Spring Blossoms (II.)
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Benjamin Brierley: 'Spring Blossoms and Autumn Leaves' (II.)

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BATHING.

(Not after Thomson.)


THE sea hove gently, frilled with tiny waves,
That shimmered on the beach, or crept in caves,—
As if, with infant breezes, raised to show
How liquid smiles o'er Ocean's face may flow.

And their soft kisses fell on tide-borne limbs—
Fair as the Oceanides of old;
And favoured wavelets wantoned with the threads
Of unbound tresses—ravelled webs of gold,—

When Damon, idly strolling on the shore,
His hands within his pockets, turning o'er
The friendly coins, hears Musidora's voice—
"Eh, Mary, do come in,—it is so noice!"

The youth turns round, beholds the straggling vans
Dipping their thirsty axles in the wave;
And, by a green one, numbered "23,"
A timid nymph her shivering form doth lave.

It is his Musidora; he had missed
Her from the pier an hour ago, but wist
Not that she'd laid aside her prudish ways,
In azure sack to court the vulgar gaze.

Her hair about her shoulders floateth free;
(The bunch that held her hat sublimely poised
Upon her burthened head, in van is stored,—
'Twas bought in Manchester, and's highly prized).

And now she's gone,—the waves meet where she stood:
"Oh, that I were the sea, or some such flood!"
The youth exclaims.   Again he hears the voice—
"Eh, Mary, do come in,—it is so noice!"

The two had come from Oldham, via trips
By speculative gentlemen got up,
To gather shells, ride "donks," and see the ships;
Then home return, on prawns and shrimps to sup.

And there were other nymphs within the van,
Yclept Mary, Sally, and Selina Ann;
The three were getting ready for a dash
Into the briny billow, there to—splash.

Anon a timid foot steps down the stair—
'Tis Mary's.   Shrinking from a wave, whose lip
Hath kissed her ankle, she in fear exclaims—
"Eh, Bet, I wish I're back again wi' th' trip!"

But Sal, less timid, ventures down behind,
And, with a push more vigorous than kind,
Poor Mary sends adrift; then plunging in
Herself, a war of splashing doth begin.

Whilst Musidora, vulgarly called "Bet,"
In swimming attitude cleaves wave 'yond wave;
Tracing a line of foam, as with one foot
(The other hopping) she the tide doth brave.

The battle rages near; Selina Ann
Hath scarcely left the threshold of the van
Ere she is "ducked," and held a moment down,
Whilst Sally's head is yet dry at the crown.

Then booms a thundering shout along the shore—
"Duck th' big un, lasses!" meaning Sal the bold,
And Sal is seized, and made to kiss the sand
And promise quarter ere they loose their hold.

Now all go down; the bubbling waves close o'er—
Then comes a whistle from the far-off shore;—
The train is starting; Damon, franctic tries
To stop it—vain attempt—yet on he flies.

The others scream and toss their arms on high;
Their sack-encumbered limbs divide the spray,
Then to the privacy of "23"
The dripping mermaids mount the laddered way.

The train is gone, and with it Damon too;—
Ah, why to Musidora so untrue?
And why leave Mary and Selina Ann
With Sal to quarrel in that cursèd van?

When rose the moon upon the tranquil beach—
(The sun had got his nightcap on, and lay
As if in cradled slumber) from a bank
Four weeping fair ones watched the closing day.

The night set in; the midwatch came and went;
The god of morn his golden iris bent
O'er eastern wave; yet these four maidens slept
Upon the bank where they had watched and wept.

And now the tale is told in Oldham town,
How Musidora Damon's letters tore;
And by next trip to "pool," or "port," went down.
And strewed the fragments on th' avenging shore.


――――♦――――

 

CELIA.


COLIN.    Where art thou, CELIA, idol of my heart
    Thou lovely truant from my bleating fold?
Art thou a-hide-and-seeking in the grove,
    Or gathering bilberries on the tangled wold?

 

["CELIA" who is more frequently called "Sally," and who does not tend sheep, hears not her COLIN'S invocation; but leaning against the posts of the kitchen-door, is listening to the commonplace wooing of a less poetic rival.  This youth, whom vulgar people call "JOE o' JUDDIE'S," but whom poets would perhaps have named "Celadon," is plying his importunities with commendable zeal; and the heart of the maiden being but a woman's, and held to be as unimpressible as stone, inclineth her ear to listen.  But she has not yielded as yet; and COLIN'S voice is again making the woods musical with plaintive invocation.]

 

COLIN.    Vainly, my CELIA, have I searched each bower
    Where oft in happier moments thou hast been;
As fruitlessly have I the moorland swept;
    Thou wert not there, nor elsewhere to be seen.

 

CELADON (to Celia).—Well, if theau's made up thy mind for t' ha' yon po'try-writing leatheryead, I'll shift my shanks eaut o' this cote.  But before I goo let me tell thee ut I've brass i' th' bank.

CELIA.—So has Robin (meaning COLIN).

CELADON.—I've won a pig in a raffle, an' when it's ready for killin' I'se sell it, an' buy a keaw.

CELIA.— Robin has a keaw o ready an' two shares in a buildin' club.

[CELADON is silent, and COLIN resumes the duties of poetical bellman.]

 

COLIN.    The orb of light is not more true to earth;
    The seasons not more constant in their run;
The magnet looks not with less wavering point
    Polewards, than I to thee, my lovely one!


 

CELADON (making another spurt).—I'll buy thee a new bonnet if theau'll give yond mon up, an' tee thysel to me.

CELIA.—My mother's promised me one against th' wakes.

CELADON.—A new frock, then,

CELIA.—I've one i' makkin' neaw.

[CELADON is again at his whit's end for an acceptable "votive offering," and applies himself to a primitive mode of hair-dressing to help him over the difficulty.  The sylvan-crier still prosecutes his inquiries.]

 

COLIN.    Then say, my CELIA, why from me dost hide?
    Why rack thy COLIN'S breast with doubt and pain?
Is it for CELADON thy heart's reserved?
    Say, faithless maiden, have I loved in vain?

 

CELADON (who begins to suspect he has been going on the wrong tack, strikes out a new course).—Am I too quiet for thee, as theau howds out so lung ?  Becose, if I am, I con be a bit different.  I con leather Bob any day if it comes to a tussle.  Look at that, neaw. (Raises a mountain of muscle on his right arm).  Ther's some peawer theere.  I con throw two fifty-sixes o'er my yead at once.

CELIA.—Theau conno lift me up wi' one arm.

CELADON.—Connot I?  We'n see whether I con or not. (Takes hold of CELIA by the waist, and raises her front her feet.  CELIA utters a faint scream.)

 

COLIN.    The hour is past when I was wont to see
    Thy sylph-like form appear beyond the gate;
The poultry roostward pick their noiseless way,
    And still thou art not here.   Oh, why so late?
Ah, now I see what's kept thee from my arms!
    That viper, CELADON, has stopt the way.
Now farewell, Muse!—Come Mars with vengeful steel*,
    And help my triumph in the coming fray!

 

[Strangely enough, CELADON, whilst in the act of testing the weight of his inamorata, somehow manages to bring the tip of his nose into close proximity with that of CELIA'S.  They pass each other; return; pass and return again; a smacking sound following, which evidently is only too delightful not to repeat.  This weighing operation seals the fate of the poetic suitor, who arrives on the scene just as his rival is in the act of trying the strength of his left arm.  Their clogs meet; but the maiden decides m favour of CELADON; and COLIN takes to a new mistress, and a more successful method of wooing.]


* For "steel" read "clogs."


――――♦――――

 

JOHNNY AN' PEGGY.


"IT'S two score year an' ten, owd lass,
    Sin' fust I coorted thee;
Yo' lived that time at Katty Green,
    At top o' Bowman's Lea.

"I'd seen thee trip through Coppie Wood;
    I'd met thee at the steel;
But when I tried to spake to thee,
    Heaw quare my heart did feel!

"A printed bedgeawn then theau wore,—
    A hailstorm pattern co'ed,
Wi' Linsey skirt, an' apron white,
    An' bonnet deep an' broad.

"I used to think thy e'en wur like
    Two diamonds in a well,
To get at which, an' share their leet,
    I'd tumble in mysel'.

"For weeks an' months I hung abeaut,
    An' thro yo'r window peeped;
An' soiked, an' longed, an' fretted sore,
    But word I never cheeped.

"Till once when primed wi' fettled ale
    I'd had at th' owd Blue Bo,
I mustered pluck for t' knock at th' dur,
    An shout thy name an' o.

"My heart did pant, my yure stood up,
    But ne'er a foot I yerd,
Till th' window rickled up aboon,
    An' th' chamber curtains stirred.

"Then summat coome plash on my yead,—
    (It wur th' neet o' th' weshin-day),
An' I fund I 're covered o'er wi' suds,
    As white as blossomed spray.

"Wi' pluck quite cooled, I crept to'ard whoam,
    But vowed within mysel',
If e'er I geet a chance to do't,
    I'd pick thee into th' well

"My mother sauced me—well hoo mit
    An' said, ' Th' dules i'th' men!
I sarved thy feyther wur than that,
    But still he coome again.

" 'I'stead o' carryin' on that way,
    An' snurchin' till theau'rt blynt,
Go thee once moore an' punce at th' dur,
    An' whistle while theau's wynt.

" 'An' if hoo doesno' come for that,
    There's lots on Bowman's Lea
As farrantly an' good as hoo,
    Ut would be preawd o' thee.'

"I mustered up my pluck once more—
    This time beaut fettled ale—
An' swung my clogs to Katty Green,
    An' jumped yo'r garden rail.

"Crash int' a fayberry tree I leet,
    Ut under th' window grew,
An' th' noise it made thy shuttle stopt,
    An' eaut thy candle blew.

"Then someb'dy come—'twur thee, owd lass!—
    I knew by th' shoinin' strip
O' leet ut shot deawn th' garden fowt
    An' my heart wur at my lip.

" 'Art hurt?' theau axt.   'I am,' I said;
    'But th' pain I have 's inside;
No fayberry tree nor garden rail
    Had caused it if they'd tried.

" 'It's thy two een han shot me through,
    Wi' bullets made o' flame;
An' if I dee, they'n say abeaut
    There's nobbut thee to blame.'

" 'I shouldno' like t' be hanged,' theau said,
    An' raised me to my feet;
'So if a word 'll cure thy pain,
    I'll give it thee to-neet.'

" 'Theau said that word; 'twur one as sweet
    As ever music trilled;
To yer it hauve as sweet again
    I'd ten times o'er be killed.

"We made it up that neet, owd lass
    An' pledged eaur love i'th poorch;
An' when that tree bore fruit again
    We'd said 'I will'—at th' church."

'Twas on their fiftieth wedding-day
    That thus old Johnny spoke;
Nor e'er a pair on Bowman's Lea
    Had borne so light a yoke.

Their children, four, had wed away,
    And left the couple lone,
Save with the dear companionship
    Of memories sweetly known.

That day came round again, as 'twill
    When time flies quickly o'er,
And found old Johnny and his wife
    Discoursin as before.

"By th' mon!" said he, and up he sprang,
    "I feel as young as then!
Let's fancy we'n ne'er lived this time,
    An' cooart it o'er again.

"I'll goo eautside, an' knock at th' dur,
    An' whistle—'tisno' late—
An' 'stead o' breakin' fayberry trees,
    I'll rickle th' garden gate.

"Then theau mun come, an' say to me
    That word theau said before,
An' seeal eaur love i'th' poorch, as then,
    Wi' hearty smacks a score."

"Well, well," said Peggy, "go thee eaut,
    An' play thy part as t' con;
An' I'll play mine as if I'd ne'er
    Yet spokken to a mon."

Agreed,—they each their several parts
    Proceeded to fulfil;
The old man spooked the garden gate,
    And whistled loud and shrill.

Up went the window overhead,
    The curtains fluttered white,
Then down on Johnny's hatless pate
    A shower-bath did alight.

" 'Od sink thee, Peg!" the old man cried,
    "I bargained noane for that,
Theau's weet me through; an' did ta know
    I're here witheaut my hat?"

"Theau's played thy part, an' I've played mine,"
    Said Peggy from her room;
"I've nobbitt sarved thee th' same to-neet
    As I did th' fust neet theau coome
."


――――♦――――

 

A COT O' YO'R OWN.

MUSIC BY JAS. BATCHELDER.

(From "Beginning the World.")


COME, lads, lend yo'r ears, an' I'll sing you a song
    That isno' o' battle an' strife,
But peace an' good will between mon an' his kind,—
    A bond between husband an' wife.
It's be yo'r own mester an' landlord beside,
    Feight shy o' bumbailiff an' dun;
Plant yo'r vine an' yo'r figtree afore it's too late,
    An' live in a cot o' yo'r own.


CHORUS.


Then live for to-morn, lads, an' dunno be foos,
    But wortch an' lay by while yo' con;
        While yo'r lithsome an' limber
        Pile up bricks an' timber,
    An' live in a cot o' yo'r own.


A mon ut's a shop-book 'll never get on,
    If he's credit he pays for't, that's sure;
Let him pay ready brass, spend no moore than he gets,
    An' he'll never be hampered nor poor.
A rent-day's a care-day as oft as it comes,
    When a londlord's as hard as a stone;
But this weekly vexation ne'er troubles the heart
    Of a men that's a cot of his own.
                                        Then live for to-morn, &c.

Ther's one o' my neighbours, how wealthy he's grown
    Wi' lendin', and screwin', an' jobs;
But if nobody'd borrowed, an' paid double back,
    How mich better for other folk's fobs!
What yo' pay'n through yo'r nose i' both shopscores an' rent,
    An' interest to popshop an' "loan,"
Would soon lay th' foundations o' prosperous days,
    An' build yo' a cot o' yo'r own.
                                        Then live for to-morn, &c.

Yo' conno raise hay if yo' sown nowt but wynt;
    Loud talkin' 'll gather no corn;
But delve, plough, an' harrow, an' scatter good seed,
    An' yo'n fill both yo'r meal-poke an' churn.
Then here's to a mon ut'll strive for the best,
    And lay up for owd age while he con,
An' ut ne'er shuts his dur on a shelterless friend,
    While he lives in a cot o' his own.
                                        Then live for to-morn, &c.


――――♦――――

 

GO TAK' THE RAGGÈD CHILDER
AN' FLIT.


THE REVERSE SIDE OF THE PICTURE TO
"COME WHOAM TO THI CHILDREN AN' ME."


HAS eaur Jammy been here to-neet?
    O theau'rt theer, theau great dhrunken slotch!
It's sthrange if aw nowt elze to do
    Bo ha' thee every bed-time to fotch.
Come whoam; or aw'll goo an' go t' bed,
    An' leeov thee t' sleep where theau art;
For theau'rt here every neet o' thi life,
    As soon's theau gets th' hoss eaut o'th' cart.

What is ther' for th' supper?   Ther's nowt!
    Beaut theau tak's a red herrin' fro' Sol's.
Heaw con t' think aw con get thi owt good,
    When theau leeovs me nowt bo th' bare walls?
If theau'd gie me thi wage as theau owt,
    Aw could do summat farrantly then;
Bo aw getten a thowt i' mi yed
    We mun ne'er ha' nowt gradely ogen.

Have aw browt thi top-cwot?  Go thi look!
    Aw'd ha' browt thi th' stret-jacket as soon;
Theau knows aw've ha' t' qut it up th' speaut,
    For money to pay for thi shoon.
Ther's rent-chap just bin, an' he swears
    He can never catch nob'dy a-whoam:
He's bin four or five times to-day,
    Bo aw'r eaut, an' aw couldna weel come.

Nawe; I ha'na bin dhrinkin' misel;
    Aw've ne'er tastut "tiger" to-day;
Bo aw bin o'er to Plattin' to yo'r Nan's,
    An' hoo would mak' mi t' stop to mi tae.
If we han had a toothful o' rum,
    Hoo paid for 't, an' that's nowt to thee;
If it's done me some good, thee ne'er fret—
    Bo theau never thinks nowt about me.

What's made thee bring th' childher yon toys?
    Theau't likker t' ha' browt thi brass whoam;
For Sal has poo'd th' yead off her doll,
    An' Dick's sent his clog through his dhrum;
An' then ther's yon fal-dher-dal cap,
    Stick't full o' pink ribbons, theau's browt;
If theau'd browt mi two black uns i'th' stid,
    Theau'd ha' done summat like as theau owt.

Will t' come whoam?   Then tarry wheer t' art
    For aw'm cussed if aw ax thee ogen;
Eh! this world 'ud soon be at an eend
    If wimmen wur owt like yo' men.
Nawe! aw'll see thi befar 'fore aw'll sup,
    Aw'd reyther throw th' pot at thi yead;
An aw've twenty good minds for to do't,
    If it's nobbut for what theau's just sed.

Will t' hit mi?    Ay, do, if theau dar!
    An' aw'll just ha' thi walkt eaut o'th' dur!
Theau thinks, 'cose theau plaguet t'other wife,
    Theau'll ha me at th' same rate as theau'd her
Bo aw'll show thi a sperrit, mi lad,
    'At'll noa tak' a blow for a buss;
An' if t' tries thi owd capers wi' me,
    As bad as theau does aw'll do wus.

So wind up thi lip an' chew that,
    An' tarry o neet if theau will;
If they'n tak thi, an' keep thi, it's reet,
    For aw'm blest if aw've not had mi fill.
If theaurt toyart o' livin wi' me,—
    Go, tak' thi raggèd childher an' flit,
For if t' byets me to th' seet o' mysel',
    Theau'll ne'er mak' mi t' cruttle a bit.


――――♦――――

 

BILL BABBY'S FROLIC.

A FAILSWORTH STORY OF PETERLOO.


BILL BABBY went to Peterloo,
    By patriotism or fancy led;
But what's more likely, love of fun,
    Or ought that tumbled int' his yead.

He'd seen that morn a mug o' stew,
    Just flakin' o'er wi' fat i'th' oon,
Wi' marjoram, an' other yarbs,
    To mak it sweet—rare wark for th' spoon.

Ther howsome "slip-throat" hung i' rags,
    An' sweet oatcakes, just nicely browned
I'th' front o'th' fire—made clogs feel leet—
    They bounced like corks when touchin' th' ground.

Bill geet a carter's dose o' this,
    Then of he went to Peterloo;
He'd fotch the dule fro' eaut his den,
    When backed wi' some three pints o' stew.

So grand a day he had not seen—
    So mony lasses donned i' white
Wi' banners wavin—what a seet!—
    To mak his heart jump wi' delight.

But th' fun were o'er ere it began—
    Bill knew, by th'sound, ther summat wrong;
But what it wur he could no' tell
    That moved an' swelled that mighty throng.

He thowt tw'ur time t' be leeavin th' row
    To those ut like't to feight it eaut,
But when he tried to stir—by th' mass!
    He fund no road to get abeaut.

At last he spied a narrow gate
    That led to streets unknown before;
An' feeling safe fro' cut-throat harm,
    He whistled, sang, an' sometimes swore.

Whene'er he yerd the sound o' strife
    Come nearer, he backed int' his hole,
Where he stood peepin' like a rat,
    But venture out!—not for his soul.

There coome a wind-fall straight fro' th' clouds,
    A new French horn, o' glittering brass,
Lay like a tempting bit o' gowd,
    Or honest smile fro' winsome lass.

Bill blew a blast on that theere horn
    That sounded like the crack o' doom,
Or jackass wi' its tail teed down,
    Or wayver gruntin' at his loom.

Just then a troop o' horsemen rode
    Reet past wheere Bill had pitched his tent,
Or rayther wheere he'd crommed his rags—
    Then th' second blast the welkin rent.

The horsemen reeled—the horses' hoofs
    Struck fire as back the heroes rode;
Bill blew an' blew till th' troopers swore
    They'rn no far off th' dule's abode.

Soon th' street wur cleared, then out Bill crept,
    An' fund he'd Newton Lone t' hissel;
An', when he'd seeted th' "pow," he said
    T'wur th' fust time e'er he'd bin i' h—


MORAL.


Whene'er yor on a frolic bent,
    Don't go to scenes like Peterloo;
Nor blow a horn i' th' d—l's band
    Unless yor poke's well lined wi' stew.


――――♦――――

 

THE GARDENER AND HIS FLOWERS.


WHY do I dwell alone, you ask,
    With ne'er a soul my lot to share?
These children have such claims on me
    That I have little love to spare.

My children?   Yes, I mean my flowers;
    They prattle to me just like bairns,
They speak a language of their own,
    Which only a loving parent learns.

They're at their morning prayers now;
    You'll see them fold their tiny hands,
To lisp their orisons like babes,
    Obedient to God's commands.

You'll see them look at me, and smile,
    As 'tis their wont when prayers are said;
They're not like children of the poor,
    Who have to earn their daily bread.

They toil not, neither do they spin,
    When on the Mount, our Saviour said,
Yet Solomon, with all his pride,
    Was not like one of these arrayed.

They give me no anxieties
    About their hats, and shoes, and socks;
Nor ought they wear.   They're quite content
    To cloth their limbs with robes or frocks.

From these, the meek-eyed monitors,
    Our maidens might a lesson take;
They show no airs, put on no "side,"
    As if God's work they would unmake.

They're quite contented with their lot,
    Nor care if riches came in showers;
If they bedeck the paths of queens,
    They won't forget they're only flowers.

It grieves me when they're short of rain,
    With not a drop to wet their lips;
But, oh, how thankful each one seems,
    When dew, like liquid gems, it sips.

I'm fretful only when one dies,
    To see it droop its tiny head,
And smile a farewell to the sun;
    Ah, then I know the flower is dead!


――――♦――――

 

THOU'RT LONELY, MY JAMMIE.


THOU'RT lonely, my Jammie, art ill, or i' love?
    Thou goes mopsin, an' sighin' about;
An' thy clooas don't fit thee as weel as they did—
    Thou'rt like a poor leet goin' out.
Han they vexed thee, or what maks thy lip hang so low?
    Or hast' lost o thy marbles again?
But they sigh noane o'er marbles, nor fret when they're lost—
    Thou'rt i' love; that to me is quite plain.

Thou'rt quick goin' out, but thou'rt slow momin' in,
    An' thy clogs seem too big for thy feet;
They're too heavy to trail when thou'rt gooin' t' thy wark,
    But leetsome an' limber at neet.
An' thy nose aulus points to'ard Owd Johnny Brookes' farm,
    As if pigeons wur flyin' o'er th' roof;
But I think Johnny's lass has moore likins to thee,
    At neet, when hoo's trippin deawn th' cloof.

Thou'rt moane like thy feyther when he coome to me,
    He did no' stond starin' at nowt,
He'd ha' stood at th' heause-end, an' ha' whistled an' sung,
    Till thy gronfeyther'd ha'punsed him deawn th' fowt.
Then ha' shown up th' neet after as brazent as brass,
    An' into eaur heause chuckt his hat,
Neaw, Jammie, if t' wants to get th' heart of a lass,
    Show some pluck, an' hoo'll like thee for that.

Neaw go thy ways off, lad, an' come noane again,
    Till wi' Jennie theau's made it o reet.
I know ut th' lass likes thee, but connot for shame
    To ax thee t' walk eaut of a neet.
Owd Johnnie 'll no' like it when he gets to know;
    He thinks daisies an' mayfleawers o' Jane.
He'll grumble an' swear, but he'll hardly say "No,"
    When he comes to his senses again.

Jammie's off like a greyhound ut's just seen a hare,
    An' what time he'll come back nob'dy knows.
If he's gone i' good yearnest I dunno' mich care,
    Lest owd Johnnie an' he come to blows.
Eh, this coortin's rough wark, but I'd rayther 'twur so,
    Than this makkin th' heause nice for him t' come,
There's honester sweethearts stond whistlin' at th' dur,
    Than are welcomed as if they'rn awhoam.

It's reet!   There's eaur Jammie, I know by his foot;
    Catch a mother not knowin' by th' seaund.
An' he's managed his job; summat towd me he'd dot't,
    An' we're gladsome an' happy o reaund.
Come, Jammie, an' buss thy owd mother i'th' nook,
    There's nowt like a good, honest face;
I knew if theau gan th' lass a fair lovin' look,
    In her heart, lad, hoo'd find thee a place.


――――♦――――

 

LITTLE ANNIE'S BIRDS.

A LESSON OF KINDNESS.


THE snow lay on the ground, and made
    A Druid of each oak,
When Annie stepped from the kitchen door
    To feed her feathered folk.

They flew in circlets round, and perched
    In chattering groups about;
Some fanned the snow from clothes-line stumps,
    And others shared a spout.

Then down they came in quick descent,
    Soon as the crumbs were spread;
And Annie's glee shone out in smiles
    At each waggling tail and head.

She knows which are the baby birds—
    They are so wild at first, and shy;
But as they grow they get more bold,
    And push their elders by.

"'Tis naughty of them," she admits,
    "And selfish, too," she says;
"But who can blame them for it, when
    So human are their ways?"

She loved to see upon the snow
    The prints of tiny feet,
Like patterns traced on summer dews,
    Where fairies nightly meet.

"You won't come when the snow is gone,
    And summer brings you food,
To pick the seeds, and flowers, and fruit,
    To feed your little brood?"

Thus Annie spoke, and round there went
    A twittering that said "No;"
And Annie gave her word that she
    Would feed them during snow.

The pledge was kept; each summer time,
    When gardens suffered most,
Of Annie's little crop of peas
    Not one was to her lost.

The birds would come and sing for her,
    Or chatter from each tree,
But ne'er descend to garden bed,
    Or with the fruit make free.

Thus kindness an immunity
    From pilf'ring had secured,
And neighbours wondered at the cause,
    Whilst they such thefts endured.

Ah me! my friends, when you are bent
    On strife-begetting words,
Take council, and a lesson learn
    From Annie and her birds.


――――♦――――

 

THE CAMBRIAN'S WELCOME TO
THE QUEEN,


ON HER MAJESTY'S VISIT TO NORTH WALES,
AUGUST, 1889.


HAIL, chief of England's royal race!
    The sons of Cambria welcome thee;
But not with conquered spirit bowed,
    Nor hearts bereft of chivalry.

The hands that once in mailed might,
    The foeman seized with deadly grasp,
And wielded battle-axe and sword,
    Now folded are in friendly clasp.

Dead are the feuds of bygone years;
    And buried 'neath embattled towers;
And where the blood of Kings hath flowed,
    Is now bedight with Peace's flowers.

Thou'rt welcome to this glorious land,
    Where for their homes the Cymri fought;
And love of freedom nerved the arm
    That erst great deeds of valour-wrought.

Who would not fight for land so fair,
    Each mountain, stream, and forest green,
Where Nature in her grandeur sits—
    A crownless—not a throneless Queen?

Each mountain is a regal throne;
    Each stream a harp whose echoes raise
The tones that thrill the Cambrian's breast
    With memories of warlike days.

But rings not now the clarion's note,
    That summoned to the field of strife,
When Celt and Saxon met in fray,
    And gave to slaughter life for life.

Thou hear'st the roll of other sounds,
    The hymn of praise bestowed on thee,
By children of thine ancient foes,
    And tuned to "bardic" minstrelsy;

The strange, weird music of the past,
    That fills us with religious awe,
And bends the knee to worship forms
    Whereon is writ Creation's law.

We pray thee not forget this day,
    When homed within thy Saxon hall;
But think what love thy presence wakes,
    When patriotism and duty call.


Visiting at Llangollen,
                        August 26th,
1889.


――――♦――――

 

TO HENRY IRVING, ESQ.,

PRESIDENT OF "THE ARTS CLUB," MANCHESTER.


FRIEND Irving, let me shake thy neive,
If but in spirit.   I would weave
A song to thee; but that I'll leave
                                        To abler pens,—
But not more honest, I believe,
                                        Than poor old Ben's.

Thou hast essayed the highest rung
Of Fame's steep ladder.   Pen and tongue
Have each thy well-earned praises sung
                                        In tuneful strain;
And e'en thy pæans have been rung
                                        Across the main.

Thou'lt know me?   The old "Titan Club,"
With name Shakespearian* did me dub.
It was not "Hamlet,"—"There's the rub,"—
                                        But now I've got em,—
May every Thespian set his tub
                                        On its own "Bottom!"

I trust that on Life's busy stage
I've played a part—from youth to age;
Nor shrank from ought that did engage
                                        My humble wits;
But eyed with fear the critic's page,
                                        And where he sits.

I've played at times in many parts;
But never dealt in broken hearts,
Nor meddled much with Cupid's darts,—
                                        (I've shot a true one.)
When from his line a fool departs,
                                        He's something t' rue on.

I've done my shout among the rabble,
And easy "lengths" have dared to babble;
I've played a "king," but failed grab all
                                        His royal treasure.
In poetry I've dared to dabble,
                                        Just for my pleasure.

How many messages I've borne
To dukes and lords and braved their scorn!—
Which messages were often torn,
                                        Or trod to dust,
Because the vintner said he'd sworn
                                        No further trust.

As "Seacoal" I got taunts and blows,
Because the pimple on my nose
(Quite big enough for bud of rose)
                                        Had made me squint.
George Sheffield put on't all the glows
                                        Of "Bardolph's" tint.

Melpomene, the peevish slut,
Persuaded me I need but strut
And shout "The time will come!" to put
                                        Cash in thy purse,
But found by practising I got
                                        From bad to worse.

Now I'm a long way past my noon,
And in the "slippered pantaloon,"
The last age I shall be in soon,
                                        Whate'er 'twill bring
Sans eyes; sans teeth (fed with a spoon);
                                        Sans everything.

 

* Every member of the Titan Club had to assume the name of one of Shakespear's characters. The writer's name was "Bottom," the Weaver.


――――♦――――

 

THE FAIR DRUMMER BOY.


"I'M off to the wars, love, to fight for Old England;
    Oh weep not, dear Mary, that now we must part;
Though torn from thy presence to cross the wide billow,
    Thine image shall leave not this fond loving heart.

Thus spoke a brave guardsman, his foot on the gangway;
    The sails of the transport unfurled to the wind.
It was not faint heart wrung the sigh from his bosom;
    But leaving Albion and Mary behind.

Up went the anchor, away sped each vessel
    That bore a brave army to Spain's rocky coast;
And soon in the smoke and the tumult of battle,
    The image of love to our hero was lost.

One night, as he lay by the camp-fire reposing,
    A sweet, gentle voice whispered thus in his ear:
"Oh let not the sigh break thy wound-soothing slumber,
    But rest, dearest rest, for thy Mary is near."

He starts!   Hark! the trumpet to battle is calling;
    The drum rolls its thunder; the sword flashes bare;
Up, up, ye brave guardsmen, the eagle is screeching,
    And flapping its wings in the dull morning air!

The sun gazed once more on that field red with carnage;
    The dead and the dying lay thick on the ground;
When a drummer boy knelt by a wounded young guardsman,
    And whisper'd of love while he bound up the wound.

"Who art thou, my youngster, that com'st with such tidings,
    To cheer me in sorrow?" the soldier he cried;
But the boy answer'd not, for a stray shot came flying,
    And Mary fell dead by her true lover's side.


――――♦――――

 

WHOAM-BREWED.

(From "Irkdale," &c.)


THER'S nowt i' this wo'ld like my own chimdy nook,
    When my cheear up to th' fire I've poo'd;
When th' wife has just rocked th' little babby to sleep,
    An' fotched me a mug o' whoam-brewed.

Hoo smiles, does th' owd dame, as if nobbut just wed,
    When her caps an' her napkins hoo's blued,
Then warms up her face wi' a blink o' th' owd leet
    Ut shines in a mug o' whoam-brewed.

It's as breet as a glent o' eaur Maytime o' life,
    Or as havin' owd pleasures renewed,
Is the sunleet ut fo's reaund my hearthstone at neet,
    When seen through a sheawer o' whoam-brewed.

My heause is my castle has often bin sung,
    Where no king, duke, or lord dar' intrude
But it needs no hard feightin to keep eaut a foe
    When I truce wi' a mug o' whoam-brewed.

Care once coome a-neighbourin', an' pottert at th' dur
    An' his nose into th' keyhole he screwed;
But he soon scampered back to his feyther, the dule,
    When he smelt I'd a mug o' whoam-brewed.

When I'm thinkin' what toilin' an' frabbin' ther' needs
    Through this wo'ld to get decently poo'd,
It melts into pastime, does th' hardest o' wark,
    When it's helped wi' a mug o' whoam-brewed.

It'll help us to fettle both th' nation an' th' laws,
    An' to so'der up mony a feud;
An' if th' wo'ld has gone wrang, we con reet it again
    By th' power of a mug o' whoam-brewed.

Then come to my elbow, thou primest o' drinks,
    Wi' sweetest o' pleasures endued;
The jolliest neighbour to jog wi' through life
    Is a full peauchin mug o' whoam-brewed.


――――♦――――

 

TH' OWD TIN KETTLE.


              I'M a merry little kettle,
              For I sing when I'm i' fettle;
Besides that, I can tell a good tale.
              I spit, and I sputter,
              Like a tooad in a gutter,
When they fill my old belly wi' brown ale;
              I'd rayther it wur wayter,
              For a drop o' the "crayter,"
Or an owd-fashint baggin—tae and rum.
              Then th' steeam fro' my spout
              Maks th' childer give a shout,
An' they makken th' kitchen table int' a drum.

              They wanten me for th' tae,
              Whether hyson or Bohay,
(There's noather on 'em good until they're brewed)
              An' I give th' owd mon a wink,
              When he's sittin' deawn to drink,
Tae that's fit for nowt but th' pigs, becose it's stewed.
              But merrily I sing
              When o' beauty there's a ring
Round the table, an' the toast is smokin' hot;
              Then loud is the chatter,
              As the cups an' saucers clatter,
An' th' ambrosia goes ploppin out o' th' pot.

              To the music of the mill
              Grindin' coffee, I am still;
I like to hear the sound when it's in tune.
              Then th' aroma from the pot,
              When my water's bilin' hot,
Is like turnip' frosty Kesmus into June.
              Who wouldno' be a kettle
              If they're made o' th' sort o' metal
Ut'll polish like a shillin' when it's new?
              When th' hearthstone's warm an' breet,
              And young folk sit round at neet,
Oh, of merrier little kettles there are few!


――――♦――――

 

AB-O'TH'-YATE'S WELCOME TO PRINCE
ALBERT VICTOR,


ON HIS VISIT TO MANCHESTER, OCTOBER 27TH, 1888.

(With an apology to Edwin Waugh.)


COME, Sarah, get thy bonnet on,
    An' gang along wi' me,
An' we'n go deawn to Manchester,
    This royal lad to see.
They say'n his face is like his mam's,
    His e'en are like his dad's;
But i' other things, if th' truth wur known,
    He's mich like other lads.

His pasture's bin too rich for him—
    He seldom porritch takes;
An' nobd'y'll e'er be plagued wi' fat
    That feeds on Eccles cakes.
If he'll come deawn to Daisy Nook,
    Wi' Charlie, Frank, an' me,
We'n show him heaw to ratch his rags
    Wi' a cheese an' bacon spree.

We'n taich him heaw to swing his clogs,
    An' heaw to use his spoon;
An' heaw to whet an appetite
    By peepin' into th' con—
An' seein' theere a bubblin' tin,
    Just like a little sae;
An' I'll be sworn when he goes whoam
    He'll want no moore tae.

We'n pile some flesh on his bare bones,
    Ut are grinnin' through his skin,
An' mak' him he'll no' know hissel
    Before a week he's bin.
An' when wi' th' "Hencote's" fun an' song,
    He's yerd the rafters ring,
He'll say—"Sup up, lads, I'll stond th' next—
    I'm 'every inch a king!"*


* "Ay, every inch a King."—King Lear.


――――♦――――

 

GYPSIES.


THRO' Cheetham Hill one summer day
    I took a leisure tramp,
When down beside the Irk I came
    Upon a gypsies' camp.

I knew they were gypsies by the roof
    Of each wain-top shaped tent,
And canvas walls supported by
    Strong ribs of ash-tree, bent.

The gate being open, in I went,
    And scared the ducks and hens
That quacked and chucked behind the bars
    And nets of several pens.

The "king" stood by in robe of state
    (A jacket brown and patched),
And when I hailed his majesty,
    His royal head he scratched.

"Do these perch out of doors?" I ask,
    As down the food he chucks;
He shrugs his shoulders, then replies—
    "The hens do—not the ducks."

I knew by that I'd met a wag,
    Albeit a gypsy chief;
And none would have suspected him
    Of being a poultry thief.

We talked of breeding—eggs, and chicks,
    And pullets by the way;
But whether breeding paid or not,
    The "king" had nought to say.

"I've tried to hatch some chicks," he said,
    "But the deuce was in my luck;
They pined and died.   What was the cause?
    The beggars wouldn't suck."

I tried him on another tack—
    This time to excite his fear—
"Arn't you afraid of thieves?" I asked,
    Or hen-roost 'cracks' being near?"

I saw he knew my meaning by
    The way he threw his smiles—
"The ain't a gypsy Camp" said he,
    "But this within ten miles."


――――♦――――

 

"WE ARE ON OUR JOURNEY HOME."


THE church-bells rang with a cheerful chime,
    And the sun was sinking low,
As tired with play the children tramped,
    With weary steps and slow.
They were overcome by their holiday jaunt,
    And no farther cared to roam;
But they sang as with a joyful heart,
    "We are on our journey home."

The children cheered as the milk-pails clang
    Their thirsty gathering hailed,
And buns were flying like balls at play,
    And the baskets never failed.
The birds were watching the children feed,
    Expecting that their turn would come
Then the children sang as a parting song—
    "We are on our journey home."

An old man bent 'neath a load of years,
    His partner by his side,
Was gazing upward with vision dim
    At a sign on a post, then sighed.
"We are on the right road, love," the old man said,
    When he'd read this wooden tome
"'This way to the workhouse'—come darling bear up,
    We are on our journey home.

"Nay, turn not to look," the old man said,
    "It is not the church on the hill,
Where our dear one lies; we could look on her grave,
    When we lived in the cot by the mill.
They are not the old bells we have list to so oft,
    In the grey of the evening's gloam,
That seemed to say with a mournful voice,
    'You are on your journey home.' "

"Ah never more shall we hear those bells,
    Nor look on the dear one's bed,
Nor trim the flowers that grow at their feet,
    And garland her flaxen head.
I care not how short this journey will be,
    Nor how soon the time may come,
When the kindly earth will be soft to our feet,
    And we've ended our journey home."

Then towards the workhouse they wandered on,
    But gave a farewell sigh,
When they'd looked their last on the cot they'd left,
    And the graves where their kindred lie.
They are resting now from their earthly task;
    No more from their dwelling they'll roam,
In heaven they've found eternal repose;
    They have finished their journey home.


――――♦――――

 

HARD TIMES.

(SONG.)


"YO' may talk o' hard times," said old Abram o' Dan's,
    "But yo'n nobbut touched th' fringe on 'em yet.
They'rn harder when bacon wi' th' scithors wur cut,
    An' porritch no wayver could get;
When th' wynt would blow through yo' as if you'rn a sieve,
    An' whistled the keener it froze:
When we'd nothin' to fence eawr cowd bodies 'gen th' cowd,
    But creep-o'ers, an' howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs. *

"They'n hard times when a crust o' Breawn George wur too hard
    For rottans to drag i' their holes;
When childer wur more scientific than rats,
    And bor'd for 't, like borin' for coals.
They made a big hole i' th' timbers o'er th' shelf,
    Heaw they're done it, wheay, nobody knows:
But th' crust o' Breawn George disappeared like a ghost,
    Then 'twur creep-o'ers, an' howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs.

"It wur dangerous t' turn eawt wi' yo'r owler new greased,
    For yo'rn sure to be tackled by dogs.
If they'd smelt mutton fat they'd ha set yo' i' th' lone,
    An' etten both tops off yo'r clogs.
If a bakin'-day happened, though seldom one coome,
    My feyther'd get ready for blows;
He'd ha guarded th' oon dur like sentry i' th' wars,
    More creep-o'ers, an' howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs.

No pawnbroker strove eaut o' th' custom he geet,
    Becose folk had nothin' to pop;
They'd takken their rags till they'd none they could spare,
    Unless they'd ha' striped 'em i' th' shop.
Little help could be squeezed eaut o' th' rich i' thoose days,
    Noather i' mayte, fire, nor "thank yo, sir" clothes;
They walled reaund their heauses, an' shut up their hearts,
    When we'd creep-o'ers an' howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs.

"I've worn eaut my owler i' lookin' for wark,
    But of wark thore wur none to be had;
When th' mice emigrated, an' deed upo' th' road,
    An' wi' th' rottans—why, things wur as bad.
When th' brids coome i' flocks to a cottager's dur,
    An' showed 'em their frost-bitten toes;
An' heaw slackly their feathers hung on to their backs,
    They couldno' ate howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs.

I think it quite time these owd limbs wur at rest,
    Or on their long journey to'ard whoam,
Wheere there's no frost or snow, an' no yammerin' hearts
    Nor hauve naked bodies con come.
I yerd a voice saying, "Ye sufferers on earth,
    Come hither and try your new clothes!
For the poor shall be rich, and the rich all alike—
    No moore creep-o'ers or howd-teh-bi-th'-wohs."

 

* Creep-o'ers—"Creep over Stiles."   Howd teh-bi-th'-wohs—Howd-thee-by-the-walls," a kind of gruel sweetened with treacle.  See "Tum Grunt and Whistle Pig," by R. Walker.



――――♦――――

 

THE BEAUTIFUL SNOW.

A PARODY.


OH, the beautiful snow!   The beautiful snow,
How gently it falls on the earth below,
Like fleece newly blown from Ganymede's crest,
And floating away to some airy nest.

Says Johnny- i'-th'-Nook, "Come eaut an' slur,"
Then fo's on his back at his gronfeyther's dur;
"Oh, that wur a bang!" he shouted.   "Oh, oh!"
The beautiful, beautiful, beautiful snow!

Oh, the beautiful snow, the beautiful snow!
See it whirl through the air as the rude wind blows;
Now weaves it a web of its gossamer flakes,
As along the valley it's course it takes.

Says Betty-at-Robin's, "Eh, what a nice slide!
As breet as a kettle—I'll just have a ride;
Come, stick to my hont ! ! !—why didta let go?"
The beautiful, beautiful, beautiful snow!

Oh, the beautiful snow, the beautiful snow!
Now sweeps o'er the moor like a merciless foe,
And creeps under doors like a cowardly elf,
Afraid of the storm it created itself.

Owd Matty-o'-Besom's has gone eaut o'th' heause,
An' made to'ard a slide, as quiet as a meause;
" I'll give it yond madam!" but strikes not a blow—
Hoo's measurt her length on the beautiful snow.


――――♦――――

 

SAM BAMFORD'S GRAVE.

A CHRISTMAS IDYL.


I STOOD beside Sam Bamford's grave,
    Ut looks o'er Middle-teawn,
An' th' owd lad woke within his yearth,
    An' said, "Wheere arta beaun?"

"I'm gooin' deawn to Shuttlewo'th's
    At th' sign o'th' Owd Boar's Yead,
To meet a 'Raker' friend or two,
    An' have a gill," I said.*

"Wheay, wheay, what's up, like?   Is it th Wakes?
    Or is it th' Show?" said Sam.
"I fain would like t' goo wi' thee, lad;
    It's dryish wheere I am.

"Is Ned wi' thee, or Page or Jim?
    Is Joe or Charley theere?
'Lijah's gone whoam, I know, poor lad!
    He'd little t' stop for here.

"Come, tell me o' an' moore beside,
    I'm 'hutchin fain' to yer it;
There's nob'dy coes to tell me owt,
    Nobbut neaw an' then a sperrit,

"Ut's bin a-makkin' furnityer
    To caper on some floor.
Han poets begun a-bankin' yet?
    Are publishers come poor?

"Han Frenchmen ta'en to seaur kreaut?
    Is Livingston come whoam?
Are pa'sons gan o'r fratchin' yet?
    Is th' Church gone o'er to Rome?

"Are th' Yankees talkin' leaud an' tall?
    Is Ireland satisfied?
Han' th' Garmons drawn their feightin' brass
    Has th' ballot e'er bin tried?

"Are skoo-boards happy families?
    Does eddication thrive?
Is charity owt but a name?
    Is self-ism still alive?

"What is it's browt thee here to-day?
    Hast' bizness wi' the d'yed?
Or arta come'n a trimmin' th' fleawers,
    That hem eaur little bed?"

"I've come to chose a spot on which
    To raise a stone," I said.
"Thy native teawn con gie thee that,
    If it couldno' find thee bread."

"What, what," he said—"a moniment!—
    A moniment to me?
Just lift that quarried keaunterpane,
    An' help to set me free.

"I'll moniment 'em—that I will—
    A changeful, wayward crew!
Fust backbite me, then co me spy,
    An' th' Judas o' Peterloo!

"They raise a moniment to me
    Believe in no sich thing;
They'd rayther have a jumpin' match,
    Or creawn a sond-chap king.

"I need no moniment—not I;
    Well, not o' sculptured stone.
Look i' my 'Radical'—it's theere—
    A tablet o' my own.

"Good deeds are their own moniments,
    A biggish mon hath said;
Good lives leave tracks that th' feet o' time
    Pass o'er wi' kindly tread.

"Gi'e bread to th' poor, to th' weak give help,
    Mak' hearthstones warm an' breet;
A lesson taich to th' rich an' preaud,
    To darkened minds give leet.

"An' if, when yo'n this duty done,
    Yo'n gether reawnd my grave,
An' sing a hymn o' thankful praise,
    I'll help yo' wi' a stave.

"Neaw goo an' tell 'em what I've said;
    But if they're bent on stone,
Wheay, let 'em set abeaut it, then,
    An' mak' their purpose known.

"An' let not year on year go past,
    An' Wakes an' Show get o'er,
Then find theirsels at th' end o' time
    Just wheere they wur before.

"If we'd stood still i' thoose dark days
    When patriots pined an' bled,
Heaw would yo'r minds have neaw been stored,
    Yo'r bodies clothed an' fed?

"Where would yo'r Lancashire ha' bin,
    O' which yo'r o so preaud?
Yo'r forges and yo'r factories
    That now its valleys creawd

"But I'm happen a bit crankey, lad—
    They'n made me so wi' scorn;
But bless 'em o! Neaw let me sleep
    Till breaks my second morn."

Sam laid him deawn, an' gan a grunt,
    Said, "Mima, love, art' here?"
An' I left him to his noble rest,
    Wi' a freshly-started tear.


* See "Tim Bobbin's Grave," by Sam Bamford.


――――♦――――

 

PROLOGUE.

 

(Intended by the author to have been delivered at the Masonic Concert in aid of the boys' school, given at the Free Trade  Hall, but, through some misunderstanding, left out of the programme.)


YE sons of Charity—and daughters too,
We must not leave you out, it would not do
To treat our fair ones to so grave a slight,
Considering they're here with us to-night.
We'll call you sisters; that will make amends
For human thoughtlessness, so let's be friends.
Time was when charity was but a name—
An empty word that added nought to fame
Till woman ventured in that void alone,
Struck out a plan, and made the work her own;
Sought out the needy, succoured the distressed,
And made the desert-home one truly blest.

'Twere no disgrace to aid in such a plan,
And give our sisters all the help we can;
They're sure to help their brothers when in need,
Their presence here to-night were help indeed!
They know 'tis better than to imitate
The gilded virtues of the Roman State.
A guarded prudence can be too severe,
If down the cheek unheeded rolls the tear.
To be austerely just, and wise, and brave;
But show no mercy to the suppliant slave,—
Begging for life that he might fill his days,
Training his children into virtue's ways.

A voice went forth ere breathed the human race,
"Let there be light," and darkness fled apace.
Then rose the fount of life, the glorious son,
At once he starts his heavenly course to run.
Ages have passed, and still that cry's the same,
"Let there be light!" a cry without an aim.
Millions have heard it—scattered o'er the earth—
But still 'twas chaos till the voice went forth—
"Let there be intellectual light!"   Then furled
The cloud; and Shakspere rose t' illume the world.

Thou Great Diffuser of that heavenly light
Throughout the universe, be here to-night.
And aid the work attempted in Thy name;
To erring mortals none a nobler aim.
And, oh, Great Architect! a Temple raise,
In which Thy worshippers may sound Thy praise;
And fix for ever in the central porch—
To radiate o'er the world—Thy sacred torch!
Though shown in symbols, Learning is the light,
To brighten which we're gathered here to-night.
May Light and Charity the orphans bless!
To guide through life, to shelter from distress!
So now prepare we for the song and jest,
We've done our share—come, Minstrels, do the rest.


ARTHUR SULLIVAN LODGE, 2156.


――――♦――――

 

RED BILL'S MONKEY.


"OWD POOT" drew up to th' fire one neet,
    An' charged his pipe wi' 'bacco;
An' Red Bill's monkey grinned i'th' nook—
    A monkey they co'ed "Jacko."

"Ay, theau may bite thy cheean," said Poot,
    "But theau'll remember th' mortar;
An' if theau tries to work again
    They'll mak' it a bit shorter."

"Work, did yo' say?"   "Ay, work," said Poot,
    "He's a janious in his way;
He's up to owt fro' plasterin'
    To makkin a sope o' tae.

"I're daubin' up some holes one day,
    An while I swigged my porter,
He picked up th' trowel, an' catchin' th' cat,
    He filled her meauth wi' mortar.

"Another time he're watchin' Nell
    Mak' tae for a lot o' women,
An' thinkin' he could mend her work,
    He th' hearthstone set a swimmin'.

"He watched her wheere hoo th' caddie put,
    On th' chimbdy shelf o'er th' fire;
But if hoo'd known what th' monkey meant
    Hood surely ha' put it higher.

"Her back wur turned, then up went Jack,
    Ere yo' could say 'God bless all!'
Then th' box he seized, an liftin' th' lid,
    He emptied th' tae i'th' ess-hole.

"Then down he coome, like Steeple Jack,
    An' jumped on th' hob to th' kettle,
An' emptied that on th' hearthstone, too,
    Thinkin' his job to settle."

"Jack thowt he could improve o' what
    A mon or wench could do,
By stoppin' holes that drank his milk,
    An, tae by whulsale brew.

"Oh, poor owd Jack!—he'll work no moore,
    Here gettin' too fast for th' age;
An' what wur th' use when o he geet
    Wur a cheean i'stead o' wage?"


――――♦――――

 

"I'RE LIVIN' WHEN BONEY* WUR TA'EN."


THERE was an old dame used to come down our lane,
    And at walking you'd not find her match
She lived all alone in a one-storey cot,
    And the roof of this dwelling was thatch.
She knew not her age any more than the clock,
    "But I're born o' Good Friday they say'n
"An' somewheer abeaut th' time ut th' Embargo wur kilt,
    "But I're livin' when Boney wur ta'en."

No bonnet she'd worn since last rushcart was made;
    But a napkin tied o'er her cap screen
Made her face like two roses just bitten with frost,
    Leaving traces of what they had been.
"You've seen something, Betty," the neighbours would say,
    "Ay, moor than I want t'see again."
Then she'd shake her old head—dust her pipe on the bar—
    "I're livin' when Boney wur ta'en."

A widow some years old Betty had been,
    But none ever heard her repine.
"If I wanted to fish for a husband," she'd say,
    "I've nobbut to throw in my line.
"Yo young uns done nowt but keep sidlin' abeaut,
    "An lookin' as if yo'rn i' pain.
"I' my day 'twur snap-an-go-bang, an' get wed—
    "But I're livin' when Boney wur ta'en."

On a dark winter night an old lantern she'd swing,
    A lantern without horn or glass.
If the wind blew the light out, as oft was the case,
    She'd say, "Drat yo, lads! let me pass."
If she'd rubbed 'gainst a stump in the darkness, she'd say,
    "Neaw, Jammie, theau'rt auvish, it's plain,
"But I'st ne'er end my wits wi' a monkey like thee;
    "I're livin' when Boney wur ta'en."

For singing and dancing old Betty'd no match,
    Though only one song could she sing.
It was of one Chinaman, "Twinkle Turn Twang,"
    And the chorous was "Ding, a-ding, ding."
This song would she hum at from morning till night,
    Then up with the layrock again;
And if her voice failed her, "Ah, well," she would say,
    "I're livin' when Boney wur ta'en"

Old Betty, with living alone, was afraid
    Lest theives might her front door assail.
So when she went shopping she took out the key,
    And hung it outside on a nail.
But poor old Betty, she could not get warm
    That winter the snow filled the lane.
Then she said, "if owd Jack comes again he may sit,—
    "Here livin' when Boney wur ta'en."


* When the First Napoleon was taken prisoner.


――――♦――――

 

THE WEAVER OF WELBROOK.

(From "Chronicles of Waverlow.")


YO gentlemen o wi' yo'r hounds an' yo'r parks,
    Yo may gamble an' sport till yo' dee;
But a quiet heause nook, a good wife, an' a book,
    Are more to the likin's o me - e.
                Wi' my pickers an' pins,
                An' my wellers to th' shins,
        My linderins, shuttle, an' yealdhook,
                My treadles an sticks,
                My weight-ropes an' bricks,
        What a life!—said the Wayvor o' Welbrook.

I careno' for titles, nor heauses, nor lond,
    Owd Jone's a name fittin' for me;
An' gie me a thatch, wi' a wooden-dur latch,
    An' six feet o' greaund when I dee - e.
                                                      Wi' my pickers, &c.

Some folk liken t' stuff their owd wallets wi' mate,
    Till they're as reaunt an' as brawsen as frogs;
But for me I'm content, when I've paid deawn my rent,
    Wi' enoogh t' keep me up I'm clogs - ogs.
                                                      Wi' my pickers, &c.

An' some are too idle to use their own feet,
    An' mun keawer an' stroddle i'th' lone;
But when I'm wheelt or carried i' tll be to get buried,
    An' then dicky-up wi' owd one - Jone.
                                                      Wi' my pickers, &c.

Yo' may turn up yo'r noses at me an' th' owd dame,
    An' thrutch us like dogs again' th' wo;
But as Iong's I con nayger I'll ne'er be a beggar,
    So I careno' a cuss for yo' o - o.
                                                      Wi' my pickers, &c.

Then, Margit, turn reaund that owd hum-a-drum wheel,
    An' my shuttle shall fly like a brid;
An' when I no lenger con use hont or finger,
    They'll say while I could do I did - id.
                                                      Wi' my pickers, &c.


――――♦――――

 

LANCASTRIANS IN LONDON.


YE sons of Gaunt, "time-honoured" sire
    Of Lancashire's proud family,
I send you greetings from our home,
    The home of our great ancestry;

Our rugged hills, and valleys deep;
    The dearest spot to you and me;
The brightest star in England's crown;
    This gem "set in a silver sea."

For deeds of valour we're renowned,
    On field and flood our flag hath waved,
On Cressy's walls, and Agincourt
    The storm of battle we have braved.

But Peace hath her victories as well
    As those of desolating war;
And conquests on the field of toil,
    Than those of arms the nobler far.

We've shared those victories—nay, led
    The van throughout the bloodless strife,
Now see our villages and towns,
    Are teeming with industrial life.

At wakes, or fair, on village green;
    At song, or dance; at work, or sport;
Our "Lankey" lads, and lasses too,
    Are known to be a "gradley sort."

Let these bear witness to her fame—
    Proud Lancashire! who would not prize
A home so fair? why do thy sons
    To thee still turn with longing eyes?

Who could not love a land like this?
    Is there a man with soul so base?
Who's so enrapt with foreign climes,
    As not to own his native place?

May he who home nor country owns:
    Who scorns the soil that gave him birth;
Oh, let him wander where he lists,
    Nor find a resting place on earth.

No county in the roll of shires
    Can match this county Palatine,
For beauty, sense, and homely wit,
    In which are sons and daughters shine.

Then here's to "auld lang syne" my friends,
    Though scattered over land and sea!
We'll pledge in "Jone o' Bardsley's" style,*
    The land we love, "our ain countrie!"

Oh, may our brotherhood endure,
    And flourish until Time's decay;
Then seek at last the "Better Land,"
    The measureless Eternity.


* Glasses upside down.


――――♦――――

 

TWO HOMES.


THE mistletoe, with its berries white,
Resplendent shone in the dazzling light,
As the Lady Abigail sought her bower,
Away from the glare of that festive hour.
Sir Launcelot stole with a lover's tread
To her side; and, whispering softly, said—
Between each often repeated kiss—
"Oh, what a beautiful world is this!"

No mistletoe hung in the labourer's cot;
No revelries brightened the labourer's lot,
And the kisses he took were those from his wife—
The sharer of all the joys of his life.
A shawl he'd brought her, of colours gay,
"It's too fine for me," she was heard to say,
"But Jammie, thou'st have an extra kiss—
Oh, what a beautiful world is this!"

Softly the ravishing music came
And filled the soul with a rapturous flame;
Sometimes its sound was a trill of joy,
That softened down to a maiden's sigh.
Sir Launcelot felt what he could not speak,
As he pressed the Lady Abigail's cheek.
But the lady, o'ercome with her measure of bliss,
Said, "Oh, what a beautiful world is this?"

Little Billy he sat on a three-legged stool,
And played a tune he had learnt at school,
It was not a shepherd's pipe he blew,
But the tones were sweet, and the air was new,
It sounds like an angel's song of praise,
Though 'tis but an old cracked flute he plays.
"Tell us, dear Billy, what tune it is."
"Oh, what a beautiful woyld is dis!"

My Lady Abigail joined the dance,
And her rubies flashed like Sir Launcelot's glance;
But the music grew faint, and lights burnt low,
And the janitor's yawn said "It's time to go."
The sky was streaked with the hues of morn,
When Sir Launcelot's henchman sounded his horn;
And was that the end of all earthly bliss?
Oh, what a changeable world is this!

The baby danced on its mother's knee,
And "crowed" to the music with childish glee.
But the father was silent, his heart was full,
Whilst the revellers' pleasures were waxing dull.
"This life is what we make it," said he,
"A sober joy, or a drunken spree.
"Ours is the happier lot, I wis—
"Oh, what a beautiful world is this!"


――――♦――――

 

MASONIC EPITHO-THRENODY;

AN ALLEGORY.

――――――――――――

TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS ALBERT EDWARD,
PRINCE OF WALES, K.G.
,

RIGHT WORSHIPFUL GRAND MASTER OF FREE-
MASONS IN ENGLAND;

IN PROSPECT OF THE MARRIAGE OF HIS SON, THE DUKE OF CLARENCE
AND AVONDALE, WITH PRINCESS VICTORIA MARY OF TECK,
FEBRUARY 27TH, 1892.


THIS day thou add'st another corner-stone,
To strengthen the foundations of that throne
Which stands embedded in a people's love.
The Architect who plans and rules above;
And, like a Great Geometrician, draws
His lines, and curves, true to Masonic laws,
Be't thine to measure from in all the things
Thou undertakest; be't the rule of kings;
Or changing sceptre for a mall, and throne
For the exalted chair of Solomon,
Be just, and fear not!
                                           Ere yet be raised!
The Master's pedestal, let Him be praised
Whom all the searchers after light adore!
    Now let the cannon boom from every shore!
From the three points of heav'n, West, North, and South,
Let honours Masonic pass from mouth to mouth,
Until the East re-echoes with the sound—
Behold the column risen from the ground!
    Bind well the structure from the widened base;
Prove it with plumb and square, both line and face;
And if 'tis strong, and firm, from blemish free,
And solid as one block of Masonry;—
Faultless in symmetry; in ambit rare;
The pride of all that's lovely, sweet, and fair,—
Then to an admiring world it may be said—
This added stone is well and truly laid.


――――♦――――

 

THE THUNDERBOLT!


FALLEN is the pillar, shattered is the base
That was to have upheld it in its place.
Give we the prostrate stone a cypress wreath,
Clothe we the figure with the robes of death.
'Twas but an hour ago the sons of light
Basked in the rays of hope, supremely bright.
Aught that the splendour of a court could grace
Was there reflected in a regal face.
The prince, the heir, the king that was to be—
The crowning apex to a dynesty—
Now lies he at the base, where kings ere now
Have lain.   The death-damp on his youthful brow
Tells of a struggle ere he gave his sword
To One whose weapon is His mighty Word.
Stricken to earth, but not by mortal foe—
The lightning came from heaven that laid him low.
The broken column, lying at his feet,
Wrap in the British flag, fit winding sheet;
Cover his breast with flowers wet with tears
Distilled from grief—the grief a nation bears.
Ere yet we lay him in his hallowed bed,
Chant we a requiem o'er the honoured dead
    Oh, thou great Architect that built the earth
And all upon it since creation's birth,
Receive into Thy temple this our son,
And place him in the East, the shrine he'd won.
Now close the tomb!   Oh, may his soul shine forth
A star resplendent, both in light and worth!
No longer claim we what to heaven was due;
The debt he paid with the last breath he drew,
And now, from earthly bonds for ever free,
He joins the Lodge of IMMORTALITY.


BRO. BEN BRIERLEY.

ARTHUR SULLIVAN* LODGE, 2156,
        O
LD BOAR'S HEAD,
                W
ITHY GROVE, MANCHESTER.

 

* Ed.—Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan MVO (1842-1900) was an English composer, of Irish and Italian descent, best known for his operatic collaborations with librettist W. S. Gilbert, including such continually popular works as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado.


――――♦――――

 

In Memoriam Poems.

―――――――――――

ANNIE,

ONLY CHILD OF BEN. AND ESTHER BRIERLEY;

Born November 7th, 1856.   Died June 13th, 1875.


WE thought she was our own for yet awhile;
    That we had earned her, by our love, of Heav'n,
To be a life's comfort, not a season's smile,
    Then tears for ever.   "'Tis to be forgiven,"
We deemed her mortal—not an angel sent
    From out a mission host, on mercy bent.

We were beguiled by her sweet ways of love—
    The growth of her affections round two stems—
As if they were of her, and from above,
    We did not note that from her heart the gems
Of her devotion were bestrewn in show'rs
    Where'er she went, and gathered like spring flowers

And her last words (coherent)—"I have lived,
    And have not lived"—were full of earthly tone
And utterance.   They, too, our hearts deceived;
    Nor were we mindful till, when left alone,
We heard the flutter of a dove-like wing,
    And a sweet strain, such as the seraphs sing.

Then knew we she had come in mortal guise,
    To teach us love, and charity, and grace;
With sun-gold in her hair, heaven in her eyes,
    And all that's holy in her preaching face.
The scales had fallen, and our vision then
    Saw that an angel graced the homes of men.


――――♦――――

 

SAMUEL BAMFORD.

BORN FEBRUARY 28TH, 1788.   DIED APRIL 13TH, 1872.


THIS day a warrior bowed his plume, and died;
This day a noble spirit, purified,
Hath pierced the shadows of terrestial night,
And sought enshrinement in the "halls of light."

His was no stagnant life who gives this day
Back to his God a spirit weaned of clay.
For LIBERTY he donned his mail and casque;
The GODDESS blessing with a smile his task.

He saw that smile irradiate the world
Ere yet he closed his eyes.   Boldly unfurled
He the proud banner when the maid was young
For whom he battled, and whose praise he sung.

Nor fought a braver champion in the field
Where men for freedom bled and died.   His shield—
"MY HOMEMY RIGHTMANKIND"—the motto bore,
Which to the last, with sheen undimmed, he wore.

Thick were the blows which rang upon his mail;
Deadly the thrusts that pierced it; but the trail
Of vanquished pennon, and the droop of crest,
His valour brooked not.   His a nobler rest.

Five times unhorsed, and dashed upon the field;
Yet called he not for quarter, nor would yield
To foes outnumb'ring.   Quick to saddle sprang
He yet again,—again his armour rang.

As falls the storm against the stubborn oak,
So fell upon his breast the battle stroke;
As stands the rock that heeds not flashing sky,
So stood his soul, man's thunder to defy.

And thus contending in that 'sanguined fray,
A victor now, next moment driv'n to bay,
His arm relinquished not its manly thrust
Till lay the foe in ignominious dust.

Then home came he with chaplets on his brow,
To doff his mail and casque.   The knightly vow,
To free his country from a galling yoke,
Fulfilled with honour, he his weapon broke.

And in the evening of his life he lay
Watching the closing of a glorious day;
And as the summer's sun sinks in the west,
So sank our hero to his quiet rest.

Peace to thy honoured dust!   No lay of mine,
Old soldier! e'er can reach a worth like thine!
Sing thine own requiem in that noble song
Thy life hath writ.   Such themes to thee belong.


April 13th, 1872.


――――♦――――

 

CHARLES SWAIN,

BORN JAN. 4th, 1803.   DIED SEPT. 22nd, 1874.


ANOTHER vacant chair! another guest
    Hath left my threshold with his last "Good night!"
'Twas but an hour ago, ere yet the west
    Had lost the amber of its fading light,
One other friend departed, and he said—
"Good bye!" then sought his everlasting bed.

And gone before were others of the throng
    Who round my board at noon were full of thought
And feeling that found utterance in song,
    Th' eternal watchman's call the ear had caught;
And Autumn leaves around their footsteps fell
As they, in tones that linger, sang "Farewell!"

And there are others glancing towards the door,
    As though they saw a shadow on the stair,
With finger pointing to heaven's glittering floor,
    And beck'ning to a festal gathering there.
These shall arise ere yet the night be gone,
And one—but which of us?—be left alone.

He who last left the scene where none can stay,
    Woke with his touch the bosom's tenderest chord,
And sang with fervid lips that noblest lay—
    The love of man and glory of the Lord.
He "breathed of beauty and eternal youth;"
The "mind," its "grace, divinity, and truth."

And as he moved his fingers o'er the lyre,
    His eyes were ever streaming with a light
Caught from the glow of some celestial fire,
    Shining on worlds beyond the reach of night.
And grew the melody most sweet and clear,
When felt the hand the final touch was near.

As sings the nightingale when all is hushed,
    His song was never heard at noontide hour
Among the crowd of warblers; but when blushed
    The Night at Days soft wooing, he his bower
Would seek, and from some solitary spray
Awake the echoes with his roundelay.

But never more shall voice of his be heard
    At our sublunar festivals, nor thought
Flash from his soul in glance as well as word.
    A spell upon his soul the angels wrought;
And whispering 'neath their pinions, "Brother, come,"
They bore the minstrel to his heav'nly home.

Say not you miss him from his chair to-night,
    Ye who have but another hour to stay,
But watch the flick'ring of the taper's light—
    A symbol of the close of life's brief day—
And be ye ready, brethren, one and all,
That none may hurry at the Watchman's call.

Say—"Peace to the departed!"   He, ere now,
    Hath heard the songs we list for in our dreams,
But only faintly hear.   Around his brow
    The lustre of immortal glory beams,
In which the smiles of kindred spirits shine,
The scintillations of a light divine.

Oh, why this emptiness of human boasts—
    These songs in praise of perishable wine?
Our friend the guest is of the Host of Hosts,
    And sips the juice of an eternal vine.
The picture change.   The mourners are the dead
Who wait our coming.   Which of us shall lead?


――――♦――――

 

JOHN BRIGHT,

DIED MARCH 27TH, 1889.


VANQUISHED at last! and by the only foe
    He e'er struck colours to, or yielded spur;
Leader of hosts to battle, his last blow
    Rang on the mail of the Great Conqueror.
And now his sword lies shattered at his feet—
The chief whose soldiers never knew retreat.

He was no man of peace where might was right;
    But foremost in the field when war's stern note
Sounded the charge.   Then where th' ensanguined fight
    Was thickest, he his sabre drew, and smote.
Nor faltered he amidst the glittering storm—
His war cry—"Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform."

He was the Cæsar of the gallant host
    That fought for freedom from the laws which bound
The fruits of earth, the Tribune that could boast
    He'd measured blades with nobles, who ne'er found
A blot upon his shield, nor craven fear
Within his breast when, fighting, spear met spear.

But when he saw the enemy retreat,
    And Peace and Plenty spring up at his word,
He doffed his helm, and cast it at his feet,
    And sheathed, unblemished, his victorious sword.
Now twine the bays around the victor's head,
And crown him Prince of our illustrious dead.


――――♦――――

 

EDWIN WAUGH.

BORN JANUARY 29th, 1817;   DIED APRIL 30th, 1890.


THOU'ST left our choir at last,—the sweetest singer
    That ever warbled o'er thy native heath!
Thy sky-notes, wild, have often made me linger,
    To catch the fulness of their silv'ry breath.

Though caged within the town, thy soul was ever
    Hovering fondly o'er its moorland nest;
And nought of city life thy heart could sever
    From that dear land where thou hadst hoped to rest.

We're silent now, since thou hast left, and gone
    To join the crowd of songsters gone before;
Prince, Bamford, Swain have winged it, one by one,
    And songs of homely life are heard no more.

Farewell, old "layrock"! freed from earthly toil,
    And anguish bravely borne, as 'twere thy cross;
Flutt'ring with broken wing o'er fields of moil,
    To find thy glory in thy country's loss.

Gone are the echoes from the woods and bowers
    Thou'rt won't to visit when the twilight fell,
To mingle with their melodies and flowers
    Thy songs, so fragrant of the heathery dell.

We mourn thee now as one snatched from the nest,
    And cast away in Death's remorseless train;
Still we're consoled to think that it were best
    To die, than linger in unceasing pain.

Thou hadst deserved a better fate than this,
    Whose notes have made the welkin ring with joy;
If ought there be to spare of heavenly bliss,
    Thou'st earned a meed, and that without alloy.


――――♦――――

 

ALLEN MELLOR,

DIED 20TH NOVEMBER, 1888, AGED 54 YEARS.


FELLED like an oak that hath not known decay,
    But sound in root and branch, as when it grew
In youth's green sapling time—e'er yet the day
    Had come when it had ceased to grow, this true
Giant of the human forest—stricken—fell!
What loss of mind and heart no tongue can tell.

His was a life of vig'rous thought and deed—
    A moral strength with charity combined
To wield a pow'r of help to those in need,
    And nerve anew the weaker of his kind.
In works that make men great he knew no rest
Till he had earned it—now he's with the blest.

Peace be to him whose aim was greatest good;
    And when the young an aspiration feel
To live a life of usefulness, and would
    Example seek, the finger, true as steel
To magnet, points to him whose death we mourn—
Oh, may we after life reach such a bourne!


――――♦――――

 

AT MY DAUGHTER'S GRAVE.

ON HER NINETEENTH BIRTHDAY.


NOVEMBER'S chills hang in the sullen air,
    The earth is shrouded in funeral gloom;
The trees around seem fretful, weird, and bare,
    As here I stand beside thy silent tomb,—
My daughter!—loved alike by sire and friend—
Thy Mother's idol, thus to thee I bend!

It seems an age since last I saw thy face,
    Smiling to make e'en death a loveliness;
And as the scalding tears each other chase
    Down cheeks that ever must be flooded thus,
I feel 'twould be the prime reward of prayer,
To see the glory of thine eyes and hair.

Now cold's the hearth that once thy presence warmed;
    Dark is the room of which thou wert the light;
Silent the music which my soul hath charmed,
    When home, and wounded, from the world's stern fight.
Thy stool—thy chair—the couch—all vacant now—
Cry through the darkness—"Annie, where art thou?"

Thy mother nightly lingers at the gate,
    To watch thy coming; and as pale the lights,
She says—"How long—how very long—to wait!
    Such girls as she should not stay out at nights.
All her companions are in bed ere this,
And I'm still waiting for her 'good night' kiss."

This day thou would'st have marked thy nineteenth year;
    A day looked forward too long months ago;
That should have brought to us, nor sigh, nor tear,
    But such sweet joy as only parents know.
Who could have dreamt, or felt the galling fear,
That thou would'st hold thy birthday revels here?

A bridal wreath bedecks thy marble brow;
    The robes* enwrap thy form that should have swept
The path which leads to where we plight the vow
    Of love eternal—broken oft, or kept.
If shades commingle 'round thy hallowed bed,
Then thou'lt beseem the bridals of the dead.

Ah, frenzied dreams—ah, visions wild and strange,
    That haunt for aye this wilderness of air!
If in the great, inevitable change,
    Thou, God, seeth fit to show Thy mercies where
Love's blossoms are by thousands largely shared,
This garden of one flow'r Thou might'st have spared.

They who would tell me life is but a span
    Know not affliction—not the loss of thee.
'Tis woe, laid heavy on the soul of man,
    That makes of time a drear eternity.
Life's sunniest moments fly the swallow's flight,
But oh, how slowly creeps the hours of night!

Great God! whose Will it was to take away
    The only lamb that nestled in our fold—
If through His tears who wept on Calvary
    The dear one's face we may again behold;
Oh, let thy messenger of love descend,
To give assurance such shall be the end!

My pray'r is heard, a voice from out the clouds
    Proclaims in trumpet clangour to the dead
"Arise ye, shake ye off your mortal shrouds,
    And put on Heaven's eternal robes instead!"
I feel the flutter of an angel's wing
And hear Heaven's choir their sweet Hosannas sing.

The vision's past; the gloom is thickening round,
    The mists enwrap me with an icy fold.
But here my soul hath its best solace found,
    And turned to summer warmth the wintry cold.
Thus, hoping, dear, thy face again to see,
I weave those immortelles of song to thee!

 

* She was buried in full brides-maid's costume, intended to have been worn at the wedding of a cousin.  The poor girl begged of her mother, a few days before she died, that she might be allowed to wear the dress on the wedding-day, if not able to attend the ceremony.  The request was complied with; it served for her shroud.


――――♦――――

 

"TIPS."


"THERE'S no tips for me,''
    Said owd Billy o' Dan's;
"Tho' they're passin' my dur
    Both i' wagons, an' vans;
There's bacon, an' cheese,
    Comin' throng to th' next heause;
But there's nowt on my shelves,
    Would keep life in a meause.

There's whiskey i' gallons.
    An' barrels o' stout,
An' brandy i' bottles,
    But for Billy there's nowt,
Heaw it is I'm left eawt,
    Why I cannot just see;
I'm as good as my neighbours,
    But there's no tips for me.

There's turkeys an' geese,
    Crommed i' hampers, chock full;
One con hardly help thinkin'
    That trade isno' dull.
An' pheasants, an' rabbits,
    An' oysters i' shoals;
An' for those that want roastin'
    There's cart loads o' coals.

I con raise nowt wi' feathers,
    Beawt it be an owd hen
That has seen younger days,
    An' has sarved younger men.
An' here I mun shiver,
    Wi' a tear i' my e'e,
For becose I'm a wayver
    There's no tips for me.

An' here I mun nagur
    Till late of a neet,
Wi' a rag round my yead,
    An' a brick at my feet,*
An' a waiscoat as slack
    As if hanged on a peg;
An' a stockin' that hardly
    Sticks onto my leg.

If th' rich o' their plenty
    'Twould be nowt but fair
If they'd hond me a morsel
    O' what they con spare.
But I've just tumbled to it,
    I plainly con see,
I'm nobody's workman,
    There's no tips for me.

But a day's sure to come,
    An' it isno' far off,
When these worn eaut owd breeches
    They'n tell me to doff.
An' the poor shall appear
    I' grand raiment arrayed,
That mortal ne'er fashioned,
    Nor honds never made.

When this body o' flesh
    Shall be tipped in a hole,
An' this spiritual body
    That some call a soul,
From its bondage on earth,
    And its trammels set free,
Shall mount up to glory--
    Then two tips for me."

 

* Handloom weavers used to place a hot brick in the treadle-hole in winter to warm their feet by.


――――♦――――
 

 


 

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