Laycock - broadsheet poems (1).

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Laycock's Lancashire Songs, No. 50.
An Owd Chum's Address to Poverty.


Come on! owd cove, come on this way;
We'n bin owd chums for mony a day.
We'n often differed when we'n met,
But never had a partin' yet.
Aw conno say awm fond o' thee
Then why does t' stick so fast to me?
Aw know aw used t' be some an' mad,
Theaw plagued me so when aw're a lad.

Thae knows that toime when Robin Clegg
Fell off th' barn dur an' broke his leg?
Poor lad! aw took him on mi knee,
An' should ha' helped him but for thee.
What con a body do 'at's poor?
Aw cried a bit, but nowt no moor.
Well, never moind, he geet it set,
An' thee an' me are owd chums yet.

Aw've tried for years to shake thee off—
An' when the last winter theaw'd a cough,
Aw hoped to see thee laid i'th' greawnd;
But the summer weather browt thee reawnd.
Weil, poo thi cheer up—warm thi shanks,
Aw'll sit an' watch thee play thi pranks.
Aw meon to shunt thee when aw con,
Till then aw'll face thee loike a mon.

Thae'll ha' fair play, theaw needn't fear,—
Now, now, thae'll see no shufflin' here!
Aw'll tell thee plainly theaw'rt a pest,
An's spoilt me mony a good neet's rest;
Theaw stole mi supper t'other neet,
An' sent me t'bed wi' cowd wet feet.
Aw didn't relish this—Would theaw?
Well, come, we'll let it pass o'er neaw.

Heaw is theaw ne'er goes to see
Big folks 'at's better off nor me?
There's plenty up and deawn i'thi' lond,
'At theaw'd do weel to tak' bi' th' hond,
An' leod 'em every day to the schoo'.
There's young Nat Wild—poor silly foo'—
He's lots o' brass, but noan much wit,
Go play thi pranks wi' him a bit.

Aw've had mi friends—fond, firm an' true,
An' dear relations not a few;
But noan o' these han stuck to me
As firmly an' as long as thee.
An' after o it's hardly reet
To goo an' turn thee eawt i'th' street,
And one not knowin' wheer thae'rt beawn.
Aw conno do it—sit thee deawn.





Th' Mechanics o'Saturday Neet


Aw wur deawn at th' Mechanics last Setterday neet,
An' oh! let me tell yo', aw had sich a treat;
Had aw known 'at they'd had as mich talent as that,
Aw'd ha' gone afor neaw, iv aw'd popp'd mi owd hat.
There wur o macks o' tradesmen sit smokin' i' th' room,
There wur blacksmiths fro' the anvil, an' weavers fro' the loom,
Mechanics an' joiners, an' snobs, not a few,
Professors o' music, an' schoolmesturs too;
There wur piercers, an' spinners, an' managers there
Gone to spend a few heawrs, an' drive away care.
There's pappers, for those 'at's fancy to read,
Wi' o shades ov opinion, to suit every creed;
An' moor, even yet, iv yo're wantin' to sup,
There's coffee provided, a penny a cup;
An 'rare stuff it is, for its boath strong an' sweet,
It's a capital beverage for Setterday neet.

Awve moor to say yet, but afor aw go fur,
Aw should just like to mention th' good feelin' there wur;
Everyone seemed determined to do what they could
For those 'at wur near him—an' reet 'at he should,
For its easy to give a kind word or a smile,
'At may have good effect, an' be felt a great while.
Aw wur gradely surproised, when aw entered, to see
Heaw welcome they made a poor fellow loike me;
Aw con tell yo' it welly browt tears i' mi' een,
For aw'd thowt to misel' aw should hardly be seen;
But bless yo', aw'd scarcely got inside o' th' dur,
When two or three met me, an' ax'd heaw aw wur,
In a minute or two one o' th' principal men
Geet howd of mi hont an' reet shook it again;
Aw hope he'll noan shake it i' that way no moor—
By jingo! he very nee poo'd me on th' floor,
An' that would do noan—aw should look sich a seet
Ceawered theer at full length, ov a Setterday neet!

Neaw yo' chaps 'at loike music should just pop in theer;
Yo' may listen for nowt, so it conno be dear;
Yo' ne'er yeard sich singin', for aw never did,
To mi' thinkin' it byets Tommy Darbeyshire's brid.
They sung an' they played, an' it seawned so sweet,
'At aw thowt aw could sit theer, an' hearken o' neet,
Eh! aw wur some weel pleased, but then done yo' see,
There's nob'dy mich fonder o' music nor me.
There's some 'at loikes bacca, an others loike snuff;
But aw'm noan so partial to that sort o' stuff;
Iv yo'll offer me summat 'at tastes middlin' noice,
Yo'll ha no need to ax me to have a bit twoice.
Tak notice, neaw lads, what aw write wi' mi pen
For iv God spares mi loife aw shall go theer again;
An aw'll tell everbody aw happen to meet
Heaw aw loiked at th' Mechanics o' Setterday neet.

It's far afore ceawrin' at th' alehouse aw'm sure;
It keeps a young fellow moor manly an' pure.
It's far afore ceawrin' awhoam ov a lump,
As ignorant o' th' world as ony owd stump;
It's far afore goin' to the theatre, too,
For aw'm certain we'n theatre-goers enoo.
What we're wantin' at present is real sterlin' men,
Wi' a talent for speakin' or usin' a pen,
Wi' courage to do what they know to be reet,
Noan feart o' their actions bein' browt eawt to th' leet;
It's these soart o' fellows we wanten to find,
Summat worth coin' men—great giants i' mind.
Well, weer are sich chaps to be fun' do yo' think?
Noan at th' "Q," wheer they spend o' they get upo' drink;
Yo'll ha no need o' lookin' at th' corner o' th' street,
But go th' Mechanics some Setterday neet.





Joe Turtledove's Visit to Blackpool.


Tune—"Not for Joseph." *

My name is Joseph Turtledove,
    I live in Oldham town;
And, as you'll see, I'm very fond
    Of sporting up and down.
Last summer I to Blackpool went,
    And there I met Miss Scott;
She asked if I'd her sweetheart be,
    But I said I'd rather not
                    Oh! no, no, not for Joe, &c.

One day when walking on the beach,
    Again I met this maid;
She looked so shy! I don't know why,—
    But thought she seemed afraid.
She did not condescend to look
    On her intended beau:
Perhaps she thought I slighted her
    By saying "Not for Joe,"
                    Not for Joe, not for Joseph, &c.

She passed right on, without a word,
    And walked along the shore;
I stayed at Blackpool several days,
    But never saw her more.
I little thought that charming girl
    Would go and treat me so;
She never gave me another chance
    Of saying "Not for Joe,"
                    Not for Joseph, &c.

One day I went along the shore,
    To watch the rolling tide;
A donkey boy came up and said
    "Sir, will you take a ride?"
Well, just to please the little man,
    I mounted on the beast;
But Balaam reared, and kicked, and brayed;
    And would not stir—at least—
                    Not for Joe, &c.

I tried to get the money back
    Which I had paid the lad;
I said the donkey wouldn't move,
    And thought it was to bad
That any boy should be allowed
    To use a body so.
They needn't bother me again
    To have a ride, oh! no,—
                    Not for Joe, &c.

I went to Mister Brown's bazaar,
    Inside the Market Hall,
And looked at all the pretty things
    That lay upon the stall.
Says Missis Brown "Come buy this doll?
    It's what you want I know;"
"I beg your pardon ma'm," I said,—
    "You're wrong,—it's not for Joe."
                    Oh dear no! not for Joe, &c.

I went into an Eating House—
    I think 'twas Missis Clegg's—
I said "A little dinner please;"
    They brought me ham and eggs.
I asked them what I had to pay
    For that delicious fry;
They said, "Five shillings, if you please"
    "And not too much," says I—
                Oh no, no, not for Joe, &c.

Well, now, I've done, and told you all
    I mean to tell you now;
I'll finish up this verse, and then
    Politely make my bow.
Next summer I may go again,
    To stay a week or so;
And if I see Miss Scott about,
    I'll sing her "Not for Joe."
                    Not for Joseph, not for Joe, &c.




* ED.—In 1867 the music hall artist Arthur Lloyd wrote and composed
a big hit song, “Not for Joseph”.  The song is based on a study a genial
omnibus driver named Baxter who habitually refers to himself in the

third person.  The song's chorus goes:—

Not for Joe!  Not for Joe!
Not for Joseph, if he knows it!
No, no, no, not for Joe!
Not for Joseph, oh, dear no!




Written expressly for the occasion by Samuel Laycock.

Neaw then, are yo' beawn to go look at th' Bazaar?
    It's noan far away eawt o' th' reach;
Yo' may find it witheawt any trouble at o',
    O'er th' Market at Central Beach.
Eh, bless yo'! there are some grand things to be seen;
    Sich a treat as yo'n ne'er had afoor:
There'll be articles theer, an' they're o to be sowd—
    Sich as yo'n never dreamed on, awm sure.

Aw dar' say yo'll wonder what th' money's ole for;
    Well, that we've a use for, no fear;
An' iv yo're in darkness, an' wantin' some leet,
    Aw'll tell yo'—so just look yo' here:—
We've a parson i' Blackpool we think a bit on,
    So we've gone an' we've built him a heawse;
An' its th' next dur to th' chapel, quite handy yo see,
    An' neaw he's as "snug as a meawse."

Noa deawb yo'll have yeard o' that country priest,
    'At lived a long way fro' his church:
Well, this chap when he geet into th' pulpit one day,
    He feawnd himsel' rayther i' th' lurch:
When he felt in his pockets his sarmon wur gone,
    He wur summat loike Samson when shorn;
It must ha' been windy an' blown it away,
    Or else his cooat linin' wur torn.

Neaw it's hard when a fellow's been scrattin' his yead,
    An wonderin' what he's to say—
'At these brilliant ideas should slip eawt ov his cooat,
    An' th' wind go and blow 'em away.
To prevent sich a fearful disaster as this
    Tackin' place here, we've done as awve said;
Still eawer parson isn't likely to lose his ideas,
    For he carries 'em all in his yead

But this isn't ole, for there's cowd winter neets,
    When it often booath rains hard an' snows;
An' it's noan very nice, ather preitchin an heawer,
    To go trailin' off whoam i' wet clo'es.
It's awkard to live a long way fro' one's wark,
    But this bit o' th' trouble we've met
By buildin' this heawse, so that neaw do yo' see,
    Th' parson noather gets tired nor wet.

Well, yo' know what we're wantin' this money for neaw,
    So yo' met as weel foind it at once;
There's nowt loike dispensin' eawer blessin's areawnd,
    An' doin' some good while we've th' chance.
Go an' look at yond stalls, heaw they're groanin' wi' stuff,
    An' its every bit theer to be sowd;
Go an' help 'em to clear a lot of it away,
    Come, neaw, kindly just do as yo're towd.

There's some noice little frocks, just the things for yo're girls,
    Trimmed wi' velvet an' tucked ole areawnd;
An' there's dresses an' o 'at'll just do for yo',
    They're quite stylish an' trail upo' th' greawnd;
Talk o' dolls! there's some grand uns aw'll tell yo' in theer,
    An' there's lots on 'em too, quite a heap;
Iv yo' want some good childer, go visit th' Bazaar,
    Yo'll meet wi' some theer very cheap.

There's a deol o' noice things 'at aw've no toime to name,
    'At aw couldn't describe iv aw try;
So th' best thing to do is to see for yourselves.
    An' not only see 'em but buy.
Well, then, there's amusement provided as well,
    Sich as marionettes, grottoes, an' views;
An' soul-stirrin' music at intervals too,
    Yo' may listen to that if yo' choose.

If yo' want a good feed there'll be plenty inside—
    Yo' may eat till yon ole had enuff;
If yo' need summat t' drink yo' may get that an' o,
    I' th' shape o' tea, coffee, an' stuff.
An' what moor do yo' want? or what moor could aw say
    Iv aw scribbled away till aw're mad?
Aw've very near gone through mi stock ov ideas,
    An' used ole the papper aw had.

Howd on here, there's one thing aw musn't forget,
    Or else aw shall catch it aw know;
An' that is a model o' th' minister's heawse—
    It's a bonny affair, it is so!
But whether it's theer to dispose of or not,
    Aw cannot wi' certainty tell;
There's a hole o'er the bay, slip a penny in theer,
    It'll ring yo' the front door bell.

Iv th' parson should come, give th' usual salute,
    An' politely say "How do yo' do?"
Iv th' sarvant comes, give her a tuck under th' chin,
    An' say "Mary, mi lass, how are you?"
But iv it should happen 'at th' penny's to' leet,
    Which yo'll know if they noan on 'em come:
Try tuppence th' next toime, iv that winnot do,
    Conclude 'at there's nob'dy at whoam.

Well, awm thinkin' it wouldn't be right to conclude
    A magnificent poem loike this,
Witheawt givin' a kind ov a finishin' stroke—
    A sort ov "woind up"—here it is:—
Let hot politicians debate an' discuss
    As to what's to be th' upshot o' th' war;
Let th' Russians an' th' Turks settle that little game,
    But yo' go an' see this Bazaar!





WELL, foalk, are yo' shapin' for comin' here soon?
It's neaw gettin' on towards th' middle o' June,
An' we haven't eawer teawn full o' visitors yet;
We'n lots o' booath purses an' bedrooms "to let,"
We dar' say yo've th' mooast on yeard abeawt th' fete
'At commences i' Blackpool next Setturday neet.
Eh! there'll he some foine sturrin's i' th' place—there will so!
Yo'll be pleased iv yo come o'er to see 'em, we know.

There'll be th' band o th' Loife Guards; a fancy dress ball;
There's to be a grand torchleet procession an' all.
We can tell yo' this, foalk, iv yo' come to this fete,
Yo'll be certin o' one thing—yo'll have a grand treat.
Of course, there'll be lots ov attractions besides—
Sich as drivin' an' sailin', an' noice donkey rides;
An' then, at th' North Pier yo' may hear summat grand,
If yo' listen to th' strains o' De Jong's noted band.

'Well, this eatin' an' drinkin' we'll say nowt abeawt—
There'll be plenty o' that goin' forrad, noa deawt.
An' what need we say moor to induce yo' to come?
Or what will yo' see iv yo' tarry awhoam?—
Long chimnies, an' factories blackened wi' smook;
What feaw-lookin' picturs to have i' one's book!
But come yore ways here, au' we'll shew yo' a seet
'At'll be as much different as darkness an' leet.

Come an' look at th' owd ocean, poor childer o' toil,
An' rest yore tired limbs at th' seaside for awhile.
When here yo'll get strength for engagin' i' th' strife
'At awaits every one i' th' great battle o' life.
Leave thoose dark, smooky teawns, an' come drink o' th' pure
'At comes sweepin' so freely across the great seas.
This is th' doctor 'at foinds yo' wi' physic for nowt,
An' its better nor lots o' that rubbish at's bowt.

Leave yore business an' books, don yo' up i' yore best,
An' come au' watch th' sun as he sinks into th' west;
Iv yo' dunnot feel better an' nowbler for th' seet,
Why, yo' may depend on't, there's summat noan reet.
Is it wise on yo' t' sacrifice pleasure an' health
For that nick-named, perishin' bauble called wealth?
Nowt o' th' sort; for yo'll never be happy, yo'll find,
Unless yo'v good health an' a contented mind.

Well, we think we've said plenty for one time at least—
We've invited yo' o'er to a very rich feast;
Iv yo' pay us a visit, we've not the least deawt,
But yo'll all on yo' have a reet splendid blow eawt.
Iv yo' come, yo'll want somewheer to lay deawn yore yeads,
So yo'd better write o'er an' secure a few beds;
An' these deawn at Blackpool, yo' know, are furst-class.
Well, good-bye for th' present.   Bring plenty o' brass.




Sung in Blackpool 1871, during the School Board Contest.

    "I know there are some who say there is no connection between ignorance and crime, but is it so?  From the prison returns of 1868, there were committed to the various goals of the country 143,157 persons, of whom only 5,936 had received anything worth calling an education; and of the other 137,221, it may be said they had received no education whatever, or none sufficient to fit them for life.  It is not great defaulters like Roupell, or murderers like Palmer, that injure a commonwealth.  It is the rank and file of crime, an exceeding terrible army, which is being continually recruited from the million and a half children, who are growing up in absolute and utter ignorance of every thing good.  How can we expect to better this state of things unless we can educate them, and this we must do before we can see a change.  Education cannot do all, but it can do a great deal.  And when its blessings are diffused throughout the land, and knowledge is brought to the door of every child, then, and only then, can we hope to empty our workhouses and prisons, and save the fifteen millions which we last years paid to maintain in this institutions."—Speech of Rev. J. Wayman.

    "In this country there are thousands of children who never come in contact with human love, who never hear a human sentiment, who have no teaching but that of the streets, whose unnatural parents are found in gin palaces and public houses, squandering to their own ruin the money earned, begged or stolen by their own miserable and neglected offspring.  And are these the poor parents whose rights we are called upon to respect?  I ask, have their defrauded and miserable children no rights?  Has society—upon which such children are thrown as enemies to civil life, as candidates for our prisons and poorhouses—no rights?"—Speech of Rev. H. Hayward.

    "But what did the 'Catechism' say would be done by the election of a School Board?  It said, 'It will improve the mental and moral condition of the people, tend to diminish pauperism and crime, and materially lessen poor and prison rates.'  He questioned whether it would or not.  It was very likely, but he would like to see it.  He should like to ask, was education going to do all this? and he should like to see it answered.  Did a man get drunk because he could not read?  No; it was because he liked it.  Would the School Board alter all that? had they a patent recipe for such maladies?  It his opinion it would
MAKE THEM WORSE THAN THEY WERE BEFORE."—Speech of Rev. C. H. Wainwright.


"Friends we must have a School Board,
    'Twill not increase the rate
To that alarming figure
    Which some think fit to state."
So spake the great Goliath.
    The leader of the band.
Fighting for Truth and Progress
    In this corner of the land.
"Yes, we must have a School Board.
    For know this, brethren all,
Where the people are enlightened,
    There bigotry must fall.
We bring no shield or helmet.
    Nor garments stained with blood;
Ours is a nobler mission,—
    To seek the people's good.
We argue for a School Board.
    And think our case is clear;
We've proved from facts and figures
    That a Board is needed here.
And now our late experience
    Of the shameful unfair fight.
Confirm what some thought doubtful
    That what we ask is right.
"The arguments against us
    Are hisses, oaths and groans;
And to make them more effective,
    They've clinched them well with stones!
Shame! shame on 'little David,'
    Who deigns to guide the sling!
Shame! shame on the party spirit
    Which sets the bells to ring!

"The bells may ring for ever
    In good old Blackpool town,
And the priests exert their influence
    To keep the people down;
But the car of Truth rolls onward;
    In the east gleams Reason's day:
For bigotry and priestcraft
    Are doomed to pass away.

"We want to have a School Board,
    That our children may be taught
How men are all born equal
    And conscience can't be bought;
That none shall dare enslave us,
    However great and tall;
Nor any be Dictator
    Save the Maker of us all.

"Who are they, men of Blackpool,
    Who claim to be your friends?
They who would fain deceive you,
    To gain their selfish ends;
That domineering priesthood,
    Who love so well to rule,
And who have plainly told you,
    They want to build a school.

"They want to be the School Board;
    They'll be at all the pains
Of thinking for you (bless them)—
    They wish to save your brains.
We, who are styled Goliath,
    The warriors brave and bold,
Come forth to fight such tyrants,
    As our fathers to of old.

"Our only aim and object
    (For we're no party tools,)
Is to procure for Blackpool
    Good unsectarian schools.
How far we've done our duty,
    Tis not for us to say;
But the public will decide it
    At no far distant day."

Thus spake the great Goliath,
    Pleading the people's right;
And one did nobly aid him
    All through that long, fierce fight.
Then all the good and true men
    Marched bravely to the poll,
And did their duty fearlessly.
    Like those who own a soul.
And yet we lost the battle,
    Our opponents proved too strong;
It war
RIGHT in hostile conflict
Yet slacken not my brothers,
    Rise, put forth all your powers,
Since God and Truth are with us,
    The victory must be ours.

We thank thee, great Goliath,
    And all thy brave allies,
For stepping forth so nobly,
    To open blinded eyes.
And in future generations
    The tale shall oft be told,
How was fought the glorious battle
    'Gainst the priestly power of old.




Read at the Tea Meeting of "Fylde Sunbeam" Lodge of Good Templars*, held in the Independent Chapel, Poulton, on Wednesday Evening, February 4th, 1874,


Yo' need a "Fylde Sunbeam i' Poulton,
    To fling deawn its life-givin' rays;
Yo'n soa mony queer foes to contend wi'—
    Sich strange opposition i' th' place.
Not only fro' th' publican party,
    'At look at peawnds, shillin's, an' pence
But you get opposition fro' parsons,
    'At owt to have rayther moor sense.

Well, then, there's th' owd Temperance party—
    These give us th' "cold shoulder" an' o;
Neaw, why should they do this aw wonder,
    For aren't we ole feightin' one foe?
Here's a wreck! yore poor nayburs are sinkin',
    An' th' Loifeboat will have to go eawt.
Teetotallers, an' brother Good Templars,
    What is there to differ abeawt?

Are yo' fratchin' o'er whoa's to be th' captain?
    Or whoa's to ha' th' easiest berth'
Iv this is ole th' grievance between yo',
    Why, bless yo', it isn't mich worth!
Isn't th' publican party united—
    United an' firm to a mon—
To cripple eawer noblest efforts,
    An' hinder us ole 'at they con?

Yo'n th' "Ship Inn" on i' th' street here, aw see,
    An' loike mooast o' th' owd traders, it le'ks;
An' as long as it's licensed for traffic,
    Soa long yo'll be sure to have wrecks.
Yo' may point to their well-furnish'd cabin—
    Piano an' carpets first-class;
These are ole getten up for attractions,
    They're traps to get howd o' yore brass.

An' Good Templars are "Fenians" are they?
    A rayther hard name to be sure:
But it's nothin' to cause ony wonder—
    One's bin christen'd bi' parsons afoor,
Heawever, there's this consolation,
    That tho' this kind action's bin wrowt,
He's done it witheawt ony orders,
    So he'll ha' to perform it for nowt.

Neaw, yo' must be weel off here i' Poulton,
    To keep ole these deolers i' drink;
For within one short moile o' this chapel,
    Yo'n some ten or a dozen, aw think.

Whoa is it 'at keeps ole these drones, eh?
    Th' Good Templars?   God bless yo, not it!
Naw! as silly as some foalk may think us,
    Th' Good Templars have rayther moor wit.

Ah! yo' need a "Fylde Sunbeam;" that's certain,
    For yo'd do wi' a troifle moor leet;
Foalk 'at's willin' to keep idle lon'lords
    Are certainly not over breet.
Would to God we could get men to reason!
    Would to God we could teach 'em to think!
Instead o' degradin' their manhood,
    An' muddlin' their brains wi' this drink.

Need we wonder 'at publicans prosper,
    I' village, an' hamlet, an' teawn,
Whoile members o' churches smoile on 'em,
    An' th' parsons keep strokin' 'em deawn?
Is a licensed victuallers' dinner
    Ony place for a parson to visit?
Let's ax every Christian i' Poulton,
    To give us an answer: neaw, is it?

Good Templars, yo'n plenty to do yet;
    "Fylde Sunbeam," come, fling deawn thi rays;
Disperse ole these dark mists o' ignorance,
    'At are hangin' abeawt o'er this place.
An' eawt wi' yore Loifeboat, Good Templars
    Be quick, or else somb'dy may sink!
Grasp yore oars! for yore nayburs are strugglin'
    I' that terrible whirlpool, strong drink!

Teetotallers, come help these Good Templars;
    Their objects are noble an' grand;
An' whenever they're tackin' their boat eawt,
    Go with 'em, an' lend 'em a hand.
Young men, come an' 'list i' this army;
    Here's a grand field to feight in for you;
We can promise yo' plenty o' honour,
    An' vict'ry at th' end on it, too.

God strengthen us ole for this warfare:
    An', "Fenians" tho' we may be,
May He bless us i' th' honest endeavour
    To mak' this lond happy an' free.
Let us everyone gird on eawer armour,
    An' battle this legalised wrong;
An' wi' th' blessin' o' Heaven sheawered on us,
    We're certain to win before long.



* ED—The International Organisation of Good Templars is based in Sweden.  It claims to be "the largest international non-governmental organisation working in the field of temperance".  Originating in North America in 1851, the movement was spread to the UK by Joseph Malins, a painter and decorator who had emigrated to the USA.  In 1868, Malins returned to set up a 'lodge' in Birmingham. The movement later spread to Europe.

Photograph courtesy of John King




Read at the First Anniversary of the "May Spring" Lodge of Good Templars, held in the Whitworth Institute, Fleetwood, on Friday Evening, April 24th, 1874.


Oh it's grand to look reawnd on this audience;
    What a beautiful pictur' for sure!
These childer' have ole met together,
    To see their owd mother once moor.
An' we're glad 'at we foind her soa hearty,
    An' lookin' soa hale an' so strong;
We're fain to come see her, God bless her,
    An' cheer her owd heart wi' a song.

We'll amuse her wi' speeches and readin's,
    An' "Th' Owd Bellman" shall tell her his tale;
An' we hope Brother Gale will oblige us,
    By singin' his song "Adam's Ale."
An' we'n owd "Billy Armatage" with us,
    He's come o'er fro' Shackleton's fowt:
He'll tell heaw he once dodged a lon'lort,
    An' geet bed an' breakfast for nowt.

We'll mack her feel preawd ov her childer',
    An' there's reason hoo should be, we think;
For we're everyone very Good Templars,
    An' terrible foes to strong drink.
Hoo set its this noble example,
    An' we'n followed it eawt, as hoo'll see;
An', God helpin' us, brothers an' sisters,
    We'll carry it eawt till we dee.

We're soldiers, an' mean to do battle
    Wi' owd England's deadliest foe:
An' eawer swords shall ne'er rest i' their scabbars,
    Till we'll laid this great enemy low.
Eawer warfare is God-loike an' noble
    Eawer cause one of justice an' right:
Still we feel we're engaged in a conflict
    Wi' selfishness, meanness, an' might.

Eh! there would be some stock o' foalk suited,
    Iv this drink could noa longer be had!
There would be some tears woiped away, then—
    Some hearts leetened up 'at are sad.
Cheer up a bit longer, owd mother,
    God bless yo'! yo're noan beawn to dee
Till yo're sons an' yo're dowters areawnd yo',
    Are everyone happy an' free.

As Good Templars we're banded together,
    To bring ole these good things abeawt;
We'll shift some o' th' man-traps laid for us,
    An' that before long there's a no deawt.
We're pleased to see doctors an' parsons
    Join with us to help us to feight,
We're preawd o' their aid an' their influence,
    An' glad 'at they'n th' pluck to do reight.

There's nowt 'at one needs be ashamed on
    I' this grand undertakin' o' eawers;
We're rootin' ole th' poisonous plants eawt,
    An' i' th' place on 'em plantin' fair fleawers.
Isn't this summat worth bein' preawd on?
    Need we wonder at th' glorious success
Attendin' eawer Heaven-inspired efforts
    Nay! we cannot expect nowt no less.

We're preawd at yo're here, Mister Chairman,
    An' we're sure yo'll feel glad 'at yo're come;
It's a treat for yo' t' see ole these childer'
    Areawnd their dear mother awhom.
It's nobbut sich foalk as Good Templars
    'At can get up a party loike this;
For—exceptin' misel', Mister Chairman—
    Aw think we're noan lookin amiss.

Some object to us wearin' these badges,
    But till objections are noan "worth a fig;"
Do we sin ony moor nor a parson,
    Or a barrister wearin' a wig?
Don't th' Oddfellows wear their regalia—
    Their aprons, their sashes, an' things?
Dunnot widowers wear mournin' hat bands?
    An' don't married women wear rings?

This is th' armour we put on to feight in,
    But we've never yet stained it wi' blood
We feight, not to kill foalk, but save 'em;
    Not to injure, but do people good.
We can ax for God's blessing on ewer cause,
    An' while we're at war we can pray;
We can feight wi' clear consciences, brethren;
    Can eawer enemies do so?   Not they!

We're right, mi dear brethren an' sisters:
    God smoiles on eawer work from above
Let's press on moor determined than ever,
    I' this labour o' mercy an' love.
Eawer country's i' danger.   Let's save it.
    We'n peawer enuff—let it be felt;
An' keep on agitatin' this question
    Until justice is honestly dealt.

Till owd England shall rise in her greatness,
    An' shake off her deadliest foe;
Till Rachel feels safe wi' her childer',
    An' flings off her trappin's o' woe;
Till the drink shops no moor shall disfigure
    This once bonny island o' eawrs;
Until sorrow be turned into gladness,
    An' thistles be changed into fleawers.










Well, neighbours and friends, I believe we are right,
In providing this harmless amusement to-night;
For the season in Blackpool is now nearly o'er,
And we know we've a long dreary winter in store;
So that any attractions, provided, if pure
Will be welcomed by right-minded persons I'm sure:
We have places in Blackpool, I'm sorry to say,
That attract our young people and lead them astray;
For a proof of this statement we've not far to seek—
What a sad illustration we had here last week!
You will know to what case I allude to I think,
Of the double attraction of music and drink.

No doubt you have most of you read the sad tale—
One man nearly killed his assailants in jail!
O, followers of Christ! what a heart-rending sight!
What a picture to hang in your studies to-night!
O, is it not time that you take a firm stand
'Gainst these horrible pests that are cursing our land?
Remember, you have not yet reached to that goal,
Which the Bible reveals as a rest for the soul;
Where a Christian is safe as a lamb in the fold,
Where the streets are of jasper, the pavements of gold;
We are yet in the desert, as everyone knows,
Surrounded by snares, by temptations, and foes.

And perhaps you will kindly excuse a poor bard,
If he bids you awake, and be up on your guard.
Men of science and culture have taken their stand,
And are spreading their infidel views o'er the land.
While others, whose influence and titles are great,
Have managed to crawl to the helm of the State
Through the influence and aid of their tools and their friends,
And there they are serving their own selfish ends.
Great brewers, we find, are increasing their lands,
And then, in mock piety, cleanse their foul hands
By raising great monuments up to the sky,
Expecting by this to appease the Most High!

Away with such crimes from the face of the earth!
What are Churches, and Art-Galleries all really worth,
When compared with the sighs, and the groans, and the tears,
That are every day meeting our eyes and our ears!
O, shame on the people wherever they be,

Who call themselves Christians, enlightened and free,
Who still raise no voice, and still lift no hand,
To hurl this great stumbling-block out of the land,
Well, now we must get to the programme I guess,
And the next thing I find is the "Chairman's Address."
But this you have had, still I'll give it once more,—
My proper address is—Sea Bank, at South Shore.

The next we shall have is a Glee by the Chair
And we hope to hear something to praise and admire;
We shall then make a call on our friend Mr. Wood,
And expect he will treat us to something that's good.
"Jessie's Dream" will be next, by one Miss Hannah Ray;
While this nice song is sung just allow me to say
That our friend Mr. Groves will look over his stock,
And bring to our notice "The funny old Clock."
While this is before us, Miss Hall will prepare
For obeying her mother, and "Binding her hair."
When Miss Hall leaves the boards Mr. Lee will step on,
And say something respecting "The Days that are Gone."

On retiring, Miss Ray will step up with a bound,
And sing the song, "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground,"
Mr. Hull will next favour us with his address;
And I venture to think that he cannot do less
Than give a slight hint to all would-be young brides—
(Those unmarried, I mean), as to where he resides.
There are lots of dear females now wasting their lives,
Had they only the chance would make excellent wives;
But how can they get hold of husbands, unless
Those who need them will kindly make known their address?
Well, next on our list is a song, by Miss Lee,
She'll sing "Bid me discourse" very nicely, you'll see.

Miss Porter then comes, and we venture to think
That the "Foe in disguise" is the cursed foe drink.
After this we shall feel it a pleasure to call
For "The Pilgrim of Love," by our friend Mr. Hall.
And if love is not found of much practical use,
We can all smack our lips at "The one-legg'd goose."
Miss Hall will then sing us another nice song,
After which I feel certain we shall not do wrong,
If we everyone show how well pleased we have been,
By singing, right heartily, "God save the Queen."




Read at the OLD FOLKS' TEA MEETING, in the BOROUGH BAZAAR, BLACKPOOL, January 3rd, 1878,


MR. MAYOR an' nayburs, we're met once ogen,
    An' tho' we're a year or two owder,
Let's hope 'at eawer love for each other an' God
    Hasn't grown ony feebler or cowder.
This party 'at's neaw gathered reawnd us to-neet,
    Has ne'er met together befoor,
An', dear friends, there's another thing equally true,
    We shall never ole meet here no moor.

Th' owd Reaper keeps slashin' away wi' his scythe,
    Furst o' one hand and then on the other,
Neaw some darlin' pet lamb's rudely hurried away,
    Then some silver-haired sister or brother.
There's mony a poor creature left here and gone whom,
    Sin last we assembled together,
They've finished loife's voyage, their barques are neaw moored,
    Let's hope they're enjoyin' good weather.

We shall ole have to goa, young 'an owd, rich and poor,
    Whatever eawr kindred or nation;
Death sweeps ole befoor him, and cares nowt at 'o,
    For noather rank, title, or station.
Well, where are we for, those of us 'at's left?
    Have we settled what haven we'll book to?
Is th' craft 'at we sail in seaworthy an' seawnd?
    An' is th' pilot quite safe 'at we look to?

Eawr souls are loike musical instruments, friends,
    An' they're here to be put into tune;
This earth's nobbut th' school heawse or practisin' greawnd,
    Th' grand concert tak's place up aboon.
Let's every one see 'at eawr lamps are weel trimmed,
    An' th' lights burnin' clearly 'an steady,
An' when th' bridegroom comes knockin' at th' dur, may he foind
    'At we're ole on us waitin' an' ready.

It's noice to be present at meetin's loike this,
    An' look at these breet smilin' faces;
An' yet at th' same toime, friends, it's painful to know
    There's a vast deal away fro' their places.
For some 'at we loved—ah! an' dearly loved too—
    Have finished their part i' life's story;
They've done wi' their trials an' sorrows deawn here,
    An' neaw they're gone forrud to glory.

Dear owd nayburs, yo'll kindly excuse me awm sure
    For pennin' so serious a strain;
For yo' know very weel 'at its moor i' my loine
    To write in a humorous vein.
But a feelin' o' reverence comes o'er one to-neet,
    As we look on these dear aged creatures;
What a history o' trials, bereavements, an' cares,
    May be read i' these sorrow-plough'd features!

Neaw we're greatly obliged to his Worship the Mayor,
    For comin' amongst us to-night,
An' for once in his loife we are sure he must feel
    That he's done what his heart says is right.
An' th' Committee, too, merit eawr very best thanks,
    For they've laboured reet nobly an' hard,
To provide these good things 'at we're havin' to-neet—
    God bless 'em!—they'll have their reward.

Well, come neaw, just streighten yo're faces a bit,
    An' try to look cheerful an' jolly;
Yo' put all yo're cares o' one side a bit, John;
    An', yo', woipe yo're tears away, Dolly.
An' we'll do what we con to amuse yo' to-neet,
    If yo'll kindly accept ov eawr labours;
We're sorry to think yo'll noan need 'em so long:—
    Well, good neet, an' God bless yo' owd nayburs!







[The following verses were originally written in the Lancashire dialect, and were widely read and admired.  At the request of many friends Mr. Laycock some time since rendered the poem into English, and in that form in was first published in the Blackpool Times of June 16th, 1880.] *


ROLL away, thou grand old ocean;
    Roll along the pebbly shore,
Like some giant in devotion,
    Singing praises evermore.
Talk of true and earnest worship!
    Great revivals! dear-a-me!
Why, we have not in the nation
    Any sect to vie with thee.

Baptists, Independents, Quakers,
    Followers of Smith and Young,
Churchmen, Unitarians, Shakers—
    All religions taught or sung;
Organs, singers, parson, people,
    Let these make what noise they will;
Ring the bells in every steeple,
    Ocean! thou art leader still.

Oh! I like to hear thee roaring;
    Like thee when in splendid trim;
"When, with mighty voice, thou'rt pouring
    Out some grand thanksgiving hymn.
Priests have mumbled, people muttered,
    Noble thoughts in language fine;
Still, their praises are not uttered
    Half so heartily as thine.

Oh! how charming 'tis at midnight,
    Nature all around in tune,
Thee spread out, like some vast mirror,
    Silvered over with the moon.
What are these upon thy bosom
    In such glorious splendour dressed?
Moons and stars have come to bathe here,
    Just before they go to rest.

Yonder sun may show his lustre—
    Yon fair moon her queenly power;
All the stars above us muster,
    Lighting up the midnight hour.
Earth and air may boast their beauties,
    All around conspire to please;
Still 'tis thine, old briny ocean,
    Thine to charm me more than these.

Oh, I love thy deep-toned music
    More than all the bells that chime;
Thy loud voice is ever sounding;
    Grandly solemn and sublime.
East and west o'er thy vast bosom,
    Borne along by wind and wave,
Is thy requiem ever chanted
    O'er the shipwrecked sailor's grave.

When God's people fled from bondage,
    Trod the wilderness so long,
When fair Miriam played the timbrel,
    Did'st thou join in that glad song?
When proud Pharoah's host o'ertook them—
    Madly sought their overthrow,
And the voice was heard, "Go forward,"
    Did'st thou overwhelm them?   No!

When the howling wind sweeps o'er thee,
    Then thy mighty power is shown,
Noble vessels creak and tremble,
    Many a shore with wreck is strewn.
Left alone, thou'rt just as harmless,
    E'en a child may near thee creep,
Calm, composed in every feature,
    Like some giant fast asleep.

Oh, we will not blame thee, ocean;
    Have we never heard it said
That thy music never ceases
    O'er the great and mighty dead!
Far away from friends and kindred,
    Not one funeral knell a rung,
Save the thunder's peal above them
    And the anthems thou hast sung.

Those who feel there's something wanting—
    All who drink of sorrow's cup—
These should hear thy merry chanting,
    This alone would cheer them up.
Thou art king of all physicians,
    Never asking for a fee;
Men in high and low positions,
    When they're ailing come to thee.

Oft I've sat down at my casement,
    Heart-sick, weary, downcast, sad;
Crushed with anxious cares and trials,
    None to Cheer or make me glad.
All at once these cares have vanished,
    Not one fear left, not one doubt,
All my gloomy thoughts were banished
    When I heard thee singing out.

Those who live in towns and cities
    Cannot hear thee, rolling sea!
Oh! but 'tis a thousand pities!
    All should come and hearken thee.
Sing aloud, then, grand old ocean;
    We would join thee from the shore;
And uniting in one chorus
    Praise our Maker evermore.


* ED—the original Lancashire dialect version... '




(Reprinted from the Blackpool Herald.)

As some of my neighbours seem distant and cold,
On account of the views and opinions I hold,
And look quite alarmed when they see me appear
I should just like to say they have nothing to fear.
For though I've no pass-note from Prestwich to show,
I am perfectly harmless—so far as I know.
If my views are obnoxious to them, they may see
That theirs may be equally hateful to me.

If they call me all "infidel," what can I do
More becoming than calling them infidels too?
All I want is fair play, and I grant them the same;
I'll accept nothing less, and no more do I claim.
If the views that I hold are injurious—well, then
By all means refute them with tongue and with pen.
Now, it seems very strange that a man of my size,
And, as some of my neighbours think—not over wise;

It seems very strange and surprising, I say,
To see men cross the street to get out of my way!
Why, not even His Worship, the Mayor himself,
With all his great influence, his honours and pelf,
Even he can't lay claim to distinctions so great,
As those with which I have been honoured of late!
Doctor Cocker is nowhere! and if it's no sin,
We'll have Parnell, M'Naughtan, and "cradle" thrown in.

And here let me say I'm reminded again,
Of those "Pen and Ink Sketches of our Local Men,"
And I fearlessly say that the whole sixty-three
Cannot clear out the streets of this borough like me!
Of course 'twould be madness of me to expect
That I should see my name amongst the "elect."
Any claims I might urge could be easily met;
How could I help the sale of the Blackpool Gazette?

I've no large congregation o'er which I can crew
What have I—a poor spinner of rhymes got to show,
That any "soft soap" they could daub about me,
Would turn into sugar for Mr. Grime's tea?
Had I been some great priest, trained to blether and yell,
And frighten the people with tales about hell;—
Had I failed in my business again and again—
I might have been classed amongst great local men.

But we'll get to the business for which I set out,
And lest your good readers should have any doubt
With regard to the views and opinions I hold,
Here's my chart of belief, which I'll try to unfold.
I believe in one God: one is plenty for me,
But others are perfectly welcome to three,
Some believe in "original sin," but I don't;
I will go a step farther, and tell you I wont.

The idea of us all being sinners when born!
A doctrine so hateful and devilish I scorn!
Some tell the Almighty (what lies and deceit'.)
That they're covered with wounds from the head to the feet.
I thank Him that I stand erect on the sod,
And can say "I am made in Thy image, O God!"
Some are "miserable sinners"—at least so they say,
When insulting High Heaven by pretending to pray.

Well, the truth of their words I've no wish to contest;
They say they are bad, and ought to know best,
I don't know that my life is bad or impure,
And won't tell the Lord so, unless I feel sure.
Some believe in Christ's death and atoning blood;
I believe in his life, which was noble and good.
My soul's neither purchased by blood nor by pelf,
I am told to "work out" this salvation myself.

Am I asked where I get these strange notions of mine?
Well, my brother, I got them where thou hast got thine,
And they have not been recklessly, carelessly sought,
But result from much reading, hard study, deep thought.
I have read the same Book, and invoked the same Light,
To keep me from error, and guide me aright;
Then why do we differ!   And who is to blame?
You have studied your Bible, and I've done the same.

God hath blest us with reason, and given us skill
To interpret this Book for ourselves, if we will.
Salvation is offered to all of us free,
And to speak for myself I have yet failed to see;
Why so much of our hard-earned money should go,
To pay to be taught what we all of us know.
Such actions to some may appear very wise,
But they look very foolish in other men's eyes.

I admit that so long as we harbour these things—
Lords, bishops, archbishops, priests, parsons, and kings
We do well to support them; but say if you please—
Is it right that the "drones" should impoverish the "bees?"
If I for one shall say "No!"   Most decidedly "No!"
We've been fooled long enough, let them pack up and go.
It is time we determined to make a clean sweep,
For we've sadly too many "state paupers" to keep.

These are some of my views; if your readers want more,
I have lots of a similar kind here in store.
Let me say that I've made up my mind from this hour,
To use all the means that may lie in my power,
To stay further spread of those dangerous seeds,
That might otherwise grow to false doctrines and creeds.
I shall plead for the truth, yes, though hell may oppose!
Regardless of friendship, and fearless of foes.

I shall tread on some sensitive corns, sir, I fear,
When I say we've some brazen-faced hypocrites here;
Political parsons, extolling the sword,
And defaming the cause of their Master and Lord;
It is time we spoke out, and spoke out rather plain,
When Christians are slayers, the Christless the slain!
I pity the man with a heart in his breast,
Who can see all these wrongs, and go quietly to rest,

Thanking Heaven that he lives in a Christian land!
There is something about this I can't understand;
Still 'tis cheering to know there are yet some remains,
Of the blood that once coursed thro' our forefathers' veins!
And no power upon earth—be it ever so strong,
Shall cripple my pen, or silence my tongue;
I'm a lover of Truth; I'm a hater of Shams,
Whether wholesaled by acres, or retailed by drams.

My aid and my influence shall ever be given
To raise man from earth and direct him to heaven;
I'm a lover of nature in all her grand forms—
The fruits and the flowers, the sunshine and storms!
And should feel it a crime to detract from the worth
Of the humblest creatures that crawl on God's earth.
Well, I've sketched you my portrait as well as I can;
You will see after all I am only a man;

But I claim to be loyal to country and Queen,
My opinions are strong, as they always have been;
But they are not old thoughts, taken down from some shelf,
They are new, as you'll see—and "thought out" by myself;
Should my neighbours consider me dangerous still,
Uninfluenced by heaven, or man's puny will—
And have not the brains to refute what I say,
Let them do as they have done—keep out of my way.


South Shore, Jan. 12th, 1881.



At the Dedication of the Fielden Free Library and
Public Hall, Sept. 10th, 1887.

Composed by SAML. LAYCOCK.


COME, raise aloud your voices,
    In one hamonious lay;
Let no harsh word or discord
    Be heard in town to-day:
But let your pent-up feelings
    Break out in grateful song;
And may this day's proceedings
    Live in our memories long.
            Then, raise aloud your voices,
            In one harmonious lay;
            Let no harsh word or discord
            Be heard in town to-day.

We thank our benefactors,
    With willing hearts and kind,
Who nobly make provision,
    To feed the hungry mind:
Who use their wealth influence,
    And throw a cheering ray,
To lighten life's rough journey,
    And cheer man on his way.

The daring deeds of warriors
    We sing in deathless lays;
And surely acts of kindness
    Deserve our warmest praise.
The well-know name of Fielden
    Shall shine on history's page,
When walls, and roof, and rafters,
    Are crumbling down with age!

Yes, acts so kind and gracious,
    Shall be remembered long,
And handed down for ages
    In story and in song.
God bless our benefactor!
    God bless his worthy wife;
May Heaven be pleased to grant them
    A long and happy life!





In a weekly sheet, hailing from Caunce-street,
    Which appears very fair in its tone,
A writer there seems to imagine,
    That I ought to let parsons alone.
Well, before I reply to these strictures
    By one I regard as a friend,
Let me say that I heartily thank him,
    For the flattering words he has penned.

He admits that I'm rather kind-hearted,
    And then, Sir, he goes on to say—
That my feelings have out-run my judgment,
    And, unconsciously, led me astray.
Well, he may be quite right in this matter;
    That the language was strong, I admit,
But the sarcasm hurled at young Wainwright
    Was meant as a very hard hit.

And, now, Sir, regarding the parsons:—
    Let me say I am only too glad
To acknowledge their many good actions;
    I condemn only those that are bad.
Those who tread in the steps of the Master
    I shall never attack in my scrawl;
I am friendly with most of the parsons,
    And would gladly be friendly with all.

But so long as their words produce hatred,
    So long as they thoughtlessly sow
The seeds of disorder amongst us,
    They will find me no friend, but a foe.
I feel both unfit and unworthy
    To engage in this pen-and-ink fight;
And nothing will prompt me to do this,
    But a keen sense of justice and right.

Parsons ought to preach peace, and not discord:
    But preaching with some is a trade
(I allude here to State-paid officials),
    And, of course, they must do as they're made.
All their work is laid out for the Sunday—
    Hymn, collect, creed, chapter, and verse;
An ecclesiastical hash,
    Which (poor things!) they're obliged to rehearse.

Let them give their own thoughts to the people,
    And only proclaim what they know,
Instead of the stereotyped notions
    Of hundreds of centuries ago!
Our business is now with the present:
    With the thoughts and the needs of to-day;
And those out of touch with this progress,
    Had better get out of the way.

Kindly pardon this brief explanation;
    It may help us in cleaning the ground;
For while dealing my blows at abuses,
    I shall try to deal fairly all round.
While the cloak 'neath which hypocrites shelter,
    I shall take and to tatters shall rend,
The Nazarene Carpenter's followers
    Will find me a warm-hearted friend.


It is pleasing to know that so many
    Approve of the lines I have penned;
I am thankful for this, and assure them
    That my object was not to offend.
Like the surgeon, I vary my treatment
    To the cases with which I may deal;
For we know that bad blood must be ousted,
    Before the foul cancer can heal.

I met with a neighbour this morning,
    Who thought I was rather to blame
For the signature put to my missive;
    And wished me to alter the name.
Well, I am willing to humour this critic;
    To the tune that he pipes, I will dance;
And if this alteration will please him,
    I will sign myself thus:—




Th' Vicar's Son an' th' Grand Owd Mon.

The following lines are written in reply to a speech delivered by Mr. H. H. Wainwright, of Blackpool (son of the Vicar of Christ Church, in that town), at the Christ Church Schoolroom on December 1890.  His audience was composed of members of the "Stanley" Habitation of the Primrose League, who were edified by an address literally bristling with scandalous personalities and foul epithets.  After expressing a hope for the continuance of the "split" over the Parnell Crisis, and some extraordinary championing of the cause of Mrs. O'Shea, he proceeded to some vile and vulgar abuse of Mr. Gladstone, whom he pleased (among other names) to designate "a slippery old devil," afterwards speaking of the "cant and hypocrisy of that righteous old Pharisee, Mr. Gladstone."


WHAT! at it agen wi' thi damnable squirt?
Con ta find nob'dy else to bespatter wi' dirt
But England's great statesman an' worthiest son—
A grey-yeaded vet'ran o' eighty-one?
Is there nobody younger?   Aw fancy there's some
That would gladly oblige thee, a bit nearer whoam.
At onyrate, Henry, let Gladstone a-be,
For tha connot expect him to bother wi' thee.

Iv tha feels i' nice trim for a good set-to,
Aw've noan mitch objection to ha' thee a "do,"
An' tho' tha may think thisel' moderate smart,
Aw think aw con gie thee a few yards start.
It would do me noa credit to lick thee, aw know,
For a child wi' a giant would mak' a poor show;
Still, iv tha feels anxious to meet me, it's reight,
Soa rub up thi wits an' we'll have a good feight.

Aw know this is brag, but its my blunt way
O' sayin' streight eawt what aw have to say.
Had aw felt a desire to betray wi' a kiss,
Aw met ha sent th' challenge on summat like this:
"Iv yo' pleos, Mr. H., will yo pleos condescend
To discuss a few points wi' a naybur an' friend?"
But one isn't accustomed to talkin' so fine,
An' goin' reawnd th' corners isn't mitch i' my line.

Neaw aw'll gie thee fair play; tha'll i' noa ways be beawnd;
Tha con choose thi own backers, an' pick thi' own greawnd;
Tha may try ony "dodges" or "fakes" tha sees fit ;
Slang, personal insult, bad logic, or wit.
Aw claim noa great larnin' nor owt o' that mak'—
Nor aw haven't a parson to stond at mi back;
There's no sect nor party aw'm beawnd to obey,
Lest they threaten to knock off mi sugar an' tay.

Aw'm as free as th' west wind 'at comes sweepin' along,
Aw think mi own thowts eawt, an' pen mi own song;
Neaw aw just mention this to thee soa as tha'll see
'At tha needn't be freeten'd o' tacklin' me.
Tha con ha' thi own way as to whoa tha strikes—
Pity Mrs. O'Shea just as mitch as tha likes,
Get th' ill-used woman a new pair o' wings,
An let her go live among angels an' things:

For—judged bi thy standard—there's one thing sure,
That—like Potipher's wife—hoo's far too pure
To live in a world wheer tricks are done
'At need whiteweshin' o'er wi' a parson's son!
Soa tha pities a brid that can "foul" her own nest,
An' tha fancies tha's met wi' a theme for a jest;
Tha'rt "delighted" wi' th' business, an' hopes they'll go on
Till that "slippery old devil," Will Gladstone's gone!

Neaw it strikes me tha'd ha' to search th' plains o' hell
For another like thee—'at could chuckle and yell
O'er th' downfall o' woman!   Sich jackasses' brays
Must bring up a smile on the devil's face.
An' a parson's son too!   Come get thisel' stripp'd,
An' aw'll tak' good care 'at tha'rt jolly well whipp'd;
Aw'm nobbut a plain-spokken chap, as tha'll see,
But aw fancy aw'm just abeawt weight for thee.

Aw'd a licked thee long sin' if tha'd come up to th' scratch,
But tha'd just sense to see at tha'd met wi' thi match.

Let's ha' noa back-dur work; come eawt into th' leet!
What a ceawardly action tha did th' other neet,
When—surreawnded with th' parin's o'th' primrose crew—
Tha flung eawt thi filth i' thi feyther's skoo'!
Strong language?   Of course, mon, it's meant for that;
Tha started this game, soa it's "tit for tat."

But tha's feawnd a new word; well, aw am soa glad!
It's "Nemesis,"—wheer did ta find it, lad?
Why, bless thi life, it's a godsend, mon!
Soa use it when speawtin' as mitch as tha con.
Aw shall tak' it or th' stage when aw'm actin' as "sham,"
An' want to convince folk heaw clever aw am!
It strikes me tha's dropp'd on a capital thing,
After scrapin' soa long on one lone string.

Then "Nemesis" seawnds quite pleasant to th' ear;
Did ta find it i' Lunnon, or Ireland, or wheer?
Neaw, iv ever tha gets on to'ards Hambleton way,
An' happens to meet wi' thi friend Dark Day,
Just mention that word as a word 'at "takes,"
An' owt to be put 'i ole th' speeches he makes.
My word!—wouldn't clodhoppers gaup an' stare,
As that grand word "Nemesis" rang throo th' air!

While th' "mashers," 'at reckon to "boss" o'er th' land,
Would sheawt "He-aw! he-aw! ! Magnifiswent! Gwand!"
Tha's mony a time scared us wi' th' way 'at tha hits;
But "Nemesis" freetens us o' into fits!
What a pity tha hadn't that "sop" i' thi spoon
When at Burnley i' Eighty, an' Barrow i' June:
For even a Primrose League dame con see
'At that word i' thi speech would ha' made thee M.P.!

But tha'rt eawt o' thi sphere, mon—tha's getten th' wrong trade:
What a parson a fellow like thee would ha' made!
Iv th' "brimstone" run short, tha could get eawt thi squirt,
An' blind thi "dear bretheren an' sisters" wi' dirt;
An' some "hypocrite" theer would go deawn on his knee,
An' thank God for a "lime bag," iv flung theer by thee.
Well, when Gladstone shuts up, tha'll have had thi day—
There'll be nob'dy to clod—tha'll ha' nowt to say.

Theaw insulted Charles Bradlaugh a year or two sin'
But tha geet smartly whollopp'd an' had to "cave in;"
Iv tha'd had ony pluck tha'd ha' come eawt then;
But tha said nowt wi' noather thi meawth nor thi pen.
An' why?   'Cause tha feawnd tha'd committed a wrong,
An' th' feelin' against thee i' th' teawn wur strong.
Dost' think 'at this latest mean trick 'at tha's done—
Insultin' a statesman, neaw turned eighty-one—

Dost' think this attempt to soil Gladstone's good name
Con either hurt him mitch, or add to thy fame?
Well, aw think 'at tha'll just abeawt do for this time:
Iv tha feels 'at tha'd like a bit moor o' my rhyme,
Keep on flingin' dirt;—never mind whoa tha strikes,
Mr. Gladstone, or Parnell, or me iv tha likes;
An' o' one thing, at least, tha may feel pretty sure,
An' that is—o' havin' a shot or two moor.

Sit thee deawn till thi "wisdom teeth" gets throo thi gums;
Spend a year eatin' toffy, an' suckin' thi thumbs;
An' at th' end o' that time,—if tha hasn't moor wit,
Ax thi mother to gie thee a sope moor "tit."


Sold at the "TIMES" Office, Church Street, Blackpool. 25 Copies 6d. (post free 7d.); 100 Copies 1/6 (post free 1/9).


The Primrose Dames*
at Their Durty Games.

Well, they're at it agen wi' their filth au' their durt,
But its women this time 'at are hondlin' th' squirt;
An' everyone knows 'at these feminine wits,
When they're properly roused con lick men into fits.
It's noa wonder to me they should fidget and fret,
To find 'at mi challenge has never been met;
'At rowlin' mi sleeves up, au' strikin' eawt streight,
Hasn't drawn forth their champion to come eawt an' feight.

Poor things! they must feel disappointed an' bad,
An' that letter o' Gladstone's has driven 'em mad;
They're collectin' ole th' filth they con find on th' coast,
An' sendin' it on to me here throo' th' post;
Th' first dose wur a pictur',—an' this, one may see,
Is intended bi th' sender to represent me;
Heaw foolish to give an owd warrior a sword;
If mi face doesn't suit they should write to the Lord,

An' say there's complaints abeawt some ov His wark,
'At Primrose Dames think it's noan quite up to th' mark;
An', unless He con raise a moor passable crop,
They'll send on their orders to some other shop.
Eawtrageous? disgraceful? ungallant?   Of course!
Must aw pet a rude mare while aw whollop a horse?
Iv th' former's feawnd doin' undignified tricks,
It's folly expectin' moor kindness nor kicks.

To speak a bit plainer, iv th' women throw clods,
Neither angels nor men, neither devils nor gods,
Neither th' fear ov a prison, a dungeon, or rack,
Will prevent me fro' hurlin' a clod or two back.
Iv these filth-flingin' females consider they're rest,
Let 'em do same as awve done, come eawt into th' leet;
But they send their vile prints on witheawt ony name;
Oh! women of Blackpool! oh, fie! fie! for shame.

What contemptable ceawards! what slaves to fear!
What poor, puny chickens we have abeawt here!
Leavin' females to foul their fair fingers wi' slutch,
'At these Primrose League Knights daren't t venture to touch!
God help 'em! they'n very near got to th' far end
When they've nowt but foul filth an' vile pictures to send!
An'—judgin' bi th' colour, bi th' creases, an' smears—
This is stuff they'n had hid fro' their mothers for years.

An' aw dar' say they're Christians—go deawn on their
Insultin' high Heaven it wi' their damnable pranks:
Forgettin' there's One up aboon 'at con see
'At they're plannin' some insult to send on to me!
Aw challenged a man when aw wrote th' other week ;
Not some mean, insignificant, feminine sneak,
'At goes creepin' wi' letters to th' post when it's dark,
Afraid an' ashamed ov her dastardly wark!

What's th' cause o' ole this? Why, their pet had done wrong,
An' for doin' so, aw took him to task i' my song:
But he's never attempted his words to defend,
Nor shown 'at aw'd wrong'd him i'th' lines 'at aw penn'd.
Had he own'd th' words had slipp'd fro' his tongue
        witheawt thowt
Which it's likely they did—he ha' done as he owt;
An' his female admirers—'at seem so mitch hurt,
Would ha' had no occasion to hunt up their durt.

Neaw, aw dunno' believe H. H. Wainwright's to blame
For this womanly way o' defendin' his fame;
An', lately, he's had quite sufficient o' kicks,
Witheawt havin' t'suffer for their durty tricks.
So these are th' best arguments th' Tories can bring!
Why, even an hawve-witted idiot con fling
A bucket o' filth in an archangel's track,
Or insult the Almighty behind His back.

Aw find H. H. Wainwright reported i'th' Times,
As saying he's pleased when he reads my rhymes.
Well, aw fancy it's pretty well known i th' teawn,
'At aw'd noan mitch pleasure i' pennin' em deawn.
No, nowt but a keen sense o' justice an' reet

Would ha' moved me to bring that "queer poem" to th' leet.
Firin' shots so near whoam connot benefit me,
An' this blinded bigots may easily see.

An' aw want to say this, aw'm not dealin' mi blows
To pleos ony friends, or to vex ony foes;
But to rap at a wrong most maliciously done,
Not bi th' "uncreawned king," but a clergyman's son!
Well, aw'm longing for th' time—tho' it may be a dream—
When mi thowts con be turned to some loftier theme;
But so long as aw'm reawsed up wi' insult an' wrong,
Aw shall slash reet and left, wi' a sting i' mi song.

So trot eawt your mon, iv yo' have one i' stock—
Not feathers and frills fro a milliner's block;
What aw want is a chap o' some standin' an' "grit,"
Some college-bred cad, full o' larnin' an' wit;
Some parson, or lawyer, or would-be M.P.,
Wi' rings on his fist an' a glass at his e'e;
Owt i' heaven or on earth but thoose poor silly dames,
'At send leeters thro' th' post they darn't sign wi' their

Aw'm obliged to "John Taylor," "James Hilton" an' o,
For th' brotherly feelin' it's pleased 'em, to show;
Tho' aw didn't expect or seek praises i' song,
For doin' mi duty exposin' a wrong.
It's noa pleasure to me to be rootin' i'th' durt,
An' aw'm sorry to find th' women's feelin's are hurt;
But iv they weren't blind they might easily see,
'At Wainwright wur th' cause o' this bother—not me.

Had they ta'en him to task when this slander came eawt,
They'd ha' left nowt for me to be scribblin' abeawt;
But they screened this wrong-doer, this minister's son,
An' blamed me for doin' what they should ha' done.
Well, bi ole 'at aw've penned aw'm prepared to abide;
An' aw find aw've boath Tories and Rads on mi side.
An', further than this, aw've good reason to know
'At aw've pleased one or two o'th' church parsons an' o'!

This reminds me o' summit aw musn't forget;
Some weeks sin', a writer i'th' Blackpool Gazette,
In a kindly an' friendly allusion to th' rhymes
'At wur previously printed i'th' columns o'th' Times
Expressed a desire 'at aw shouldn't defame
What he (an' aw thank him for't) called mi good name,
Or hurt th' reputation deservedly got,
Wi' championin' th' worst part o'th' Radical lot.

Well, thanks to this scribe; and he's reet noa deawt:
Will he feight i' my armour iv aw'll get eawt?
Aw've sent in mi name to engage in a race;
Will he dun mi "pumps" an' run in mi' place?
Iv aw suit mi own tastes—creep back into th' shell—
Will he see aw'm uninjured, au' feight hissel'?
Iv th' owd brid should conclude to retire to his nest,
Will he frown on abuse—see 'at wrongs are redressed?

Iv age is insulted, or injuries done,
Dare he venture to tackle a clergyman's son?
Will he publish these hateable tricks i'th' Gazette,
An' teach th' chap a lesson he'll never forget?
Iv some o'th' church parsons are tempted to stoop
So low as to quarrel o'er th' "tommy" an' th' soup,
Will he tell 'em sich conduct is open to blame,
An' may bring to this teawn undesirable fame?

Will he see 'at poor people aren't left eawt i'th' cowd,
'Cause—as some "snickets" tell us—they're ugly an' owd?
Yo aw put deawn mi pen, an' retire into th' shade,
Will he see 'at noa wrong's done to owt 'at God's made?
Iv he'll do these nice jobs,—shift th' durt fro' my door,—
Why, then, aw shall feel very grateful, aw'm sure:
An' purgin' abuses is moor i' his line,
An his pills may go deawn a deol better nor mine!


Blackpool, Feb. 3rd, 1891.

Printed at the "Times" Office, Church Street, Blackpool.

* ED.—The Primrose League was an organisation for spreading Tory principles in the U.K. (Laycock was a staunch Liberal).  Founded in 1883, its aims were:

  • To uphold and support God, Queen, and Country, and the Tory cause;

  • To provide an effective voice to represent the interests of our members and to bring the experience of the Leaders to bear on the conduct of public affairs for the common good;

  • To encourage and help our members to improve their professional competence as leaders;

  • To fight for free enterprise.

Men joined the League as 'knights' or 'squires'. Early in its formation, the League recognised the importance of women as a political force and a special branch for them, the 'Dames', was formed. The League was discontinued in 2004.




"Come to Blackpool!"

(First published in the "Machester Evening News," February 19th. 1908.)

HEIGH!   What are yo' rootin' an' tootin' abeawt
I' thoose dusty owd books?   Shut 'em up an come eawt;
Yo'll be rackin' yo're brains till yo're worried to death.
Aw'm surprised heaw the dickens yo' getten' yo're breath
In a' auction loike this: it would finish me soon.
What han yo' to leet this shop up wi'—a moon?
Aw'd ha' been eawt o' this dismal prison long sin',
For there isn't a morsel o' sun can get in.

There's no wonder at folk goin' eawt o' their mind
If they han to be pent up i' cribs o' this kind!
In fact it would never surprise me to know
'At they'd tried to get eawt 'o their bodies an' o.
Don yo' up, an' then come on to BLACKPOOL wi' me,
Aw con tell yo' there's summat worth goin' to see.

Neaw Scarboro's a noice place for one to go see;
So are Brighton an' Seawthport; but BLACKPOOL for me!
Yo' may stand upo' th' cliffs on a foine clear day,
An' see 'th Isle o' Man, sixty miles o'er th' say.
On yo're left hand th' Welsh Meawntins are raisin' their heads.
To yo're right one's reminded o' Cumberland leads;
An' behind to mak' th' picter moor grand an' complete,
There's whitewashed farmheawses an' churches i' th' seet.

An' then there's th' Star Inn, reet away at South Shore,
Wheer i' winter th' huge billows so fearfully roar;
Aw've oft seen that heawse reet surreawnded wi' spray,
When it seemed as if th' waves wur beawn t' wash it away.
But they only went reawnd it to show they wur fond
O' havin' a marlockin' do upo' th' lond:
They just went to embrace it, an' give it a "smack,"
To mak' known their attachment, an' then they went back.
Well, what do yo' say?   Do yo' think yo'll go deawn?
If yo' do yo'll be pleased, aw dar bet yo' a creawn.

Neaw aw've done; shut them books, an' away wi' yo' whoam.
An' get ready for comin', an' mind yo' DO come.
Clear eawt o' that ceawntin'-heawse, lads, an' be sharp!
Mary! dunno thee wait till tha's finished that warp;
For thoose cheeks o' thine's lost o' their colour, aw see,
An' thi een look too heavy an' deawncast for me.




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