Bits o' Broad Lancashire I.

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BITS O' BROAD LANCASHIRE

The Owd family Bible.


Ther's em owd family relic on t' book shelf up theer,
    An' aw'll keep id till t' day as aw dee;
Aw know 'at id wodn'd be wo'th mich to yo,
    But gowd couldn'd buy id fro' me.
It's nowt but a bible o' th' owd fashioned sooart,
    Wi' some uv id leeaves loce an torn;
An' mi gronfeyther bowt id, aw've oft heeard id sed,
    On t' dey 'at mi mother wur born.

God bless mi owd grondad! 'an gronny an' o,
    They've booath bin i' t' grave mony an year;
If yo'll oppen th' owd book eawt, an' look deawn t' fly leeaf,
    Yo'll see booath ther names written theer.
Aw know mony an time, when aw wur but a lad,
    Aw've set on mi' gronfeyther's knee;
While mi gronny's bin set readin' t' book throo her specs,
    To teych some good lesson to me.

Just under ther names, yo'll see t' date written deawn,
    When mi grondad an' gronny wur wed;
An' below id, ther's t' names, 'at mi grondad wrooate in,
    Uv o' t' childer 'at ever they hed.
Id meks me feel sad when aw read 'em at times,
    An' often, aw corn'd stop a tear;
For o 'at remains to tell t' tale o' ther lives,
    Is t' names 'at yo'll see written theer.

Mi mother geet t' bible, when th' owd fooak wur gone,
    An' hoo keerfully put id away;
But oftimes hoo'd reych id, to read id a bit,
    When hoo'd finished hur labours for t' day.
Aw fancy, at times, aw con see hur i' t' cheear,
    Wi' t' book oppen'd eawt on hur knee;
But fancy soon flies as aw cast a sad glance
    On t' spot wheer hoo once used to be.

Aw corn'd help but think o' thoose days long gone by,
    For mi heart dwells so fondly on t' past;
Mi mother med life like a Heaven to me,
    But owd age crept o'er hur at last.
Still hoo never despaired, tho' hoo knew th' end wur near,
    But hoo'd smile in hur cheear up i' t' nook;
An' sometimes hoo'd ax me to sit deawn, an' read
    A chapter or two fro' th' owd book.

Aw'st allus remember that sad winter's dey,
    When aw knelt deawn bi t' side uv hur bed;
"Keep th' ewd family bible, an' bless thee, mi lad!"
    Wur t' last words 'at ever hoo sed.
Hoo sunk like a babby 'at's gooin' to sleep,
    An' t' tears deawn mi cheeks trickled fast;
For aw knew hoo wur leeavin' earth's sorrows behynt,
    To rest fro' hur labours at last.

Ther's an owd family relic on t' book shelf up theer,
    Far dearer than treasures o' gowd;
For id brings back to memory thoose luv'd ones o' t' past,
    'At lie i' ther graves, damp an' cowd.
It's nowt but a bible o' th' owd fashioned sooart,
    But gowd couldn'd buy id fro' me,
For it's sacred to hur aw luv'd dearest uv o,
    An' aw'll keep id till t' day as uw dee.


――――♦――――

 
Do Thad as is Reet.


WE'VE oft heeard id sed, 'at a chap, to ged on,
Mun gi' back at nowt but grab o 'at he con;
An' part wi' his conscience to gain his own ends,
An', if they're i' t' rooad, torn his back on his friends.
It's a maxim 'at's followed bi plenty, aw know,
But it does'nd suit me, for aw think aw con show
'At life wod be better, an' seem mooar complete,
If we'd o nobbut try to do thad as is reet.

If a chap gets throo life a bit better than yo,
Dorn'd beear him no malice, nor wish his deawnfo';
For we o hev hard struggles to meet wi' i' life,
An' a chap deserves praise 'at con battle thro t' strife.
Tho' he's getten a bit heigher up than yorsels,
Dorn'd grumble nor co' him to nobry else,
But weear a sweet smile when yo see him i' t' street,
If yo know 'at he's allus done thad as is reet.

If ever ther's owt 'at yo've gotten to say,
Concernin' some chap, an' bi chance he's away,
Dorn'd jeer at his follies to o 'at's i' t' place,
But tell him yorsel when yo meet face to face.
Tho' he might be a chap uv a quarrelsome kind,
He's sure to respect yo for speykin' yer mind;
For he'll know yo're streytforrud, beawt sham or
            deceit,
An' he'll stamp yo as one 'at doos thad as is reet.

If yo chance to ged raised to a bit uv a boss,
Dorn'd think 'at a warkin' mon's nowt but a hoss;
Dorn'd humbug or coss him, or somebry might tell
'At he's doin' mooar wark than yo e'er did yorsel.
Let him think yo're aware 'at he's doin' his best,
An' yor kindness is sure to tek root in his breast,
For he'll wark wi' a will, an' his heart 'll be leet,
If he only finds eawt yo'll do thad as is reet.

Dorn'd meddle wi' nobry's affairs but yer own,
An', if yo howd saycrets, dorn'd let 'em be known;
An' dorn'd speyk o' t' failin's o' nobry else,
Until yo've med sure 'at yo're perfect yorsels.
If an' owd friend come to yo a bit brokken deawn,
Dorn'd meet him at t' dooar wi' a sneer, or a freawn;
If it lies i' yer peawer, set him up on his feet,
Yo'll hev t' comfort to know yo've done thad as is reet.

Sooa mek this yor maxim i' feightin' throo life,
An' yo'll find id 'll leeten yor care an' yer strife:
For aw think 'at it's t' duty o' every mon,
To try an' do t' world as mich good as he con.
Yor good deeds 'll live when yer soul's passed away,
An' yor friends 'll come reawnd, an' they'll
            mournfully say —
As t' tears fro ther een mek yor coffin lid weet —
"Here lies one 'at tried to do thad as wur reet!"


――――♦――――

 
Mi Sweetheart Nell.


AT t' corner o' th' owd loyne, yo'll see
    A little white-weshed cot;
So snug en' hooamly, an' to me
    Id seems a hallowed spot.
For t' treasure o' mi heart lives theer —
    Mooar dear than tongue con tell!
An' oft, at neet, aw linger near,
    To see mi sweetheart Nell.

Reawnd t' dooar, a little garden's set,
    Wheer fleawers i' plenty bloom;
An' rooasy, pink, an' mignonette
    Send eawt ther sweet perfume.
Ther beauty lends a charm to t' place,
    So modestly they grow ;
But Nelly, wi' hur pratty face,
    Seems t' fairest fleawer uv o.

Ther's mony a lass wi' gowden hair,
    An' cheeks o' rooasy hue;
But nooan to me seems hawf as fair,
    As hur aw luv so true.
But not for beauty's sake alone
    Is Nell so dear to me;
Hur heart an' mine booath throb as one,
    An' will do till we dee.

When'er hoo see's me lingerin' reawnd,
    Aw've never long to wait;
For eawt hoo'll come, wi joyful beawnd,
    An', meet me just at t' gate.
It's music when aw hear hur voice,
    An' luv leets up hur een;
Hoo knows aw wodn'd swap mi choice
    For princess, or for queen.

Last neet, we rambled deawn by t' well,
    An' past th' owd farm clooase by;
An' theer, uw huddled up to Nell,
    An' give a little sigh.
Aw axed hur then if hoo'd be mine,
    Hoo answered soft an' low —
"Tha knows mi heart's bin allus thine,
    Sooa tek mi hend an' o."

Mi heart throbbed wild, as back we went
    To t' little hooamlly cot;
An' theer aw geet th' owd fooak's consent,
    To seal mi happy lot.
Hoo's th' only child they ever hed,
    To soothe ther griefs an' cares;
Sooa id wur settled, when we're wed,
    To mek eawr hooam wi theirs.

Aw'm leet an' happy o' t' day throo,
    It's breeten'd up mi life
To know 'ut Nelly, fond un' true,
    Is neaw mi promised wife.
An' soon when summer days are spent,
    Mi lot wi hurs aw'll join;
An' pass a life o' sweet content
    I' t' cot at th' end o' t' loyne.


――――♦――――

 
Waitin'!


COME, Joe, side thi playthings away,
    An' sit that deawn quate i' thi cheear;
Aw'm gooin' to set t' table for t' tay,
    For it's time 'at thi daddy wur here.
Aw mun stir, for it's geddin quite dark,
    An' t' stars twinkle breetly aboon;
O' t' fooak's comin' hooam fro ther wark,
    An' thi dad 'll be back wi' us soon.

He's a long an' a wearisome tramp,
    Afooar he gets hoomn uv at neet,
Sooa aw think aw'll draw t' blind, un' leet
            t' lamp,
    Id'll mek things mooar cheerful an' breet.
If he comes across t' fields fro' his wark,
    He'll see t' leet thro t' window shine clear;
Id might serve to guide him i' t' dark,
    An' bring him safe back to us here.

This mornin' he gi'e me a kiss,
    An' promised he wodn'd stop late;
An' aw'm sure 'at ther's summat amiss,
    Or he'd ne'er be so long fro' his mate.
Wheerever i' t' world con he be?
    Just peep eawt o' t' dooar, — that's a lad!
Aw know tha'rt as anxious as me,
    To ged a fost glimpse at thi dad.

When thoose 'at we luv are away,
    Th' time passes so dreary an' slow ;
An' it's bad enough waitin' throo t' day,
    Without waitin' t' neet throo an' o'.
Ther's nobry con tell, — only me, —
    Wod trouble ther is i' mi breast;
Bud mi fears an' mi burdens 'll flee,
    When yon brid o' mine comes to his nest.

Aw con sit here no longer i' t' cheear,
    Is thi dad never comin' to-neet?
Aw'm only content when he's here,
    An' sad when he's eawt o' mi seet.
It's offerin' to rain, aw con see,
    For t' cleawds are beginnin' to freawn;
Aw hope he'll be safe hooam wi' me,
    Afooar it begins to come deawn.

Is this waitin' ne'er gooin' to be o'er?
    For aw'm longin' to see it ged past;
Hearken, lad, — that's his footstep at
            dooar,
    Hey, bless him! he's comin' at last.
Aw've felt sick and weary o neet,
    For like as aw couldn'd abide;
But neaw aw feel cheerful, an' leet,
    To knew 'at he's here bi mi side.


――――♦――――

 
The Pell Mell Boggart


Aw heeard a queer tale up at Pinchem, last neet,
    In a heawse wheer aw happened to co';
They'd tawked abeawt boggarts an' o sich like things,
    Till terror geet howd uv 'em o.
Th' owd fella i' t' nook, hed just finished his smook,
    An' he laughed to see t' young 'uns turn pale;
Then he sed if they'd' nobbut be quate till he'd done,
    He'd tell 'em a gradely ghost tale.

They promised they wod, an' they drew up ther cheears,
    For they wanted to hear every word;
Then th' owd fella sed, "It's abeen forty year
    Sin t' tale 'at aw'm tellin', occurred.
Aw know aw wur nobbut a lad, just at t' time,
    But often aw've heeard t' nayburs tell —
When they used to stan' eawt o' ther dooars uv a neet —
    'At a ghost hed bin sin at Pell Mell.

"Ther wur o sooarts o' talk as to wod id could be,
    An' mony a 'ratcher' wur towd;
Some sed id wur t' miser o' th' Alum Heawse Wood,
    'At wur huntin' abeawt for his gowd.
Ther wur mony a rumour, but nooan 'at wur reet,
    An' week after week hed gone past;
When one winter's neet id wur o browt to leet,
    An' t' mystery wur cleared up at last.

"Yo'll hev heeard speyk, no deawt, o'er owd
            Rollickin' Ned,
    'At wur t' keeper at Samlesbury Ho';
Well! at thad time he cooarted wi' Polly o' Sam's,
    An' hoo'rt bonniest lass i' t' Long Row.
He went up to see hur at t' corner, one neet,
    An' after a bit uv a talk,
Hoo went into th' heawse for hur bonnet an' shawl,
    To gooa eawt wi' Ned for a walk.

"Id worn'd varra long afooar Polly wur eawt,
    An' they went across t' fields up at t' top;
But soon as they'd getten up Billinge a bit,
    Poll stood theer an' med a full stop.
'Aw'm gooin' no farther up this way, to-neet,'
    Hoo sed, an' hoo trembled wi' fear;
'For tha knows verra weel 'at we're clooase to Pell Mell,
    An' aw'm towd ther's a boggart up theer.'

"'Hey, dorn'd be so freeten'd, come on neaw,' says Ned,
    "Aw ne'er thowt to see tha like thad;
Ther's no sich thing as a boggart he sed,
    'An' thoose fooak 'at towd tha's bin mad.
An' if even ther wur, o' one thing aw'm quite sure,
    Ther's nooan 'at could e'er freeten me;
For aw'd face fire an' watter, or mortal, or ghost,
    Or owt at o Polly, for thee!'

"Wi' thad, Poll plucked up, an' they went walkin' on
    Till they geet abeawt half way up th' hill;
Then they heeard summat give sich a terrible grooan,
    An' booath on 'em stood theer, chock still.
'Arta freeten'd?' says Poll, an' hoo clung to his arm,
    'Nowe, lass! aw'm nod freeten'd,' he sed;
But he wished in his heart he wur nicely away,
    An' snug wi' their Tummy i' bed.

"They hardly hed time to look reawnd wheer they wur,
    Afooar Ned heeard t' same noise ageean;
Then he seed summat white, an' he flew deawn thad
            loyne
    Like a mad dog 'at's brokken id cheean.
O' t' records o' runnin' he smashed into nowt,
    Bi t' speed 'at he went deawn Pell Mell;
An' Polly wur left theer, hawf freeten'd to deeath,
    To do t' best hoo could for hursel.

"Neaw, id happened, some farmers wur comin' throo
            t' loyne,
    As Polly stood shiverin' wi' fear;
Soon hoo towd 'em hur tale, en' they o med a vow
    'At they'd hunt up for t' ghost, then an' theer.
They worn'd seechin' long afooar one on 'em sheawts —
    'Aw've fun' eawt wod t' boggart is, neaw!'
An' wod do yo think 'at id torned eawt to be —
    Why, nowt but Owd Flitcher's white keaw.

"Poll chucked up wi' Ned, for hoo'd hed quite enough,
    An' hoo geet a fresh sweetheart i' t' row;
An' whenever Ned showed his face abeawt theer,
    He wur med t' laughin' stock for 'em o.
Sooa young men dorn'd brag abeawt t' pluck yo possess,
    When yo're walkin' yor girls eawt at neet;
Or else, like poor Ned, yo may ged in a mess,
    An' aw'm sure id 'll serve yo weel reet."


――――♦――――

 
Owd Ailse's Thrift.


WOD meks tha sit so quate, to-neet?
    Come, hesta nowt to say?
Tha coom i' th' heawse an' never spooak
    O' t' time tha geet thi tay.
An' when aw looked up i' thi een,
    Aw seed tears peepin' throo;
Neaw, lad, ther's summat troubles tha,
    Sooa tell me wod's to do.

Well, lass, aw mut as weel speyk eawt —
    Aw've some bad news to tell;
An' when aw've towd mi tale, aw know
    Tha'll be upset thisel.
Life's bin just like a sunny dreeam,
    But neaw it's drear, an' dark;
An t' cause uv o mi trouble, lass,
    Is this — aw'm eawt o wark.

Aw've woven deawn at t' factory yon
    For close on forty year;
But age an' service ceawnt as nowt,
    If th' average isn'd theer.
For neaw, becose aw've getten' owd,
    An' corn'd keep up wi' t' pace;
Aw hev to shift, for younger fooak
    To come an' tek mi place.

When t' tackler coom wi' t' slate, to-day,
    He fairly carried on;
An' towd me he'd be like to try
    To find a better mon.
He waited for me comim' eawt,
    As soon as th' engine stopped;
An' sed aw needn'd gooa no mooar,
    Because mi looms wur shopped.

An' that's wod's med me sit se quate,
    Sin aw come hooam to-neet;
We've nowt i' t' world to save us neaw
    Fro' bein' torned i' t' street.
For t' bits o' goods 'll soon be gone,
    An' when they've o bin sowd —
Ther'll be nowt left but t' warkheawse then,
    An' t' thowt on 't meks me cowd.

Tha needn' look so deawm, owd lad,
    Just hear wod aw've to say;
We'st never gooa to t' warkheawse, mon,
    Sooa drive sich thowts away.
An' as for bein' torned i' t' street —
    That's wod 'll never be;
For this owd heawse we're livin' in.
    Belongs to thee an' me.

Aw've t' deeds for't locked i' t' dresser-drawer,
    They've bin theer mony a while;
An' sitha, wod aw've getten here —
    Aw knew aw'd mek tha smile;
It's t' bank-book, showin' t' brass aw've saved,
    Neaw! wod's ta' think o' thad?
Enough to keep us booath for life,
    An' mooar beside, owd lad.

God bless thee, Ailse! tha good owd wife,
    Aw never thowt o' this;
Mi feelin's corn'd be towd i' words,
    Sooa, come, let's hev a kiss.
Tha's bin t' good angel o' mi life —
    A priceless, Heaven-sent gift;
An' breeten'd up life's clooasin' days
    Wi' t' fruits o' luv an' thrift.


――――♦――――

 
Betty's Valentine.


AW feel some an' pottered, this mornin',
    For it's Valentine Day, — dosta know?
An' when t' pooastmon comes wi' his letters,
    Aw fancy he'll give us a co'.
Aw do wish he'd bin, — aw'm so anxious,
    Just look if he's comin' on t' way;
For aw'm sure 'at he hes summat for me,
    Because it's Saint Valentine's Day.

He's a lot past his time is yon pooastmon,
    Aw wonder wod meks him so late?
If he nobbut knew hawf mi impatience,
    Aw'm sure 'at he'd ne'er let me wait.
Aw've watched a full heawer at this window,
    An' aw know 'at he hesn'd gone past;
Hello! that's his knock — aw con tell id,
    Thank goodness he's landed at last!

Sitha, Poll, it's a box 'at he's browt me,
    Teed reawnd wi a ribbin o' blue;
Hey! aw fair worship t' lad, Poll, 'at's sent id,
    Because he's so tender and true.
Aw raylee believed he'd forgetten,
    But mi fears are o banished away,
For he's known varra weel 'et aw lippen'd
    Uv at valentine fro' him to-day.

Let's look wod he's sent in id, Polly—
    Well! if ever aw seed sich a thing;
Ther's no valentine here at o, lass,
    But, Poll, ther's a gowd weddin' ring.
An' look at thad papper at t' bottom,
    It's at letter he's written, to say
'At he thinks 'at we've done enough cooartin',
    Sooa he's puttin' up th' axin's, to-dey.

Aw'm nod gooin' to blame him nor grumble,
    Tho' aw hardly expected id yet;
For aw think when we share life together,
    'At we'st nod hev mich cause to regret.
Truth shines fro' his een just like sunbeeams,
    An' ew know 'at he'll keep every vow;
An' when he popp'd t' question, lest Sunda',
    Aw dorn'd recollect sayin' "nowe!"

Neaw, Polly, aw'll tell thee a saycret,
    An' aw know, when tha's heeard id, tha'll
            smile,
Tha's to hev a new dress, an' a jacket,
    An' a bonnet trimmed up i' t' new style.
If fine clooas con meck tha look bonny,
    The shall be like it princess, thad day;
For tha hes to be t' maid nt eawr weddin',
    An' eawr Joe hes to give me away.

Aw want tha to keep quate abeawt id,
    Sooa mind 'at tha lets nobry know;
An' then, when we're axed eawt next Sunda',
    Id 'll come like a shock to 'em o.
Aw do wish as t' weddin' wur o'er wi',
    For comfort an' bliss 'll be mine;
When aw wear this gowd ring on mi finger,
    At's bin sent for a life valentine.


――――♦――――

 
Yon Troublesome Lad


AW'M sure 'at ther's nobry mooar hampered than me,
    Aw've no pleasure fro' mornin' to neet;
For yon lad o' mine's woss than a imp uv Owd Nick,
    Whenever he's eawt o' mi seet.
Wod wi' t' scrapes 'at he gets in, an' t' marlocks he plays,
    It's a wonder aw'm nod driven mad;
An' if things doesn'd awter, aw shall be, yo'll see,
    An' o throo yon troublesome lad.

Aw dorn'd know wodever's come o'er him uv late,
    For he never wur yon way afooar;
Ther's nowt nobbut bother or rows o' some sooart,
    Whenever he gooas eawt o' t' door.
Aw've tried to persuade him to breyk off his ways,
    Aw've sauced him, an' hided him too;
But aw've fun' it's no use for he keeps at th' owd game,
    An' he licks o 'at ever aw knew.

T'other neet aw went eawt, an' aw left him wi' t' child,
    While aw did an errand or two ;
But soon as aw landed at t' dooar comin' back,
    Aw heeard sieh a hullaballoo.
An' when aw geet in he wur wavin' a knife,
    An' for t' time aw wur fairly struck dumb;
Till he sed he wur playin' at "Buffalo Bill,"
    An' wur waitin' for th' Indians to come.

When aw'd poo'd off mi shawl, aw begun to look
            reawnd,
    An', fooaks, aw could welly ha' cried;
For he'd knocked t' table leg off an' brokken o' t' pots,
    An' smashed a cheear rocker beside.
Then aw went up to t' credle to look at mi child,
    An', hey dear! id wur sich a seet;
For he'd gotten some soot an' he'd daubed id all o'er,
    Id wur black fro' id heyd to id feet.

Well t' day after thad when aw leet him gooa eawt,
    Ther wur bother ageean reet away;
For he hedn'd been gone mony minutes at t' mooast,
    When in pops Owd Jonathan Bray;
"Aw'll tell yo wod, missis," Owd Jonathan sed,
    "Yon son o' yors isn'd quite square;
For he's one o' my chickens teed on his kite-tail,
    An' it's chirpin' away up i' th' air."

Aw determined fro' then, 'at aw'd keep him i' th' heawse,
    An' then aw should know things wur reet;
An' everything went on as smooth as could be,
    Till eawr Mary's chap coom, last neet.
He'd just set him deawn, but he beawnced up fro' t' cheear,
    And he skriked, an' he raved, an' he swooar! ―
For he'd set on some tacks 'at yon imp hed put theer,
    An' he vowed 'at he'd come yon no mooar.

Aw've no mooar idea heaw to manage yon lad,
    Than a pig hes o' flyin' to t' moon;
But aw'st oather be teken to t' 'sylum or t' grave,
    If ther isn'd a change verra soon.
If he'd nobbut try to do thad as he should,
    Aw'd never complain, or be sad;
For mi heart 'ud be leet, booath at mornin' an' neet,
    If he worn'd sich in troublesome lad.


――――♦――――

 
A Warkin' Mon's Reflections.


SOMETIMES, when wearied eawt at neet,
    Aw sit me deawn i' th' owd arm cheear,
Bi t' fire 'at bruns so warm an' breet,
    An' think o' t' joy an' comfort theer.
An' strange reflections cross mi mind,
    When studyin' t' ways o' human life;
An' oft, aw try some rooad to find,
    To leeten t' toil un' strife.

Aw think o' fooak 'at fret an' pine,
    An' uv ther envy mek a show;
Because they corn'd torn eawt as fine
    As somebry else they chance to know.
Wod foo's sich fooak mon be, for sure,
    To sigh for things they corn'd command!
A mon may be, tho' ragged an' poor,
    As good as t' best i' t' land.

A mon 'at's blessed wi' strength an' health,
    To toil an' earn his daily bread,
Should envy nobry o' ther wealth,
    Nor grieve for things 'at he corn'd ged.
Breet gowd con gain respect, aw know,
    While poverty grins deawn on t' poor,
But rank an' titles, after o,
    Are empty seawnds ― no mooar.

Th' owd squire 'at lives i' th' ho' up yon,
    Surreawnded wi' id park an' greawnds;
Con co' o t' land for miles, his own,
    An' gooa eawt huntin' wi' his heawnds.
But when he roams throo' t' meadows green,
    Or throo' his woods, weel stocked wi game;
He con but feeast his een on t' scene,
    An' sooa con aw just t' same.

Because he's deawn i' t' world a bit,
    A mon's no reason to give way;
Be brave i' t' strife, dorn'd mope an' sit,
    For after t' darkness follows t' day.
Cheer up, an' banish care away,
    An' o'er yer troubles gaily sing;
Ther's mony a warkin' mon to-day,
    Far happier than a king.

We've o eawr ups an' deawns to face,
    Sooa buckle to an' mek yer mark;
An' fortune's sun 'll shine i' t' place
    O' t' cleawds 'at mek life drear an' dark.
Heawever hard yor lot may be,
    Keep courage, tho' yo chance to fo';
For just look reawnd yo, an' yo'll see
    Ther's plenty woes than yo.

Sooa do yor duty while yo con,
    An' let this be yer daily creed ―
To act to every fella mon,
    Wi' truth an' reet, i' word an' deed.
An' aw'll do t' same misel, an' o,
    Until aw tek mi final rest;
An' then when t' judgment comes, aw know
    Aw'st stan' mi chance wi t' best.


――――♦――――

 
Luv in a Chimley.


AW'VE a bit; uv an tale ht aw'll tell yo,
     If yo'll nobbut be quate for an while;
O'er an young chap 'ut lived up i' Mellor,
    An' uw'll bet id 'll mak yo o smile.
They co'd him flash Tum for an nickname,
    For he allus wur dressed up to t' mark;
An' he cooarted an owd farmer's dowter,
    'At lived just below Woodfowd Park.

Neaw t' name o' this lass 'at he went wi'
    Wur Mary, at leeast sooa aw'm towd;
Hoo'd cheeks 'at 'ud shame t' breetest rooasy,
    An' hur hair wur like ringlets o' gowd.
An' at t' church wheer hoo went to at Sunda'
    Hur sweet voice nooan failed to admire;
For Mary wur t' principal singer,
    At thad time, i' Mellor Church choir.

Heawever they geet agate cooartin',
    Is mooar nor a happen to know;
But he thowt t' world abeawt hur, that's certain,
    An' he wur thowt t' same on, an' o.
They'd meet just at t' corner o' Pinchem,
    An' Tum's waited theer mony a heawer;
To hev a nice ramble wi' Mary
    Up Revidge, or throo t' Tooad-hoyle bar.

But, someheaw, Tum grew to be jealous,
    An' this is just t' way id begun; —
He'd sin hur give one or two glances
    At young Harry, t' gamekeeper's son.
When they'd bin gooin' eawt on ther rambles,
    They'd met him i' t' rooad, once or twice;
An' Mary hed smiled as he passed 'em,
    An' Tum thowt id didn'd look nice.

Sooa Tum begun frettin' an' sulkin',
    An' he acted like nowt but a foo';
An' Mary wur lost to know t' reason,
    For hoo thowt nowt o' Harry, nod hoo.
Sooa hoo axed him at t' finish wod ailed him,
    'At med him so peevish an' queer;
An' he managed to smile an' say "nowt, lass!"
    An, wi' thad o wur reet again wi' hur.

He went up ageean t' Sunda' after,
    But he stopped when he'd getten to t' dooar;
For he heeard somebry strange into t' kitchen,
    Id wur young Harry's voice, he felt sure.
"By gum! aw've dropped on 'em," he muttered,
    For aw ne'er sed 'aw'd come up to-neet;
Aw'd give owt for some place to hide in,
    Just to hearken, an' be eawt o' t' seet."

He wur starein' abeawt like a dummy;
    When his een fell on th' owd chimley top;
An' he seemed to be struck o' at sudden,
    Fer he sed "theigher! aw've just fun t' reet shop.
If aw could but ged deawn into t' chimley,
    They'd never suspect aw wur theer;
An' bi lowerin' misel to t' fost stooary,
    Every word 'at they say, aw could hear."

Quick as thowt he geet howd uv a ladder,
    An' reared id ageean t' side o' th' heawse;
Then he geet on to t' roof, an' i' t' chimley,
    An' he dropped deawn as quate as a meawse,
He geet up to t' waist, them he stuck theer,
    An' he wriggled an' gave sich at sheawt;
For he fun' he wur jammed like a herrin',
    He could noather ged in nor ged eawt.

At t' noise, Mary rushed eawt o' t' kitchen,
    For hoo couldn'd tell wod wur to do;
An' hur brother coom eawt an' o, wi' hur, —
    Id wur him 'at hoo'd bin talkin' to.
They thowt ther wur burglars on t' buildin',
    An' they'd run eawt hawf freetened to deeath;
But they looked up, an' seed Tum i' t' chimley,
    Welly chooakin', an' gaspin' for breeath.

His sheawts hed browt eawt some o' t' nayburs,
    An' at greyt creawd geet reawnd him at last;
An' at lot on 'em poo'd hard to loce him,
    But no use, he wur jamm'd in too fast.
Sooa, at last they'd to fotch two bricklayers,
    'At lived just at t' near end o' t' teawn;
An' poor Tum hed to promise to pay 'em,
    Afooar they'd poo th' owd chimley deawn.

To finish mi tale; ― when they loced him,
    Tum wur raylee a comical seet;
An', aw might say, his cooartship wi' Mary
    Wur browt to at finish thad neet.
They plagued him thad mich up i' Mellor,
    Till at 't' finish, they drooave him away;
But yo'll hear t' tale o' luv in a chimley
    If yo'll mention id ther ony day.


――――♦――――

 
The Owd Fiddler.


THEY'RE layin th' owd fiddler to rest,
    He's freed fro' his sorrow an' care;
An' feelin's o' sadness fill mony a true breast,
    As t' parson reads t' funeral prayer.
Poor owd mon! he wur blind forty year,
    But he allus wur kindly to t' last;
It's better for him 'at they've put him doawn theer,
    For neaw o his troubles are past.

At every bit uv a stir,
    Th' owd fella wur sure to be theer;
An, nooan wur mooar welcome than th' owd
            fiddler wur,
    Witheawt him we'st feel some an' drear.
He'd strike up some owd lively tune,
    An' hearts 'at felt weary afooar, —
He'd leeten like magic, until varra soon,
    They beeat fast wi' pleasure once mooar.

He'd sit wi' his tankard o' ale,
    An' play o 'at e'er wur required;
An' sometimes he'd tell us a bit uv a tale,
    When t' dancers geet jaded an' tired.
Then he'd play to some owd rustic lay,
    While we o joined i' t' chorus like mad;
But oft we could see, while he med us so gay,
    'At his own heart wur heavy an' sad.

When he's played us his merriest airs,
    Aw've sin him brush t' tear-drops aside;
An' then, when we've soothed him, to leeten his
            cares,
    He's put deawn his fiddle, an' cried.
"Ther's nobry con tell," he would say,
    "Wod misery id is to be blind;
But aw'st ged a relief fro' mi troubles, some day,
    God bless yo, for bein' so kind!"

When th' owd fella deed, aw wur theer,
    An' as we o stood bi his bed;
He seemed to be anxious for th' end to draw near
    For these wur just t' words 'at he sed: —
"For some fooak, Deeath's hand strikes too soon,
    But his stroke hes no terrors for me;
For when aw'm co'd off to thad hooam up aboon,
    Aw know aw'st be able to see."

Rest on theer, owd fiddler! rest on!
    Thi sorrow an' misery's past;
Tha's changed 'o thi troubles, i' t' place wheer
            tha'rt gone,
    To joys 'at for ever 'll last.
If ther's ever a soul beyond t' skies,
    Aw'm certain 'at thine 'll be theer;
A creawn 'ut's immortal, tha's gained as thi prize,
    For t' pain 'at tha suffered deawn here.


――――♦――――

 
The Hoghton Tower.


Scene o' long departed glories, —
    Grond, historic, an' sublime!
Weel tha's braved booath storm an'
            weather,
    Throo long centuries o' time.
One con hardly help but wonder,
    Heaw tha's battled throo id o,
When he see's tha — so majestic —
    Freawnin' deawn on t' vale below.

If thoose wo's wi' speech wur gifted,
    Wod a wondrous tale they'd tell!
Every stooan could tell some saycret,
    'At id neaw keeps to idsel.
Links to add to t' cheean uv history,
    Deeds enacted long i' t' past; —
They'd reveal, if stooan's hed voices,
    But they howd ther saycrets fast.

When one views thi ancient splendour,
    An' thi beauties meet his eye;
He con welly paint a pictur
    Heaw tha wur i' days gone by.
Stately feeasts, wheer t' guests assembled,
    Wooar ther glitterin' suits o' mail;
While ther strong an' bowd retainers,
    In thi kitchens, quaffed ther ale.

If tradition speyks eawt truly,
    Tha'll hev sin some antics queer;
For we're towd as t' Pendle witches
    Sometimes paid ther visits here.
Id may be 'at Mother Demdike,
    Wi' some weird an' mystic rhyme,
Cast a strange enchantment o'er tha,
    To repel th' attacks o' time.

Did ta look as cowd an' gloomy,
    In thoose ages pass'd away;
When King Jemmy crossed thi portals,
    Wi' his courtiers, fine an' gay?
'Mid such scenes o' wide rejoicin'
    Tha could never look so drear;
When leawd peals o' mirth an' laughter,
    Echoed reawnd tha everywheer.

Th' time as Cromwell, wi' his cannons,
    Battered at thi owd grey wo's;
Weel the sheltered thoose within tha,
    Safe fro' t' vengeance o' ther foes.
Tho' t' besiegers an' t' defenders,
    Centuries sin retorned to clay;
Theer tha stan's i' o thi grandeur,
    Scornin' th' efforts o' decay.

I' t' long years 'at tha's bin stannin',
    Tha's sin empires rise an' fo';
Thrones hev tumbled — kings bin
            humbled,
    But tha's weathered throo id o.
Freawn away on t' top o' th' hill theer —
    Look as solemn asto will! —
Tho' thi glory's long departed,
    Memery fondly clings theer still!


――――♦――――

 
Eawr Tum's Getten Tacklin' To-day.


This owd heart o' mine fair gooas bumpity-bump,
    Aw wur ne'er mooar o'erjoyed i' mi life;
Hoy! it's mony a day sin aw felt hawf as leet,
    For aw keer nowt for trouble or strife.
Aw con see 'at yo're itchin' to know wod's to do,
    'At aw'm feelin' so happy an' gay;
Well! t' fact on 't is this — an' aw'll tell yo streyt eawt —
    Eawr Tum's getten tacklin' to-day!

Aw'm nod gooin' to say 'at he's o'er fond o' work,
    For aw'm sure yo know different to thad;
An' aw know if he wur, — an' yo'll say t' same as me, —
    'At he wodn't be owt like his dad.
He ne'er give his mind to his weyvin' so mich,
    He wanted less work an' mooar pay;
An' he sweears 'at he'll ne'er use a reedhook ageean,
    For he's getten on tacklin' to-day.

He's followed yon manager mooar nor a bit,
    An' paid for him mony a quart;
Until he geet promised, if awt should torn eawt,
    'At he could hev t' fost chunce to start.
A pint or two warks some greyt wonders, at times,
    An' brings mony a thing in eawr way;
An' bi followin' t' dodge 'at ye've o done yorsels,
    Eawr Tum's getten tacklin' to-day.

Aw ne'er heeard an word till uw geet hooam to-neet,
    An' aw felt rayther chocked wi surprise,
When Owd Skennin' Joe coom i' th' heawse and
            bawled eawt, —
    "Yor Tum's fairly getten a rise!"
Aw'd nobbut just axed him wodever he meant,
    When hooam comes eawr Bob to his tay;
An' he sheawts, wi at grin, as he coom rushin' in,
    "Eawr Tum's getten tacklin' to-day!"

Aw've reeasen to think 'ut eawr Tum 'll ged on,
    For aw know he's weel suited wi' t' place;
He con look dark as thunner, an' mek a big noise,
    An' coss till he gooas black i' t' face.
He con carry wi' comfort, a beeam o' twelve scooar,
    An' gait id an' o—soa they say;
Sooa aw think, if he'll mind, 'at he'll manage to stick
    To t' shop 'at he's getten to-day.

His heyd's nod o'erstocked wi' mich knowledge, or
            brains,
    But a tackler requires nooan, yo know;
An' if he's as numb as a greyt lump o' wood,
    He'll nobbut be t' same as 'em o.
Wod he's lackin' i' knowledge, he hes i' conceit,
    He's a mighty big mon, in his way;
An' if suppin' flat pints meks a qualified men,
    He's fit for a tackler to-day.

Ther's nobry con tell hawf o' t' bother ther's bin,
    An' t' trouble aw've hed wi' yon lad;
But neaw aw con freely forgive him for o,
    For he's med mi owd heart feel so glad.
Sooa empty yor pots, chaps, an' hev drinks wi' me,
    Come, give in yer orders — aw'll pay!
Aw'm eawt wi' th' intention o' hevin' a spree,
    For eawr Tum's getten tacklin' to-day!


――――♦――――

 
At Hooam.


TH' wintry wind blows bitter cowd,
    An' whistles wild o'er t' moors;
It's snug an' cozy set bi t' fire,
    But dismal eawt o' doors.
Tha's landed hooam quite soon, to-neet,
    An' hey! aw'm some an' fain;
For hearken, lad, heaw t' rain comes
            deawn! —
    An' pelts on t' window pane.

Tha'rt lookin' reg'lar worn un' tired,
    Sooa sit tha deawn an' rest;
Here, tek this easy cheear o' mine —
    Aw know that likes id t' best.
Ther's t' papper on to t' sofey end,
    Aw thowt tha'd want to see't;
Thar't allus fond o' readin' t' news
    When that comes hooam at neet.

Eawr Nan's bin nooan so weel to-day,
    Hoo's laid on t' sofey theer;
But when aw co'd th' owd doctor in,
    He sed we'd nowt to fear.
Hoo's mended up at lot sin noon,
    Aw think hoo'll soon be reet;
Hoo's tawked o' nowt but thee o day,
    An wished as id wur neet.

Th' canary brid seems fain tha's come,
    Just hearken heaw id sings!
Id rattles eawt id silvery nooates
    Till th' owd heawse fairly rings.
Oft, when aw'm sewin' bi misel,
    Id sings id song for me;
Yet strange, id music's ne'er so sweet,
    As when it sings for thee.

Just look at t' kittlin heaw id plays
    An' tries to climb thi knee;
It's like us o i' th' heawse beside —
    We o think weel o' thee.
An' even t' cricket chirps away,
    As if id knew eawr mirth:
An' adds a bit to th' harmony
    'At cheers eawr hooamly hearth.

Just poo thi cooatt off, wilta, lad?
    Aw see it's getten torn;
An' then aw'll sew id up at bit —
    Tha'll want id on to-morn.
Aw've allus kept tha nice an' streyt,
    An' will do while aw con;
For t' woman never lived aw'm sure,
    'At wed at better mon.

God bless tha, lad! aw've nowt i' t' world
    To live for, only thee;
Aw wish 'at every mon an' wife
    Wur t' same as thee an' me.
Let t' storms eawtside rage as they will,
    They ne'er con enter here;
For sunshine fills this breast o' mine
    Whene'er aw know tha'rt near.


――――♦――――

 
Heaw Johnny kept his Promise.


YOUNG JOHNNY o' th' Heights wur a frolicsome blade,
But as dacent a lad as e'er handled a spade;
He could clear t' five-barred gate like a deer, at a beawnd,
He wur strong as a lion, an' swift as a heawnd,
        An' at runnin' a race
        Ther wur nooan could go t' pace
Wi' Johnny, for twenty mile reawnd.

Neaw, Johnny wur cooartin' wi' young Mally Green, ―
A sweet winsome maiden wi' soft hazel een;
An' tho' Johnny's nature wur fearless an' rough,
Wi' Mally he allus wur tender enough;
        An' hur heart heaved wi pride
        As hoo walked at his side,
For hoo knew he wur med o' t' reet stuff.

One neet, when he'd left hur at th' owd cottage gate,
He hurried back hooam, for he knew id wur late;
But nowt like a welcome awaited him theer, —
Thowt Johnny "it strikes me ther's summat wrong here,"
        For his mother wur sittin'
        On t' squab wi' hur knittin',
While th' owd mon looked peevish i' t' cheear.

"Aw'll tell tha wod, Johnny," his feyther begun,
"Aw've getten plump tired o' thi carryin's on;
Yon lass 'at tha'rt cooartin wi' doesn'd suit me,
Ther's nowt mich abeawt hur as far as aw see;
        Hoo's a varra nice lass,
        An' as sich hoo might pass, —
But hoo's nooan a fit partner for thee.

Aw want tha to drop off thi cooartin' fro' neaw,
It's no use thee sobbin' an' lookin' so feaw;
Just put every thowt o' you lass at one side,
Ther's nowt never done, lad, afooar it's bin tried;
        An' tha'st hev at new suit,
        An' a gowd watch to boot,
An' a albert to match id beside."

While Johnny stood thinkin' o' wod he mut do,
A happy thowt struck him 'at cleared up his broo,
"Neaw, feyther!" he sed, "aw'll speyk eawt wod aw meean,
If yo'll buy thad suit, an' thad gowd watch an' cheean,
        Fro' t' fost time they're worn,
        As true as aw'm born—
Aw'll never gooa cooartin ageean."

Well, Johnny geet donned in his new Sunda best,
An' he looked some an' smart wi' t' gowd cheean on
           his breast,
"Aw'm sure," sed his feyther, "o' t' nayburs 'll say
'At tha'rt smartest young fella for miles reawnd this way;
        But remember mi lad,
        Wod tha promised thi dad! —
Tha's finished wi cooartin' to-day."

When Johnny went eawt, he met Mally on t' sly,
An' they went an' geet wed into th' owd church clooase by
When t' service wur ended 'at med 'em i' one,
Sed Johnny, "Come, let's tell th' owd chap wod we've done;
        He's foce, in his way,
        But aw fancy to-day
He'll be fooarced to admit aw'm t' best mon."

When Johnny went back wi' his newly med bride,
Th' owd chap stared at booath wi' his een oppen'd wide;
"Tha's soon gone an' brokken thi premise," he sed.
"Nay!" Johnny replied, "aw've kept t' promise aw med,
        Aw feel varra sure
        Aw'st gooa cooartin' no mooar,
For this mornin' we went an' geet wed."

The owd fella give in when he seed he'd bin tricked,
An' he put up his hands an' he owned he wur licked;
"Well, Johnny!" he sed, "as tha's entered i' t' strife,
Aw trust hoo may mek thee a good little wife;
        Here's to thee, lad, en' hur! —
        May you ne'er hev a care,
But paddle on smoothly throo life."


――――♦――――

 
Yon Cottage uv Eawrs.


AW'VE a snug little cot, an' a sweet-tempered wife,
To help me an' cheer me throo t' journey o' life;
Aw've a nice little garden at t' front o' mi dooar;
An', tho' humble mi lot, yet aw wish for no mooar,
For yon four bonny childer 'at creawd reawnd mi knee,
Are a theawsand times dearer than riches to me;
For they breeten life's pathway, like sweet summer fleawers,
An' fill wi' contentment yon cottage uv eawrs.

When hooamward aw turn fro' mi labour, at neet,
Mi heart gi'es a beawnd soon as t' chimney's i' seet;
Wod sheawts greet mi ear as aw draw near to t' door! —
An' t' childer throng reawnd me to kiss me once mooar.
Ther's t' tay-things on t' table, an' o seems so snug;
An' mi owd eeasy slippers lie warmin' on t' rug;
While t' fire 'at shines eawt warm an' cheerful throo t' bars,
Meks o look so breet i' yon cottage uv eawrs.

When t' childer ged quater, as t' neet weears away,
Aw draw up to th' har'stooan, an' smook mi long clay;
Eawr Joe gets his slate — he's his hooam-wark to do,
While eawr Jane does hur sewin' to tek back to t' skoo;
Ther's t' wife sits reet facin', wi' t' young'st on hur knee,
While Mary, t' next youngest, cums hutchin' to me;
It's seldom as trouble eawr happiness mars,
For strife never enters yon cottage uv eawrs.

If some friend, or acquaintance, should happen to pass,
He's welcome to co' for a pipe an' a glass;
An' then, as bi t' fireside we cozily sit,
We con hev a nice tawk o'er own times for a bit.
Should id chance to be one as is shabby an' poor, —
Some friend as hes sin better days long befooar;
Tho' his cheeks may weear t' traces o' Dame Fortune's scars,
He's welcome o t' same i' yon cottage uv eawrs.

Thoose fooak 'at ride eawt i' ther carriages grand,
May booast o' ther titles, ther gowd, an' ther land;
Aw'll envy 'em nooan o' ther rank an' ther wealth,
So long as aw'm blessed wi' contentment an' health.
Let 'em weear o ther jewels so dazzlin' an' fine;
Aw've some dearer gems still i' yon childer o' mine;
Ther sweet smilin' faces bring life sunny heawers,
As ther laffter re-seawnds throo yon cottage uv eawrs.

God bless yo! mi childer, mi hooam, an' mi wife;
Witheawt yo, this world wur an ocean o' strife;
Wheer aw should be tossed, like a booat, to an' fro;
An', happen, be sunk in a whirlpool o' woe.
It's yo as mek t' world like an Eden to me;
An' thowts on yo cheer me wheere'er aw may be;
Oh! may we o meet i' yon hooam beyond t' stars! —
When Deeath co's us off fro' yon cottage uv eawrs.


――――♦――――

 
Aw'm Gooin' a Cooartin' To-neet.


THIS heart o' mine's o' in a flutter,
    An' t' reason aw'm sure aw corn'd tell,
Bud happen yo'll guess wod aw feel like,
    If ever yo've cooarted yorsel.
Aw've put o mi best Sunda clooas on,
    An' polished mi shoon up so breet,
An' aw'm longin' for dayleet to vanish,
    For aw'm gooin' a cooartin' to-neet.

Its nooan o' yor fine stuck up damsels,
    At aw'm feelin' so anxious to see;
But a sweet hooamly lass, true an' luvvin',
    An' hey! sich a treasure to me.
Aw feel some an' preawd when aw'm wi' hur,
    For hoo's t' bonniest lass i' o t' street;
An' aw'm envied bi lots o' young fellows,
    When aw gooa eawt a cooartin' at neet.

Aw met hur t' fost time at a party,
    Just twelve month come next Kesmus Day;
An' soon as aw clapped mi een on hur,
    Aw felt misel gone — reet away.
Mi heart beeat away like two drumsticks,
    Aw wur smitten wi luv at fost seet;
An' someheaw we geet agate talkin',
    An' we started a cooartin' thad neet.

Sin then, we've hed mony a nice ramble
    Together, o'er meadow an' style,
An' towd one another eawr saycrets
    As we've walked on for mile after mile.
It's grond to be eawt, aw con tell yo,
    When th' owd moon shines eawt, full an' breet,
To whisper soft tales to yer sweethearts
    When yor gooin' a cooartin' at neet.

Hey me! aw'm fair weary wi' waitin',
    An' wod meks id stranger o',
Whene'er aw want time to gooa faster
    Id seems to drag on twice as slow.
Aw'm just like a fish eawt o' watter,
    For aw corn'd abide eawt uv hur seet;
An' aw've never no comfort or pleasure,
    Except when aw'm cooartin' at neet.

It's nod for hur wealth 'at aw want hur,
    For hoo's humble an' poor, like misel,
It's t' langwidge aw read in hur glances,
    'At speyks eawt wod t' tongue ne'er could tell.
Aw know gowd con buy lots o' comforts,
    Bud true luv's a treasure mooar sweet;
An' aw wodn'd change places wi' t' richest,
    When aw gooa eawt a cooartin' to-neet.

Aw'st never be gradely contented
    Until aw con co' hur mi wife;
An' aw know, when we're booath joined together
    'At we'll battle on bravely throo t' strife.
Aw corn'd live no longer witheawt hur,
    An' it's no use o' dallyin' wi' t';
Sooa uw think aw'll pluck up an' pop t' question,
    When aw gooa eawt cooartin' te-neet.


――――♦――――

 
A Seat at Yor Own Fireside.


THER'S nowt like a seeat at yor own fireside,
    No matter heaw humble id be;
When t' fire blazes breet on a cowd winter's neet
    Heaw yer blood seems to tingle wi' glee.
When t' wife o' yer bosom sits smilin' i' t' cheear,
    Yor heart's dearest treasure an' pride;
Yo feel ther's no pleasure i' life hawf as sweet
    As a seeat at yor own flreside.

Hey! it's grond to sit deawn at yor own fireside
    When yo've finished yor labour for t' day;
To ceawer into t' nook an' enjoy a quate smook,
    An' puff o yor troubles away.
Yo've t' comfort to know 'at yo've earned yer
            repooase.
    Tho' t' luxurys o' life yer denied;
An' yo feel a contentment as t' rich seldom feel
    As yo sit at yor own fireside.

When t' raindrops are peltin' booath window an' roof,
    An' o seems so dismal an' dreear;
Yor heart 'll feel leet when yo ged hooam at neet,
    For yo'll find nowt but luv's sunshine theer.
Bi t' fire's cheerful glow yo con listen to t' storm,
    'At rages away far an' wide;
An' yo'll feel t' truth o' t' song 'at "thers no place like
            hooam,"
    As yo sit at yor own fireside.

It maybe yor geddin' a bit into years,
    An' yo feel t' latter end comin' fast;
Yo con sit deawn wi' t' wife as hes breetened yor life,
    An' talk o'er th' owd times 'at are past.
Tho' hur hair's geddin' grey, hoo's as faithful an' true
    As on t' day when hoo fost wur a bride;
An' hoo'll comfort an' cheer yo as long as hoo's spared
    To stop at yor hooam fireside.

It's nice to be set at yor own fireside
    To camp wi' a naybor or two;
An' hear 'em give snatches o' owd country tales
    Till t' neet's welly getten worn thro'.
It's so pleasant to listen to t' way as they're towd,
    Wi' wisdom an' wit weel supplied;
Hey, its cheerin' to t' sperrits when winter sets in
    Is a camp at yor own fireside.

Then here's to thoose luv'd ones 'at mek hooam
           so dear,
    An' breeten up t' lives o' monkind;
As greet us wi' smiles when we enter at t' dooar,
    An' scatter eawr troubles to t' wind.
Tho' some seek for pleasure away fro' ther hooam,
    I' lands far across t' rowlin' tide;
They find as true comfort con only be felt
    When they're snug at ther own fireside.


――――♦――――

 
Hawf-past Five at Neet.


FOR fooak at's slaves to t' factory bell,
    Life's nooan so breet nor gay;
For every morn they start at six,
    Au' wark like foo's o' t' day.
Bud when id geds tort stoppin' time,
    Ther sinkin' hearts grow leet;
An' sich a change comes o'er 'em o,
    At hawf past five at neet.

Id meks 'em feel so glad, to know
    Ther labour's o'er once mooar;
An' lots o' faces breeten up,
    'At looked quite sad befooar.
They swarm like bees throo t' factory gate,
    To th' oppen air i' t' street;
An' leeave o' t' cares o' toil behind,
    At hawf past five at neet.

Ther's t' chap as fuddled t' neet afooar,
    An' geet aboon his share;
He's ready, soon as th' engine stops,
    To dart off like a hare.
Another pint or two, he ses,
    U'll mek him feel o' reet;
An' in he pops at t' nearest "pub,"
    At hawf past five at neet.

Yo'll see t' young lasses decked i' smiles,
    O rushin' fro' ther wark;
To ged donned up to meet ther chaps,
    An' ramble reawnd bi t' park.
It's t' thowts o' t' walk, an' t' pleasant talk,
    'At meks ther faces breet;
An' fills ther hearts wi' sweet content,
    At hawf past five at neet.

For t' chap at's fagged an' wearied eawt,
    Wi' t' toil he's done throo t' day;
Id brings a spell o' welcome rest,
    To drive o' t' gloom away.
An' when he reyches th' hooam fireside,
    Wheer o's so snug an' breet,
He feels 'at life's woth livin' for,
    At hawf past five at neet.

It's th' only time as warkin' fooak
    Con tek life as they choose;
An' sit an' smook, or read some book,
    Or talk o'er t' latest news.
Or ramble eawt, at t' clooase o' day,
    When t' summer air smells sweet;
For slavery's theirs — an' nowt no mooar,
    Till hawf past five at neet.

To t' sons o' toil, wode'er they be,
    Id flings ids joys areawnd;
Id cheers up mony a weary heart,
    An' meks ther sperrits beawnd.
Id brings 'em t' tidin's 'at they're free,
    An' meks ther burdens leet;
Hey! t' richest gem o' factory life,
    Is hawf past five at neet.


――――♦――――

 
Mi Robin.


MI heart beeats time to aw merry tune;
    An' flutters wild wi' glee;
Ther isn'd a lass i' t' teawn, aw'm sure,
    So full o' joy as me.
Aw've just left Robin at th' owd lodge gate,
    An' it's t' words he's sed to-neet
'At's driven o' t' gloom o' life away,
    An' med mi heart so leet.

O, mi Robin's fair, an' he's gowden hair,
    An' he's tall an' comely, too;
An' his een they twinkle so clear an' breet,
    When luv comes shinin' throo'.
He's an honest heart, an' aw know full weel
    'At it's filled wi' luv for me;
Witheawt mi Robin to cheer me up
    Heaw dreary life would be!

At Sunda, Robin sings i' t' choir,
    An' pride oft swells mi breast;
When aw hear his sweet voice ringin' eawt
    So clear aboon o' t' rest.
An' sometimes when aw raise mi een,
    An' look across mi pew,
To steyl a glance at mi Robin's face —
    Aw find him glancin' too.

To-neet, when aw met him at t' meadow steel,
    He linked his arm i' mine;
For aw'd promised afooar 'at we‘d hev a walk
    If t' neet wur owt like fine.
We chatted away till we geet i' t' loyne,
    An' past th' owd orchard wo';
When he axed me to swap mi hooam for his,
    An' swap mi name an' o.

Id coom so sudden — aw couldn'd speyk,
    But aw fun' mi tongue at last;
An' aw towd him aw'd link mi lot wi' his
    When th' harvest time geet past.
His een towd a tale o' luv sincere,
    'At his tongue could never tell;
But tho' aw med him so leet an' fain,
    Aw felt as fain misel.

Ther's a little cot, wi' some garden greawnd,
    'At stans i' t' valley yon;
An' it's theer wheer Robin an' me 'll dwell
    Fro' t' day we're med i' one.
Aw envy nooan o' ther rank an' wealth,
    No matter wod they be;
For mi Robin's o 'at aw want on earth.
    An' mooar than t' world to me.


――――♦――――

 
Owd Comrade.


WE'RE two owd comrades — thee an' me,
    An' weel we've stuck together,
For forty year, throo smooth an' rough,
    I' breet an' stormy weather.
Let's leet eawr pipes, an' talk things o'er, —
    Draw clooaser up to t' fender;
It's nooam so oft 'at one con find
    A mate so true an' tender.

Hey, mony a time i' childish play,
    We've romped abeawt th' owd meadow,
When life wur like a shiny day,
    Witheawt a cleawd or shadow.
Owd Time's played weary havoc, lad,
    Wi' thoose we used to cherish;
But t' fate o' mon's decreed aboon,
    We live to bloom an' perish.

When monhood's days took childhood's
            place,
    We toiled an' throoave on daily;
Till th' owd recruitin' sergeant coom,
    Wi' ribbins flyin' gaily.
He towd us tales o' darin' deeds,
    Eawr breasts wi' glory fillin';
Until at last we gripped his hand,
    An' sed we'd tek t' Queen's shillin'.

Soon after thad, when t' war begun,
    Fro' hooam an' friends we parted;
For t' regiment wur ordered eawt,
    An' off to t' war we started.
Th' tears cooarsed deawn mony a brave
            mon's cheeks,
    But every nerve wur steady;
For when Owd England needs hur sons
    Hoo allus finds 'em ready,

We landed t' Crimea's shores at last,
    An', if eawr pluck wur deawted,
We soon put o sich thowts at rest,
    Bi t' way as t' foe wur reawted.
We scattered t' Russians left an' reight,
    An' fro' ther quarters chased 'em;
An' showed 'em 'at ther brag wur nowt,
    When British valour faced 'em.

Oft, when we've marched, at t' bugle's co',
    To scenes o' strife an' pillage;
Aw've thowt o' thoose we left behynt,
    I' t' little English village.
Hey! heaw they clung to thee an' me,
    On t' day o' separation;
When duty co'd us booath away,
    To serve eawr Queen an' nation.

Tha recollects thad wintry morn,
    When t' war wur nearly ended;
We strooave to capture t' Redan fort
    As t' foe hed long defended.
An' just as t' Russians torned an' fled,
    An' t' sheawts o' victory seawnded!
A musket bullet struck mi breast,
    An' deawn aw stumbled — weawnded.

They sed aw'd dee, but, thanks to thee,
    Aw soon geet weel an' stronger; —
It's no use, lad, these tears 'll come,
    They'll not keep back no longer.
When one feels grateful to a friend,
    It's ne'er at shame to own id;
Thad heart o' thine's as true as steel,
    An' o throo life tha's shown id.

But o eawr warefare's past an' gone,
    An' here we sit at leisure;
To pass eawr clooasin' days i' peace
    Wi' thoose we luv an' treasure.
An' may we never live to see
    Eawr friendship e'er diminish;
We're true owd comrades, an' we'll be
    Owd comrades up to t' finish.


――――♦――――

 
Feniscliffe Gate.


WE'RE stood bi th' owd gate, wheer we oft used to meet,
    I' t' time when eawr hearts an' eawr fancies wur free;
All, memory rowls t' picturs o' t' past back, to-neet,
    An' shows me at life as id once used to be.
Long years hev passed by, sin we roamed here afooar,
    An' we've struggled on bravely wi' fortune an' fate;
But t' spring-time o' life seems to come back once mooar,
    As tha stan's bi mi side, here, at Feniscliffe Gate.

Hey! time after time, hev aw waited for thee,
    An' longed for thi comin', as neet-fo drew near;
An' never wur owt hawf as welcome to me,
    As when t' seawnd o' thi footsteps fell soft on mi ear.
Sometimes, when aw've stood here, so lonesome and sad,
    An' everything reawnd me seemed dismal an' quate;
Tha's banished mi troubles, an' med mi heart glad,
    Wi' thi sweet words o' welcome, at Feniscliffe Gate.

Wod feelin's o' joy filled eawr breasts, mony a neet,
    As we rambled together, wi' hearts true an' seawnd,
An' built up a future o' hooapes, gowden breet!
    'At, years sin, wur shattered an' tumbled to t' greawnd.
An' oft, when we've traced back eawr footsteps, once mooar,
    An' stood here together, when t' neet's getten late;
This heart o' mine, someheaw, felt heavy an' sooare,
    As t' time coom for partin', at Feniscliffe Gate.

'Twur here, aw remember, i' days 'at are gone,
    Aw towd tha aw cared for no other, but thee!
'Twur here, wheer we'd stop, when eawr rambles wur done,
    While t' birds warbled reawnd us on mony a tree.
An' here, too, one neet, when we'd stopped for a rest,
    Aw axed tha to tek me for life, as thi mate;
An' eh! heaw mi heart fluttered wild i' mi breast!
    As tha give me thi answer, at Feniscliffe Gate.

Hey! time's med sad changes, sin thad happy day ―
    When t' parson read t' service 'at med us i' one,
We're journeyin' swiftly on t' track o' decay,
    An' thoose 'at we cherished, are o deead an' gone.
But nobry con say 'at we hevn'd bin true,
    We've warked hard together, booath early an' late;
An' eawr luv's just as strong — tho' it's nod quite as new
    As id wur when we cooarted at Feniscliffe Gate.

Owd gate, fare thee well! — we mun gooa on eawr way,
    We might never live to look on thee ageean!
Tha's conjured up scenes uv a long-vanished day,
    Wi' links 'at wur rustin' on memory's cheean.
We've varra near getten to th' end o' life's track,
    An' soon we'st be co'd on, to pay t' toll o' fate;
But as long as life lasts aw shall rowl fancy back,
    To t' time we wur luvvers at Feniscliffe Gate.


――――♦――――


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