Echoes from the Loom (I)

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TH' VAGABOND SON.
(A TALE O' KESMAS EVE.)
 


'TWUR nearin' on for Kesmas, an' bitter cowd it wur;
An' folks 'at sat bi t' glow o' t' fire felt nooan inclined to stir.
O reawnd wur wild an' dismal, no seawnd wur heeard i' t' street;
For nob'dy cared to ventur' eawt on sich a dreary neet.
Within a humble cottage sat Silas Breawn an' t' wife,
A help-meet true hoo'd bin to him, an' breetened up his life;
He thowt awhile i' silence, then, lookin' up, he sed:
"This Kesmas 'll be t' poorest, Nan, 'at ever yet we've hed."

"It will" — th' owd lass med answer, "it raylee will, for sure,
We've bin i' narrow straits at times, but nowt like this afooar;
It's no use talkin'different, — eawr prospects are but dark,
For sin' thi eyeseet went so bad, tha's nooan bin fit to wark.
Eawr little pile's fast lowerin', 'at took so long to save,
An' when on t' brink o' deep despair, ther's few 'at con be brave;
It wilno' last mich longer — it's welly getten throo;
Wheer mun we look for succour then? — What shall we hev to
        do?"

Owd Silas sat an' listened, — he never spooak a word;
But t' tears 'at damped his furrowed cheeks towd heaw his heart
        wur stirred.
He thowt o' t' gloomy future — he pictur'd t' gowden past,
When life wur blissful, calm, an' sweet — alas! too sweet to last.
His broo grew dark an' cleawded, an' then he fun' his tongue,
His feeble voice for t' time wur changed — he spooak eawt
        leawd an' strong,—
"Tha sees, lass, what we've come to, after o t' wark we've done,
An' this is throo yon vagabond — eawr base ungrateful son!

"What luv we lavished on him, for he wur th' only child;
But eawr good teychin' coom to nowt, he turned eawt rough and
        wild.
We thowt he'd be a comfort to cheer life's closin' days,
Hopin' 'at as he owder grew, he'd mend his rakish ways
But disappointment met us, an' shattered eawr belief,
For o at once t' dread climax coom, an' bent us deawn wi' grief;
He run away i' t' neet-time, an' robbed booath thee an' me, —
A theawsand curses on his yed, wheerever he may be!"

"Howd on, howd on theer, Silas! — thi anger's just, aw know,
But, tho' he wronged us bitterly, he's eawr lad after o;
He seemed to gooa agenst us fro' first to last, that's true,
But never use sich words as thoose, just curb thi temper — do!
Hed he to come repentant, nooan con tell t' joy aw'd feel,
Wi' oppen arms aw'd welcome him, an' sooa would theaw as
        weel!"
But Silas ne'er med answer — he didno' seem to hear;
His vacant stare towd plainly 'at his thowts wur fixed elsewheer.


*                *                *                *                *                *


Another week hed ended — 'twur Kesmas Eve at last! —
An' merry faces beamed areawnd, for mirth rung leawd an' fast;
But on ther cheerless har'stone th' owd couple sat once mooar,
Bemoanin' ther unhappy lot, for booath ther hearts wur sooar.
In t' midst o' ther lamentin', a sudden knock wur heeard;
"A visitor," owd Silas sed, "ther's summat wrong aw'm feeard.
Aw wonder who it is, neaw?" — here t' dooar wur oppen'd wide,
An' to his greyt amazement stepped a gentlemon inside.

He glanced reawnd for an instant, an' then he thus begun:—
"What! hev yo booath forgetten me — yor long-lost, scampish
        son?"
His mother rushed up to him, an' sobbin' at his side,—
"What did ta gooa an' leeave us for?—Wheer hesta bin?" —
        hoo cried.
"Aw went off to Australia, fort' gowd craze turned mi brain;
An' when aw geet to t' diggin's theer, aw struck a lucky vein.
Aw've caused yo pain an' sorrow, but say 'at yo'll forgive;
For neaw aw've come to pay yo back, an' keep yo while yo live."

When t' Kesmas bells wur ringin' on t' clear an' frosty air,
Owd Nan an' Silas laffed an' joked, a gradely happy pair.
They hearken'd t' peal o' gladness, an' murmured when 'twur
        done:—
"May t' day 'at's browt sich joy to us bring joy to everyone."
Theirs wur a Merry Kesmas, an' weel it might be, too,
For t' time they'd dreaded comin' on wur th' happiest e'er they
        knew.
They've left ther little cottage, — but yo see t' grond mansion
        yon; —
Well, that's wheer th' owd folk's livin' neaw, wi' t' vagabond —
        ther son!


――――♦――――

 
BE JANNOCK.


BE jannock, mi lads, as yo journey throo life,
    An' fling thowts o' evil aside;
Yo'll fnd it a comfort i' t' midst o' yor strife
    'At 'll help yo life's cares to abide.
It's as eeasy, aw'm sure, to do reight as do wrong,
An' sooa as yo're earnestly peylin' along,
For yor maxim, tek t' title aw've gi'en to mi song,
        An' whatever yo do, lads, be jannock.

Steer clear fro' hypocrisy, cant, an' deceit,
    They're things yo con varra weel spare;
If an action looks shady, hev nowt to do wi 't,
    Do nowt but what's honest and fair.
Be patient an' steady, whate'er be your lot,
Let yor name be untainted wi' blemish or blot,
Contentment 'll allus be t' king o' yor cot—
        If yo'll only act square, an' be jannock.

It's a nobler ambition to luv than to hate,
    An' t' world 'ud seem breet for us o,
If we'd use every mon like a brother an' mate,
    An' try to mek nob'dy a foe.
Do no mon a wrong, if yo connot do good,
An' act bi yor naybur as t' Book ses we should,
We could mek life far sweeter a lot, if we would,
        If we'd heed t' Gowden Rule, an' be jannock.

Dunnot start oft too fast when beginnin' life's race,
    Wi' this ther's bin mony a thing lost;
For yo might not be able to keep up yor pace,
    An' hev to drop eawt to yor cost.
An' dunnot seek peawer, for this fact we o know,
'At thoose as climb th' heighest hev farthest to fo';
A chap wi' contentment owns t' best gem uv o,
        Sooa beear this in mind, an' be jannock.

Be trusted, respected, an' honoured bi men,
    An' no matter heaw poor yo may be;
Yo'll feel mooar at eease, or aw'm sadly mista'en,
    Nor lots o' t' top-nobs 'at yo see.
Let conscience dictate every action an' thowt,
For a deed, breet an' noble, shines clearer than owt,
Be sure 'at yor labours 'll not end i' nowt,
        If yo mek it yor rule to be jannock.

Ther's One up aboon lookin' deawn on us o,
    An' shapin' life's course day bi day;
Sooa gooa throo your parts like true men, here below,
    Till deeath comes an' co's yo away.
Ill-feelin' an' jealousy, shun an' despise,
Give comfort to t' sufferin' — help t' lowly to rise,
An' yo'll get yor reward i' that whoam beyond t' skies,
        If, i' life here, yo try to be jannock.


――――♦――――

 
OWD DARBY'S MARE.


OWD DARBY'S a bit uv a sharp in his way,
But he geet tekken in varra nice t' other day;
An', eh, dear-a-me! — heaw th' owd chap carried on —
But aw'll just try an' let yo hev t' tale if aw con.
He hed a grey mare 'at wur welly worn throo,
It hed done some good wark for Owd Darby, that's true;
But he med up his mind, when it couldno' gooa t' pace,
To sell it, an' get a fresh tit in its place.

"Aw want to get shut on 't," he sed to hissel,
"Tho' heaw aw mun do it aw connot quite tell;
But ther's one thing," he muttered, "to me varra clear, —
Aw'st not find a buyer for 't reawnd abeawt here.
They know what it is, an' they'll not be ta'en in,
By gum, neaw aw hev it !" he cried, wi' a grin;
"Aw'll just advertise it i' th' papper to-morn,
An' aw'st leet o' some greenhorn as sure as aw'm born."

Sooa hewent to t' "News" office—his tale wur soon towd,
An' i' t' next mornin's papper, i' capitals bowd,
This anneawncement appeared:— "TO BE SOLD, A GREY
        MARE;
IN SPLENDID CONDITION, A BARGAIN QUITE RARE.
ACCUSTOMED TO HARNESS, IN CART OR IN DRAY,
THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME IS OFFERED TO-DAY.
THIS ADVERTISEMENT WILL NOT APPEAR HERE AGAIN;
SHE'S WELL WORTH TWENTY POUNDS, BUT WILL SELL HER
        FOR TEN."

That varra same mornin' o t' nayburs did stare,
For a swell uv a chap coom to look at his mare;
Darby seed at a glance he'd a raw 'un bi th' hand,
Sooa he gav' t' mare o t' praises his tongue could
        command.
He cracked o'er its pedigree, puffed up its speed,
An' everything else 'at he thowt 'ud succeed;
Sooa at t' finish t' chap bowt it, an' took it away,
An' Owd Darby smiled as he bid him "Good day!"

When a week hed gone by Darby went to th' hoss fair,
To buy a fresh tit to fill t' place uv his mare;
He eyed 'em o keenly, an' after he'd done,
Ther wur nooan theer 'at suited his taste, only one.
That one wur a mare, an' it plump took his gaze,
"It 'ud last me," he mumbled, "to th' end o' mi days;
It's just what aw want, for it looks young an' seawnd,"
Sooa wi' that he axed t' price — it wur twenty-five peawnd.

"Come, come, but that's dearish!" Owd Darby exclaimed,
"Con yo mek it no lower nor t' sum 'at yo've named?"
"Well," its owner sed to him, "aw'll tell what aw'll do,
Twenty-five's what aw axed, but aw'll tek twenty-two.
It's yors if yo want it at that price," he sed,
Sooa Darby forked eawt, an' away t' mare he led;
But when he geet meawnted he muttered, "Aw'm sure
'At ther's summat abeawt it aw've noticed afooar."

When he landed a-whoam wi' 't he stared some an' hard,
For it walked streyt to t' stable at th' far end o' t' yard;
"It seems to know t' rooad," Darby mused to hissel,
But heaw to acceawnt for 't th' owd mon couldno' tell.
Sooa he went into t' stable to view it mooar close,
Wi' his spectacles firmly fixed on to his nose;
An' he cried in a voice 'at fair rung o throo t' fowd:
"Well, aw'm dashed if it isno' t' same mare 'at aw
        sowd!"

Some bystanders heeard him, an' t' tale soon went
        reawnd,
'At he'd bowt his own tit back for twenty-two peawnd;
They'd filed deawn its teeth, an' they'd clipped it quite
        bare,
An' med it appear like a five-year-owd mare.
When t' nayburs heeard tell on 't, they fairly did laff,
An' sin' then Darby's hed to put up wi' ther chaff;
Sooa t' next time yo see him, just plague him a bit,
An' ax him, on t' quate, heaw he likes his new tit.


――――♦――――

 
WHAT COULD AW SAY?


AW'D just stopped to rest me,
    A bit past th' owd farm;
For t' basket wur heavy,
    An' t' weather wur warm.
Aw wur listenin' to t' woodlark
    In t' thicket beyond;
While t' sunbeams danced gaily
    On t' surface o' t' pond.
But o uv a sudden
    A footstep drew near;
An' when aw looked reawnd me
    Blithe Roger wur theer.
He smiled — eh, so kindly,
    An' bid me "Good-day!"
Then he axed to goo wi' me —
    An' what could aw say?

When aw stooped deawn for t'
            basket —
    "Howd on theer," sed he;
"Aw'll carry it for tha —
    Tha'rt tired, aw con see."
Sooa he took it up leetly,
    An' gaily he talked;
But his language grew sweeter
    As farther we walked.
When t' market wur ended,
    We walked back once mooar;
An' he clung to me closely
    Till reychin' th' heawse dooar.
Then he axed me to meet him
    On some other day;
An' aw raised no objections —
    For what could aw say?

We met two days after —
    Aw'd gone deawn to t' well;
But soon aw discovered
    Aw weren't bi misel.
Oh! he mun ha' bin watchin',
    For me he'd espied;
An' afore aw'd filled t' buckets
    He stood at mi side.
"Eh, do let me drink, lass!"
    He sed wi' a grin;
But he none wanted t' wayter —
    'Twur me 'at he'd sin.
An' while aw hoisted t' well-rope,
    He chatted quite gay;
Then he bent; o'er an' kissed me —
    An' what could aw say?

That wur but th' beginnin'
    O' what hed to be;
For mony a ramble
    Hed Roger an' me.
June changed to December —
    December to May;
An' eawr luv, wi' acquaintance,
    Grew stronger each day.
But one neet, when ramblin'
    Throo t' meadows so green,
He pressed mi hand softly,
    An' glanced i' mi een.
An' he talked, an' he pleaded,
    In sich a nice way;
Then he axed me to wed him —
    An' what could aw say?


――――♦――――

 
MONDA' MORNIN'.


IT'S grond, when Monda' mornin' comes,
    To tek a walk throo t' streets;
For if yo'll keep yor een on t' move,
    Yo'll see some curious seets.
For viewin' life i' diffrent ways,
It puts in t' shade o t' other days,
No matter wheer yo chance to gaze —
    Whichever way yo're turnin' —
At every corner men yo'll see,
I' little groups o' two or three,
O studyin' what t' first move mun be
    Wi' them at Monda' mornin'.

It isno' wark they're thinkin' o'er —
    O' that yo needno' fear;
They dunnot relish sich a thing,
    Or else they'd nooan skulk theer.
They're members uv a weel-known class,
'At "sponge" off folks 'at chance to pass
To raise a penny for a glass —
    To keep ther throats fro' burnin';
Yo'd be t' best mon they ever knew
If yo'd act like a simple foo'
Bi payin' for a quart or two
    For them at Monda' mornin'.

If yo should walk eawt early on,
    Tek stock o' th' pawnshop dooars.
Yo'll see folks gatherin', one bi one,
    Until they number scooars.
Ther's o sooarts mingled — cooarse an' rough,
An' some, God bless 'em! — poor enuff,
'At meet Dame Fortune's stern rebuff
    At every end an' turnin';
"Mi Uncle" meks his meyl, no deawt,
For mony a thing gets put up t' speawt
'At ne'er gets t' chance o' comin' eawt
    When "popped" at Monda' mornin'.

Yo'll see th' owd Scotchmon stridin' off —
    His bundle on his back;
He's after gettin' t' shillin's in
    For t' stuff 'at's left his pack.
Ther's odd 'uns into every street
'At lock ther dooars, an' keep fro' seet,
They dunnot feel inclined to meet
    His look so black an' scornin';
They promised double t' week afooar,
An' neaw they hev to miss once mooar,
Sooa vainly does he rattle t' dooar —
    They're "eawt" at Monda' mornin'.

Yo'll see a tailor here an' theer,
    As full as he con be;
An' mony a mon 'at's lost his wark
    Throo stoppin' off to spree.
Wheerever yo may ramble to
Ther's summat strange 'll meet yor view,
Sich seets are allus seen anew
    As week-ends keep returnin'.
Life's changed an' varied ony time,
But if yo'd see things i' full prime,
Do as aw've towd yo i' mi rhyme —
    Gooa eawt at Monda' mornin'!


――――♦――――

 
TH' WITCHES O' PENDLE.


When Jemmy as ruler o' th' land wur proclaimed,
For witches an' wizards owd Pendle wur famed;
An' a tower on th' hill summit wur t' place, aw've heeard
            tell,
Wheer these evil-souled mortals uv owd used to dwell;
    An' at t' stillness o' neet,—
    'Twur theer wheer they'd meet,
To hev dealin's wi' th' owd lad hissel.

If t' tales an' traditions abeawt 'em are true,
What deep deeds o' mystery these witches could do!
Ther weird laff 'ud ring, an' ther wild een 'ud glare,
As they warked some vile spell to bring mortals despair;
    An' when storms raged reawnd th' hill,
    They could curb 'em at will;
An' ride on ther broomsticks i' th' air.

But Owd Mother Demdyke an' Chattox are fled,
An' no longer on th' hill does ther presence bring dread;
Yet, if ever bi chance yo should journey that way,
Yo'll find 'at ther's witches reawnd Pendle to-day;
    Sooa young men, beware!
    Lest ther charms should ensnare,
An' leead o yor fancies astray.

Unlike th' owd-time witches, they're not ugly hags —
Deformed, an' crooked-featured, an' donned up i' rags;
But sweet buxom lasses, so modest an' fair,
Wi' cheeks rosy-tinted, an' soft wavy hair.
    Seech t' nation o throo,
    An' yo'll find — if yo do,
Ther's nooan 'at con wi' 'em compare.

Ther witchcraft lies hidden i' t' depths o' ther een,
Wheer flashes o' luv often dartle between.
On th' hearts o' th' unwary they act like a spell,
An' cause mony a bosom wi' rapture to swell;
    While ther smiles — soft an' sweet,
    Drive care eawt o' t' seet,
An' mek life too blissful to tell.

What joy it mun bring, to be under ther peawer,
An' feel luv's enchantment wheerever yo are
An' when neet throws its shadows o'er valley an' plain,
Heaw glad mun be t' fee1in's o' t' country-born swain!
    As he listens to t' voice,
    'At meks him rejoice —
An' he knows he's not journeyed i' vain.

O, t' witches o' Pendle are kindly an' true!
An' good nature prompts 'em i' o 'at they do.
Wi' courage unfailin', when trouble draws near,
Ther mission — ther aim, is to soothe and to cheer;
    An' blest is that mon,
    'At links lots wi' one,
To help him throo t' journey deawn here!

Come, bring me a bumper! — an' let this be t' toast —
"To t' witches o' Pendle, owd Lankyshur's boast!"
May t' stream o' ther lives ever peacefully glide,
An' grief an' affliction ther joys ne'er divide;
    An' throo sunshine an' gloom,
    Long, long may they bloom,
Like June fleawers on owd Pendle's side!


――――♦――――

 
TH' OWD WAG-BI-TH'-WO'.


IT'S getten a bit eawt o' fashion, aw know,
But ther's nowt 'at aw prize like that owd wag-bi-th'-wo'.
It's looked on some changes sin' first 'twur put theer,
For we've hed it i' th' family aboon eighty year.
When nobbut a child, aw oft looked on 't wi' glee,
An' soon 'twur as good as a playmate to me;
Aw'd sit deawn an' watch it, — an' talk to 't an' o,
For aw thowt ther wur life i' that owd wag-bi-th'-wo'.
            Tickin' away, day after day,
            Aw med it a friend i' mi own simple way;
Oh, would aw hed t' peawer thoose fond heawrs to reco',
At aw passed i' mi childhood wi' th' owd wag-bi-th'-wo'.

Mi infancy fled, an' aw throve on apace,
Yet aw oft gazed wi' pride on its owd-fashioned face;
An' th' years still passed on, till to monhood aw grew,
But mi luv for th' owd clock seemed to grow wi' me too.
Then like mooar beside me, it soon coom to pass
'At aw started a-courtin' a bonny young lass;
'An luv's magic spell set mi bosom aglow,
For hoo shared mi affections wi' th' owd wag-bi-th'-wo'.
            Anxious, yet glad, aw'd glance at it theer,
            Longin' for t' time uv eawr tryst to draw near,
But its fingers, to me, ever moved on too slow,
As they travelled reawnd t' face o' that owd wag-bi-
    th'-wo'.

At t' finish aw won hur, an' med hur mi bride,
An' happy aw felt as hoo stood bi mi side;
Weeks rowled into months, an' months into years,
Afooar e'er a cleawd coom to wakken eawr fears.
Heaw blissful life seemed! — heaw contented we wur! —
Eawr whoam wur a heaven, an' th' angel wur hur;
An' oft would we rest us bi t' fireside's warm glow,
Listenin' to t' tick o' that owd wag-bi-th'-wo'.
            Tickin' away — till long years hed gone,
            Keepin' its record as Time journeyed on;
We hed lots o' friends — eh! but t' truest uv o
Wur that clock o' mi mother's—that owd wag-bi-th'-wo'.

When th' years uv eawr happiness numbered just ten,
Dame Fortune forsook us, an' trouble coom then;
Deeath took off mi mother one sad autumn day,
An' varra soon after mi dad passed away.
Bad trade followed on, we strove hard to stem t' tide,
But i' vain, for it swamped us like others beside;
Eawr goods wur soon ta'en, — but they didno' tek o,
For we begged 'em to leeave us that owd wag-bi-th'-wo'.
            Sad an' forlorn — weary an' sick,
            It leetened eawr hearts wi' its merry tick-tick;
It bid us tek courage, an' troubles o'erthrow,
As we listened to t' music o' th' owd wag-bi-th'-wo'.

Trade geet reawnd soon after, an' then, bucklin' to,
Eawr sorrows, like t' friends 'at hed helped us, wur few;
New things graced eawr cottage, they coom one bi one,
Until they wur equal to thoose 'at hed gone.
Then Fortune smiled on us, an' breetened up t' way,
An' t' dwellin' we live in belongs us to-day;
We've a nice little nest-egg to keep us an' o,
An' a friend o' th' owd times i' that owd wag-bi-th'-wo'.
            Tick-tick it gooas — early an' late,
            Keepin' good time, tho' its style's eawt o' date;
O t' treasures aw hev into t' shade it con throw,
For ther's nowt 'at aw prize like that owd wag-bi-th'-wo'.


――――♦――――

 
LONDON: FRO' T' MONUMENT.


O, what a mighty pictur' lies below!
    On every side it oppens to mi seet;
Here wealth an' splendour, poverty an' woe,
    Mingle together, mekkin' t' scene complete;
    An' as aw gaze on t' city at mi feet
Aw muse o'er t' wonders vast 'at it contains,
    Till, roused bi t' noise o' t' traffic into t' street,
Aw look below, an' see wheer Commerce reigns —
An' wheer Toil barely lives, while Cunnin' ceawnts his
            gains.

Close by lies t' Tower — that owd historic pile,
    Famous for t' part it's played i' ages past;
Sullen an' sad it seems to be o t' while,
    As tho' it knew its peawer hed gone at last,
    An' sighed to think 'at glory fades so fast.
Eight centuries hev gone by sin' first 'twur built —
    Yet theer it stan's i' grandeur unsurpassed.
Full oft within its wo's hes blood bin spilt,
When monarchs meawnted t' throne bi t' steps of
            crime an' guilt.

Thoose time-bleached stones could tell a ghastly tale
    Uv unknown horrors — acts o' treachery done!
Hed they but t' peawer o' speech, eawr cheeks 'ud pale
    At Glo'ster's plots, an' th' deeds o' crafty John,
    Base Harry, Charles, an' thoose 'at followed on!
Not even time ther saycrets shall unlock —
    But nooan con mourn to think as t' days are gone
When tyranny sent noble souls to t' block,
Like Raleigh, Essex, More, Lovat, an' Kilmarnock.

Risin' aloft, as if in haughty pride,
    Stan's t' dome uv owd St. Paul's i' t' distance theer!
Up'ards it rears, o'ertowerin'o beside —
    Freawnin' on things below it far an' near,
    Like some grim warrior, void o' luv an' fear,
Its gilt cross shinin' like a helmet's crest.
    To look is to admire, an' to revere
Th' memories o' thoose beneath it laid at rest —
Nelson an' Wellington — names Englishmen luv best.

Neaw on th' owd Abbey do aw fix mi gaze —
    That sepulchre wheer vanished greatness lies.
Worthies 'at shed breet lustre o'er ther days,
    Men uv o stations, t' gifted, good, an' wise,
    Whose works an' deeds ther names immortalise,
Theer rest at peace!   Mi een could ever dwell
    On t' scene afooar me, rich wi' t' memories
O' thoose 'at every age hes helped to swell,
Fro' Spenser deawn to him 'at wrote o' Little Nell.

Stretchin' away as far as th' eye con see —
    Sponned wi' its ceawntless arches — th' Thames flows
            on.
O, what sad tales o' human misery
    Lie buried in its bosom! — Mony a one
    Friendless i' t' world, spurned bi ther fellow-mon,
Hes lingered on its brink, oppressed wi' care,
    An' feelin' every hope o' life wur gone,
Pleaded for mercy in a piteous prayer,
Then plunged into its depths, an' ended ther despair!

O, London! wealthiest city under t' skies!
    What cries o' woe are dreawned i' t' traffic's rooar!
Behind this glitterin' scene what squalor lies —
    What sufferin' exists among thi poor!
    Gooa, yo wi' riches! — gooa to every dooar —
Give aid to t' needy, cheer humanity !
    Follow th' example set in years befooar
Bi Howard, Shaftesbury, Coutts, an' Peabody,
An' London — mighty neaw — far mightier then shall be!


――――♦――――

 
ALLUS SPEYK EAWT WHAT YO THINK.


BACK-BITIN'S a thing aw detest, —
    Aw never could do wi' 't at o;
A streytforrud chap aw like best,
    An' aw daresay it's t' same way wi' yo.
Yo know what to mek uv his talk,
    For he'll tell yo t' plain truth, an' ne'er shrink;
Sooa i' whatever pathway yo walk,
    Chaps, allus speyk eawt what yo think!

Yo might vex an odd un or two,
    Let that be no trouble to t' mind;
Yo'll ne'er hev occasion to rue,
    For t' depths o' yor friends yo'll soon find.
If a chap should tek th' "huff" at plain facts,
    It's as weel if yo snap friendships link,—
For principle sadly he lacks;
    Sooa allus speyk eawt what yo think.

To some it's a crime, in a way,
    To hev ther fawts towd to ther face;
They'd sooner yo'd leead 'em astray,
    Wi' rubbin' in vain empty praise.
But surely it's monlier bi far,
    To warn 'em off Folly's dark brink;
No matter wheerever yo are —
    Hev courage to speyk what yo think.

Aw've known lots o' fella's misel,
    'At truth's med a little bit sooar;
But after a while — let me tell,
    They've bin better friends nor afooar.
For reflection's soon proved 'em i' t' wrong,
    An' caused o ther malice to sink;
On this be determined, an' strong, —
    To allus speyk eawt what yo think.

An' ther's some 'at aw've seen t' other way,
    When ther failin's an' fawts hev bin towd;
They've bin nooan offended — not they,
    But pleeased, to be talked to so bowd.
It's a pleasure to see sich a mon,
    'At'll listen, an' ne'er awse to shrink,
But grip yo bi th' hand when yo've done,
    For tellin' him streyt what yo think.

Bi flattery ther's nowt to be gained,
    On t' contrary it oft keeps yo back;
For t' world, neawadays, is weel trained,
    An' con read throo sich stuff in a crack.
Sooa be true i' purpose an' heart,
    Tho' yo're strugglin' on poverty's brink,
Yo'll find 'at yo'll best play yor part,
    If yo allus speyk eawt what yo think.

What good con ther be in a mon
    'At hates to hear t' truth o'er hissel?
He's no mate, an' yor t' best when he's gone,
    If for that he should chance to rebel.
Be candid wi' stranger an' friend,
    An' at falsehood an' vice never wink;
For yo'll get better thowt on i' th' end,
    If yo allus speyk eawt what yo think.


――――♦――――

 
POORLY.


DADDY'S comin' whoam, luv, soon,
    Sit here on mi knee.
Oh, heaw sore mi bosom feels,
    Thinkin', luv, o' thee!
Do aw know tha'rt poorly, child?
    To be sure aw do;
God, aboon us — hear mi prayer! —
    Bring him safely throo.

Luv, thi broo's as hot as fire,
    Th' fever's settin' in;
Th' bloom's gone off thoose bonny cheeks,
    Neaw they're pale an' thin.
Come, be patient for a bit,
    Bear up, that's a lad!
Tha'll be mooar content, aw know,
    When tha see's thi dad.

Mun aw put thee off mi knee?
    Tha'rt uneasy here.
Wait, aw'll mek thoose cushions soft,
    On thi daddy's cheear.
Neaw, mi luv, tha'rt mooar at ease,
    Rest theer, snug an' still.
Eh! heaw short tha teks thi breath,
    Luv, tha'rt varra ill.

Dunnot sob and cry like that,
    Let's wipe off that tear.
Come, aw'll tek thee up to bed,
    Tha'll be better theer.
When thi daddy comes fro' wark,
    He'll come to thee, too.
Well, tha'st stop an' see him first,
    If tha wants to do.

Hearken tha! — yon's hawf-past-five!
    Neaw he'll not be long;
He'll be mekkin' streyt for whoam,
    Else aw'm sadly wrong.
Tha's bin quate enough o day,
    But tha'll smile once mooar,
When tha hears his welcome foot
    Drawin' near to t' dooar.

Sitha! sitha! — here he is!
    O thi waitin's past.
Tell him what tha wants to say,
    For he's come at last.
Bless thee, luv, it does me good,
    Seein' thee so glad.
Daddy, tek him up a bit —
    Nurse yor poorly lad!


――――♦――――

 
CHANGIN' HIS MIND.


OWD Lolly o' Jem's seet him deawn in his cheear,
    An' reyched eawt his bacca an' pipe for a smook;
He'd a good rousin' fire, an' it shone warm an' clear,
    An' cast a red glare on to t' wo' i' t' far nook.
As he cut up his bacca, he trolled eawt a lay,
    An' when it wur finished, he muttered wi' glee, —
"Aw'll warrant ther's nob'dy i' t' nation to-day,
    'At con say 'at they feel mooar contented than me.

"Aw've no cause to grumble at t' frolics o' Fate,
    For aw think at th' owd dame's nooan dealt badly wi
                me,
It's true 'at aw've never yet picked eawt a mate,
    But aw'm nooan so mich worse for 't, fro' what aw con
                see.
Aw've a nice cozy cot, an' aw've plenty o' meyt,
    An' a shillin' or two i' mi pocket to spend;
An' better than o, when mi course isno' streyt,
    Aw know wheer to gooa if aw'm wantin' a friend.

"Aw'd a notion, at one time, o' tekkin' a wife,
    For aw went to Moll Bamber, 'at lives across t' way,
An' ax'd hur streyt eawt if hoo'd tek me for life,
    But hoo answered, — 'Nay, nay, yo're too far gone
                i' t' day.
It's a husband aw want, not a feyther!' hoo sed,
    "Sooa ever sin' that time aw've let hur a-be;
Ther's a chance yet for someb'dy, for Moll's still unwed,
    An' hoo'll hev to remain sooa to t' finish for me."

"If yo talk abeawt th' owd lad hissel, he'll appear,"
    Is a sayin' yo've often heeard quoted, aw'm sure;
An' t' truth on 't, to Lolly, wur med plain an' clear,
    For just at that minute a knock coom to t' dooar.
"Come in," sheawted Lolly, in answer to t' knock,
    Tho' who wur his visitor Loll couldno' tell;
But when t' dooar wur oppen'd, his heart gav' a shock,
    For he looked up an' seed 'twur Moll Bamber hursel.

"Good-neet to yo, Lolly!" hoo sed wi' a smile,
    An' hoo peearked hursel deawn on a seeat behind t'
                speer;
Hoo looked reawnd at t' pictur's on t' wo' for awhile,
    An' then at Owd Loll 'at sat starin' i' t' cheear.
Then hoo sed in a voice 'at wur mellow an' sweet,
    "Heawever yo manage aw connot quite tell;
Aw'm sure 'at it's wearisome for yo at neet,
    To hev to come whoam an' ceawer here bi yorsel.

"Aw'm surprised 'at yo dunnot look eawt for a wife,
    For aw know 'at yo're gettin' on fast for three scooar;
An' if yo'd a partner, hoo'd leeten yor strife,
    An' mek yo as snug as a button, awm sure.
Aw know 'at yo once med an offer to me,
    An' for th' answer aw gav' yo aw truly repent;
But mi mind's changed sin' then, for aw think we'd agree,
    Sooa if yo're still willin', aw'll give mi consent."

Owd Loll shook his yed, an' a smile decked his face,
    An' he sed,—"Nay, tha knows aw'm too far gone i' t'
                day;
An' as long as aw'm nearin' to th' end o' mi race,
    Aw think aw con manage t' remainder o' t' way.
Aw did mek an offer at one time, aw know,
    But tha didno' accept it when aw wur inclined;
An' as after thowts often bring wisdom to o,
    Aw've done same as thee, Moll, — aw've awtered mi
                mind.

"Sooa if that's o tha's come for tha'd better depart,
    An' just tek these tuthri good words uv advice:
It might save tha mony an achein' o' th' heart,
    If, afooar tha speyks once, tha'd think weel o'er it twice.
An' if ever another chance comes i' thi way,
    Tek care 'at tha snaps it afooar it's too late;
An' dunnot thee dally till some other day,
    For he might change his mind if tha leeaves him to
                wait."


――――♦――――

 
LITTLE NEDDY'S PRAYER.


SPRING hed come wi' o its gladness,
    Th' sun sent eawt its breetest rays!
Th' world seemed like a spot wheer sadness
    Never hed a dwellin' place.
Heaw delightful! — heaw refreshin'! —
    What a fragrance coom on t' breeze! —
Even t' brids sung t' praise o' nature
    Wi' ther sweetest melodies.

Yet in spite uv o this beauty,
    Sorrow ruled supreme that day,
In a little cottage bedroom
    Wheer a deein' woman lay.
Pale an' sunken wur hur features,
    Short an' thick wur t' breath hoo drew;
Deeath hed oppen'd his grim portals —
    Hoo wur slowly passin' throo.

Tho' hur broo wur knit wi' sufferin',
    Yet hoo raised hur een an' smiled,
As hur glances rested fondly
    On poor Ned — hur only child.
But hur smiles to teardrops melted,
    As hoo thowt heaw soon he'd be
Left witheawt a friend to guide him —
    Left to t' wor1d's cowd charity!

"Neddy, Neddy," soft hoo whispered —
    As hoo spoke he joined hur side;
An' hur tears rowled fast an' faster,
    Tho' to keep 'em back hoo tried:
"Bless thee, Neddy! — bless thee, darlin'!
    Oh, it's hard 'at this should be!
Aw could leeave this world contented
    If it wern't for t' thowts o' thee!"

Neddy looked up sad an' earnest,
    For hur meeanin' weel he knew;
Then he sighed an' murmured "Mother,
    Try to live for Neddy, do!
Winter's past, an' t' buds are spreawtin',
    Yo'll be gettin' better soon."
But if ever he geet answer,
    It wur up i' t' land aboon.

Then did t' fearful truth dawn on him,
    An' his tears fell thick as rain;
O his youthful joys wur shattered,
    O his hopes hed bin i' vain.
He wur left alone — an orphan—
    An' he moaned i' wild despair;
Then he clasped his hands together,
    An' he med this simple prayer:

"Gentle Jesus, Friend o' childer,
    Look, oh, look, an' pity me!
Dunnot leeave me here so lonely,
    Let me come i' Heaven to Thee.
When they're left wi' nooan to luv 'em,
    What con little childer do?
Mother's gone to live wi' th' angels —
    Let me come an' join 'em, too!"


*            *            *            *            *            *


Th' red sun sunk in o its splendour,
    Th' twinklin' stars begun to peep;
Th' neet winds joined i' one soft chorus,
    Singin' t' worn—eawt day to sleep.
Th' moonbeams shone throo t' cottage window,
    On a cowd an' lifeless pair;
For the Lord hed heeard an' granted
    Little orphan Neddy's prayer.


――――♦――――

 
HEAW JOE TINKER SAVED HIS "BATE."


JOE TINKER'S a bit uv a "softey," —
    At leeast, that's what lots o' folks say;
But to tell yo my honest opinion,
    Aw'm inclined to think t'other way.
He certainly does act eccentric,
    But they munno' tell me 'at he's "leet;"
For he'd never ha' played t' trick he hes done
    Unless he'd his wits theer o reet.

He's a weyver is Joe — an' a good un —
    For ther's few 'at con lick him i' t' shop;
An' when t' wage-papper comes reawnd at Frida',
    His average is ne'er far off t' top.
An' aw fancy it curls a lot on 'em
    To see heaw he allus gets throo;
They wonder heawever he does it,
    For he seems sich a soft, simple foo'.

He hed a big "mash" t'other Monda',
    An' to mek a good job on't he tried;
But when he'd done o 'at he could do,
    His cloth hed two holes in at t' side.
He could see ther wur no way to mend it,
    For nob'dy con do aboon t' best;
Sooa at neet, when he poo'd o his "cuts" eawt,
    He took it in t' wareheawse wi' t' rest.

Th' mornin' after, t' cutlooker sent for him,
    An' Joe went streyt up wi' a smile.
"Aw'll awter that," t' cutlooker muttered,
    "Tha shall laff in a different style.
Just look at this cloth wi' these holes in;
    Neaw, tha needno' mek ony excuse—
Aw'm batin' tha two shillin' for 'em,
    An' grumblin' or growlin's no use."

"Two shillin'!" cried Joe, fairly startled,
    "Aw think that's a long way o'er t' mark;
Aw'm hevin' a plain understandin',
    Afooar aw gooa back to mi wark!"
"Tha con hev it," wur t' cutlooker's answer,
    "Ther's bin lots o' cloth spoiled uv late;
Sooa for every hole — big or little —
    We've a shillin' to book for a 'bate."'

"Well," Joe sed, "but thoose holes are together,
    An', besides, they're but little 'uns too."
"That meks no odds; get to thi looms neaw,
    For aw've towd tha streyt what aw shall do."
But Joe med a spring to wheer t' cut wur,
    An' afooar they could see what he'd done —
He'd whipped his knife eawt uv his pocket,
    An' ripped booath o' th' holes into one.

"What's that for, like?" t' cutlooker axed him,
    An' he did glance at Joe some an' feaw;
"Aw'm savin' a shillin'," he answered,
    "For ther's nobbut one hole in it neaw."
Th' cutlooker sceawled black for a minute,
    An' then rare an' hearty he laffed;
"Well," he sed, "this is quite unexpected,
    For aw've allus bin towd tha wur daft.

Heawever, say nowt mooar abeawt it,
    An' aw'll not bate tha for it at o;
Aw'll own 'at tha's bested me gradely,
    But mind, neaw, tha lets nob'dy know."
But, someheaw, t' tale spread areawnd t' factory,
    An' when t' cutlooker's passin' throo t' gate
O t' tenters 'll plague him bi sheawtin'—
    "Hey, heaw mich wur joe Tinker's 'bate'?"


――――♦――――

 
A RAMBLE I' T' COUNTRY.


WHEN summer time comes wi' its fruits an' its fleawers,
    An' t' sun breetens t' world wi' his rays;
When t' beauties o' nature grace t' woodlands an'
                beawers,
    An' t' bees hum ther anthems o' praise:
Then, then — when this earth seems a region o' bliss,
    An' shows us what Eden mun be;
Aw sing a glad song, an' t' refrain on't is this —
    "A ramble i' t' country for me!"

I' winter, aw glean what aw con fro' mi books,
    An' read what philosophers tell;
I' summer, aw ramble bi t' meadows an' brooks,
    An' read t' book o' nature itsel'.
Ther's a pictur' o' beauty in every fleawer,
    Ther's music on every tree;
Eh, nature's t' best painter an' poet, bi far —
    A ramble i' t' country for me!

It's grond to walk eawt just at t' dawnin' o' day,
    When t' lark sings its sweet mornin' song;
An' to hear t' other song-birds join in wi' its lay,
    Till ther notes blend euphonious an' strong.
Yo talk abeawt music — no music on earth,
    So pure, so delightful could be,
As that which fro' nature hursel claims its birth,
    A ramble i' t' country for me!

If th' heat gets oppressive as noon-tide draws near,
    Aw pick eawt some cool shady nook;
An' gaze up at th' heavens so blue an' so clear,
    Or listen to t' murmurin' o' t' brook.
O, what a sensation o' pleasure aw feel! —
    Mi heart-pulse throbs wildly an' free;
Ther's nowt i' this world 'at aw like hawf weel —
    A ramble i' t' country for me!

If aw ramble throo t' meadows — ther's t' fragrance o' th'
                hay,
    An' t' toilers so active an' blythe;
An' oft aw con list to some owd rustic lay,
    As t' mower stan's sharpenin' his scythe.
Ther plain whoamly faces weear t' smile o' content,
    No strife mars ther sweet jollity;
Good-will an' true honesty in 'em are blent,
    A ramble i' t' country for me!

When t' breezes blow gently as day nears its close,
    An' t' cleawds weear a deep tinge o' red;
Aw look at th' owd sun as he sinks to repose,
    Like an infant 'at's gooin' to bed.
He teks a last look' ere he drops behind th' hill,
    As if mournin' 'at day should e'er dee;
An' nowt disturbs t' quateness — Save t' tricklin' o' t' rill,
    O, a ramble i' t' country for me!

Then sing hey, for summer, an' t' glories it brings! —
    It's a seeason o' joy to us o;
Wi' praise an' thanksgivin' o t' universe rings,
    For t' gifts nooan but God con bestow.
It banishes sorrow — it cheers everyone,
    Whatever ther station may be;
Sooa up an' enjoy it — tek t' chance while yo con,
    Uv a ramble i' t' country, like me!


――――♦――――

 
IN A SWEATER'S DEN.
(AN APPEAL TO T' MASSES.)


IN t' dingiest room uv a dingy court, shut eawt bi
        buildin's fro' t' leet o' day,
Its windows grimy wi' smook an' dust, throo which no
        sunbeam con ever stray —
Wheer th' air hangs heavy, an' smells are bad, an' never
        a breath uv a freshenin' breeze
Comes in to sweeten th' unwholesome stench at lurks
        areawnd, breedin' vile disease:
Theer, in that horrible fifthy den, in this enleetened an'
        Christian land,
Dead to t' pleasures 'at t' world affords, yo'll see a pinin'
        an' sickly band
Uv men an' women, an' childer, too; an' t' meanin' o'
        slavery weel they know,
As they drudge away for starvation pay — poor victims
        o' avarice, want, an' woe!

Oh! what a terrible lot is theirs! — wi' griefs so plentiful,
        joys so few!
Every day helps to swell ther cares, altho, God help 'em!
        they hev enoo.
Hope never enters ther weary breasts — it's an empty
        word 'at they connot trust;
Fro' leet to darkness they never rest, for stoppin' a
        minute might cost a crust.
Mony a wan, pinched face yo'll see, an' mony a cheek
        wi' tears are wet;
An' mony a one drops ill an' faint for want o' food 'at
        they connot get.
But t' Sweater looks on wi' pitiless een: what matter to
        him if they starve or dee?
"They mun gooa," says he, "if they connot wark.   Why
        should their poverty trouble me?"

He smiles to think heaw he grinds 'em deawn, then cries
        aleawd in a scornful pitch:
"What good are t' poor, aw should like to know, unless
        they help to mek others rich?
Some folks say conscience should lead us on," an' he
        curls his lip in a sneerin' way,
"Aw wonder what business men 'ud think, if yo talked
        abeawt conscience to them, to-day?
A fig for conscience!   Let me hev brass, an' aw'll face
        t' world bowdly, an' brave its freawn:
For mekkin' one o' mi shoddy suits aw pay mi tailors a
        hawf-a-creawn;
An' if that isno' pay enuff, pray what is? — for a skilful
        mon con mek three a week.
Bah! — treyd on t' poor if yo'd gain respect — it meks 'em
        humble, an' low, an' meek!"

He pauses an instant to look areawnd, an' then resumes
        t' theme he wur on afooar:
"Ther's t' women," he says, "'at mek shirts for t' shop,
        an' they're paid weel for ther wark, aw'm sure.
They've tuppence apiece for o they mek — they find ther
        own buttons an' thread, that's true;
But, then, they con do abeawt six a day, an' aw think,
        for a woman, that's quite enoo.
Yet sometimes they grumble, an' want mooar pay, but
        room for complainin' aw connot see;
They've twenty per cent for doin' t' wark, an' ther's
        nobbut eighty as profit for me.
An' t' men grumble sometimes, as weel as them, but
        these are t' words 'at aw allus say; ―
'If yo dunnot like it, yo'd better gooa,' an' they're fain
        to be humble, an' slink away.

"Aw connot see wheer aw'm doin' wrong, an' to serve
        mi own ends aw shall ne'er disdain,
For competition in trade's so strong, an' men an' women
        so preawd an' vain;
An' ready-made goods they demand so cheap, 'at, heed-
        less o' poverty's cries an' groans,
They banter us deawn till we lose on t' stuff, so t' profits
        come eawt o' t' toiler's bones.
Aw know some profits are less nor mine, but it's nowt to
        me what others do;
Ther's some content wi' a moderate thing, but aw want
        mooar, an' aw'll hev it, too!"
An' hevin' finished, he turned away, an' went i' t'
        freshness o' God's pure air,
Leavin' behind him his sweated band, to plod along in
        ther blank despair.


*            *            *            *            *            *            *


Oh! men an' women, be wise in time! — an' when next
        purchasin', gently pause,
An', ere yo banter yor garments deawn, just think o' t'
        sufferin' 'at yo cause.
Just think o' t' wages yo earn yorsels, compared wi'
        thoose 'at are earned bi t' poor
'At toil i' misery for next to nowt — an' yo'll hev ther
        blessin's for evermooar.
Shun every tradesman 'at doesno' pay a fair day's wage
        for a fair day's wark;
Then for t' poor toilers yo'll breeten t' way, 'at neaw, alas!
        is so drear and dark.
Just do bi them as yo'd be done by — for actions are
        mightier than tongue or pen;
An' things like these 'at aw've just described 'll exist no
        mooar in a Sweater's Den!


――――♦――――

 
THER'S SUMMAT GONE WRONG WI' EAWR JOE.


AW wonder what's up wi' eawr Joe?
    Poor lad, he's i' trouble, aw'm sure!
Ther's a summat aw'd mich like to know,
    For he's ne'er bin i' yon state afooar.
He looks reg'lar deawncast an' sad,
    An', to say t' least, his ways hev grown strange;
Aw've puzzled mi wits o'er yon lad,
    To find eawt what's t' cause uv o t' change;
An' whenever aw've axed what's to do,
    He's looked up an' sed "Nowt at o!"
But aw know he's not tellin' me true,
    For ther's summat gone wrong wi' eawr Joe.

He wur once full o' mischief an' fun,
    An' gay as a body could be;
But, neaw, o his mirth-mekkin's done,
    He's a pitiful object to see:
For he'll ceawer like a dummy i' t' nook,
    Wi' a cleawd o' despair on his broo;
Or else he'll be readin' some book,
    An' starin' away like a foo'.
It's seldom 'at ever he'll speyk,
    An' t' reeason aw'm anxious to know;
Aw'm feeard 'at his heart's gooin' to breyk,
    For ther's summat gone wrong wi' eawr Joe

His appetite's vanished as weel,
    Tho' it ne'er wur a good un' at t' best;
If he'd nobbut tee to at his meals,
    Mi bosom would feel mooar at rest.
Whatever aw cook, it's ne'er reight,
    For at brekfast, or dinner, or tay ―
He tells me he wants nowt to eyt,
    An' it hurts me to side it away.
If ther isno' a change tekkin' place,
    He'll soon be as thin as a straw;
Aw wish aw could fathom his case,
    For ther's summat gone wrong wi' eawr Joe.

He ne'er wur mich gi'en to be preawd,
    But he's getten a new suit o' clothes;
An' he dresses what some would co' "leawd,"
    Wi' his button-hole filled wi' a rose.
At Sunda', he's restless o day,
    But as neetfo' begins to draw near;
His heart seems mooar leeter an' gay,
    An' sometimes aw've thowt it looked queer.
He teks mony a glance at t' clock face,
    As tho t' time wur passin' too slow;
An' he connot rest long i' one place,
    Eh! ther's summat gone wrong wi' eawr Joe.

What's this 'at he's getten i' t' drawer?
    It's a likeness o' someb'dy aw know;
Neaw, aw hev it! — mi wonderin's o'er —
    It's Maggie 'at lives i' t' next row.
It's hur 'at's upset t' young foo's brain,
    An' yet aw ne'er thowt on 't afooar;
This fact's med itsel varra plain,
    He's luv-sick is t' lad — nowt no mooar.
No longer aw'll moyther misel,
    For neaw aw con see throo it o;
He'll come reawnd a lot best hissel,
    For it's th' heart 'at's gone wrong wi' eawr Joe.


――――♦――――

 
TH' OWD TEYCHER.


TH' owd teycher's lookin' varra bad, for years th' owd
        mon's bin ailin';
An' fast to th' harbour up aboon his bark o' life is sailin'.
His mind an' body's eawt o' gear, his voice hes lost its
        sweetness;
An' th' een 'at once shone eawt so clear, hev o but lost
        ther breetness.
But th' heart's unchanged — nowt's altered that—it's filled
        wi' t' same owd feelin';
Faith, hope, an' pity, linger theer — a Christian soul
        revealin'.
On t' narrow way he's travelled long, wi' purpose fixed
        an' steady;
An' when his Superintendent co's, he'll find th' owd
        teycher ready.

He's hed his class at t' Sunda' schoo' for o'er a
        generation,
An' tried to leead young souls to Him 'at dee'd for eawr
        salvation;
An' i' thoose years 'at's passed away he's seen some
        diff'rent faces ―
He's watched young childer grow to men, an' theirs fill
        up ther places.
Week after week yo'd see him theer, i' rough or shiny
        weather,
An' hard an' earnestly he toiled to keep his flock
        together.
His kindly face 'ud beeam wi' joy when t' class wur
        ranged beside him,
An' oft he'd tell us t' tale o' t' Cross, wi' th' Holy Book
        to guide him!

Thoose days to us wur th' happiest days 'at life hes ever
        browt us,
No lessons e'er hed t' charms to me like thoose th' owd
        fella towt us;
He'd talk so plain an' simple like — no big heigh words
        abeawt him,
An' t' look o' grace 'at decked his face, left nob'dy room
        to deawt him.
Fro' t' paths o' sin an' wickedness he did his best to
        steer us;
No words impressed eawr minds like his — no mon like
        him could cheer us.
Aw often think abeawt thoose times, an' t' way as th' owd
        mon pleaded;
For after-life's shown plainly heaw his seawnd advice
        wur needed.

His teychin' days are welly o'er, he'll not be here mich
        longer;
But tho' his body's weak an' frail, his faith keeps growin'
        stronger.
He's sattled-up wi' Him aboon, an' getten t' bill receipted,
An' knows he's sure uv his reward when t' voyage is
        completed.
He's weel aware o' t' solemn truth — he knows 'at th' end's
        quite near him;
But no sad thowts to him it brings ― it only serves to
        cheer him.
In t' Port o' Glory varra soon his vessel 'll be landin',
An' theer he'll find that "perfect peace 'at passes
        understandin'!"


――――♦――――

 
GOOIN' EAWT A-MAYIN'.


When t' risin' sun peeps eawt o'er th' hills,
    An' t' breeze is softly blowin',
An' infant streams an' murmurin' rills
    Mek music wi' ther flowin';
When t' dew on t' meadow glistens breet,
    An' t' skylark heralds t' day in ―
Full mony a couple yo' may meet,
    Gooin' eawt a-Mayin'.
            Wi' glances shy
            They pass yo by,
    I' th' early mornin' strayin';
            Ther lives are sweet,
            Ther bliss complete,
    When gooin' eawt a-Mayin'.

Whene'er aw see sich couples pass
    It wakkens recollections,
An' co's to mind a bonny lass,
    'At stole mi fond affections.
A fairer mortal ne'er wur born —
    It's quite true what aw'm sayin';
Aw met hur first one luvly morn,
    Gooin' eawt a-Mayin'.
            A fragrant breeze
            Shook t' dew off t' trees,
    An' t' lambs i' t' fields wur playin';
            But aw could stare
            At nowt but hur,
    When gooin' eawt a-Mayin'.

Aw med mi mind up then an' theer
    To mek t' best use o' t' meetin';
Sooa, walkin' slow till hoo geet near,
    To hur aw gav' a greetin'.
"Good mornin', lass!" aw bowdly sed ―
    "An' whither arta strayin'?"
Hoo answered, as hoo blushed quite red,
    "Gooin' eawt a-Mayin'!"
            Mi courage grew,
            "Mun aw come, too?"
    Aw axed, witheawt delayin'.
            Th' reply coom low,
            But it wurno' "Nowe!"―
    When gooin' eawt a-Mayin'.

We booath honk't arms an' wandered on,
    An' ere that walk wur ended,
Hur luv wi' mine wur fairly won, —
    Eawr hearts i' one wur blended.
For thirty year hoo's bin mi wife,
    Hur hair hes streaks o' grey in;
'Twur t' luckiest time uv o mi life —
    Gooin' eawt a-Mayin'.
            In spite uv years
            No sign appears
    To show 'at luv's decayin';
            But this aw know,
            Life's joys aw owe
    To gooin' eawt a-Mayin'.


――――♦――――

 
WEYVIN' UP.


"TH' kettle's singin' on to th' hob,
    An' t' fire bruns clear an' breet;
But nowt seems cheerful, lass, to me,
    Aw'm eawt o' sooarts to-neet.
We've known what trouble is uv late,
    An' supped fro' sorrows cup;
But things hev reyched t' worst pitch uv o,
    For neaw we're weyvin' up.

"When aw seed t' notice up to-day,
    Aw read it throo an' throo;
An' thowt o' thee an' t' childer here,
    An' what we'd hev to do.
Another week or two, at t' mooast,
    Ull wark o up i' t' place;
Then thoose wi' nowt to tek to, lass,
    Mun meet want face to face.

"For sich like folks as us, mi lass,
    At t' best life is but rough;
An' if we've no drawbacks at o,
    We find it bad enuff.
We've struggled hard to mek ends meet,
    An' tried to pay eawr way;
But what we'st hev to come to neaw,
    Who is ther 'at con say?

"It's t' childer 'at aw think o'er t' mooast,
    For oft, tha knows quite weel,
We've pinched eawrsels for t' sake o' them,
    To find 'em o a meal.
They've never hed to want as yet,
    But neaw eawr prospect's drear;
An', oh! to see 'em starvin', lass,
    Is mooar than aw could beear.

"Aw hardly dare to hope for wark,
    For every day i' t' street,
Ther's hundherds walkin' up an' deawn, —
    A woeful weary seet.
We'st not be bi eawrsels, aw know,
    When hunger knocks at t' dooar;
For life 'at looks so dark to us,
    Looks t' same to theawsands mooar.

"We're weyvin' up — but dunnot grieve,
    We'll booath do t' best we con,
An' battle throo for t' childer's sake,
    Till better days come on.
Ther's nowt con last for ever, lass,
    Sooa, till eawr troubles end,
We'll trust i' Him 'at reigns aboon,
    An' pray for times to mend."

"Neaw, lad, just let me say a word,
    Tha's hed o t' talk thisel;
An' summat diff'rent far to thine
    Is t' tale 'at aw've to tell.
Aw heeard at yo wur weyvin' up,
    When Joe Leech co'd to-day;
An' then he towd me summat else,
    'At drove mi cares away.

"Ther's four looms for tha under him —
    It's true as e'er aw'm born!
An' full-time tentin' for eawr Jim,
    An' yo've to start to-morn.
Sooa sit tha deawn an' leet thi pipe,
    Tha'rt happy neaw, aw'm sure;
For things look breeter far, bi odds,
    Than e'er they did afooar."


――――♦――――

 
EAWR TEDDY'S A SOWJER BOWD.


AW'VE allus bin preawd uv eawr Teddy,
    Fro' t' minute he first looked at t' leet;
But neaw aw feel preawder nor ever,
    An' aw'm th' happiest woman i' t' street.
For he went an' joined t' Rifles not long sin',
    An' neaw he's a corporal, aw'm towd;
He looks every inch like a hero,
    For eawr Teddy's a sowjer bowd.

Yo should just hear him talk abeawt glory,
    Yo'd fair be amazed — that yo would!
Aw could sit deawn an' hear him for ever,
    For his talk does this heart o' mine good.
His yed's filled wi' true martial knowledge,
    Tho' he hesno' turned twenty year owd;
Ther's not one i' t' corps as con touch him,
    For eawr Teddy's a sowjer bowd.

When first aw heeard tell 'at he'd 'listed,
    Yo couldno' imagine mi fears;
But they vanished away, when they towd me
    As t' lad hed but joined t' volunteers.
Still aw felt a bit vexed for t' time bein',
    But neaw wi' rare bliss aw'm endowed,
For t' nayburs exclaim, when they see him —
    "Look, theer gooas a sowjer bowd!"

He reads nowt but tales abeawt battles,
    He's plump on for sowjerin', yo see;
An' sometimes, wi' t' brush for a carbine,
    He'll gooa throo his drillin' for me.
Heaw grond he con march across t' kitchen!
    He's raylee a treeat to behowd;
He'll mek his mark yet, aw feel certain,
    For eawr Teddy's a sowjer bowd.

His uniform fits wheer it touches,
    But, in his case, th' idea's far fro' bad;
Yo see, he's some spare room to thrive in,
    For they know he's a line, growin' lad.
Tho' when he'll e'er fill up yon tunic,
    Is a thing 'at con never be towd,
But it's folly to trouble o'er trifies,
    For eawr Teddy's a sowjer bowd!

He polished his gun t' other week-end,
    An' went eawt to shoot for a. prize;
Sooa, when he coom back, aw sed to him: —
    "Well, did ta get ony 'bull's-eyes'?"
"Nowe," he sed, "aw missed t' bull altogether,
    But aw hit a young cawve deawn i' t' fowd."
An' just then a voice bawled throo t' dooarway: —
    "Hello-wheer's that sowjer bowd? "

Aw looked up, an' theer it wur t' farmer,
    Sooa aw med t' best aw could eawt o' t' job,
An' aw axed him what t' damage wur, quately,
    An' he sattled it deawn at ten bob.
Mi temper wur up, aw con tell yo,
    But aw sed nowt until it grew cowd,
For aw thowt — "Well, t' lad's not be discouraged,
    For aw know he's a sowjer bowd!"

But, bless me! — yon's t' twelve o'clock whistle,
    Aw'st be late wi' t' dinner, aw'm flayed!
lt'll ne'er do to let him wait for it,
    For, to-day, he's to gooa on parade.
He'll be wearin' his full regimentals,
    Sooa keep a look-eawt as yo're towd;
An' aw'll warrant yo say, when he passes,
    'At eawr Teddy's a sowjer bowd!


――――♦――――

 
WHEN T' CHILDER'S ASLEEP.


AW'M sittin' bi t' fire meditatin' —
    No seawnd breyks on t' stillness within;
For t' childer are weary wi' playin',
    An' sleep's stopped ther prattle an' din;
An' fancies steyl o'er me like shadows,
    Through t' quateness so solemn an' deep;
An' aw try to draw t' curtain o' t' future,
    When t' childer's asleep.

It's in this brief respite fro' labour
    'At life seems mooast heavy to me;
For aw think uv 'em o — an' aw wonder
    Whatever they'll grow up to be.
An' sometimes, afooar aw con help it,
    Th' hot tears to mi een often creep,
As aw think o' thoose two 'at are missin' —
    When t' childer's asleep.

Will these 'at are left be spared to us,
    Eawr joys an' eawr sorrows to share?
Or will they be snatched off like t' others,
    An' fill life wi' gloom an' despair?
O, mony a prayer do aw utter
    'At yon precious four we may keep;
Mi every thowt travels to 'em —
    When t' childer's asleep.

Just hearken!   Yon's little Tim coughin',
    Aw do hope he'll come to no harm;
Aw'll just look i' t' bedroom a minute,
    An' see if he's covered up warm.
Aw feel gradely upset abeawt him,
    If ther's ony, it's him we'st not keep;
Reych t' candle here, lad — aw'm so anxious
    When t' childer's asleep.

Thank goodness, his slumber wern't brokken!
    His little thin face wooar a smile;
Eh, lad, it's a mercy 'at childer
    Should know nowt o' t' world's cruel guile.
It's time enuff when ther youth passes,
    To find eawt 'at t' rooad's rough an' steep;
Eh! aw oft wonder what life 'll bring 'em —
    When t' childer's asleep.

But i' vain do aw try to pierce t' future —
    It's shreawded i' darkness to me;
Ther destiny lies wi' t' Creator,
    An' He alone knows what they'll be.
He'll shape eawt their course uv existence,
    An' a watch on ther footsteps He'll keep;
Sooa aw'll trust 'em to Him, an' find comfort
    When t' childer's asleep.


――――♦――――

 
TO T' "COTTON CORNER" CREW.


SOOA yo've med a "corner," hev yo? —
    An' sent cotton up i' price?
Well, aw see nowt grond abeawt it,
    Tho', no deawt, yo'll think it nice.
Yo'll be suited, varra likely,
    Knowin' t' peawer yo howd to-day;
But be careful what yo're doin',
    Knavery's seldom known to pay.

Business is it?   Well, it may be,
    But it's uv a shady sooart;
Causin' lots o' folks to suffer,
    While yo laff an' co' it spooart.
Scornin' every upreight action,
    Greed it is, 'at lures yo' on;
Find a honest chap i' t' ceawnty,
    'At con howd wi' what yo've done!

Yo 'at want to rack vast profits
    Eawt o' t' stuff you hev on hand;
What con mek yo be so selfish,
    When yo've wealth at yor command?
When yo think o' t' game yo're playin',
    Just look reawnd an' reckon t' cost;
Think uv o t' machinery idle,
    Think o' t' wages bein' lost.

Look at th' host o' willin' toilers,
    Trampin' t' streets fro' day to day;
Life, at best, they find a struggle,
    Yet yo help to darken t' way.
Do yo think yo're doin' justice
    To yor poorer fellow mon?
Honesty's no place among yo,
    Shame — shame on yo! — everyone!

This is co'd a Christian country, —
    Are yo reckoned in wi' t' lot?
Deeds like yors stain t' page o' honour,
    Wi' an everlastin' blot.
Varra like yo' hev th' impression
    'At yo're doin' summat brave;
Yo forget what t' maxim tells us —
    "Ony foo' con be a knave!"

Some historian uv eawr nation,
    Writin' in a future day,
Might relate i' glowin' language
    Heaw yo med monkind yor prey.
Heaw, like t' beasts 'at live i' t' forest,
    Yo crept softly tort yor spoil;
Till yo sprung eawt o at sudden,
    Cripplin' commerce — stoppin' toil.

Every honest heart i' England,
    Rich or poor, or what they be,
Wildly throbs wi' indignation
    When sich deeds o' wrong they see.
Do your worst — we'll meet it bravely!
    For we'st likely battle throo;
Nooan but meean an' sneakin' cowards,
    E'er belonged to sich a crew!


――――♦――――

 
KEEP ON T' LOOK-EAWT.


KEEP on t' look-eawt! — for ther's never no knowin'
    What things might happen i' t' course uv a day;
For just when yor hopes an' ambitions are growin',
    Th' wind o' misfortune may sweep 'em away.
Build up for t' future — mek t' best o' yor leisure,
    Hev courage an' patience so what comes abeawt;
An' whether at toil or i' t' midst o' yor pleasure, —
                    Keep on t' look-eawt!

Keep on t' look-eawt! — for this world's false an' hollow;
    It shows itsel' plainly wheerever yo turn.
Use judgment when choosin' what path yo mun follow,
    For lots o' strange rooads yo may eeasy discern.
Some lead to success — others point t' way to ruin;
    But yo connot find one free fro' danger an' deawt.
Sooa dunnot plunge blindly, but mind wheer yo're gooin',
                    An' keep on t' look-eawt!

Keep on t' look-eawt! — an' bi word or bi action
    Never do owt 'at'll mek yo a foe;
Just stick to this rule, an' yo'll hev t' satisfaction
    O' knowin' yo've earned t' good opinion uv o.
Hev t' monliness in yo to do yor own thinkin',
    An' pay thoose no heed 'at yor efforts would fleawt;
For honour an' trust to yor name yo're fast linkin',
                    Sooa keep on t' look-eawt!

Keep on t' look-eawt! — an' if troubles oppress yo,
    Dunnot sit deawn an' give way to despair;
For allus remember, when owt should distress yo,
    'At t' roughest o' weather mun give place to fair.
It's useless to murmur at t' frolics o' fortune,
    If yo're nobbut determined, yo'll conquer i' t' beawt;
For pluck brings success — sooa gooa in for yor portion,
                    An' keep on t' look-eawt!

Keep on t' look-eawt! — at yor posts yo mun tarry, —
    Tho' o seems secure, yet it might not be t' case;
For forts left unguarded are eeasy to carry,
    An' things unexpected mooast often tek place.
It's too late regrettin' when t' mischief's past mendin',
    Be allus prepared to put trouble to reawt;
For a deeal on yor efforts, yo'll find, is dependin' —
                    Sooa keep on t' look-eawt!

Keep on t' look-eawt! — an' if worn throo an' weary,
    Stick to yor duty as weel as yo con;
For t' Captain uv o 'll not let yo feel dreary,
    He'll send a relief when He thinks yor wark's done.
An' He'll co' yo to t' City wheer watchin's not needed —
    For theer ther's no conflict, no sorrow, no deawt.
O, blest is their lot 'at in t' task hev succeeded,
                    An' kept on t' look-eawt!


――――♦――――

 
TH' PARSON'S DEED.


YO'D see that young chap 'at just passed us?—Well, he's
        t' parson at the chapel below;
He welly gets worshipped i' t' village, an' what's mooar,
        he deserves it an' o.
He doesno' look owt aboon common, for he's noather
        conceited, nor preawd,
An' he'd pass onytime witheawt notice, if he wur mixed
        up in a creawd.
He nobbut looks weakly, that's certain — aw've heeard
        that remarked oft enuff;
But, bless yo! he's cart-loads o' courage, an' he's med
        eawt o' th' reet sort o' stuff.
He's a hero an' saint blent together, yet as humble an'
        plain as misel,
An' aw'll warrant yo'll think t' same as we do, if yo'll
        hearken to t' tale aw've to tell.

It's five year, or varra close on it, sin' his entry among
        us he med;
He couldno' be mich aboon twenty, for he'd come streyt
        fro' college, they sed,
An' he met wi' a keen opposition — folks acted as if they
        wur mad,
An' vowed 'at they wouldno' be preyched to bi one little
        mooar nor a lad.
To do o they could do to daunt him an' mek him retire,
        they agreed;
But harder they warked to upset him, an' mooar did they
        fail to succeed,
For his kindly an' gentle forbearance drew tuthri good
        friends to his side;
Sooa they geet t' rest to be a bit sattled, an' wait till he'd
        fairly bin tried.

Fro' then things went on rayther smoother, but for o
        that his lot wur nooan sweet;
He wur jeered at, an' often insulted, whenever he passed
        along t' street;
An' t' roughs, mooar nor once, mauled him badly ― they
        wur dead set agenst "th' preychin' lad,"
But these wur t' worst samples, remember — yo munno'
        blame t' good 'uns for t' bad.
An' one 'at wur t' leader among 'em — a chap 'at they co'd
        Savage Jack,
A reg'lar brute—nowt no better—wi' a record o' crime
        on his back,
Met t' young parson, one neet, deawn bi t' chapel — he'd
        purposely wandered that way,
An' he kicked him until he fell senseless — if yo noticed,
        he limps to this day.

Even t' roughs couldno' howd wi' sich doin's, they
        protested 'at that wur too bad;
An' when Jack wur sent to gaol for it aw con truthfully
        say they wur glad.
Fro' that day they took to t' young parson, his way
        seemed streytforrud at last,
For thoose 'at hed scoffed him aforetimes 'ud give him a
        nod as he passed.
Six months rowled away i' nice fashion, Savage Jack wur
        a free mon once mooar,
He'd paid for his crime wi' his sentence, but his mind
        wur still bitter an' sooar.
He swore 'at he'd sattle wi' t' parson, so whether it coom
        soon or late,
An' folks knew he meant further mischief, no matter
        heaw long he'd to wait.


*            *            *            *            *            *            *


Breet summer hed changed into winter, an' t' country
        looked dismal an' bare,
When, one morn, a rumblin' like thunder wur carried on
        t' keen frosty air
To th' ears uv a1istenin' village, an' a cry o' dismay rung
        areawnd
As t' word wur passed on — "An explosion!" — ther wur
        death i' that terrible seawnd!
Reawnd t' pit meawth a creawd wur soon gathered — owd
        mothers, young childer, an' wives
O' thoose in t' dark pit far below 'em, 'at maybe hed
        yielded ther lives;
An' as t' rescuein' party descended, t' young parson wur
        seen among t' band
Wi' a pickaxe on one uv his shoothers, an' a lamp firmly
        gripped in his hand.

A cheer struggled up for an instant, but 'twur stifled as
        fast as it coom;
Despair filled ther breasts as they waited at t' meawth
        o' that horrible tomb.
Time glided along, oh, so slowly! — every minute to them
        seemed like years,
Ther suspense grew stronger an' stronger, an' added
        mooar weight to ther fears.
At last, after what hed seemed ages, ther spirits went
        up wi' a beawnd,
For t' first lot 'at coom to t' pit surface wur everyone
        scatheless an' seawnd;
Another lot coom, then another — till t' news went as th'
        owd pit wur cleared,
Then, as nob'dy appeared to be missin' — heaw t' rescuein'
        party wur cheered!

But a cry rose on th' air — "Wheer's t' young parson?" —
        an' terror among 'em fast grew,
For on lookin' areawnd he wur missin', an' they fun'
        Savage Jack missin', too.
"Good God! hev they met deawn i' t' pit theer? — Hes
        he stuck to his terrible oath? —
He swore it," they cried, "an' he'd do it, altho' it
        meant death to 'em boath!"
Ther wur no time for thinkin' or plannin' — they med
        deawn i' t' pit streyt away,
An' blessin's i' plenty wur murmured when once mooar
        they seed t' leet o' day:
For they browt Jack an' t' parson up wi' 'em, an' t' tale
        wur spread reawnd to 'em o —
Heaw t' parson hed fowt to get to him — an' rescued his
        bitterest foe!

Sooa neaw yo con understand t' reason why he's sich a
        favourite here,
An' aw dunnot believe yo'll begrudge him — if yo did, aw
        should think it wur queer.
His chapel 'at once wur hawf empty on every Sabbath 'at
        coom,
Wur nobbut enlarged tuthri month back, an' yet they
        could do wi' mooar room.
Did Savage Jack turn eawt ungrateful? — Nowe, he
        didno', aw'm happy to say;
In fact — tho' yo might think aw'm jestin' — he's a deacon
        at t' chapel to-day.
He's left t' path o' crime far behind him, an' he's walkin'
        a diff'rent track;
An', aw'd welly forgotten to tell yo—it's ME at wur co'd
        Savage Jack.


――――♦――――

 
COME, RAISE THOOSE DROOPIN' EEN.


"COME, raise thoose droopin' een, lass,
    An' dunnot sit so sad;
For, oh! — it grieves me sooarly,
    To see tha look so bad.
Aw know tha's hed thi troubles,
    Ay! — far aboon thi share;
But try to beear 'em bravely,
    An' vanquish dark despair.
Soon,t' cleawds may breyk — then t'
            sun 'll shine,
Sooa raise thoose droopin' een o' thine."

"Heaw con aw help it, mother?
    Yo'd just be t' same, aw'm sure,
If o yo'd lived an' hoped for,
    Wur gone, to come no mooar.
Yor thowts, like mine, 'ud wander
    To t' far-off desert plain,
Wheer him aw luv'd an' cherished,
    Bi t' cruel foe wur slain.
Theer's nowt con breeten life to me,
An' mek it like it used to be."

"Aw hed a dreeam last neet, lass,
    A dreeam 'at med me glad.
For theer he stood afooar me —
    Thi brave an' bonny lad!
An' theaw wur stood beside him,
    Just as i' t' days gone by;
Him lookin' preawd an' han'some,
    An' thee so coy an' shy.
Aw wonder, neaw, what it could be,
'At browt a dreeam like that to me?

"Con providence hev spared him?
    Con t' message hev bin wrong
'At towd us 'at he'd perished
    In t' midst o' t' savage throng?
Maybe, they wur mistekken,
    When t' news wur sent us here;
Maybe, that dreeam's a warnin'
    'At him tha luv's draws near.
Supposin' it should turn eawt true,
Neaw, lass, just tell me what tha'd do."

"Aw'd rise up, leet an' happy,
    An' nowt should mar mi glee;
For life 'ud howd no sorrows
    If he wur spared to me.
But, oh, it's no use hopin',
    He's gone! — he's gone for aye!
In deeath's unbreykin' slumber
    He's lyin', far away.
Grief fills mi breastwmi een are dim,
For o my gladness dee'd wi' him."

"Just look up, neaw, an' listen: —
    Thi lad's alive an' seawnd!
For t' news we geet's nooan true, lass —
    He's never hed a weawnd.
He's sent word 'at he's comin',
    An' longs to reych thi side;
An' varra soon, aw fancy,
    He'll claim thee for his bride.
Here, read his letter — dear-a-me! —
Tha's raised thoose droopin' een aw see."


――――♦――――

 
A PEEP AT MI BIRTHPLACE.


AW'VE bin deawn to Blackpool to look at th' owd ocean,
    An' gaze on t' fond scenes o' mi childhood once mooar;
An' t' memories o' t' past filled mi breast wi' emotion,
    As aw roamed reawnd th' owd spots wheer aw'd oft
                roamed afooar.
But mi pulse seemed to quicken, mi heart lost its sadness,
    As th' heawse aw wur born in rose up to mi gaze;
An' mi breast fluttered wild wi' a feelin' o' gladness,
    When stannin' bi th' whoam wheer aw spent childhood's
                days.

On t' streeam o' remembrance mi fancy wur drifted,
    An' t' thowts 'at thrilled throo me, no language could
                tell;
For t' curtain o' years appeared suddenly lifted
    To t' time when we hed to bid th' owd heawse "fare-
                well!"
It's strange heaw mich comfort an' joy we con borrow,
    Fro' scenes an' events 'at hev vanished wi' t' past;
But memory con cheer us an' leeten eawr sorrow,
    When back to sweet childhood eawr thowts travel fast.

What pictur's coom back as aw stood bi th' owd dwellin'! —
    To what strange illusions mi fancy gav' birth!
As aw went back to th' time, while mi bosom kept
                swellin',
    When th' owd place wur t' dearest uv o spots on earth.
'Twur theer, wheer aw hed a fond mother to guide me,
    'Twur theer, wheer aw played i' mi infancy's glee;
While mi mother stood luvvin'ly watchin' beside me,
    Or teychin' me lessons o' truth at hur knee.

God bless hur, hoo's gone! — fro' eawr midst hoo wur
                riven
    When life, like breet summer, wur cleawdless an'
                clear;
But if ever a soul entered t' portals o' Heaven,
    Aw think — nay, aw'm sure — 'at mi mother's gone
                theer.
Uv o earthly friends aw shall ne'er find another,
    So kind an' so patient, so good an' so true;
A child loses o when it loses its mother,
    Thoose young days wur th' happiest 'at ever aw knew.

Th' owd heawse stan's unaltered, it looked same as ever,
    Tho' 'twur near twenty year sin' aw gazed on it last;
It browt back sweet visions to me, 'at 'll never
    Be stamped fro' mi memory till life's journey's past.
They've poo'd th' owd farm deawn, wheer aw oft went
                to play in,
    An' vainly aw looked reawnd for t' farmer's kind face;
An' th' owd schoo's gone, too, 'at aw passed mony a
                day in,
    An' learnt mi first lessons wi' innocent grace.

But o things mun end, an' mi visit geet o'er wi',
    An' wi' feelin's o' pain aw bid Blackpool "Good neet!"
Aw felt a sensation o' sorrow steyl o'er me,
    As t' scenes 'at aw luv'd faded eawt o' mi seet.
Mi heart fondly clings wi' a tender devotion
    To t' spot, 'at to me appears t' sweetest on earth;
An' mi life's dearest wish is to live bi th' owd ocean,
    An' end mi existence in t' place o' mi birth.


――――♦――――

 
TH' OWD POSTMON.


TH' owd Postmon's a nice kindly chap,
    An' he's weel-liked bi t' folk abeawt here;
He's as regular as t' clock wi' his rap-a-tap-tap!
    For he comes every mornin' throo th' year.
It's full twenty year, aw'll be bun',
    Sin' aw first heeard his rap on eawr dooar;
Aw think it's near time 'at his labours wur done,
    For he's weel earned a rest, aw'm quite sure.

His step's not so leet as it wur,
    For th' owd mon's gone a little bit lame;
Yet in spite uv o this — i' dull weather or fair,
    He brings reawnd his letters just t' same.
Sometimes he's to walk wi' a stick,
    Aw oft see him toddlin' past;
An' his chest plagues him badly when t' fog's
                rayther thick,
    He's gooin' deawnbonk varra fast.

He's allus a kind word to say,
    When he comes wi' a letter to t' dooar;
He cheers mony a heart up in t' course uv a day —
    He's as welcome as sunshine to t' poor.
Aw never knew one in mi life
    'At could say a wrong word o'er th' owd mon;
Eawr hearts 'ud feel sore, as if pierced wi' a knife,
    If we hed to hear tell he wur gone.

At Valentine Day, heaw he'll smile —
    When he sees t' lasses o on t' look-eawt!
He knows they've bin watchin' for mony a while
    To see wur he knockin' abeawt.
A blush colours mony a sweet face,
    For ther feelin's they know he con tell;
Maybe he's just thinkin' a bit o'er th' owd days —
    When he used to send t' same things hissel.

When winter's white pall covers t' greawnd,
    An' Kesmas bells ring eawt on th' air;
Th' owd chap co's at every heawse on his reawnd,
    An' they've allus a trifle to spare.
It puts a nice chance i' ther way
    To repay him for t' good 'at he's done;
Ther isno' ll mortal 'at knows him to-day,
    But thinks gradely weel o' th' owd mon.

Aw hope he'll be spared yet awhile,
    For he's oft helped to leeten eawr woe,
Wi' his soft words o' comfort, an' sweet, kindly
                smile,
    When he's gone, he'll be missed bi us o.
But whether t' time's distant or near,
    'At he's co'd off to come back no mooar:
When he rap-taps at t' dooar o' that Mansion up
                theer —
    Th' owd mon 'll be welcome, aw'm sure.


――――♦――――

 
CHILDLESS.


PUT o thoose little skips an' things away —
        Eawr little darlin's gone!
No mooar he'll need 'em — for he lies i' t' clay
        At t' cemetery yon.
Never ageean we'st fondle or caress him;
He's fun' a happier whoam nor this — God bless him!

Fate's nooan dealt kindly, lass, wi' thee an' me,
        For twelve month yesterday
Deeath took eawr little Emma off thi knee —
        Life's fondest, breetest ray.
Nob'dy but us con tell heaw mich we've missed hur;
An' neaw another's gone to join his sister.

Heaw we rejoiced that neet 'at he wur born!
        Eawr hearts beeat wild an' fast;
We never dreamt 'at fro' us held be torn
        Ere mony days hed past.
But joy soon changed to woe — eawr hopes wur riven,
When t' fleawer we cherished went to bloom i' heaven.

Heaw hard it is to part we know too weel! —
        We've hed it o to beear;
Wheerever we may look, we allus feel
        Ther's summat wantin' theer.
Life isno' t' same — it loses o its pleasures,
Whene'er we think abeawt eawr two lost treasures.

Tha'll never hev to rock 'em ony mooar —
        Or press 'em to thi breast,
Nor treyd so soft an' carefully o'er t' flooar,
        Lest tha disturbs ther rest!
Nowe, lass — that time's gone by — we're sad an'
                lonely;
An' eawr companion neaw is sorrow only.

Come, dry thi een — it's no use givin' way,
        We've life to gooa throo yet;
For us ther'll happen be a breeter day
        Nor what we've so far met.
We'st never co' 'em back wi' o eawr weepin'--
Let 'em rest on; they're safe i' t' Saviour's keepin'!

That's it, mi lass! — neaw tek thoose things away,
        An' put 'em nicely by;
Come, come neaw, dunnot sob — didno' theaw say
        Tha wouldno' fret or cry?
Aw know thi grief too weel — tha connot hide it,
But beear up bravely, for we'st hev to bide it.

This world's a world o' trouble at its best,
        Peace doesno' dwell deawn here;
Sooa let's toil on until we're co'd to rest
        I' happiness up theer.
Then, then we'st see eawr treasures, — then we'st
                greet 'em, —
An' part no mooar when once ageean we meet 'em.


――――♦――――

 
MONDA' AFTERNOON.


WHEN Monda' dinner time gets o'er, just tek a ramble
        eawt,
An' yo'll see some funny capers, if yo'll nobbut look
        abeawt;
If yo're studyin' human natur', some queer doin's yo may
        see,
An' 'specially wi' t' women folks; sooa just tek t' tip
        fro' me.
Yo'll see 'em eawt, bi t' factories start, i' groups o' twos
        an' threes,
Donned up for t' day, an' noisy as so mony swarms
        o' bees;
An', watch which ever lot yo like, yo'll see 'em varra
        soon
Turn in to some o' t' nayburs uv a Monda' afternoon.

No sooner hev they entered nor they're joined bi tuthri
        mooar,
An' ther greetin' tells yo plainly 'at they've often met
        afooar.
"Heaw are yo, Missis Sooa-an'-sooa?"   "Oh, nicely.
        Heaw are yo?"
Then suddenly one impulse teks possession uv 'em o.
One poo's some tay an' sugar eawt, an' t' next a pot
        o' jam;
A third poo's eawt some cheese or eggs, another hes
        some ham;
An' ere so long a savoury smell arises eawt o' th' oon,
Fro' t' dainties cookin' in it uv a Monda' afternoon.

Sich weekly gatherin's as these fill t' gossip's heart
        wi' pride;
Wi' t' latest bits o' scandal theer they're allus weel
        supplied.
No topic ever gets too stale, no subject seems too flat,
Fro' Mrs. Stuckup's parasol to Polly Besom's hat.
But o at once, when t' table's set, an' t' cheears are o
        drawn up —
They seem to look despondent as they glance fro' cup to
        cup;
Then one brings eawt a bottle — an' they hail it as a
        boon!
For they like ther tay weel flavoured uv a Monday
        afternoon.

Cup after cup gets emptied as they sit an' talk away,
An' ther cheeks begin to crimson as they feel th' effects
        o' t' tay
Then they o begin a-talkin' abeawt Missis What's-hur-
        name,
'At they see gooa into t' "pub" across, an' on hur they
        cry shame!
Uv course it's nowt no mooar nor reight if they should
        do 't thersels —
They con but see wrong in it when it's done bi someb'dy
        else;
An' they'd rise i' indignation if yo towd their fowts — an
        soon, —
For they think ther games are saycret uv a Monda'
        afternoon.

When t' fingers point to five o'clock, t' proceedin's allus
        drop,
An' they o rush eawt together to get whoam ere th' engines
        stop.
"Aw'll bet mi fire's gone eawt," ses one; "whatever
        mun aw say?
Aw'st not hev time to beat it up an' mek mi husband's
        tay."
When th' husband lands, hoo ses hoo's ill — a thing hoo's
        often shammed;
Or else hoo tells heaw fagged hoo's bin throo' t' babby
        bein' crammed,
An' he pities t' poor wife's troubles; but he'd sing a
        different tune,
If he nobbut knew hur doin's uv a Monda afternoon.


――――♦――――

 
MIND WHO YO PICK FOR YOR FRIENDS.


THER'S plenty o' folks i' this world neawadays,
    'At pretend to be oppen an' free;
But yo'll varra soon find, if yo study ther ways,
    'At they're not what they reckon to be.
They're a long way off streyt, tho' they seem to be reight,
    For appearance oft confidence lends;
Sooa as life yo gooa throo, just be careful, neaw do —
    An' mind who yo pick for yor friends.

Ther's mony a vessel 'at's thowt to be seawnd,
    Till it sets sail an' comes back no mooar;
Then, when it's too late, folks begin to look reawnd,
    Tho' they ne'er thowt o' doin' afooar.
An' it's t' same wi' monkind, for as soon as they find
    'At a chap isno' what he pretends,
O ther faith sinks to t' flooar, sooa it's best to be sure,
    An' mind who yo pick for yor friends.

Put no trust in a chap wi' a smooth oily tongue,
    But strive to keep eawt uv his way;
Because, if yo dunnot, yo'll maybe gooa wrong,
    An' hev reeason to rue for 't some day.
If a soft tale he tells, it's sheer flattery — nowt else,
    He's warkin' to gain his own ends;
Tho' his talk's smooth an' nice, follow eawt mi advice,
    An' mind who yo pick for yor friends.

Yo might hev a mate 'at feels anxious to rise,
    Sooa yo help him as mich as yo con;
But o yor kind efforts he'll happen despise,
    An' trample yo deawn when yo've done.
Aw'm sorry to say this occurs every day,
    For yo ne'er know what sich like intends;
Sooa ere cripplin' yorsels to advance someb'dy else,
    Just mind who yo pick for yor friends.

It may be 'at t' place wheer yo toil at throo t' day,
    Ther's some chap 'at yo think true as gowd;
Yo feel yo can trust him wi' owt 'at yo say,
    Sooa to him yo speyk freely an' bowd.
But when yo've turned yor back, o 's blabbed eawt
            in a crack,
    An' a tale towd twice o'er never mends;
Sooa allus beware lest yo fo' in a snare,
    An' mind who yo pick for yor friends.

Uv course, ther's exceptions to every rule,
    An' aw want yo to understand plain
'At aw'm not gooin' to class every mon as a tool
    To bring others misery an' pain.
Ther are lots, aw know, 'at 'ud ne'er stoop so low,
    An' on these yo con safely depend;
But for one sich as they, yo'll find two t' other way,
    Sooa mind who yo pick for a friend.


――――♦――――

 
PARTED.


PARTED, alas! for ever; gone fro' mi side for aye! ―
Lonely an' sad aw mun struggle neaw along life's dreary
            way.
Shattered are th' hopes aw cherished, they'll leeten mi
            heart no mooar;
For t' wanderin' brid 'at once cheered mi nest hes joined
            thoose gone befooar.

Poor Joe! he wur wild and wayward, but gentle wur his
            heart!
'Twur drink 'at browt us discord, an' sent us far apart.
For years we'd lived asunder, booath on a different
            track;
An' cruel fate stepped in between ere aw could win him
            back.

Memories o' t' past rise thickly, an' bring back bygone
            days,
When t' sky o' life wur breet an' clear, an' joy's sun shed
            its rays,
Mekkin' us leet an' happy.   Eh! life wur blissful then!
Aw ne'er thowt sich a change 'ud come, for he wur
            t' best o' men.

Month after month passed o'er us, an' melted into years,
An' as they passed they left us no room for deawts or
            fears;
'Twur like a dream o' Paradise — so fair an' sweet wur
            life,
For luv wur t' monarch uv eawr cot, an' kept eawt care
            an' strife.

But t' cleawds begun to darken when six short years hed
            fled,
An' t' change 'at followed soon destroyed o th' happiness
            we'd hed.
He took to wild companions, an' whoam, so breet
            afooar,
Lost o its charms to him fro' then; he breetened it no
            mooar.

O, heaw aw pleaded wi' him! — but talkin' wur in vain.
Mi heart, so gay aforetimes, grew weighted deawn wi'
            pain;
An' one neet, in a passion ― aw've rued it mony a day ―
Aw towd him he could pick his rooad, an' aw'd gooa
            t' other way.

He left me t' mornin' after, and ne'er returned fro' then.
Aw med full sure he'd soon be back, but aw wur ill
            mista'en;
For he wur preawd an' stubborn, an' aw wur stubborn
            too;
But t' keen remorse 'at racked mi breast no mortal ever
            knew.

Once in a while fro' t' nayburs some news uv him aw'd
            glean,
An' when they talked abeawt him, heaw t' tears welled
            fro' mi een!
No word o' blame aw uttered — aw couldno' wish him ill,
For tho' we spent eawr lives apart, luv kept on livin'
            still.

Long years uv anxious sufferin' hed worn away mi pride,
An' then aw tried, alas! too late, to bring him to mi
            side;
For when mi letter reyched him his life wur ebbin' fast,
An' ere aw geet to see mi Joe, o'er t' Gulf o' Deeath he'd
            passed.

Then life wur dark an' joyless, for t' last fond hope hed
            fled;
But as aw wander lonely on, wi' this aw'm comforted ―
To know aw'st join him, ne'er to part, i' t' other land
            aboon;
An' if prayers con hasten t' meetin', aw'st be wi' him
            varra soon.


――――♦――――

 
TRlCKlN' TH' OWD BARBER.


AW daresay yo'll o know th' owd barber,
    An' yo've varra like co'd at his place,
To hev yor hair clipped wi' his sithors,
    Or to get t' roughness ta'en off yor face.
He's a wide-wakken sooart uv a fella,
    An' aw've oft heeard his customers tell,
'At t' chap as could get fairly o'er him
    Could get o'er Owd Nickey hissel.

Aw've seen mony a good jooak tried on him,
    But he allus wur equal to t' test;
An' thoose 'at hed thowt thersels sharp 'uns,
    Wur fain to come off second best.
But t' sharpest are sometimes catched nappin',
    An' th' owd chap's in a terrible way,
For he geet tekken deawn i' fine fashion
    Wi' a trick 'at wur played yesterday.

It wur this way — in t' fowd ther's two brothers
    Alike booath i' feature an' limb;
They're twins, an' one on 'em's co'd Charlie,
    An' t' other, aw think, they co' Tim.
It appears 'at they've studied together,
    An' drawn up ther plans i' good style,
To get th' upper hand o' th' owd barber,
    An' trick him for once in a while.

Well, Charlie went in yester-mornin',
    Accordin' to t' tale as is towd;
An' seet deawn i' t' big cheear for shavin',
    An' he sed, at t' same time, he'd be powd.
"It's a strange thing to me, chaps," he muttered,
    As t' barber kept latherin' away;
"Yo'll hardly believe when aw tell yo
    Aw've to get powd an' shaved twice a day."

"Heaw's that, like?" th' owd barber sed to him,
    An' his een wooar a look uv amaze,
"Why, mi hair grows so fast," Charlie answered,
    "It 'ud be a yard long i' three days."
"Come, come, that'll do for a finish!"
    Th' owd fella exclaimed wi' a smile;
"Aw'll warrant tha's gi'en that mooar stretchin',
    Nor owt 'at aw've heeard for a while."

He went on an' geet his job done wi',
    Sooa when Charlie rose up eawt o' t' cheear,
He sed — "Well, yo might not believe it,
    But its true, tho' aw'll own it looks queer.
An' if yo feel deawtful," — he added —
    While his blue een wi' mirth twinkled breet,
"Aw'll bet yo a creawn aw want powin'
    An' shavin' ageean afooar neet!"

"Agreed on, agreed on!" sed t' barber,
    An' his monev wur eawt in a crack;
"Think on, neaw," he sed, "it's a wager,
    An' tha'll not get to draw thi brass back!"
"O reet!" Charlie answered, "aw'm willin',
    Aw'st nooan want to draw back, yo'll see;
Aw'm not quite so green or so gaumless
    As aw fancy yo tek me to be!"

Wi' that, Charlie went eawt an' left him,
    An' med his way hooamward once mooar;
An' th' owd chap kept chucklin' an' laffin',
    For t' wager wur his he felt sure.
But Charlie wur suited i' t' bargain,
    For he'd gone an' towd Tim what he'd done;
An' between 'em they cut up some capers,
    An' laffed till ther sides ached wi' fun.

"Neaw, Tim," Charlie sed to his brother,
    When they'd slackened a bit i' ther glee;
"Tha mun gooa yon for powin' an' shavin',
    An' th' owd mon 'll ne'er know but it's me."
Sooa Tim med his rooad up to t' barber's,
    An' as soon as he entered at t' dooar
Th' owd chap stared wi' een big as saucers,
    For he thowt it wur Charlie for sure.

"What's ta meean, like," he managed to utter,
    "Come!" Tim sed, "yo know what aw meean;
Aw want that ten bob, for aw'm ready
    For t' razor an' t' sithors ageean!"
" Well as true," t' barber cried, "it's surprisin',
    Ther's no deawt but t' wager tha's won!"
Sooa he handed Tim t' stakes varra quately.
    Little thinkin' heaw sweet he'd bin done.

But, someheaw, t' tale geet eawt to t' nayburs,
    An' fro' one to another it passed;
An' they everyone seemed a bit suited
    'At th' owd mon wur bested at last.
An' if yo'll just walk reawnd this mornin',
    Yo'll find 'at o t' talk up i' t' teawn
Is abeawt t' trick 'at t' twins played on t' barber,
    An' t' way 'at th' owd mon wur ta'en deawn.


――――♦――――

 
OFF TO T' TOP O' TH' HILL.


LET'S tek a last long look at th' heawse—
    Th' owd heawse we luv so weel;
Eh! nob'dy knows, but thee an' me,
    What pangs o' grief we feel.
It's sheltered us throo mony a storm,
    For three an' fifty year;
It looks hard wark to leeave it neaw,
    When th' end's so varra near.

We've camped bi t' tireside mony a neet,
    When life wur in its prime;
Content an' snug, wi' hearts as leet,
    As t' brids i' summer time.
But grim misfortune crossed eawr track,
    An' med life cowd an' chill;
An' neaw, at last, he's done his wark, —
    We're off to t' top o' th' hill!

Th' first cleawd 'at coom to mar eawr joys,
    We've oft talked o'er it, lass —
Wur when that buildin' club went deawn,
    An' swamped eawr bit o' brass.
We'd scraped an' saved whate'er we could,
    Eawr latter days to cheer;
An' then — to lose it o at once,
    Owd lass, 'twur hard to beear.

Afooar we'd time to get o'er t' shock,
    Another trouble coom;
Deeath snatched eawr little Teddy off,
    An' helped to darken t' gloom.
In t' midst uv o eawr other woe,
    His smile hed cheered us on;
But o we prized i' t' world wur lost,
    When little Ted wur gone.

We've ne'er looked gradely up sin' then,
    We've done eawr best, that's true;
But summat's seemed to poo us back,
    In o we've tried to do.
It's nowt 'at we could help, mi lass,
    We've allus struggled hard;
An' yet tha sees we've come to this,—
    It's but a poor reward.

Ther's not a thing left into th' heawse,
    For t' landlord coom to-day;
An' when aw sed we hedno' t' rent,
    He took o t' goods away.
He even poo'd th' owd pictur's deawn,
    We'd hed so long on t' wo';
But when he took eawr Teddy's cheear,
    Aw felt it t' mooast uv o.

Ther's t' warkheawse waitin' for us yon,
    Sooa let's gooa on eawr way;
It's t' only whoam poor folks con claim,
    When they get owd an' grey.
It's no disgrace — we've done no wrong,
    To cause regret o'er t' past;
Ther's lots o' folk as good as us,
    Bin stranded theer at last.

They'll part us, but it's like to be,
    It connot be for long;
We'st soon be co'd away fro' earth,
    To join a happier throng.
Owd heawse, farewell! — tho' lost to us,
   Tha'rt dear to memory still;
Tha'll shelter us throo t' storms no mooar —
    We're off to t' top o' th' hill!


――――♦――――

 
TH' STRANGER I' T' BARS.
 

In Lancashire, it is a common belief, that, when a particle of sooty substance, after the manner of burnt paper, clings to or hangs between the bars of the fireplace, it is a sign of some stranger approaching. These particles are known as "strangers;" and it is a common occurrence, when they appear, to hear the inmates of the house exclaim, "Ther's a stranger i' t' bars!"

 

THER'S a stranger i' t' bars o' th' owd fire-place, to neet,
    An' it's bin theer for ever so long;
It's a sign 'at some form unexpected draws near,
    An' it's seldom 'at ever they're wrong.
Theaw laffs at sich notions?—well, well, that may be,
    At one time aw used to laff too;
But tha might change thi views later on, same as me,
    For aw've seen 'em so often come true.

Con aw give thee an instance wheer t' sign's come to
                pass? —
    Bless mi life — aw should think 'at aw con!
It's not just a single event aw could tell,
    But mony an' mony a one.
Sooa just sit theer quate, while aw think for a bit,
    An' then, as tha'rt anxious to hear,
Aw'll give tha mi reasons, an' show aw'd some greawnds,
    For sayin' some stranger wur near.

As aw towd tha, like thee aw once laffed at sich things,
    But one neet, twenty year sin', or mooar,
Thi dad hed just pointed to one between t' bars,
    When we heeard a leawd knock come to t' dooar.
Sooa aw put deawn mi knittin' to see who it wur,
    An' who does ta think wur stood theer?
'Twur thi dad's owdest brother, just come fro' abroad,
    An' we'd ne'er seen his face for ten year.

That stranger i' t' bars browt a message o' joy,
    An' set o eawr bosoms aglow;
But aw gazed on another, long years after then,
    An' that browt a message o' woe.
Aw con think on't as plain as it wur but to-day,
    Aw know it hed just getten dark,
When a chap coom i' th' heawse, an' he towd us t' sad
                news,
    'At thi dad hed bin killed at his wark.

Aw wur left wi' two childer — eawr Ruchut an' thee,
    An' yo helped to mek life sweet an' glad;
But Ruchut geet restless a-whoam here wi' me,
    He wur sea-struck fro' bein' a lad.
He wanted to travel to t' lands far away,
    God bless him!—he wouldno' be led;
For t' ship 'at he sailed on wur lost in a gale,
    An' t' crew wur lost too, sooa they sed.

Is that someb'dy knockin'? — Get up, lass, an' see! —
    It's eawr Ruchut hissel does ta say?
Nay, lass, tha'rt mista'en, it con never be him,
    For he went deawn wi' t' vessel i' t' Bay.
Thank God! but it is him! — Mi Ruchut — mi child! —
    They towd me as t' crew wur o dreawned;
An' aw've mourned for tha, lad, as one lost to this earth,
    An' yet tha's come back safe an' seawnd!

Let's kneel deawn together, an' thank Him aboon,
    For we've reeason to thank Him, aw'm sure;
He's browt back mi lad to his owd mother's side,
    An' he's gooin' to leave me no mooar.
Joy rules i' mi breast wheer dark sorrow once freawned,
    For o'll cheer me throo life's closin' heawrs;
Tha sees, lass, mi words turned eawt true after o,
    When aw sed "Ther's a stranger i' t' bars!"


――――♦――――

 
TH' OWD VILLAGE INN.


IT'S a plain lookin' buildin' is th' owd village inn,
But oh! it's so cosy an' whoamly within;
It's never untidy whenever yo co',
An' t' brass things fair glitter 'at hang on to t' wo'.
It's stood here i' t' village three centuries or mooar,
An' t' landlord 'at keeps it is close on four scooar;
But he's hearty an' hale, an' he'd mek t' saddest grin,
As he spins some tough "buzz" off at th' owd village inn.

For t' stranger 'at co's ther's a word an' a smile,
An' a seeat proffered to him to rest on a while;
He'll soon feel a-whoam, an' as jovial as t' rest,
As he listens to t' laffter, to t' song, an' to t' jest.
Yo may boast abeawt t' teawn, but when o's sed an' done,
Ther's nowt con touch t' country for rare harmless fun;
For lots o' queer marlocks an' doin's ther's bin,
Wi' t' company 'at gathers at th' owd village inn.

It's theer wheer t' debaters o' t' village 'll meet,
To hev ther set battles o' words uv a neet;
No matter what subject — they gooa in full drive,
An' to best one another they argy an' strive.
An' then, when they've done, o'er his soul-cheerin' ale,
Some farmer 'll start wi' an owd country tale;
Till t' roof o'er ther yeds seems to tremble wi' t' din
O' t' leawd sheawts o' laffter i' th' owd village inn.

Then sometimes th' owd sowjer 'll give a chance co',
An', whenever he does come, he's welcomed bi o;
Poor fella! his reight arm wur shot off i' t' fray,
An' t' pension he gets is but sixpence a day.
But still he meks t' best on 't, as weel as he con,
An' mony a heart oppens eawt to th' owd mon,
As he tells abeawt t' lands far away, wheer he's bin,
To t' wonder-struck rustics i' th' owd village inn.

If yo want t' latest gossip, just mek yor way theer,
An' what yo're i' seech on yo're certain to hear;
On o sooarts o' topics, an' o sooarts o' news,
Yo'll hear 'em discussin' an' tellin' ther views.
It's weel wo'th a visit to study ther ways,
As a contrast to t' sham an deceit neawadays;
Ther's no double-deealin' yor friendship to win,
They're plain an' eawt-spokken at th' owd village inn.

It's t' spot wheer ther grondsires oft met, in ther day,
An' they luv to fill t' places o' thoose passed away;
To hev t' same surreawndin's 'at they hed i' t' past,
Ere deeath put an end to ther pleasures at last.
It's sweet recreation, an' heart-cheerin' mirth,
'At meks men mooast tit for ther duties on earth;
Sooa let 'em enjoy it — it's surely no sin,
If they find cheer an' comfort i' th' owd village inn.


――――♦――――

 
GOOIN' TO T' FAIR.


IT'S a day 'at aw'st never forget!—
    An' aw allus look back on 't wi' pride;
        Aw wur walkin' deawn t' loyne,
        Wheer t' meadow paths join,
    When Jemmy sprung up at mi side.
Aw felt, oh! so fluttered an' queer,
    An' aw blushed up to t' roots o' mi hair;
        But aw med some reply,
        An' aw think it wur "Ay!"—
    When he axed mut he tek me to t' fair.

Aw'd started to gooa bi misel,
    Never thinkin' o' Jemmy at o;
        But when he coom i' view,
        An' axed to gooa too,
    Well — aw thowt he'd be comp'ny, yo know.
Sooa briskly we trotted along,
    As happy as t' brids up i' th' air;
        For t' talk o' that lad
        Med me leetsome an' glad,
    As we journeyed together to t' fair.

Aw begun to feel fain 'at he'd come,
    Afore we'd bin on t' way so long
        Eh! he'd studied his part,
        For his words touched mi heart
    As they rowled, music-like, fro' his tongue.
Heaw tender! — heaw earnest he wur! —
    Aw could do nowt but wonder an' stare;
        An' he kissed me beside
        (Tho' to stop him aw tried),
    As we journeyed together to t' fair.

We landed on t' fair greawnd at last,
    An' plunged heart an' soul among t' fun;
        What marlocks we hed!
        But time swiftly sped,
    An', sadly too soon, neet coom on.
Sooa hooamward retracin' eawr way,
    We trudged on, a jovial pair;
        An' i' tones clear an' bowd,
        Luv's saycret he towd,
    As we coom back together fro' t' fair.

When we geet back to th' owd loyne ageean,
    We stopped for a talk an' a rest;
        An' he glanced at me theer
        Wi' a look so sincere, —
    While mi fingers he tenderly pressed.
Then, o uv a sudden, he spoke: —
    An' axed mi life's journey to share;
        An' th' answer he geet
        Med him joyful that neet,
    When we coom back together fro' t' fair.

It's twenty long year sin', to-day,
    Owd Time rowls on rapid, for sure!
        But aw never repent
        Hevin' gi'en mi consent,
    An' aw'd gladly live throo it once mooar.
For a smile fro' his breet luvvin' face,
    Dispels every shadow o' care;
        Eh! he's bin o to me
        'At he promised to be,
    When we coom back together fro' t' fair.


――――♦――――

 
AIM TO DO T' BEST FOR YORSELS.


IF ther's one thing 'at's chep, it's a bit uv advice —
    Yo con hev it at ony street end;
Tho' ther are times, uv course, when it feels varra nice
    To be talked kindly to bi a friend.
Sooa yo munnot object if aw give yo a bit
    Uv a plain whoamly maxim — nowt else;
Yo may act on 't or not, just as yo may think fit —
    Allus aim to do t' best for yorsels.

In my bit o' t' lifetime aw've hed ups an' deawns
    Enough for a dozen, aw'm sure;
Aw've seen Fortune's smiles, but far mooar uv hur
                freawns —
    It's a while sin' hoo knocked at my dooar.
In t' Schoo' uv Experience larnin's but slow,
    But, once gained, in t' mind it e'er dwells,
An' this lesson stan's eawt bowd an' clear aboon o —
    Allus aim to do t' best for yorsels.

If yo've brass, an' spend freely, yo'll hev lots o' sport,
    An' friends 'll be plentiful, too;
They'll "sponge," an' they'll co' yo a gradely good sort-
    Which is oft but a new name for foo'.
But come to be deawn — an' they'll let yo stop theer,
    An' if hunger or sufferin' compels
Yo to ax 'em for aid, yo'll be met wi' a sneer,
    Sooa aim to do t' best for yorsels.

Yo toilers 'at plod on throo th' year, t' day bi t' length,
    Be yor wark in a factory or mine;
Just guard weel yor interests, look to yor strength,
    An' for one common object combine.
Th' best way to avoid bein' drawn into war
    Is preparin' for 't, sooa history tells;
Sooa keep on increasin' yor ranks every heawr,
    An' aim to do t' best for yorsels.

Be yo weyver or smith — be yo shopman or clerk —
    Aw care not whatever yo are,
It's sometimes occurred as at t' place wheer yo wark —
    Yo've helped to push someb'dy i' peawer.
When they've getten aboon yo, they've laffed i' yor face,
    They look deawn on everyone else;
An' if yo complain, it's "good-bye" to yor place,
    Sooa aim to do t' best for yorsels.

Then just put this maxim o' mine into use,
    An' in t' long run yo'll find it'll pay;
Yo needno' be niggards, but dunnot be foo's,
    Yo con gooa to extremes oather way.
He's but a weak conscience, whoe'er he may be,
    'At agenst his own welfare rebels;
Sooa be wise for once, neaw — just tek t' tip fro' me —
    Allus aim to do t' best for yorsels.


――――♦――――


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