Songs & Lyrics (4)

Home Up Blackburn Poets Tales Main Index Site Search


 

[Previous Page]


TWO LITTLE ORPHANS.

 

Oh, to have dwelt in Bethlehem
        When the star of the Lord shone bright!
To have sheltered the holy wanderers
        On that blessed Christmas night!
.            .            .            .            .            .
Hush! such a glory was not for thee;
        But that care may still be thine:
For are there not little ones still to aid
        For the sake of the Child divine?

ADELAIDE A. PROCTER.


'Twas Christmas Eve, the moon shone clear and bright,
Shedding upon the earth her silvery light,
The virgin snow lay glittering on the ground,
The sweet church bells rang out with merry sound.
The City of our story seemed asleep,
Save where the sound of music, loud and deep,
Broke happy slumbers in a pleasant way,
And heralded the coming Christmas Day.

But, ere the bells had rung for half-an-hour,
The shining clock within the Town Hall tower
Towards the hour of midnight raised its hands,—
A time when faithful souls in many lands
Prepared to celebrate the happy morn
On which our Infant Saviour was born.
And soon along the moonlit streets there came
People of many a nation, race, and name,
United by the one true faith,—to own
That treasured gift at many an altar-throne.

Among the rest, a boy with thin, pale face
Came walking onward at his quickest pace;
He led his little sister by the hand,
Who would have lingered, listening to a band,
Had not her brother, saying "Do not stay,
Dear Nellie, we have not yet gone half way,"—
Reminded her that they must travel fast,
Or she and little Willie would be last
To reach the church, so wondrous warm and bright,
All decked in honour of that holy night.

Willie had seen nine summers, and was fair,
A gentle little lad with golden hair;
His features grave and thoughtful; and his walk
As modest and impressive as his talk,
Which, flowing smoothly, seemed to indicate
A child whose mind was far above his state.

Nellie, his sister, had a lovely face,
Her eyes were blue, and full of childish grace,
Her hair was darker, and each little cheek,
Though pale, made lovely by her smile so meek.
A truly winsome child of six years old,
In better days caressed by hands now cold.

And, looking in her face, you would have prayed
That Mary would protect the little maid,
For mother she had none on earth; she died
A month before, her children by her side,
Kneeling in tears beside her dying bed,
And praying, as her worn-out spirit fled
To where the weary ones of earth may rest,
Where cold and hunger never more molest.

Their father, too, had died two years ago,
And thus they were left orphans in their woe.
And now they managed scantily to live
On what compassion prompted friends to give,
Or what poor Willie earned, whose active mind
And willing hands in every task combined.

They lodged, within a narrow city lane,
With an agèd woman, bent with grief and pain,
Who, when their widowed mother dying lay,
Had promised her that she with them would stay,
To help them, clothe them, feed them, if she could
And train them as a faithful guardian would.

So far she'd kept her promise; but to-day
With some companions she had strayed away,
Lured by the thirst for life-destroying drink,
Dragged by its power to sin's destructive brink.

Thus—being cold and desolate and grieved—
The little ones together had conceived
The daring scheme of setting out so late
To hear the Midnight Mass sung in great state.

And so our story's opening found these two
Toiling along among the faithful few
Towards the church, where unseen angels sing
The praises of our hidden Lord and King.

They entered, and in their accustomed place,
Before Our Lady's image—whose sweet face
Seemed smiling on them graciously—they prayed
To her, and to her Son Divine who made
The world and man, that they might holier be,
More patient, gentle, and from all sin free.

They prayed for both their parents, o'er and o'er,
And grieved that they could see them there no more,
Until the organ, pealing out sublime
And glorious music, made them for a time
Forget their troubles in the calm delight
Which fills pure hearts on every Christmas Night.

The Mass began, the sweet and solemn prayer
"Kyrie Eleison" sounded gently there,
And then the "Gloria"—wondrous hymn of praise—
Full many a mind to holy thoughts did raise.

Thus did the solemn rites go grandly by
Until ascended to the pulpit high
One whom these children loved as well as knew,
One of God's servants—of His chosen few.
He was the priest who to their mother came
In her last illness, in the sacred name
Of Jesus; and who, by His holy grace,
Cleansed her, that she might look upon His face.
And, when she died, 'twas he who dried their tears
And soothed their early grief and stilled their fears.

Now he began his sermon; and it seemed
That Little Orphans, such as these, he deemed
A good and fitting subject of discourse
To touch the heart with pity or remorse.

He spoke of Jesus, born at Bethlehem,
His parents poor, no one to shelter them;
None, save the Shepherds and the Three Wise Men,
Of all the world, to hail their Saviour then.
He told them of His words in after years,—
That they who dried a little orphan's tears,
Or clothed or fed it, for their Saviour's sake,
Might hope of Heaven's glories to partake.
He told that God reserved a glorious crown
For those who taught poor children of the town
The way to Heaven, where their hymns of praise
And angel-prayers would sound through endless days.

The priest was only young; yet, full of zeal,
His heart a world of sympathy could feel
For every one whose lonely heart might be
Tossed by the stormy winds on life's great sea.

And many a soul, who heard him preach that night,
Resolved to strive to make some dark life bright
By kindness to the striving, care-worn poor
Whom Charity ne'er turneth from her door.

The Mass passed over, and the people rose
To seek their homes and till the dawn repose.

Our little friends with sorrow left their place,
A moment knelt before the Throne of Grace,
And then departed from the House of Prayer,
Their young hearts heavy with returning care.

Then, when they thought of home, without a fire,
Or any comfort children might desire,
They thought of other children who had cause
For bright and happy dreams of Santa Claus,
And all the presents he to-night would bring
In honour of the new-born Infant King.

Wee Nellie asked if Willie thought he come
And leave some presents at their cheerless home:
Wise Willie answered, "Dear, I do not know;
But if we pray right well, it may be so."

Nellie spoke not, but breathed a silent prayer
Which floated upwards through the frosty air
To reach the Children's King, who doubtless smiled
In blessing on the tender, trustful child.

They passed outside the churchyard; and there stood
A lady, in the garb of widowhood,
With a most beauteous face and stately form,
Yet on whose brow were marks of life's wild storm.

For she had loved a noble-hearted one,
Who, after three short, happy years, had gone
To meet Our Lord; and left her and her boy
Alone, and for a time devoid of joy.

And now she filled her life with loving deeds—
Sowed deep in many a troubled heart the seeds
Of virtues which would bloom in after years
Like roses watered by an angel's tears.

She in the church had seen the lonely two,
And now, although the wind so coldly blew,
She waited patiently, while others passed,
And seemed delighted when they came at last:
For, when she saw them, sweetly shone a smile
Upon her face; and, as some friendly isle
Upon the sea is hailed by starving men,
So was she hailed by those two children then.

She beckoned to them to draw near, and said
"Is it not time, my dears, you were in bed?—
The night is cold, and it will make you ill
To be abroad so late."—Then, as a thrill
Ran through her frame, to think that they might be
Poor, starving, wrecking on life's stormy sea,
She asked them where they lived; their mother's name;
And, as they told their story, lo! there came
The kindly priest whose voice they late had heard,
Who listened, and confirmed their every word.

As they were talking, dashing down the street
Came a loud clattering of horses' feet;
A carriage and two stately horses stood
Before them, and the little Nellie would
Have thought that Santa Claus himself had come
To take them to a happier, brighter home
Had not her brother whispered in her ear
"'Tis but this lady's carriage, Nellie dear."

The lady helped to place them both within,
Then did their wonder really begin,
For, as she spoke, they both looked up, amazed
To hear the name of their own street, and gazed
Inquiringly into her radiant face,
Who smiled, but spoke not till they reached the place.

Alighted at their home, they went inside,
Where Alice, their aged guardian, sat beside
The empty grate; while, with a dreamy stare,
She seemed to wonder what this lady fair
Could want; but soon she saw the wandering two,
And said, "Oh! Nell and Willie, is it you?
Where have you been, my children, all the night?
I've waited for you in a wretched fright!"

The lady told their story, and much more,—
Their poverty was now for ever o'er,
She would adopt them both, and would reward
Poor Alice, who had toiled for them so hard.
And so she left some money there and then,
And promised Alice she would come again,
But asked to take the children home with her
To spend their Christmas free from every care.

Alice was troubled, for she did not know
The lady, and was loth to let them go;
But when the coachman to her presence came
She knew him well, likewise my lady's name.
Then she consented, and with brighter cheer
Wished them a happy Christmas and New Year,
So they got in the carriage, and rode on
Through many a street far brighter than their own;
Till through the country passed they very soon,
And saw the trees, made lovelier by the moon,
Which shone upon them and the pure white snow
Like God's own smile that sets the world aglow.

They saw, ere they had journeyed for an hour,
A gothic residence, with many a tower
Embattled, like the castles of old days,
Which form the themes of many noble lays:
And, ere our little friends were half aware,
The carriage turned, and they were going there!
They looked again into the lady's face,
Who, smiling, named the noble-looking place,—
'Twas Cornwall House—her home, and also theirs—
The wondrous fruit of little Nellie's prayers!

"What an enchanting palace!" Willie said,
" 'Tis like those noble halls of which I've read,
Wherein the brave old knights and barons bold
Lived, and were rulers, in the days of old."

"And have you read so much, then, little one?"
The lady asked.—"O yes, at school I won
A set of story books when I was seven,
Not long before dear father went to Heaven."

They reached the house, passed through the entrance wide,
And soon, in comfort by a broad fireside,
Willie and Nellie such a supper ate
As they were sure they never would forget;
And Nellie, when they went to seek repose,
Said, "Santa perhaps lives here himself—who knows?"

We might go on for hours, and yet not tell
Of all the joys and wondrous luck that fell
To our two little friends that Christmas Day:
But let it be enough for us to say
That they were happy in their sinless mirth—
Happy as they might ever be on earth.

Young Arthur Cornwall soon became a friend
To Willie; while wee Nellie had no end
Of playmates from the village just below,
Whose love was such as children only know;
And poor old Alice, too, restored by grace,
At length with Lady Cornwall found her place.

And as the now thrice-happy children knelt
Beside their beds to pray, they often felt
How much they owed to JESUS, and to her
Who brightened their young lives; and many a prayer
Went up to Heaven, bringing blessings down,
Enabling her to win her heavenly crown.

______________


Now, let us look once more upon our friends
Before this tale of love and kindness ends.

The years have passed on quickly since the night
When our two little ones, with faces white,
Had journeyed forth to Midnight Mass alone,
And found the happy dwelling now their own.
Sixteen short years have quickly come and gone;
And Nellie, now no longer poor and wan,
But beautiful, and good as she is fair,
Fills her kind lady's heart with gladness rare.

Once more 'tis Christmas Eve! Once more we find
The music of the bells borne on the wind,
The Church illuminated as before,
And hundreds entering its sacred door.

Those who go in, with happiness behold
The beauty of the Heavenly Shepherd's fold,
And some see faces 'mid the happy throng
Which they have sought for patiently and long.

Here is Sir Arthur Cornwall, with his bride;
While Nellie, her companion, kneels beside,
Sir Arthur's mother, too, is here; still fair
Though age has given her many a silvery hair.

But where is Willie?   Is he missing?—
Nay!   Some low voice says he is not far away.
See!   Yonder at the altar steps, he stands;
A Priest of God; the chalice in his hands!
He comes to offer Mass, with holy joy,
Where oft he prayed when but a homeless boy!

 

________________________
 

Lancashire Songs
and Ballads
________

OWD BETTY'S DOWTERS.


"Eh! dear o' me!" owd Betty said,
    "Wodever mun aw do?
This tribe o' mine, an' my owd mon's—
    They fairly run me through,
Six strappin' lasses, five gred lads,
    Beside eawr Jem an' me—
Aw'm sure if things dorn'd awter soon
    Aw s' lay me deawn an' dee.

"We're ill to' far fro' ony teawn,
    This farm's a mile to' big;
These lasses will not wark at o—
    They'd sooner dance an' jig.
There's ne'er a ball for miles areawnd
    But they mun e'en go to 't,
But as for settlin' deawn to wark
    They rayley will nod do 't."

"An' wod o'er t' lads?" her neighbour axed,
    "Oh! t' lads is reet enough;
When farmin's slack they allus tak
    To cartin' coyls an' stuff.
Frae killin' pigs to buildin' brigs
    There's ne'er a job comes wrang;
An' every lad, just like his dad,
    Goes at id wi' a bang.

"But th' lasses never addles nowt;
    They potter up an' deawn;
Here one o' th' lot 'll wesh a pot,
    An' th' other mend a geawn.
An' one may haply try to darn
    A stockin' neaw an' then;
But ne'er a shillin' will they earn
    Bi th' rent day comes again."

Owd Betty's neighbour smiled an' said,
    "Aw know thae'rt ter'ble poor;
An' yet thae'rt better off a deeal
    Than mony an' mony a scoor:
Yon lasses does tha lots o' jobs
    Thae couldn'd do thisel':
They tent their fayther; tent yo'r lads;
    An' mek thee quite a swell."

"That's reet enough, but sich like stuff,"
    Said Bet, "'ll never do:
There's nod one lass 'at's addlin' brass,
    An' that's wod meks mo rue,
An' as for t' lasses tentin' t' lads,
    It's like aw towd eawr Jem—
Aw'd rayther somebry else's lads
    Were lookin' after them."

"Well," t' neighbour said, "thae knows eawr
    Ted Is cooartin' yo'r Susanne—
Hor chance is th' best; an' as for th' rest
    Thee nayther plot nor plan:
Yon house o' thine just now may feel
    Wi' lasses rayther throng;
But dress 'em fine an' keep 'em weel,
    They'll nod be here so long!"

 

________________________

 
DICKY BLUE.


Mony a kindly heart I've known
            I' mi time—
Mony a faithful heart that's shown
            Heaw sublime
Gradely friendship throws id' leet
Reawnd a weary wanderer's feet,
Through this waurld o' storm an' sleet,
            Grief an' crime.

But mi best-belov'd of o—
            Tried an' true!
Were a chap they use' to co
           "Dicky Blue."
 He were one o' th' good owd stamp
An' I ne'er begrudged a tramp
Of a mile or sooa to camp
            Dicky Blue.

He were twice as owd as me
           When we met,
But the kindness in his e'e
           Haunts mo yet,
As he tottered to his cheear
I' my nook, when I coom here,
When mi e'en wi' sorrows' tear
           Hed bin wet.

He were varra quate an' humble
           In his ways,
An' I never heeard him grumble
           I' mi days.
Though his owd limbs might be weary
Trampin' life's rough road so dreary,
Yet a smile so breet an' cheery
           He could raise.

Still to t' ways o' th' owden time
           He would cling,
An' aboon one good owd rhyme
           He could sing.
Though he walked along so quately
In a suit nod fashioned lately,
Yo'd ha' said he looked as stately
           As a King.

An' whenever yo' unsneckt
           Dicky's door,
Yo' were sure o' frank respect,—
           Rich or poor:
To his neighbours allus kind,
To their failin's allus blind,
He were one yo'd hardly find
           In a scoor.

Neaw mi owd mate's laid at rest
           Deawn yon broo,
Wi' the daisies o'er his breast
           Peepin' through;
An' I pray that when life's leet
Fades forever frae mi seet
I may wakken wheer I s' meet
           Dicky Blue!

 

________________________

 
"NOWT FOR NOWT."


(The story of an episode in the lives of two brothers, founders of a great Lancashire banking firm.)

 

Enoch an' Isaac wer true twin-brothers,—
        I've heeard mi fayther tell,—
But one were a plain an' a simple owd stick,
        An' th' other a bit of a swell,
While Enoch wer weearin' an odd suit o' clooas,
        Preawd Isaac would peyl aboon two;
An' t' keerfuller brother would often co th' other
        "A silly, extravagant foo'"

They'd started a'keepin' a badger's shop,
        When they'd just getten eawt o' their teens;
Where they kept owt i' stock fro' an eight-days clock
        To a ho'penny bunch o' greens.
They'd booath bin so thrifty, afoor they were fifty
        They'd med aboon ten theawsand peawnd;
An' th' o'erplus they'd lent, as a daicent per cent.,
        To their needier nebbers o reawnd.

But when fifty-five fun' 'em booath still alive,
        Said Isaac: "I'm feelin' quite strange;
Allus one sooart o wark, free day leet to dark,
        Meks a mon want a bit of a change.
I'm weel known i' th' teawn, an' I think that I'm beawn
        For a Councillor's life to prepare;
I con be a J.P., iv I just wink mi e'e,
        An' I may happen come to be t' Mayor!"

Enoch said: "Bless tha, lad!   Hes ta rayley gone mad?
        Tha'll ruin booath me an' thisel';
I've oft sed afoor, it'll fotch tha to t' floor—
        This bein' to' mich of a swell!"
Said Isaac, "That's fudge; thae'rt nowt of a judge!"
        Then Enoch said, "just tell mo fair,
Wod will thi wage be, when thae art a J.P.,
        Or thae does chance to come to be t' Mayor?"

Said Ike, sharp as thowt, "O, of cooarse I s' ged nowt!
        I s' be workin' for th' teawn, like a mon;
If there waur nooan at o' to tek keer of us o,
        Heaw does ta think th' teawn would goo on?"
Enoch shaked his white head, an' for answer he said,
        "Hes ta nod heeard wer fayther tell,
'There should nobody never do nowt, for nowt,
        For nobody nau'but theirsel'?'"

"Thae may goo up an' deawn, doin' wonders for th' teawn
        An' there's few that'll thank thee a bit;
It's like spendin' brass on a flirt of a lass
        As pays tha wi' humbug an' skit;
So just thee think twice, an' tek my advice,
        Stick fast to th' owd shop, buy an' sell;
An' never thee do nowt for nowt,
        For nobody nau'but thisel'?"

Id wer no use—they parted; an' Isaac soon started
        O' workin' for nowt wi' a will;
Wore a glass in his e'e, an' wer made a J.P.,
        While Enoch kept shopkeepin' still.
An' when, i' t' main street, they fost happened to meet,
        Enoch bowdly said, "Isaac, owd stick!
Thae geds a poor wage, for a lad o' thy age,
        Will ta ever learn sense while thae'rt wick?"

"Yon Queen up at London's a daicent young woman;
        But let them work for her as will!
I shall allus mi lad, agree wi' mi dad,
        That hoo pays her J.P.'s ter'ble ill.
Thae may work for a name, an' ged plenty o' fame,
        An' be ever so mich of a swell;
But thae'll never ged me to do nowt, for nowt,
        For nobody nau'but misel'!"

Mesthur Isaac he laughed, an' then said, "Thae'rt nooan daft
        (For he couldn't talk "fine" to his brother);
"Thae'rt just like wer fayther, for my part I'd rayther
        Be generous a bit—like wer mother,
I've no child nor chicken, so what's th' use o' stickin'
        To th' brass, till I moulder away?
Spend a bit like a mon, an' do good while thae con,
        For thae'll hev to part wi' id some day.

"There's wisdom wi' thee, an' there's wisdom wi' me,
        If we dorn'd carry nayther to' far;
Thae stopped eawt o' bed, mony a neet, bakin' bread
        At th' time o' thad 'Merican war;
An' thae gave id to th' poor—aye, bi scoor upo' scoor;
        As mony an owd body can tell:
Waur id then as thae never dud nowt, for nowt,
        For nobody nau'but thisel'?"

 

________________________

 
OWD PINDER'S FIDDLE.


Ned Waugh said Pinder waur a foo'
        As spent his days i' spreein';
But thad waurn'd him up Novas Broo
        As fiddled till his deein'.
Th' "Owd Pinder" that I use' to know
        Were quite a different crayther;
He waur no "rackless foo'" at o,
        But full o' kindly natur'.

When I were livin' up aboon,
        At th' owd "Brick Factory" toylin',
I use' to tek him o mi shoon,
        Whene'er they wanted soylin'.
While dancin' to Owd Pinder's play
        I've hed full mony a breet time;
For after cobblin' hard o day
        He'd fiddle hofe o' t' neet-time.

While I were young an' in mi prime
        I fairly waur a warm un;
But I reformed, an' fro' thad time
        Nowt suited like a sarmon.
I've tramped some "Irish miles" to hear
        A bit o' gradely preychin',
An' strained fost one then th' other ear
        To catch o t' parson's teychin'.

I went, one Sunda' afternoon,
        To th' Church wi' one o' th' ringers;
To watch 'em ring, I climbed aboon
        An' then I peearkt wi' t' singers.
I dudn'd keer a button-top,—
        No music me could hinder,—
An' when mi preycher coom to t' stop
        I chanced to leet o' Pinder.

O th' time thad sarmon waur agate
        I'd never sin th' owd party;
But soon I axed, "Heaw are yo', mate?"
        He answered, "Weel an' hearty."
I said, "Yo'd like yon chap, no deawt,—
        His sarmon's bin a freezer!"—
Owd Pinder took his snuff-box eawt,
        I dipt an' took a sneezer.

He whispered, "Nay; it's strange to say
        A sarmon seldom reyches
This heart o' mine; though quite divine
        The lesson that id teyches.
I've sat an' listened wearily
        To every sooart o' sarmons;
To me they're every one quite dree,
        An' mut bi preyched bi Jarmans.

"I connod gi'e mi mind to thoose,
        I' t' spite of o mi tryin';
But music my owd sowl can rooze
        To laughin' or to cryin'.
Though t' best o' sarmons ever preyched
        To me seems only middlin',
Full mony a lesson I've bin teyched
        While sittin' lonely fiddlin'."

 

________________________

 
CON FREDDY COME?


"Th' young doctor's a gradely nice mon,"
Said Alice to Betty one day;
"He's skilful, like th' owd un 'at's gone,
An' just hes thad same kindly way.

"He's toilin' frae mornin' to neet,—
There's nobry works harder i' th' place,—
Thae'd think he'd be run off his feet,
Yet he's allus a smile on his face.

"He's eeasy wi' folk that are poor,
An' tender wi' folk that are owd;
An' though he's rich patients bi' t' scoor,
He'll flatter no mon for his gowd."

"Eh!" Betty said, "dunnod tell me!—
I've known him for mony a year;
When he wer bod th' height o' mi knee
He lived wi' his mother deawn here.

"Aw'll tell tha, he waur a young rum un,
An' up to quare marlocks enoo,
When I were a single young woman
An' he wer a youngster at schoo'.

His sister an' me were gred mates—
Hoo wer just abeawt th' same age as me;
An' he wer a pet o' their Kate's,
As weel sich a youngster mut be.

"I know I gave Kate little thanks,
Whenever we went for a walk,
For bringin' their Fred wi' his pranks
To hinder us two in 'ur talk.

"But of cooarse I were like to give in;
Though sometimes I looked a bit glum
When to plague mo, he said, wi' a grin,
"Neaw, Betty, lass, con Freddy come?"

"Sin' then twenty summers hes gone;
Fred's bin away welly fifteen:
An' neaw he's so fine a young mon
I can hardly believe mi' own e'en.

"I heeard i' good time of his skill—
Heaw kindly he waur an' o thad;
But I thowt if I chanced to be ill
I should never want sich a young lad.

"Heaw little I knew wod I said—
I' less than a week frae thad neet
I hed to be carried to bed,
Wheer I lee for an heawr upo' t' screet.

"Mi neighbours tried o as they could
But, moor they tried, wayker I went;
An' when they could do mo no good,
Bi gew! for th' Young Doctor they sent.

"Afoor I could stop 'em they'd gooan:
An' eh! wod a way I dud ged in!
But 'ony good lord afoor nooan'
Is truer i' sickness than weddin'!

"Their sendin' for him med mo wild,
At fost—while I'd strength left for thinkin';
But dud'nd I ged reconciled
To Fred, when I felt misel' sinkin'!

"For while I were sayin' mi prayers—
Weel knowin' life's chances looked feaw;
He sheawted frae t' bottom o' t' stairs:
'Well, Betty, con Freddy come neaw?"

"Bi t' fortnat—end, I were o reet,—
Wod wi' t' physic, an' wod wi' his chaff,—
An' neaw, him an' me never meet
Beawt hevin' a gradely good laugh.

"God bless him! he's good as he's clever,
His skill wer the savin' o' me;
I wish he could "doctor" for ever,—
Sich like as him never should dee!"

 

________________________

 
WHEN FARMIN' DOESN'D PAY.


            Eh, dear! eh, dear o' me!
            Mi Uncle Jack's on t' spree;
I wonder wheer he thinks they'll put him
                    When he comes to dee!
            He geet a deeal of ale
            At Tummy Tumson's sale;
It seems id waurn'd enough to glut him,—
                    Off ageean is he!

            He went at th' edge o' dark,
            An' left mi Aunt o th' wark;
I'll tell yo', hoo's a weary job
                    To tent mi Uncle Jack.
            Her hair is tornin' gray,
            Hoo's fadin' day bi day;
But when hoo's deead he'll cry an' sob,
                    An' wish he hed her back.

            Like mony another ass,
            He doesn'd vally brass;
But teks id deawn to t' Rose and Creawn,
                    To feed owd Brossen Bill:—
            Owd Bill that hes no soul
            For owt but th' "flowin' bowl,"
An' t' brass id brings while topers sing
                    O'er mony a pint o' swill.

            Mi Cousin Dick keeps workin'
            At wod his fayther's shirkin';
Wod wife an' son wi' toil hes won
                    Th' owd madman flings away;
            An' when he's tired o' drinkin'
            He sits i' t' corner thinkin',
An' hes the cheek to grunt o t' week
                    'Cause "Farmin' doesn'd pay!"

            He thinks he's tewd an' torn,
            But he doesn'd know he's born,—
If he wer deawn i' yonder teawn
                    He'd change his tune, an' quick;
            He'd hev to mind his wark,
            Frae dayleet until dark ;
Or soon de'd "smash," for want o' cash,
                    As sure as he wer wick.

            But still, wode'er yo' say,
            It's "Farmin' doesn'd pay";
He's drinkin' beer three months i' t' year,
                    As careless as yo' please;
            He's earned a weary name,
            He fairly racks mo shame
I deawt yon drink 'll mek him think
                    Quare thowts afoor he dees!

 

________________________

 
BILLY BANTAM'S BRIDE.


Billy Bantam went a-cooartin'
    Deawn bi t' Ribble side;
Billy thowt he'd nab a fortin'
    When he took his bride.
Ailse o' t' Nook wer nooan so bonny,
    But hoo'd lots o' brass;
So Bill thowt her sweet as ony
    Young an' comely lass.

Billy cooarted bowd an' hearty—
    Brass wer' o' his thowt;
Hoo were fifty; he were thirty,
    Still it mattered nowt!
Hoo were lame; an' he were limber:
    Ne'er a bit cared he.
He thowt moor o' t' price o' t' timber
    Than o' t' growin' tree.

Ailse's dad hed weel provided
    Brass, an' house an' land:
Hoo'd no need, when he were sided,
    E'er to torn her hand.
Hoo'd a little donkey-carriage,
    Handsome for a drive;
"But," th' owd chap said: "as for marriage,
    Ailse, thee look alive!

"Fops 'll come an' try to win tha,
    Just for t' sake o' t' brass—
Love tha weel afoor they'n sin tha!—
    Smile an' let 'em pass.
Every little, stuck-up monkey
    Will be after thee.
Love thi brass, an' love thi donkey;
    Let o th' chaps a-bee!"

Th' owd chap deed, an' "went to glory"
    (That's what th' parson said);
Ailse still kept her fayther's story
    Allus in her head.
Mony a summer, mony a winter,
    Firm hoo kept her will;
Never once hoo looked behint her
    Till hoo met young Bill.

Then hoo felt her heart grow warmer,
    Bill were smart an' young;
Weel he knew the way to charm her,
    He'd a wheedlin' tongue.
Lots of fairy tales he towd her,
    Deawn bi t' Ribble side;
Soon poor Ailse, wi' love med bowder,
    Vowed to be his bride.

Bill believed i' swiftly strikin'
    Th' iron, while it's hot.
Ailse hed fun' him to her likin'.
    Soon he'd share her cot;
Share her little donkey-carriage;
    Share her brass an' land:
Up went the axin's for a marriage,
    Stylish, bowd, an' grand.

Billy felt a wee bit frisky
    O'er his comin' luck;
Billy took a drop o' whisky,
    Deawn at Mellor Brook.
Theer he met an ancient schoo'mate,
    Lost for mony a year:
This mon said, "Eh! thae'rt a foo', mate,
    Hingin' th' hat up theer!

"Ailse o' t' Nook's a feaw owd crayther;
    Thae'rt both young an' free;
Love between yo's nod like nayter—
    Jack id up an' flee!"
"Eh!" said Bill, "thae foolish monkey!
    Dorn't I know th' owd lass?—
I'd as lief be wed to t' donkey,
    If id waurn'd for th' brass!

"Love may be as sweet as honey—
    Ne'er a bit care I!
Let me grab th' owd beauty's money,
    Soon I'll mek id fly!—
But, owd matie—on thi honour—
    Nod one chirp o' this!
If thae does, this job's a gone-er;
    Mony a spree thae'll miss!"

While these two were quately crowin'
    O'er poor Ailse so green;
Th' landlord's lass wer quately sewin',
    Just behind a screen.
Still hoo seet as ony mummy,
    Till they took their hook;
But hoo proved no gaumless dummy,
    Deawn at Ailse's Nook.

Dark were t' neet, but nowt could howd her,
    Nowt could mek her feeard;
Off hoo went to Ailse an' towd her
    Every word hoo'd heeard—
Heaw Bill Bantam—"brazen monkey!"—
    Hed the cheek to tell
He'd as lief wed Ailse's donkey,
    As poor Ailse hersel'!

One moor neet Bill went a-cooartin',
    Deawn bi t' Ribble side ;
One moor neet—an' then thad fortin',
    Then thad bonny bride!
"Will mi darlin' bride be ready,
    When I come o'er th' hill—
Eight i' th' mornin' sharp an' steady?"
    "Aye," said Ailse, "hoo will!

"Hoo'll be ready, lad; thee trust her!
    Hoo's booath fond an' true.
Dorn'd thee fear that hoo'll nod muster
    Pluck to see this through!
Good neet, lad, come soon i' t' morning,
    Come wi' love an' pride,—
Then thae'll see grand things adornin'
    Billy Bantam's bride."

Billy went when t' sun wer risin'—
    Went to meet his dear;
Billy see'd a seet surprisin',
    When he landed theer.
Ailse's donkey stoode i' th' kitchen,
    Decked wi' trappin's grand;
Ailse hersel' looked quite bewitchin',
    When hoo took Bill's hand.

Took his hand an' led him nearer—
    Nearer still to th' ass,
Sayin', "Nowt could look much dearer;
    Hoo's a darlin' lass!
Tek her, Bill, to love an' cherish,
    Till thi deein' day!
Tek her, Bill; but may tha perish
    If thae lets her stray!"

"Ailse," he said "thae'rt fairly jokin'!"
    "Nay, not I," said hoo;
"This is t' fruits o' whisky talkin'
    Deawn yon Mellor broo.
Theer thae said one neet thae'd rayther
    Hev this ass than me;
Tek her: hoo's a lovely craytur',—
    Just the match for thee!"

"Ailse," he said, "this silly stooary
    Ne'er i' th' waurld wer true:
If thae heeds id thae'll be sooary."
    "Nay, not I!" said hoo:
"If a donkey meet a donkey;
    If hoo teks his eye;
If a donkey wed a donkey
    Need a body cry?"

"Ailse," Bill said, "there's somebry lyin'."
    Eawt coom t' landlord's lass;
Hoo said, "Neaw lad, dorn't be tryin'
    No moor lies to pass;
While thy mate an' thee wer crowin'
    O'er poor Ailse so green,
Every word I heeard while sewin'
    Just behind thad screen!"

While t' lass spoke, frae t' shop bi dozens
    Coom a merry throng—
Ailse's uncles, aunts, an' cousins,
    Laughin' loud an' long!
"Bill," said one, "we'n come'd to t' weddin'—
    Come'd wi' love an' pride—
Fain we are to see tha geddin
    Sich a bonny bride!"

Truth struck Billy just like leetnin',
    White he went i' t' face:
Billy geet a gradely freetnin',
    Billy ran a race.
Off he went at helter-skelter,
    O'er them fields he took!
Never moor to seek a shelter
    Deawn at Ailse's Nook.

 

________________________

 
YO'RE WELCOME, KING GEORGE
AN' QUEEN MARY.

(" Daily Mail " Prize Poem.)


Yo're welcome, King George an' Queen Mary,
    As welcome as flowers i' May;
Frae factory, frae foundry, frae dairy,
    We're creawdin' to meet yo' to-day.
Frae th' owd folk that greet yo' quite staidly
    To th' childer that's dancin' wi' glee,
We're o fain to welcome yo' gradely—
    We're o fain yo'r faces to see.

To tell a true mon that he's royal
    Is needless when th' mon's a true King;
To tell yo' that Lancashire's loyal
    Is welly as needless a thing:
For Lancashire's browt two-o'-thre' Kings up
    I' times that are long passed away;
An' love for th' owd royalty springs up
    I' Lancashire breasts to this day.

Eawr hearts beeat a little bit faster
    When we think, wi' a feelin' o' pride,
That King George is Duke o' Lancaster
    An' lord of eawr own countryside,
An' when we see th' Maries so comely—
    Princess Mary an' Mary eawr Queen—
We like 'em because they're so homely
    An' kindliness shines i' their e'en.

God bless yo', King George an' Queen Mary!
    God bless yo'r fair dowter an' o!
May never a wind that's contrairy
    Frae life's darker hills on her blow.
God bless th' Prince o' Wales an' his brothers!
    Not one but's a bonnie young lad;
An', while Mary's a pet of her mother's,
    May th' lads be as true as their dad.

For yo', George, hev followed th' example
    O' yor faither, an' gran'mother, too;
An' yo'r lads, if they'll keep up to t' sample,
    Gradely weel for Owd England 'll do.
We shall ne'er want to imitate th' Yankee,
    Or th' Frenchman—an' do beawt a King;
An' they'd hear some quare talk i' th' owd Lanky,
    Them as ever tried on sich a thing.

Varra soon frae yo'rsel's we s' be parted,
    An' we're sayin' nowt moor than we meean
When we tell yo' we s' o be leet-hearted
    If yo'll oft come an' see us ageean.
We s' be jannock, through joy or through sorrow,
    An' yo' know wod eawr wisest men say,
That Owd England 'll march on, to-morrow,
    Wheear Lancashire's leeadin' to-day!

 

________________________

 
WHEN ROWLAND COOM
OVER THE LEA.


Young Rowland coom over the lea
    To win him a bonny young bride;
Kate loved him as weel as could be,
    But her fayther wer troubled wi' pride.
He said he were sprung fro' a king
    As once wore the breet British crown:
Fooak laughed at the fun o' the thing,
    An' coed him Plantagenet Brown!

Young Rowland wer straight as a rod;
    No finer lad ever wer seen,—
So bowdly an' firmly he trod;
    So honest his dark flashin' e'en.
Sweet Kate, like a mornin' i' May,
    Wer breet, sunny-natur'd, an' fair:
No wonder the gossips did say
    There could ne'er be a bonnier pair!

Kate's mother wer daicent an' true,—
    Nod one hofe as proud as her dad:
Hoo dudn'd mek mich of ado
    O'er bonny Kate hevin' t' young lad.
But th' owd fellow kicked up a shine,
    (As becoom a Plantagenet Brown!)
Sayin', "Kate, he shall never be thine,—
    I've sworn id bi King Harry's Crown!"

"What sooart of an upstart is he?—
    Comin' after so heigh-born a lass!
He's nod a bit cut eawt for thee;
    Beside he's nod blessed wi' no brass.
Just think o' mi acres o' land!
    Just think o' mi thousands i' t' bank!
Thee wait: thae'll ged somebody grand;
    An' moor of a suitable rank."

Soon Katie towd Rowland wi' tears,
    What feaw things her fayther hed said:
Said Rowland, "I'd box his owd ears,
    If it waurnd for th' grey hairs on his head!
Let him leeave o his brass to yo'r Ann,
    An' will o his land to yo'r Dick;
It's thee that I want; an' I'll plan
    To wed tha as sure as I'm wick!"

But, though Rowland tried like a mon,
    He couldn'd ged th' best o' th' owd chap;
An' things mut ha' gooan badly on,
    If Brown hedn'd hed a mishap.
Comin' home, on a dark, frosy neet,
    Frae t' bank, where he'd "laid a nest egg,"
Wi' a pair o' new shoon on his feet
    He tumbled an' broke his reet leg.

Th' owd doctor wer sent for; an' soon
    Poor Brown wer ta'en hooam an' to bed;
An' theer, in his chamber aboon,
    For six weary weeks he were laid,
While th' owd fellow mourned o'er his lot—
    So safely imprisoned upstairs—
The young folk wer hatchin' a plot
    To lessen his family cares.

Young Rowland hed Dick for a mate,
    An' Dick wer the sowl o' their plan;
While sisterly love for their Kate
    Med another good helper o' Ann.
But, though to keep th' saycret hoo swore,
    Th' owd mother her help did refuse;
Her scruples they couldn'd ged o'er,
    Till Dick browt a bit o' good news.

Ta'en up wi' th' young lover-lad's charm,
    An' likin' his willin' reet hand—
Rowland's uncle hed left him a farm,
    Wi' forty-five acre' o' land!
Thus Dick towd the jolly news to her,
    An' backed id wi' plenty o' proof;
Sayin' "Mother, deny us no moor,
    What's th' use on yo' howdin' aloof?"

They will be wed, sooner or late,
    I' t' spite o' mi dad an' his din;
Then let's ged id o'er while he's quate—
    When it's done he'll be like to give in."
So t' licence wer getten on t' sly,
    An' t' saycret wer gradely weel kept
An' t' weddin' slipt merrily by
    While th' owd fellow quietly slept.

They towd him next day abeawt Kate,
    An heaw hoo'd bin wed to her lad;
An' dudn'd he ged in a state!—
    Yo'd ha' thowt he were rayley gone mad.
But when they just hinted o'er t' farm
    An' t' forty-five acre' o' land,
Brown yielded to th' merry lad's charm
    An' gripped him bi' th' willin' reet hand.

Then Rowland went back o'er the lea,
    An' took home his bonny young bride;
An' Kate wer as blithe as could be,
    When her fayther hed smothered his pride.
For though he waur sprung fro' a king
    As once wore the breet British crown,
Young Rowland's broad land wer the thing
    That conquered Plantagenet Brown.

________________________

 
YON LITTLE LASS O' MINE.


I've ne'er bin blest wi' this waurld's wealth,
    I' heawses, brass, or land;
I've toyled fro' year to year, wi' health
    That's not bin allus grand.
An' yet i' life's late afternoon
    Mi sun begun to shine
When Somebry sent fro' th' Land aboon
    Yon little lass o' mine.

Thank God eawr Tum's a daicent lad,
    Eawr Bill's a champion too,
Eawr Jack's more gumption than his dad,
    Eawr Harry's nooan a foo'.
Yet th' wife an' me hed never thowt
    That life could seem so fine,
Till th' day when some kind angel browt
    Yon little lass o' mine.

Hoo waur but quite a tiny thing
    When fost hoo coom to th' leet
I' th' winter time; but kindly spring
    Browt health an' comfort wi' 't.
Hoo soon rowled on fro' day to day,
    Till neaw hoo's welly five,
An' lots o' th' neighbours, laughin', say
    Hoo's th' merriest lass alive.

Hoo sits an' prattles on mi knee
    When we're at rest i' th' nook,
An' finer tales hoo tells to me
    Than what's i' mony a book.
Hoo'd cheer yo' up, though yo' were deawn
    I' heart an' mind an' o:
There's thowts inside that little creawn
    Sich like as angels know.

Hoo hes a little mate clooase by,
    A bonny lad is he,
Wi' twinklin' e'en, an' smile as sly
    As ever yo' did see.
Yo' corn'd forget his merry laugh
    When once yo've heeard it ring.
He's fairly full o' mirth an' chaff,
    An' happier than a king.

These two 'll ramble hand i' hand
    Fro' summer morn till neet,
There's not a happier pair i' th' land;
    God bless their toddlin' feet!
God bless young childer everywheer!
    They're sparks o' love divine,
As my heart knows when nestlin' near
    Yon little lass o' mine

 

________________________

 
YON LITTLE LAD NEXT DOOR.


Just like mi grandad, I've bin fond
    O' childer o mi life;
Mi own lot's dooin' gradely weel,
    Thank God an' th' rare good wife!
I've sin some fine uns, far an' near,
    Among booath rich an' poor;
But one I know that caps 'em o—
    Yon little lad next door.

I think he's one o' th' merriest chaps
    I've ever sin alive;
An' up to every lively prank,
    Though nau'but just turned five.
A bonnier pair o' breet blue e'en
    Yo' couldn't find, I'm sure,
Than th' twinklin' two that look me through
    When I pop in next door.

His toppin' hes a curly thatch
    As leet an' breet as day,
An' nowt can lick that dimpled smile
    That o'er his face will play.
He's allus some fresh news a-foot,
    He'll tell yo' tales bi t' scoor
O'er wod he's sin, an' wheer he's bin—
    Yon little lad next door.

But there's one thing I like reight weel—
    It suits me best of owt—
That little corly heyd of his
    Is full o' kindly thowt.
Whene'er his mam an' him's bin off
    He's safe to whisper to her
That he mun bring some bonnie thing
    For th' little lass next door.
   
God bless his little faithful heart!
    May th' angels guide him on,
An' keep us o to watch him grow
    Till he's a gradely mon.
An' when his dad an' me's owd chaps,
    An' connot toyl no moor,
May he be here eawr lives to cheer—
    Yon little lad next door.

 

________________________

 
TH' NEW BABBY.
(An Old Wife's Tale.)


I never dud see sich a darlin'
    As yon little fellow deawn t' fowd;
He does mek sich owd-fashioned speeches
    Though he's bod abeawt three year' owd.
A child both as foce an' as bonny
    Yo' never clapt e'en on afoor;
Yo'll hardly find th' marrow to Johnny
    Although yo' may seech through a scoor.

Whenever I feel a bit weary,
    I geds him to come i' eawr heawse;
At one time he'll sing varra cheery;
    At others he's quate as a meawse.
But when I were layin' mi clooase eawt
    To dry, yesterday afternoon,
I heeard as they'd "putten his nooase eawt";
    So off I'd to fly varra soon.

When I'd looked after th' mother an' th' babby,
    I took Johnny hooam wi' me,
An' geet him to bed varra quately;
    For th' child wer as tired as could be.
'Twere his fost neet away fro' his mother,
    For Johnny hed bin th' only child;
But he'd kissed her an' th' new little brother,
    An' come'd away quite reconciled.

But th' poor little fellow bethowt him,—
    He wakkened i' t' middle o' t' neet,
An' lee theer bitterly cryin'
    Till t' fost little glimmer o' leet;
His little heart mut ha' bin breykin',
    Bi t' way as he sobbed an' went on;
But, when I dud ged him to speykin',
    He spoke like a brave little mon.

"Does Johnny nod like th' little babby?"
    I axed, as we lee theer i' bed:
He stopped both his cryin' an' sobbin',
    An' raised up his wise little head.
He'd tried to be fain abeawt th' babby;
    Tried hard, but he couldn'd tell how;
For he said, "Wes, I do wuv my brudder;
    "But—is SHE not my mamma now?"

Poor Johnny!   He thowt as his mother
    Could never be t' mother to two;
He'd sense to think th' new little brother
    Would find her enough wark to do
But, when I'd consoled him, an' towd him
    As hoo would be allus his mam,
He popped o'er asleep in a twinklin',
    An' lee theer as quate as a lamb.

 

________________________

 
ONY GOOD LORD AFOOR NOOAN.


Eawr Marg'et Ann's beawn to be wed,
    They're puttin' up th' axins to-day,
At one time good chances hoo's hed,
    But th' silly thing chucked 'em away.
Hoo's picked up wi' Timothy Steele,
    As lives deawn i' Poverty Looan,
Hoo'd corn'd say hoo likes him so weel,
    But—"ony good lord afoor nooan!"

Hoo use' to be t' bonniest lass
    As lived within t' ring o' yon bells;
But youth is a time that'll pass,
    An' flirtin' a weary tale tells.
Hoo never could mek up her mind
    To wed an' let flirtin' alooan;
An' neaw, when Love's left her behind,
    It's "ony good lord afoor nooan."

Sam Rodgett were faithful an' true,
    An' loved her far better than life;
His cousin Bill wanted her too,
    But nayther could mek her his wife.
Hoo brooak Sammy's heart wi' her tricks,
    Soon Billy learnt sense an' wer gooan;
An' neaw, when hoo's torned thirty-six,
    It's "ony good lord afoor nooan."

Hoo'd foo'd hofe a dozen young chaps
    Bi t' time as hoo reyched twenty-three;
Wi' smiles hoo kept baitin' her traps,
    But soon through her smiles they could see:
I' t' spite ov her sweet-lookin' way,
    They fun' hoo'd a heart like a stooan:
They o took their hooks; an' to-day
    It's "ony good lord afoor nooan."

As quare as hoo's bin, aw could cry
    To think heaw hoo'll catch id wi' Tim;
To' skinny a meal's meyt to buy—
    Aw ne'er met a miser like him.
He buys prato-pie for his dinner,—
    If id costs aboon twopence he'll grooan;
The niggardly, nagin' owd sinner!—
    But—"ony good lord afoor nooan."

To think that a bonny young lass,
    Like eawr Marg'et Ann use' to be,—
Should come to this pitiful pass,
    Is fairly a trouble to me.
But hoo never could mek up her mind,
    In her youth, to let flirtin' alooan;
Sooa neaw, when Love's left her behind,
    It's "ony good lord afoor nooan."



[Next Page]
 

 


 

[Home] [Up] [Blackburn Poets] [Tales] [Main Index] [Site Search]

Correspondence should be sent to Webmaster@Gerald-Massey.org.uk