eawr Nell;
Aw thowt id hardly reet to keep
    This knowledge to myself, —
Aw browt my books to find her t' place,
    An' show which bumps wer wrong ,
Aw prooved as hoo'd conbativeness,
    Bi th' way hoo used her tongue!

Aw see a bad case yesterday,
    When passin' Blinker's farm —
Aw see two cooarters comin' deawn,
    An' walkin arm i' arm:
Aw sed they'd blight each other's life,
    If ever they geet wed;
Neaw nobry would believe o' th' words
    Thad nowty woman sed!

Yet scooars an' scooars may grooap for
    An nod know where to turn;
An' when aw try to show um t' leet,
    Aw'm coo'd to ill to burn!
Aw know where love an' friendship lies,
    Bi th' shape o' th' head, an th' size:
They'll come no moore o' cheeatin me,
    An' tellin barefaced lies!



AW'VE bin eawr Nelly's slave so long,
    Aw dorn'd want to be free;
Aw'm t' doctor too; when dolly's ill,
    It's awlus browt to me.
An' mony a ugly weawnd aw've stitched
    Wheer t' skin's bin badly torn,
Whol hoo's set like a little queen —
    Hoo's two year old to-morn.

Whene'er hoo's eawt Care snidges reawnd
    Then steyls in like a thief;
When hoo comes back hoo brings in Mirth,
    An' leaves no room for Grief.
Then Hope an' Love con grow an' spread,
    Like scented flowers, 'mong th' corn,
Aw wish hood come; hoo doesn'd know
    Hoo's two year owd to-morn.

It's strikin' eight; hoo'll nod be long
    Afoor hoo shows her face —
So little an' so young, an' yet
    Beawt hor ther's nowt i' th' place.
Beawt hor this life wer bleak and bare —
    Of o' th' choice pleasures shorn
Hoo's tek her doll an' ride on th' tram —
    Hoo's two year old to morn.

Though t' fire's bin bet aboon an heawr,
    Id hesn'd burnt so breet;
Till hoo geds up, though th' sun may shine,
    Id corn'd come gradely leet.
Nell, bring thy smiles, an' let's leet up —
    Life's derkest nooks adorn;
Hoo's here!   Cum, led me tell tha t' fost —
    Tha'rt two year owd to-morn.

Last neet tha'd two times to ged up,
    Bud neaw tha's nobbud one;
Here mammy, reych them clogs of hors,
    Bud led me put 'em on.
Ther little neaw, an' eawt at th' tooas,
    An' th' heels is badly worn;
Tha's hev o pair wi' brass o reawnd —
    Tha'rt two year owd to-morn.

Thy steps aw'll guide whole'er aw live,
    An' even when aw dee;
Aw feels as aw should turn i' th' grave
    If owt wer hurtin' thee.
Aw'll pick tha t' fleaw'rs fro' t' rooads o' life,
    An' keep tha safe fro' t' thorn;
My happiest heawrs are spent wi' thee —
    Tha'rt two year old to-morn.



THOUGH every month for me's a cherm,
Aw'm fain as Winter's hed his term;
For thy breath's gradely sweet and werm, —
                Aw like thee, May!
Tha looks best deawn bi 'th owd Stydd ferm
                At break o' day.

Where th' banks o' Ribble's weshed wi' t' flood,
Aw tramped through mony a field and wood;
Aw see tha's painted every bud
                Wi' dapple green;
Thad shadin', too, is fairly good,
                Just in between.

An' then, tha browt thi' varnish brush,
An' touched each fleawer, an' bud, an' bush;
An' music browt for t' lark an' thrush
                To tune their throoats;
To t' young 'uns, too, when nice an' flush,
                Tha'll gie some nooats.

Tha's smoothed rough spots in mony a place,
An' trimmed um o wi floral lace;
When aw see th' smile on Nature's face,
                Aw knew tha'd bin;
Aw feel aw's like o' th' human race
                Sin theaw coom in.

Tha's deckorated Nature's shrine,
Where t' rays o' th' sun neaw dance an shine;
Tha fairly seems thad dress o' thine,
                So nice an' new;
Wi daisy spots to intertwine
                Wi' spots o' blue.



THE fluttering of my window blind
    Had wake'd me from a dream;
I heard my own sweet village bells;
    I saw a glittering stream;
There 'neath the bridge I saw it creep;
Then away it went with a bounding leap.

The blind was white, and decked with fringe,
    And stripes of gauzy fent —
With these the wind had come to play,
    Where shadows came and went!
My home — my native woods, were seen;
And the Ribble was rolling down between.

Old Time was there so tall and thin, —
    I knew him by his look;
He show'd one spot he'd left unchanged
    Where Ribble meets the brook;
There just as when I came away
Were the pebbles strewn on the shining bay.

Yes, there's the shore where Jane and I
    Had wander'd hand in hand;
And there's the cot of clay I built
    For her upon the sand;
But soon I saw the gauze unwind,
And the scene was changed on the window blind.

Once more I heard the distant bells
    Could think — could see, and feel —
Could Fancy come at such a time,
    And all my senses steal —
If so, I'd leave the world behind,
And for ever gaze on the window blind.

I knew those shadow'd scenes of home,
    And every inch of ground!
Tho' oft the wind would change the scene,
    An' then go whistling round, —
To bring sweet memories for the mind
And to throw them all on the window blind.

Then darkness came, the shadows flit,
    Nor left behind a trace;
The Sun took up a fleecy cloud,
    And threw it o'er his face;
Then moved to tears he was to find
The shadows were gone from the window blind.

But soon he smiled and dried his tears,
    And threw his veil away;
Then every shadow jumped for joy,
    And flicker'd in its play;
The long rod danced to please the wind,
And the shadows flit on the window blind.

Sweet Fancy!   When I am alone,
    Then do thou come to me,
If e'er I free myself from Care,
    'Tis when I range with thee!
Should friends be false or prove unkind,
I will look with thee on the window blind.



NEAW, clock, let's learn fro' tuneful Spring —
    That's t' singing school for me;
When t' birds 'll o ther music bring,
    To chant fro' bush an' tree.
O t' feathered throng 'll swell ther throoats,
    Fro' t' lark to t' dandy cock;
Wi' natur's choir aw'll join mi nooats,
    If theaw will, larum clock!

But theaw geet cowd at t' broker's shop,
    Left shiverin' eawt i' th' cowd;
They wouldn'd tek thee in i' th' pop,*
    They sed theaw wor to owd.
Aw know thi constitution's strong,
    Though neaw theaw looks forlornish;
I'll shift that cowd afoor so long —
    Theaw'll sweat a bit on th' cornish.

Tho' mony a time fooaks run tha deawn,
    An' med tha stop an' fret,
If theaw'll throw back to t' world its freawn,
    Theaw'll win its smiles back yet;
Sooa whol it's snoorin' fast asleep,
    Nick time for me whol singin';
Aw'll do mi nook if theaw'll just keep
    Thi pendle nicely swingin'.

Aw know thi frame's received a shock,
    But aw'll soon bring tha reawnd;
Just try thi best at five o'clock,
    To mek thi 'larum seawnd.
I've hed a gradely lookin' up,
    Among mi things i' th' wallet;
Here tek this oil an' hev a sup,
    I'll try to suit thi pallet.

I'm listenin' to thi beatin' heart,
    It's rather faint an' low;
Bud theigher!   Neaw tha's med a start
    Some signs o' life to show.
Just led mo wesh thi hands an' face,
    An' don this cooat o' varnish,
Tha'll be an ornament to th' place,
    Tha'll swagger on thad cornish.

An' though theaw wor so bad at th' fost,
    So wake an' stiff i' th' joints;
Theaw sees tha's welly sin through t' wost,
    For t' time theaw truly points.
Tha's suffered martyrdom sin t' time
    Thi hand wor crushed wi t' rocker.
Bud neaw theaw'rt regular i' thi chime,
    Theaw'rt fairly up to t' knocker.

Thi hands an' face is nice an' breet,
    Tha'rt nother slow nor fast;
I'll wind tha up an' keep tha reet,
    Tha's fun a hooam at last.
An' th' wife hes browt thi things, aw know,
    Hoo's put 'em i' thi case;
Tha'rt neckin' leawder, just to show,
    Tha'rt satisfied wi' th' place.

If theaw wor stopped, aw should feel queer,
    I' th' neet when o's so quate,
Wi' t' cat curled up asleep i' th' cheer,
    An' th' fire burnt deawn i' th' grate;
It's then aw know thi sharp "tic-tic "
    Is sweetest seawnd con furnish;
Ther's nowt i' th' place is hofe as wick
    As t' clock as stan's on' th' cornish.

*Ed. ― reference to a pawnbroker's shop.



NEAW whether aw succeed or fail,
Aw'm beawn to try to write a tale.
It's true is every word ut's in id,
So neaw aw think aw'd best begin id.
A chap coom reawnd to buy owd lumber,
An' wacken fooak up fro' their slumber.
Owd fooak he's robbed o' mony a nap,
An' childer fown asleep o'er t' pap.
He went abeawt fro' place to place
Wi' reddish nooase an' nasty face.
He seemed to little for his clooase,
He'd nasty rags to cleyn his nooase;
Bud aw'd bin learn't fro' fooak ut's wise
A chap i' rags to ne'er despise.
Neaw this chap hed a raggy coat,
An' faded muffler reawnd his throoat;
In fact, he looked a trifle seedy ―
A chance for me of helpin' th' needy,
Aw thowt good luck hed travelled wi' him,
An' aw wer gradely fain to see him.
To shorten th' tale, an' sooner tell id,
Aw'd lumber, an' wer like to sell id.

Aw wer gradely fagged eawt,
For aw'd hed a rough day,
Aw wer cover'd wi nast,
An aw wanted mi tay,
When this chap give a thump at th' back dooar
He'd a sack on his back,
An' aw thowt in a crack
As he'd buy whod aw hed on to th' flooar.

Bud aw'll nod go for,
Whol aw tell whod id wor.

Aw'd sum owd stockin feet,
As aw'd hed eawt o' th' seet,
An things eawt o' th' cellar an garret,
Ther wer three pair o' shoon,
An an owd broken spoon,
An t' cage as geet broken wi t' parrot.

A swart med o' tin,
An' a dripper put in,
As hed awlus med th' gravy look rusty;
Sum wheels of a clock,
An' eawr Nelly's owd frock,
As smelled rayther mildewed an fusty.

Short lengths o' tape,
An' a hat eawt o' shape,
Id wer't th' hat as aw'd hed to be wed in;
Ther wer pappers an books,
As aw'd fun i' odd nooks,
An' th' pert of eawr Nelly's owd beddin'.

An rags aw reckon'd up bi 'th skoor,
Like little meauntains on to 'th floor;
Aw roused um up to led um see,
An then aw ses "Whod's price to be?"
He ses, "I won't be arfther tellin',
But lave it to the man that's sellin."
Aw looked, an' then aw scrat mi head,
An' said "they'd better o' be weighed?
This seemed to give him mental pain, ―
He roar'd eawt "Is it way'd yo mane,
Shure I can tell yez to a rag;"
Wi thad he put um in his bag.
"I'll take these, thin a bag I'll borrow;
The other lots I'll fetch to-morrow,
Maybe to-day, if 'tisn't rainin,
Then missus can do all her claynin;
To chate aw'd never yet begin,
For shure t' would be a mortal sin."
Aw knew one bag would never owd um,
An' gradely fain I wor aw'd sowd um.
Aw waits to hear a thump at th' dooar,
For th' things — aw hev um still on th' flooar,
Aw thinks he's comin' every day —
It's three week sin he went away.
Th' wife ses hoo'd sell um if hoo could;
Aw know he'll cum — he sed he would.


UG. 26th, 1833; died Demerara, Jan. 3rd, 1890.

LOUD wails of lamentation o'er the land,
    The nations now are plunged in grim dismay;
For death hath touched him now with icy hand,
    Ere New Year's joyous greetings died away.

Faith brought to him her lamp in early youth,
    To lead through paths of Science's fertile field.
Where'er it grew he culled the flower of truth,
    Then fearless went he forth with virtue's shield.

And patiently he'd watch through darkest night,
    Majestic worlds of wonder oft he'd trace,
But darkness now for him is changed to light,
    And creature meets Creator face to face.

The twinkling stars above no more he'll watch
    Through misty morn and eve to toil and wait,
For angels' fingers now will lift the latch —
    No longer shall he linger at the gate.



AW'D thrown deawn mi book,
    Aw'd bin moither'd wi' t' din;
Mi arm cheer i' th' nook
    Aw wer fain to creep in.
Tho' aw like scenes 'uts new,
    Yet mi heart clings to 'th owd,
When mi wants wer so few,
    I' thad heawse into th' fowd.

They'd o' gone to bed,
    Aw wer left bi missel;
Then Fancy soon led
    To at sweet little dell.
Owd Time were rowled back,
    Aw'd no silver nor gowd;
Aw wer co'd little Jack
    I' thad heawse into th' fowd.

Aw see th' swallows leet
    Where they built under 't thatch;
Id seawnded so sweet,
    Dud thad click o'th th' owd latch.
Aw crept to 't so quate,
    Whol aw tried to feel bowd;
Then aw swung back 'th owd gate
    To thad heawse into th' fowd.

My heart id went fast,
    For id o' seemed so plain;
Aw'd' th' present an' th' past
    Wi' o' th' pleasures an' pain.
Ageean aw'm a lad,
    Tho' aw'm fifty year owd;
Yet aw weave wi' mi dad
    I' thad heawse into th' fowd.

Up owd Strangle Street,
    Just facin' th' brook foot;
Them watters booath meet,
    As they try to ged to 't.
Aboon th' little teawn,
    When deeath's med me cowd;
Aw could like to lie deawn
    Near thad heawse into th' fowd.



AW'M fairly upset abeawt thee, Nell!
    Thad cough and thi breathing's so bad;
Tha morn'd go an' dee like that tother,
    Oh! dorn'd go an' heart-break thi dad.
Aw feel as aw cudn'd live beawt tha,
    Theaw're sich a fine lass when theaw'rt weel;
Aw'll nod leave thi side for a minute,
    Except just to write wod aw feel.

Thad tother bud coom on a visit,
    Hoo's gon hooam to th' choir up aboon;
If they've a wood cheer i' thad mansion,
    Hoo'll sing in't from morning to noon.
Their music's so nice up in Heaven,
    Aw know hoo'll be just in her glee;
Hoo may happen keep i'th tune, but hoo'll mix id,
    For't part on't ull be abeawt me.

Hoo's towd God o'er me being lonely,
    And moping abeawt on this earth,
So theaw wer sent down as a comfort,
    Tha bundle of mischief and mirth.
When aw look at them things as theaw's played wi,
    Aw feel ther plump teed to my heart;
Oh! Nelly, neaw dorn'd go an' leave mo —
    Aw corn'd do wi hevvin' to part.

Cum, just let mo see tha clap blessin's,
    An' point at thad owd 'larun clock,
An' sheawt o' thi dad as theaw use to,
    And let slavver run deawn thi frock.
Theaw would if theaw could, bud theaw'rt sleepy;
    Theaw'rt better today aw con see —
Then cum to thi dad an' he'll rock tha,
    Theaw's bo-peep nice on his knee.

Neaw stop thad machine an' talk quately,
    An' give her a chance o' sum rest;
Aw know aw look rough, bud aw'm human,
    When childer u'll lean on mi breast.
Aw'm trying mi best to be patient,
    Aw'm tryin' to think hoo'll cum reawnd;
If hoo dees aw'd rather go wi her,
    An' booath lie together i'th greawnd.



WHEN Spring puts on her gaudy cap,
And fills with flowers fond Flora's lap;
The fairest spot on Nature's map
                  Is Blackburn Park.

Her choice of treasures there she'll bring, —
Her spotted carpet out she'll fling;
The thrush and blackbird then will sing
                  In Blackburn Park.

There, maidens shy their walks will take,
Nor dream of harm, by rock or lake,
Tho' Cupid's darts shall havoc make
                  In Blackburn Park.

He sends his darts in lane or street,
Then maidens will their lovers greet,
Yet his own home is Flora's feet
                  In Blackburn Park.

If you would life's short day prolong,
Then leave the mad world's giddy throng;
The Robin sings his sweetest song
                  In Blackburn Park.

On some old bough, in frost and snow,
He sings his song so sweet and low;
His waistcoat red he's proud to show
                  In Blackburn Park.

And tho' sometimes when sorely prest,
He leaves the spot he loves the best,
He comes again to build his nest,
                  In Blackburn Park.

'Tis there where children ask to go,
Where flowers in all their beauty grow —
Their daisy bunches oft they'll show
                  In Blackburn Park.

'Tis there where towering rocks are seen,
With green spots nestled in between—
A place of beauty, shade, and sheen,
                  Is Blackburn Park!

Feb. 23rd, 1889.



AW'VE noss'd my papper, pen, an' ink,
An shut my e'en an' tried to think;
Through th' noise these men hes med eawtside,
Aw've th' headwerch whol aw corn'd abide.
Bud neetw aw think aw'll ged agatte,
An' just explain it why aw'm late;
An' heaw we've o' bin situated
Ay! patiently for years we've waited.

Aw'd thowt as Blegburn Corporation
Wer't slowest chaps we hed i' th' nation,
Bud though aw thowt as they wer wrong,
Aw'd sense enough to howd mi tongue.
Aw've suffered martyrdom mysell,
An' others if they would but tell;
When winter coome so cowd an' weet,
Owd fooak it took 'um off their feet;

When't wattter coome i' mony a flood,
An' left us ankle-deep i' mud;
I' summer time eawr wives geet crusty,
Because o't furniture wer dusty.
Aw could a weary tale unravel
O' fooak uts fown 'mong th' clay an' gravel;
Whenever th' road geet nice an' hard,
They'd cum an' plough id yard bi' yard.

An' when we'd spells of dryish weather,
They'd never deg for weeks together;
Bud when derk cleawds begun to show,
They'd bring thad thing an' deg id o'.
Bud men, an' angels too, hev stumbled,
We've bin like Job, an' never grumbled;
An' neaw wer geddin' whod we've craved,
For th' Mayor ses neaw it's to be paved.

O' big square stooans ther's mony a skoor,
Ther, o' piled up at front o' th' door,
Beside big hoyles as looks like caves,
Or like sum gred long narrow graves.
O't childer when they cum fro' t' skoo,
They try ther best whod they con do;
Aw've sin um giving mony a lift —
When th' men cums back they hev to shift.

But th' street, fooak co's id Branch Rooad yet,
Where trees deawn th' sides once waved an' met;
Ther's heawses neaw an' shops, an' pubs,
Where once grew flowers and bushy shrubs,
Where lovers then would wend ther way
I'th' bonny months o' June or May,
An' then seet under th' trees to rest,
Whol th' skylark carolled o'er his nest;
Where't bees on mony a flower would leet
Wi drowsy hum tor't th' edge o' neet:

Where 't lambs once gambled, gay an' free,
An't t' fruit once hung fro' bush an' tree;
An' dewdrops shining on to th' flowers,
An' th' rooasebuds hung i' woodland bowers,
Where th' stockdove flutterin' to its nest,
Whol th' sun wer' paintin' scenes i' th' west;
Then foxgloves could be fun i' th' glade;
Bud o, that scrapin' noise fro' t' spade,
I' th' stead o' th' cuckoo's farewell nooat —
"Here, dash id, mopus, reach thad cooat!"

An' mony a time aw've left mi book
To gooa eawtside an' hev a look,
For t' noises goaa on o' through th' day,
Next week aw think they'll be away.
An' when it's dun aw'll swagger deawn,
Aw's know it's nicest street i' th' teawn;
Tom, pick them papers off thad floor,
Oh! drat thad noise — aw'll write no moore.

June, 1890



A rollin' stooan, it's awlos sed,
    Con never gether moss,
But them as rowls is awlus clean —
    Aw com'd see heaw ther woss,
An' aw've just moved fro' t' derk to t' leet,
    An' though aw've nod mich wit,
Aw think aw've sence enough to know,
    It's nicer wheer aw've flit.

An' heaw we geet o' th' things across,
    Aw's hev a job to tell,
Aw'd men aw paid to carry sum,
    An' sum aw took misell.
As where aw've gon's nod fifty yerds,
    Aw dud beawt kert or tit,
For th' naybours gi' mo mony a lift,
    Wi' helpin' mo to flit.

My wife, aw couldn'd ged her eawt,
    Hoo'd sitch a nasty face;
Mi goods o' seem'd to walk aheawt
    To try to find a place;
An'th rockin' cheers, booath wife's an' mine,
    Ther'll noather on um fit;
They look as if they'd booath foo'n eawt
    Because they've hed to flit.

My cheer stan's i'th place o'th wife's,
    An hor's where mine should be;
A'stid o' me bein facin th' wife,
    My wife sits facin' me.
Eawr Nelly's cried booath neet an' day,
    Hoo'll nother lie nor sit,
Yo see hoo's nobhut youngish yet,
    Hoo hes'nd sence to flit.

An' whod aw hev to tell yo' neaw
    Aw know yo'll think it's chaff,
For when mi teeam wer o' at work,
    They med four paysons laugh;
When th' dolly tub cum walkin' deawn
    Aw thowt they'd hev a fit;
Eawr Tom hed sence to sneeze inside,
    To led um know we'd flit.

When th' childer cooam aw leet um stert
    To carry whod wer leet,
An' twenty-five went late for 't shoo,
    An' others stopped whol neet;
Ther arms wer twinin' reawnd mi legs —
    "Hey, mon I help a bit?"
Aw could'nd help bud led um stert
    O' helpin' mo to flit.

An' one o' th' chaps as paves i' th' Branch,
    As werks reet facin' th' dooar,
He hung his meyt up on a nail —
    He'd left id there afore;
Bud this time sumbry took id o,
    Beside his hat an' kit,
Aw think id's sumbody eawt o' werk,
    As wants to larn to flit.

June, 1890.



                 SUCH a sweet little spot,
                 It can ne'er be forgot;
Round my heart are its mem'ries entwined,
                 Where the brook wanders by,
                 With the Ribble so nigh,
And the people so homely and kind.
                 It was there, when a boy,
                 That my heart leapt with joy,
When aw'd finished my cut or my beam,
                 Then away from my home,
                 By their waters to roam,
For the sand martin's nest by the stream.

                 Then I've come back again,
                 Up that shady old lane,
Where I knew every inch of the track,
                 To that sunny Greenside, ,
                 I have tramped it with pride,
With my nettles slung over my back.
                 They were all my world's wealth,
                 But I'd freedom and health;
I could soar above sorrow supreme;
                 In that long narrow room
                 I could sing at my loom
In that old-fashioned cot by the stream.

                 By that old bobbin mill,
                 Where the water 's so still,
I have gone with my pinhook and rod;
                 I was filled with delight
                 When the fishes would bite
At the worm I'd found under the sod.
                 But there's mills large and new
                 Where wild roses once grew,
And the looms are all driven by steam.
                 Now, the Ribble will roar,
                 But 'twill sparkle no more
As it did when I waded the stream.

                 Ah!   But where is that well,
                 Where the apples once fell —
Those red ones so juicy and sweet?
                 Then I loved a strong wind,
                 For to me it was kind,
When the apples it brought to my feet.
                 But the well is now dry,
                 And I heave a deep sigh,
As I think of my boyhood's sweet dream ;
                 When I watched its o'erflow
                 To the brook it would go,
For they both loved the Ribble's bright stream.



AW write this dark November day
To ax tha why tha stops away;
Hes ta nod a cheerful word to say,
        Does't know as aw've a tumor?

It's two months neaw sin id begun,
We nod one cheerin' ray fro't sun;
It hurts mo, mon, to see fooak shun
        Mo neaw, 'cause aw've a tumor.

Aw dud ged cawt at bit at fost,
Bud neaw, aw think, it's come to t' wost,
For day an neet id will be noss't,
        Aw'm like to suit mi tumor.

Inside or eawt ther's nowt bud gloom,
Reminding one o' deeath an t' toome,
An here aw'm limpin' reawnd mi room,
        To try to quaten th' tumor.

Aw've hed slow fayver, t' geawt, an't tic,
Rheumatic pains — bin drunken sick,
Bud never nowt sin aw wer wick,
        To match these pains o' t' tumor.

Last neet when comin' hooam aw fell,
Aw've hed them there, tha's heeard mi tell
O'th plagues ther is eawtside o' hell,
        Ther'e nooan to match a tumor.

Aw've doctors tried i' mony a teawn,
Yet still aw'm limpin' up an deawn;
If aw wer a king aw'd part wi't creawn,
        If aw could part wi' t' tumor.

Aw's nod give up nor pine an fret,
For troubles fly when bravely met,
An life hes charms to offer yet,
        If aw could rid this tumor.

Theaw dud'nd fret o'er t' shuttle peg,
Theaw sung of t' peeark wi' t' brokken leg;
Tho' this o' mine wer bud a seg,
        Its rippen'd to a tumor.

An tho' aw'm nod a bird o' nooat,
When spring time comes aw'll cast mi cooat,
Then safe thro't meawt aw'll chirp a nooat,
        To bid farewell to t' tumor.

An neaw, owd friend, tha knows mi case;
Dorn'd keawr so long i' th' "Thrysting Place,"
Bud come i' th' Branch an show thi face —
        Oh! another twitch o' th' tumor.

Dec. 1st, 1888.



AW'VE bin watchin' eawr Nelly o day,
    As hoo's toddled abeawt on her feet;
An aw've nooaticed each dimple go less,
    Whol her face grew quite solemn tor't neet.
But hoo'd fown fast asleep i' mi arms,
    As Owd Sol had just thrown his last ray;
An' I hope sleep'll give her new strength,
    For hoo's set off a-walkin' to-day!

Ay, hoo's getten sitch pearly white teeth,
    But hoo doesn'd eat butties so fast,
For hoo weets um an waves um i'th air,
    An hoo rubs um i' o sooarts o' nast.
An' hoo's life's roughest broo yet to climb,
    Wi' sitch tornin's to leead her astray;
Oh, mi heart'll fair werch when aw think
    As hoo's set off a-walkin' to-day!

But to hor life is th' breetest side up,
    It's on me its dark shadows is cast;
An' to-neet aw do wish aw could think
    As her smiles would stick to her to t' last.
Among 't number ut hoo'll meet upo' th' rooad,
    There'll be wastrels as study foul play;
There's sitch dangers i' th' corners o' life,
    An hoo's set off a-walkin' to-day!

Neaw they've ta'en her away for o t' neet,
    An' they've left mo deawn here bi misel;
Aw feel ill when hoo's eawt o' mi seet,
    For hoo's part o' mi life is eawr Nell.
Whol ther's th' angels on guard reawnd her bed,
    Aw'll go up an' aw'll ask um to stay,
An to guide every step as hoo teks,
    For hoo's set off a-walking to-day!

Led her catch mornin's sunshine o' life,
    For on me it's a long way past noon;
Bud aw'll keep a firm grip of her hond,
    If grim fate dooesn'd part us too soon.
Tho' aw corn'd hope to see her to th' end,
    Aw con tek her agate on her way;
An aw'll give her o th' leet aw con ged,
    For hoo's set off a-walking to-day !

Soa aw'll try hard to shake off this gloom,
    An aw'll keep up mi head i' life's race;
For aw think we con banish Despair,
    An' he'll fly when he see's her breet face.
O her smiles aw'll lock up i' mi heart,
    For they'll keep id fro' grief an decay;
Bud aw'll pay um o back as we go,
    For hoo's set off a-walking to-day!

Feb. 13th, 1890.



THE outside world is hushed and still,
    The loved one's all in bed;
My chair I've drawn up close beside
    The fire so bright and red.
Let fancy with love's fingers try
    To strike the tuneful lyre ,
        And perhaps a note
        There may be taught
    By faces in the fire.

Oh, bring to-night each missing link
    I've lost from memory's chain;
Let forms and faces long forgot
    Now visit me again,
With magic hand they lift the latch —
    Some come while some retire;
        Each face I know
        That in its glow
    Looks radiant in the fire.

That thin and careworn face, I know,
    Had earn'd a perfect rest;
My troubles soothed in early life,
    And lulled me on her breast.
My brother's come to me again,
    My dull brain to inspire ,
        For one short while
        I see him smile
    With faces in the fire.

That old boathouse I know it well,
    So red's the outside wall;
And there's the village schoolhouse, too,
    Among the poplars tall.
But oh! that blaze has spoiled them all,
    There goes the church and spire;
        Thus while I sit
        My pleasures flit
    With faces in the fire.

And like the fire my life has been;
    In youth 'twas all aglow;
As age creeps on the vital spark
    Is burning dim and low.
But mirth shall try to fan the flame
    Until it doth expire,
        Like that last spark
        When all is dark,
    Like faces in the fire.



AW connod sing o'er heroes bowd,
    Ut feyt i' forren parts,
For't thowts o'th widows left at hooam,
    To dee o' brokken hearts,
Whol nation's hev bin bowt an' sowd,
To furnish few wi' fame an' gowd!

Ther's mony at cleawn as th' world' drest up,
    Wi' medals on his breast;
An' mony a poor neglected grave,
    Wheer heroes lie at rest:
Aw'll sing o'er one ut's weel an' wick ―
Despised, neglected, silly Dick!

Neaw Dick's as simple as a child;
    He's awlus bin content,
Tho' poverty hes follow'd him,
    Whichever way he went:
At skoo he could'nd pay his fee,
An never learnt his A B C.

Ther's grown up fooak ut's rather daft,
    Like — hes'nd wit to jooak;
They sheawt "Oh, Peg," whol childer's learnt,
    To mimic th' owder fooalk, —
They dorn'd gie Dick his gradely name,
Because they hev'nd sense to shame.

O' th' by-way pads is known to Dick,
    For miles an' miles areawnd ,
He knows each ferm an' public heawse,
    An' every inch o' th' greawnd ,
At walking too, he's had to lick,
Ther's few con keep at t' front o' Dick.

When we lived deawn at th' owd Greenside,
    When he, like us, wer pooar;
Aw knew when he'd a soft ooatcake,
    Bi' th' way he oppen'd th' dooar!
He'd cum an say, as if wi' fear,
"Tha corn'd guess whod aw've getten here!"

Aw'd guess, an though aw knew o t' time,
    Aw'd keep on guessin' fast,
Till nearly everything aw'd named —
    "Ooatcake" I'd say at last!
An then a laugh, an sheawt o glee,
An, th' cake wer landed on mi knee!

An' th' world wer praising me because
    Aw'd sense to watch an' wait;
Whol he wer doin' good bi stealth,
    Aw practised foul desate;
An tho' th' world's gin him th' freawn an'th kick,
It's praised woss fooak than silly Dick.

An' though he's reckon'd short o' brains,
    An' never learnt to read,
Ther's one good lesson as he's learnt,
    That's helpin' fooak i' need:
Whol ther's a child near him ut's sick,
Ther's nod mitch sleep for silly Dick.

When knowledge seet her table eawt,
    An put o' th' dainties on,
An stood theer waitin' wi' a smile,
    To welcome everyone —
When wealth cum in, an' hed his pick,
There worn'd mitch left for silly Dick!

Aw've heeard o'er One as coome deawn here,
    To ged fooak free fro' sin,
Like little childer they'd to be,
    An then he'd tek um in, —
He knows o' th' fooak booath deead an' wick —
Aw think He'll find a place for Dick!

God bless tha, Dick, an' help tha throo,
    An' when tha cums to dee,
Tha's nod as mitch to answer for,
    As stuck-up fooak like me!
An' when life's Ribble's booated o'er, '
Ther's nicer sands on t' to'ther shore!

Owd Shakespeare ses as th' world's a stage,
    An' life is bud a play, —
Another mon he ses its bud
    A journey of a day;
When he's put deawn his spoon an stick,
Aw know ther'll be a place for Dick!

June, 1891.




Born January 29th, 1817, died April 30th, 1890.

THE words "He's dead" refuse to leave the tongue;
    Wayfarers here are left in deepest gloom.
A star hath fallen from the world of song,
    Grim death has been and claimed him for the tomb.

But ere he went he left a rich bequest,
    And those who loved him most desire no more;
The bird hath piped all day, then found his nest,
    The barque has landed safe upon the shore.

Then bear him forth with measured step and slow,
    The sable crowd in tears will open wide;
Oh! make his grave where meadow flowers may grow,
    Now all his earthly load he's laid aside.

Yes, crape the harp and strike the muffled drum,
    No more for him the heather branches wave;
With softest music let the mourners come,
    And bring their wreaths to deck a poet's grave.



ATTEND to mi' mews, an aw'll rhyme yo' mi' wail,
Aw'll tickle yo'r fancy wi' t' end o' mi' tale;
Neaw cats hes their fortunes o' gin eawt bi' fate,
Which leeads mo to think as mi' mother went late;
                This part's verra sad,
                Aw ne'er knew mi' dad ―
Aw think he'll hev cleyn'd his last plate.

Aw'll nod tell o'er t' gossips as use to come in,
Nor't scandal they swallow'd, wi' t' ale, rum, or gin;
An' th' mischief they med, aw should think yo con guess,
Ther tales they went longer, as th' rum id went less.
                Whod lies they would tell!
                They damaged thersell
Bi' barrin' th' highway to success.

Aw liked th' place at fost — among th' wosted aw'd play,
Whey they butter'd m' feet just to ged mo to stay;
Bud neaw aw'm neglected, th' milks o' in a clot,
Mi' heart id fair heaves when aw see id i'th pot.
                Eh! when aw'd new milk,
                Mi cooat wer like silk;
Hoo'd six — aw wer't nicest i' th' lot.

Aw hev med mistakes, an lost mony a stiff race,
An then aw've hed th' wiskers o' rubbed off my face;
It's hard when one's ill to be leather'd reawnd th' hoyle,
To be med in a mop an then thrown among th' coyle;
                Aw know as it's wrong,
                Aw'll nod stan id long,
Mi' beauty ther trying to spoil.

Aw'm happy sometimes, an' con join i' ther mirth,
Of a neet when ther telling ther tales up o'th hearth;
When th' fire's shining breet, aw con bask in its ray,
An o' seems at rest after t' troubles o' th' day;
                On th' rug aw con sit,
                As't dark shadows flit,
Like time as keeps passin' away.



EH! me, booath Spring an' Summer's gone,
An' th' fleawers keep fadin' one by one,
Aw'll homple eawt whol'er aw con, —
               Id does mo good
To see thad dress as tha's put on
               I' th' field an' wood.

Tha's shown as t' seeds worn'd sown i' vain
Bi th' fruit tha's browt an' th' gowden grain,
An' weshed so clear wi' dew an' rain,
               An' Summer's tears;
Whol th' robin sung i' plaintive strain
               O' changin' years.

Aw think when Sol his gowd beams threw,
Them shades o' thine tha's mixed wi' t' dew,
There's summat quare if one bud knew,
               Tha's stown 'em o, —
Bud heaw tha dyed 'em as they grew
               Aw's never know.

Aw've stored thy fruits i' th' nicest room,
An' buried Spring an Summer's bloom.
Thy leeaves is nice to spread o'er th' tomb
               Wher th' wind con play,
An' music mek whol Winter's gloom
               Hes past away.

Like flowers we hev eawr June an' May;
When Autumn comes we're tinged wi' gray, —
We bud an' bloom, then fade away.
               Life's storms will rave,
An' we're bud med o' bits o' clay,
               To throw i' th' grave.




AW'M cheer'd wi' t' blue i' th' sky aboon,
    Thro' every month i' th' year,
Whol tha' comes in an' throws thad vail
    O' darkness everywhere:
Tho' January may be dark,
    An' winter-born December,
Ther is no month as black as thee,
    For shame, for shame, November.

Aw hed a Robin used to come,
    Thro' mony a winter's snow;
Bud neaw he's deead, no more he'll sing,
    For me on th' backyard wo, —
Aw'd live o' fish, an' fast, an' pray,
    If every day wer Ember,
An' be content if rid o' thee,
    Theaw mournful, meawled November!

Aw'm fond o th' leet; aw corn'd like thee, —
    Tha's darkened Nature's face;
Sooa go thi ways, December, then,
    May come an' tek thi place.
Wi' shadows glidin' o' thro' th' place,
    It's like a haunted chamber;
Tha'd vex a saint wi' thy black looks,
    Tha' growlin' grim, November!

An' poets — them as fratch o'er thee,
    They corn'd bi gradely reet;
Tha hes no mind to co thi own —
    Tha'rt changin', day an' neet!
Aw've reckon'd up fro' being a lad,
    O' th' pleasures aw remember;
Nod one thro' thee, hes come to me,
    Tha nasty, dark, November!

An' look heaw th' leeaves hes curled and dee'd,
    An' dropp'd fro' bush an' tree:
Led Time bud tek another stride,
    An' then we're shut o' thee!
Them varied shades as look'd so weel,
    Thro' August an' September —
They're spoil'd an' trampled under t' feet,
    An' o thro' thee, November!

Ther's nobbut four i' o eawr lot,
    To reckon young an' owd;
Sin tha coome in we'n every one,
    Bin smoother'd in a cowd:
Tha's brought thi nasty fogs an' rain,
    An' upset every member;
Aw think owd Blegburn's derk enough,
    Ged eawt, tha black November!




"JACK, poo thi cheer a bit tort mine,
    Let's booath stop up o neet;
Aw'll thrutch th' owd cerpet under t' door
    To keep th' draught off thi feet."
We seet an' camped, led mony a skeeom;
Aw fell asleep an' hed a dreeam.

Aw thowt aw heard a gentle knock ,
    Aw went an' oppen'd th' dooar,
When Ninety-One coome glidin' in,
    An' dropped his pack on t' floor.
Just then Hope whisper'd i' mi ear,
"A welcome give — that's eawr New Year."

"Aw will," aw ses, quite fain as Hope
    Were theer to keep me reet;
Aw press'd his hand, an' pointed deawn
    To th' bundle at his feet.
An' sed, "Neaw, would you be so kind
As t' oppen thad an' ease mi mind?"

His face an' form aw corn'd describe;
    He wore a sword an' creawn;
He wouldn'd tell mo whod he'd brought
    For me an' th' fooak i' th' teawn.
An' when he see mo steyl a look,
He waved mo back to th' cheer i' th' nook.

Aw dud then whod aw'd never dun
    Before i' o' mi life;
Aw med a speech abeawt Owd Time,
    An' introduced mi wife.
Th' wife blush'd an' stagger'd tort his pack;
He raised his hand an' waved her back.

At last aw thowt, aw'd ax him plain;
    He'd answer Yes or No:
Aw sed, "Whod hes to in thad pack
    Neaw will to led us know?
We'r living neaw i' fear and deawt,
Untee them knots an' oppen eawt."

He smiled, an' then he shaked his heyd,
    An' walked away wi' th' pack;
Aw jumped on to mi feet at once
    To try to fotch him back.
Th' wife coome an' push'd mo back i' th' cheer,
An' ses, "Tha'rt dreaming o'er t' New Year."

Aw scrat my head an' rubbed mi een,
    An' then aw tried to think ,
Aw went to bed, geet up ageean,
    An' couldn'd sleep a wink.
My wife then towd mo o aw'd sed —
Aw wrooate id eawt an' went to bed.

Owd fooak like me is best i' bed,
    Let th' young 'uns watch an' wait;
Aw shouldn'd like to try ageean
    To reckon up mi fate,
An' as Owd Time keeps peylin' on,
Aw'll trust to thee, young Ninety-One.



I saw it in my ramble,
    And poesy bade me stay
To see it sport and gamble,
    So merry in its play.
The robin sang above it,
    And seemed to feel the charm;
The wagtail said, "I love it,"
    As it wanders by the farm.

In youth I played with Ribble,
    And knew each mossy nook.
Where it would pause and dribble,
    Just where it met the brook;
Far from its home the fountain
    Where Nature's beauties swarm
I've traced it from the mountain
    Till it wandered by the farm.

Its moorland home was shaded
    With purple heather bloom;
But when the foxglove faded,
    'Twas chosen for their tomb.
Rude winter would dissemble,
    It fled in great alarm;
It seemed to fret and tremble,
    As it wandered by the farm.

What wild sweet tangled places
    It creeps through on its way;
Kind Nature holds the traces,
    And lets it frisk and play.
It knows not danger's troubles;
    'Tis nursed on Nature's arm,
Where it will laugh in bubbles
    As it wanders by the farm.

'Twill teach me rhyme and measure,
    When songbirds chant their lay;
Where Spring unfolds her treasure
    For bright and beauteous May.
The flowers have all been sleeping,
    While Winter's had his term:
But now they're shyly peeping,
    As it wanders by the farm.

A bright and dashing rover,
    Which often came that way,
"Our single life is over,"
    In rippling rhyme did say;
"I've wandered far to greet thee,
    Will't keep thy true love warm?
And every day I'll meet thee,
    And we'll wander by the farm."

March 30th, 1889.



NEAW, th' fost thing aw'll explain mi case —
Aw'm ill; aw've hed to change mi place;
For weeks an' weeks aw've hed a cowd,
But th' doctor ses aw'm geddin' owd;
He felt mi pulse an' tried mi breath,
An' med mo gradely feared o' death.
He give mo physic an' a pill,
An' if I mend aw's pay his bill,
Aw hev sum stuff to guggle th' throttle,
He put thad in another bottle.
Aw use id, then it's thrown away,
But th' physic ta'en three times a day;
He towd mo aw'd to give up study,
An' ged away where t' land wer woody;
Sooa th' good aw'll sooart fro' whod he sed,
An' th' t'other part aw's soon forged.
When th' wife aw towd, aw see id shocked her,
Hoo ses "Tha'rt like to go bi th' doctor,"
Th' owd lass hoo seem'd fair brocken-hearted,
Aw kussed her twice an' then aw sterted.

Sooa in t' big ship aw sailed away,
An' here aw am i' Douglas bay;
Aw've hed a verra pleasant sail,
Wi' mony a jooak an' merry tale,
An' comic songs wi' roars o' laughter;
Aw felt quite lively th' mornin' after.
Aw'm weel enough to write a letter,
Aw's try a poem when aw'm better.
If aw could buy thad jewel health,
Aw'd pay for 't wi' mi worldly wealth ,
Neaw print this letter if it's needed,
There's happen odd uns as u'll read it.

Aw would'nd write abeawt mi'sell,
If aw'd sum gradely news to tell;
Ther's one thing though aw morn'd forged,
We've two young fooak new getten wed.
Ther nice but rather peevish fooak,
For whod they've dun's aboon a jooak.
Aw'll grumble cause aw've sum occasion,
Aw've just o'er heeard o' th' conversation;
They've towd th' fooak here aw rhymes a bit,
Bud th' misses hes'nd med mo flit.
"Well! Well!" hoo ses, "aw'm nod that sooar,
Aw've hed him lodgin' here afoor,
Aw know th' chap is'nd gradely mad,
Beside he's never hed id bad;
We'll just try if we corn'd arrange,
He's harmless, though aw know he's strange,
He seems to stare a deal at nowt,
Aw think thad shows a want o' thowt;
He's rather strange like in his way,
An' lives beawt sugar in his tay."

Bud neaw aw'm geddin' use to th' shop,
An' if th' price suits aw think aw's stop ,
Beside aw feel aw'm mendin' fast —
Aw'll stop as long as th' brass ull last.

When aw wer young, eh thad wer't time,
Aw gloried then these hills to climb,
Bud neaw aw know aw'm geddin' owd
Aw dorn'd feel quite as brisk and bowd.
Aw'm waker neaw, nod quite as silly,
Aw'd rather hev id nod so hilly,
If aw'd my way aw'd hev id flat,
An' screw a tail to every cat.
Ther foreign fooak is th' natives here,
They tawk to fast, an' rather queer;
O'th Fridays here's unlucky days,
Ther supersticious i' ther ways,
They've bigger moons to shine at neet;
Ther weather is'nd quite as weet.
O' them wi' ships they co'n um skippers,
A deeal o'th fooak here lives o' kippers;
But th' mackeral here is fresh an' fatter,
An' their sun rises eawt o'th' watter.
Aw live near th' tower as stans i' th' hay,
Where th' ocean waves oft cum to play;
I'th neet-time when aw'm led i' bed
Aw hear um dash on Douglas Head.
An' when aw've dropped i' th' arms o' sleep,
Aw feel's aw'm rocked abeawt on th' deep.
I' th' neet id cries wi' mournful voices,
An' then when mornin' comes rejoices.
At neet id tells mo fooak it's dreawned,
I' th' mornin' teks fooak hooamward beawnd.

An' neaw mi letter to conclude,
At comin' here aw've never rued;
An' sooa aw'll say no mooar at present;
Fro' owd Jack Rowkley, Marlo' Crescent.

July, 1890.



THERE'S nowt i' th' world aw like so weel
    As childer nice an' young;
No seawnd to me is hofe so sweet
    As th' music fro ther tongue.
An' when they climb up on mi knee,
    Ther little arms entwine,
        Aw like um o,
        But still aw know
    Ther's nooan like yon o' mine.

This world wer like a barren plain,
    Where nowt could grow or thrive;
Where fooak would grooap abeawt for th' grave,
    An' hardly feel alive;
Bud when these childer's planted eawt,
    As stars o' love they shine.
        Though mony a skooar
        Will pass bi th' door,
    There's nooan as nice as mine.

To watch 'em meet ther dads an' mams
    When comin' hooam at neet;
There's now't i' books con soften th' heart
    Like watchin' when they meet.
An' as aw write, yon's little Jane,
    Wi' oather eight or nine;
        Ther' full o' fun,
        As breet as th' sun,
    Bud nod as breet as mine.

Ther's one u't lives aboon eawr heawse,
    Hoo passes every day;
An' when hoo stops away fro' t' skoo
    Wi' me hoo'll romp an' play.
A game at hob-scotch suits her t' best,
    When mine just stops on't line.
        Her dance o' glee,
        Aw like to see ―
    Hoo's nod as brisk as mine.

Eawr Nelly hings her head so shy,
    Her smile ther's nooan so sweet;
Hoo's breet as ony summer's sky,
    Or rooase-bud dript wi' weet.
An' them fooak com'd be gradely reet,
    As says they've one as fine;
        They morn'd tell me,
        For corn'd aw see
    Ther's nooan like yon o' mine.




Born 1818; Died September 24th, 1889.

SHE is not dead — though millions are in grief.
    With all the flowers she sang of deck her grave!
The reaper of the muse has bound her sheaf,
    Let "Buttercups and Daisies" o'er her wave.

Thou art not dead — we have thy muse's flame,
    That heart is still — thou'st left the world's rude throng
On earth for ever — "Hallowed be thy name,"
    'Twill brighter be as Time shall roll along.

The "Old Arm Chair" is vacant now I ween;
    The harp, its strings are broke, its music fled.
Tread softly o'er each place where she has been;
    Her spirit lingers there — she is not dead.

From early youth I've loved her tuneful lay;
    Now cross her hands upon her peaceful breast;
The sun has set, now fades the lingering day,
    So lay her gently down and let her rest.



WE shall awlus mek thee welcome,
    Tha's sich nice an sunny sheawers;
An' tha never misses comin'
    Wi thi brat brimful o' fleawers,
Whey tha brings um o' for presents,
    An' tha leeaves um on th' way;
Aw's try to think tha'rt we us,
    Tho' aw know tha's gon' away.

When' th' cuckoo towd us deawn
            i' th' wood,
    He'd come to welcome thee,
O'th leeaves begun to clap their hands,
    An' fairly danced wi glee;
A concert sterted then 'mong'th birds,
    An' fooak hed now't to pay;
They corn'd sing quite as merry neaw,
    They know tha's gon' away.

If life wer med o' winters cowd,
    Then aw should soon retire;
Bud mony a glimpse does fancy show
    O' thee i' th' winter's fire;
Aw thinks it's thy breet sunshine, an'
    Aw sings a merry lay;
When'th cinders drop eawt one by one,
    Aw know tha's gon' away.

Aw'm sorry as tha's hed to leeave,
    Them flowers o' thine u'll fade;
Primrooases as aw like so weel,
    Are witherin' deawn i'th glade.
Ther's some i'th heart tha's planted,
    Hev blossom'd where they'll stay;
I' memory fast, whol life shall last,
    They shall never go away.

Them bluebells, heaw they hing ther
    Them colour'd spots i'th wood;
Aw thowt aw see um shiver, when
    Aw tried to find a bud;
O'th gress looks bent an' seedy neaw,
    An'th lambs forged to play;
They corn'd be quite as lively, for
    They know tha's gone away.

June, 1890.



WHEN owd Sol's climed up eawt o'th' east
    An' o'er hill tops he's peeping,
Aw'll claim mi share o' Nature's feast
    As th' mist o'er th' land is creepin.
Aw know aw hev a friend or two
    As reads mi rhymin' scribble;
If t' reet uns come, an' just enoo',
    We'll ramble deawn to th' Ribble.

Its getten too far on i'th' week
    To write by card or letter,
Id nobbut needs a bit o' cheek
    To try a way ut's better.
Ther's mony a place aw'm preawd to show
    Where't Ribble's awlus wander'd;
Aw've fun a way to let you know,
    Aw'll write to th' Blegburn Standard.

If Spring's new suit yo' want to see,
    It's free to every comer,
Where Nature decks each bush an' tree
    So nice i' Spring an' Summer.
But let's gooa neaw whol busy May
    Is Ribble's banks adorning;
Aw've bin afoor, aw'll show yo' t' way,
    Sooa cum next Sunday morning.

Deawn by-way paths bi th' Ribble's side,
    Owd wo's an' hedges climbin',
O'er rindlin' streams to jump or stride —
    Aw'm fain aw geet thad rhyme in.
An' if aw should ged wrong i'th' track,
    It's place as aw wer born in ,
Aw'll wriggle reet beawt turnin' back,
    Sooa cum next Sunday morning.

Where t' song birds gooa to build ther nest,
    Ther screened fro't cowdest weather;
Owd Ribble valley suits um t' best,
    An' neaw ther just i' feather.
Sooa cum away fro t' smooky teawn
    Where men each other's scornin';
Where th' airs so clear, thad's where aw'm beawn,
    Sooa cum next Sunday morning.

Th' owd willow's donn'd his greenest coat,
    Where t' blackbird will be singin';
We'll try to just ged deawn to't booat
    As th' owd church bells is ringin'.
Deawn theer ther's sum o' th' richest land,
    Wi barley, wheeat, an' corn in;
To see 't fro't booat it's fairly grand,
    Sooa cum next Sunday mornin'.

May, 1890.



OLD YEAR! thou'lt soon be gone for ever;
    Time hath made thee travel fast,
So get thee gone, Fate will not sever
    All sweet memories of the past.
When at thy birth I danced with gladness,
    Hope had shown her brightest ray,
Though now my looks have more of sadness,
For it is mirth I'd court to-day.
So I'll laugh and I'll sing,
May the New Year bring
New pleasures to dry every tear.
All your readers I greet,
Though we never may meet,
I wish them a Happy New Year.

December 28th, 1889.



AW think ther's summat ails tha, jack,
    Just look mo straight i'th' face;
On thee aw've never turned mi back,
    Bud kept abreast i'th' race.
It's thirty year sin we wer wed ―
    Id will be come next May;
Neaw dorn'd forged them words tha sed,
    An' let's booath poo one way.

When theaw took me to th' church, mi lad,
    Thad hard fast knot to tee;
Tha took mo' then for t' good an't bad,
    An' aw dud same wi thee.
Tho' neaw thi step's nod quite so firm,
    An' aw'm nod quite as gay,
Eawr hearts are quite as true an' warm,
    Sooa let's booath poo one way.

To-neet aw'll speyk just whod aw feel,
    Aw want thee to do't same;
For if th' world doesn'd use tha weel,
    Tha knows aw'm nod to blame.
Before aw'd see tha want for owt,
    Aw'd werk booath neet an' day;
Sooa Jack just do neaw tek a thowt,
    An' let's booath poo one way.

Theaw morn'd feight single-handed, mon,
    I'th' world ther's nowt bud strife;
Let th' best o' friends do whod they con,
    They corn'd do like a wife.
I'th' bits o' jars I know aw'm th' start,
    Whol th' passion's gone away;
An' then a'm wishing fro' mi heart
    We booath hed poo'd one way.

Theaw'rt bud a stranger, Jack, i'th' world,
    They see tha neaw an' then;
To me thi life is o' unfurled,
    Theaw'rt nooan o'th' wost o' men;
So try an' cheer up fro' to-neet,
    Theaw'lt see we's wark eawr way;
We'll mek th' rough wheels o' life run sweet,
    We'll awlus poo one way.

Sooa cheer up neaw, aw know tha con,
    For tho' theaw'rt rayther blunt;
Theaw's won life's battles one by one,
    An' awlus kept to t' frunt.
Just tek thi walks deawn Ribbleside,
    An' hear't thrush sing its lay;
Then tek thi place as t' prop an' guide,
    An' let's booath poo one way.



AW wonder will id ever give o'er rainin',
    Id doesn'd look as ever id would stop;
Where'e'r aw go to, fooak are o' complainin',
    An' th' hay, it's beawn to spoil id every crop.

Aw should be seechin' sum cool spot to lurk on,
    I'stead o' thad aw've burnt mi breeches knees;
It's as cowd as th' stooan bottle wi' a cork on,
    If id geds ony cowder id ull freeze.

Id seems to me ther's nowt i'th world bud trouble,
    There's nowt bud gloom — aw've looked fro' east
            to west;
In't field o' life there's nowt bud stooan an' stubble,
    Wi' nod a gradely shelterin' place to rest.

A'wd try to write o' summat verra funny,
    Bud everything aw see seems lapped i' crape;
Peas, an' poets, flourish when its sunny,
    When th' weather mends aw's happen ged i' shape.

Aw would so like to write o' glorious summer,
    Of o them beauties pictured in its skies;
O'th' busy bee an' mony a merry hummer,
    Bud if aw do aw's hev to write sum lies.

A'stid o' fans, o th' women hes umbrellas;
    Neaw if ther's summer here id does'nd show;
If almanac's an' sitch like dud'nd tell us,
    Ther's nowt i' Blegburn here would ever know.

An June ull soon hev left us o together,
    An nod a smell aw've hed o' new med hay,
What's good o' Summer comin' beawt her weather,
    Aw've nod a hauf a chance to ged away.

Aw connod feel a poet's sweet emotion,
    To tell yo' th' truth aw'm geddin gradely curled;
When Summer looks so shabby it's a caution,
    It's nod like this i' other perts o'th' world.

If th' sun would nobbut show as id wer day time,
    If th' sky worn'd hanging deawn so low and dark;
Bud dash id o! ther's beawn to be no haytime,
    An o' these Irish labourers eawt o' werk!

Ther'll nobody like thee, Summer, nobbut th' cabby,
    He knows ther's fooak hooafe dreawn'd i' every street;
Aw never thowt o' seein' thee so shabby,
    Look heaw thad dress o' thine's bin drabbled i'th' weet.

Aw's hev to stop, aw corn'd write whol its leeter;
    Aw find this week my seet hes wossend fast;
Let's dry eawr tears an' mek eawrsels look breeter,
    An' mek amends for th' gloomy looks o' th' past.

June, 1890.



A chap is a slave when he's lazy,
    He's a verra herd mayster to serve;
Owd sloth is a thief an' a tyrant,
    As steyles o eawr pleasures an' nerve.
This week he's hed me in his clutches,
    Bud neaw, like a Briton, aw'm free;
An' serve him as will, he's a bad 'un,
    Ther's nowt abeawt him as suits me.

Wi' kearin' i' th' nook aw wer gaumless,
    An' th' storin' to me wer a pain;
To tek mo off feelin' so lazy,
    Aw seet off a trampin' i' th' rain.
Aw knew id wer Ribchester club walk;
    Aw knew, too, they'd be i' ther glee;
Aw'm awlus so fain when aw see 'um,
    An' sum on 'um's fain to see me.

Bud eh! whod a long while aw loiter'd,
    For th' rooases wer smellin' so sweet;
Mi heart aw could feel id go faster,
    As nearer th' owd city aw geet;
For th' band seawnded sweetly i' t' distance,
    An' th' church bells wer ringin' a peal;
Whenever aw gooa to th' owd city,
    My pen ull nod write whod aw feel.

Bud eh! aw wor sorry for th' childer,
    They cried because th' day wer so weet:
Then smiled through ther tears at ther pennies,
    An' run off to spend 'um up th' street.
Neaw though aw'm so fond o' breet sunshine
    As leets up th' derk corners o' th' land,
It's nowt if id worn'd for th' breet faces,
    An' th' grip when aw tek a friend's hand.

June, 1890.





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