Warblin's fro' an Owd Songster (5)

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BERTHA, mi lass, it's twenty year'
Sin' theaw furst coom amongst us here,
                     Th' latest burd.
Noa message left eawr humble whoam,
Proclaimin' th' glorious news tha'd come;
                     Not a word.

We made no bother—made no noise,
As iv we'd feawnd some valued prize,—
                     Not a bit;
Nor did we ax foalk in to see
A miracle or owt:—not we,—
                     We'd moor wit.

We'd seen sich "Miracles" before,
An' had to feed some hawve a score;—
                     Clog 'em to'.
An', tho' we'd one moor meawth to fill,
Yo'r mother, wi' her care an' skill
                     Made things do.

Th' sky, then, wur nobbut darkish, lass;
Like others, we wur short o' brass,—
                     Friendless, poor.
But th' cleawds have partly pass'd away,
An' neaw we thankfully can say—
                     Bread's moor sure.

It's true success wur dearly bowt,
But every foe wur fairly fowt,—
                     Bravely met.
An', tho' th' remark may smack o' pride,—
We've ne'er done nowt we wish to hide,—
                     Never, yet!

Well, tha's been with us twenty year',—
Seen mony a smile, an' mony a tear;
                     Some tha's shed.
We've had a thorn for every rose;
There's links been severed, as tha knows;
                     Two are wed.—

An' five frail fleawers have drooped an' died;
They're sleepin' yonder, side bi side,
                     'Neath a yew!
We feawnd it hard wi' these to part,
An' moor nor one poor weawnded heart
                     Lie theer to'!

Well, thoose we still have wi' us here,
Do ole they con eawr hearts to cheer,
                     Neaw we're owd.
We value these dear, tender ties;
These kindly acts yo'r parents prize
                     Moor nor gowd!

An' should it ever be yo'r lot
To have to leov eawr humble cot,
                     May yo find
Yo'r future whoam's as snug an' pat,
An' every way as good as that
                     Left behind!

An', here aw end mi humble lay;
Aw've getten nowt no moor to say,—
                     Nobbut this:
That, while tha roams thro' Nature's beawers,
We hope tha'll meet wi' lots o' fleawers,
                     Lots o' bliss!




THEAW'RT one o' God's creatures—come in here, come in;
Poor Pussy!   Theau art hungry lookin' an' thin.
Eawr John's just bin tellin' me heaw tha's been used;
It's shawmful is th' way 'at he's seen thee abused.
Poor thing! an' tha'rt nobbut a kittlin' aw see;
An' yet th' nowty lads couldn't let thee a-be;
But tha's met wi' a friend at'll keep thee fro' harm,
So ceawer thee deawn here wheer it's cosy an' warm.

It's th wrong time o'th' year to be takin' owt in;
An' yet aw shall never be guilty o' th' sin
O' turnin' mi back on a creature i' need—
Iv it's nobbut a cat 'at awm able to feed.
Lie thee deawn close to th' hob, an' aw'll fot some moor coal;
Tha shall join me at th' best 'at aw have i' this hole.
Wheer's thi mother, aw wonder?   Well, that tha can't tell,
But tha'rt rayther to' young to turn eawt bi thisel'.

Neaw then, here's a sope o' warm milk in a plate;
Lap it up, an' be sharp, for tha needs sum'at t' ate.
Here John, lad, thee slip into th' butcher's, th' next dur,
For a pennorth o' leets, an' say what they're for;
He's a good-natured fellow is Alfred Maclure,
Iv he knows what they're for he may send rayther moor.
He's fond of a dog, is th' owd lad—he is that;
Let's hope he can feel for a poor starvin' cat.

Here's John wi' his leets; come an' have a "tuck in,"
An' we'll cure thee o' lookin' so famished an' thin.
Hasto getten nine lives?   Some cats have, they sen;
Well, stop here wi' me, an' tha'll happen ha' ten.
Come here, neaw—come here; for tha mustn't go eawt,
Or tha'll get welly kilt wi' th' bad lads 'at's abeawt.
They think it foine sport to illuse sich as thee;
Jump up, an' aw'll howd thee a bit on mi knee.

Well, it's th' way o' this world!   When one's powfagg'd an'
An' friends 'at should care for us every one fleawn,
There's allis some ready—Tom, Harry, or Dick—
To hurl us still lower, an' give us a kick.
Like some hungry vulture 'at hovers areawnd,
An' fattens its carcase o' meat 'at's unseawnd—
So these, havin' passions degraded an' low,
Can feed upo' cruelty, revel 'midst woe!

Aw'd rayther this minute be clemm'd same as thee,
As friendless an' whoamless tha ceawers on mi knee,
Nor be cursed wi' mean actions, like some aw could name,
'At are soulless, an' heartless, an' "glory i' shame."
But tha pricks up thi ears, an' howds up thi yead
As iv t' understood every word 'at aw said:
An' theaw has as mitch sense—an' knows what to do wi't—
As that wretch 'at wur puncin' thee up an' deawn th' street.

Well, aw'm thinkin' we've summat t' be thankful for, John;
It's grand, lad, to do a kind act when we con;
Aw've towt thee a lesson aw want thee to heed,
Whenever tha meets a poor creature i' need.
Let's allis deal gently wi' th' sufferin' an' sad,
Then God will deal gently with us, mi dear lad;
An' iv ever, loike th' cat here, we get cast adrift,
There's no deawt but what someb'dy will give us a lift.




EXCUSE me, friend Heap, for intrudin';
    An' don't think me a troublesome mon;
For aw see tha looks sad, so aw'm wantin
    To cheer thee a bit iv aw con.
Aw'm aware it may seem rayther foolish
    To attempt to give aid or relief
To a spirit 'at's bowed deawn wi' losses,
    Or a heart 'at's been smitten wi' grief.

Aw know what it meons to see cheeks fade;
    To miss th' childish prattle i' th' fowd;
Aw'm familiar wi' coffins an' graveyards,
    An' leovin' th' dear caskets i' th' cowd!
Mon, it cuts up a poor fellow's feelin's,
    An' gives to his nerves a rude shock;
When, i' lookin' areawnd on his homestead,
    He misses a lamb fro' his flock!

It's hard to see eyes growin' dimmer,
    Ah, eyes 'at so lately wur breet;
To miss th' merry ring o' their voices,
    When wishin' us ole "good neet!"
But away wi' this useless repinin';
    It's folly one's troubles to nurse;
Aw'm wantin' to cheer, not to sadden;
    To mak' thee feel better, not worse.

Look up, friend! for tho' it's neaw darkish,
    An' th' Spoiler's dismantled thi beawers,
We shall soon be made happy wi' springtime,
    Wi' singin' birds, sunshine, an' fleawers!
An' th' dear little childer 'at's left us,—
    Tho' they seem to be lost—they're feawnd;
They're neaw wi' their guardian angels,
    An' treadin' celestial greawnd.




IT'S thi birthday, mi love, come ger on mi knee;
That's a darlin'.   Heaw owd arto neaw?   Let me see—
Four year owd!   Is that o'?   Well, theaw art a foine girl!
An' this is thi birthday!   Well, give us a curl.
Run an' fot us some toffy, John, that's a foine lad,
Th' "Bonny Brid" shall ha' goody, to-neet, wi' its dad.
It is'nt so often yo get owt at's sweet,
But aw've made up mi moind 'at yo shall ha' to-neet.

Here he comes! here he comes! eh, what goody there is!
Neaw, what does't say for it?   Come, gie me a kiss.
Oh, that wur a sweet un!   Another, an' then
Theaw shall poo thi dad's whiskers weel for him ogen.
Neaw, John, lad, come here, an' look after thisel',
For theawt'rt longin' t' have howd ov a bit aw con tell.
What! eawt ov o' this is there noan theaw con spare?
Neaw aw'm sure theaw owt t' let brother John have a share.

Come, let me divoide 'em.   Neaw, then, let me see:
Howd thi hond, love, there's nuts, an' there's cumfits for thee.
Here, John, there's some humbugs for thy share, mi lad,
Theer, yo han 'em between yo, there's noan for yo'r dad.
Neaw, aw want yo t' be good, an' as still as yo con,
Whoile aw read a noice tale eawt o' th' Bible.   Neaw, John?
Art theaw tryin' to beg sister's cumfits, or what ?
Aw shall be very iv aw cross know theaw dots that.

Oh! dear, dear, my whiskers! aw'll warm thee iv t' does;
Theawt'rt allus i' mischief, theaw meddlesome puss;
Leove off, do, this minute.   Oh! dear-a-me, choild!
Here, aw'll put thee on th' floor, for theaw'rt gerrin' reet woild.
Aw con read noan to-neet, so aw've no need to try:
Here, Jane, tak' this book, lass, an' put it safe by.
Theaw'rt agate ogen, arto? oh, dear, theaw art ruff!
Go an' poo' thi doll's toppin', aw've had quoite enuff.

There's a beggar at th' dur, John, go give him some bread;
For he favvurs eawr poor little Robert 'at's dead.
Poor fellow! he'rn allus so playful an' fond;
But his mother an' him lie i' th' graveyard up yond
Well, come, han yo done? for it's toime to go t' bed;
Misses Carter across is undressin' their Fred.
Here, Jane, lass, tak' Hannah, an' poo' off her shoon;
An aw wish theaw'd just sing 'em some pratty hymn tune.

When their mother wur here to undress 'em at neet,
Hoo sung sich noice songs whoile they'rn warmin' their feet;
Then they'd booath kneel 'em down, an' they'd lisp eawt their
When they'd done, we used t' kiss em', an' tak' 'em upstairs.
Neaw, then, love, come here, it's thi birthday, is this,
So before theaw goes t' bed aw shall want one moor kiss.
What! art luggin' ogen?   Do give o'er, dear-a-me!
When theaw gets a bit bigger theaw'll catch it, theaw'll see.

Jane, rub 'em their faces an' honds o'er a bit,
An' then see iv that neet-geawn i' th' corner ull fit;
It's one 'at their gron'mother browt tother neet;
Aw dar' say theaw'll foind it to fit her o reet.
Come, neaw, kneel yo deawn, get yo'r prayers noicely said,
Then Jane shall leet th' candle, an' tak' yo to bed.
Amen.   Come this way, just one smack; oh, heaw sweet!
Neaw then, away wi' yo.   God bless yo—good neet!




WHATEVER'S to do wi' yo Manchester way,
    Wi' yo'r stokers, dense fogs, and poor gas!
One expects summat better nor this wordy fray,—
    This settin' o' class against class.
Neaw, aw'm noan goin' to argue whoa's wrong or whoa's
    To sich wisdom aw'm layin' noa claim;
Still, aw fancy iv facts wur browt fairly to th' leet,
    There'd be moor nor one party to blame.

But there's one point aw think on which ole will agree,
    There's a lot o' real sufferin' abeawt;
An' must men keep starvin', an' are they to dee,
    Till we scribblers have done foin eawt?
Come, let me appeal to yo, Tories or Rads,
    For we're ole made o' one sort o' clay,
Shall it ever be said 'at we Lancashire lads
    Treated th' helpless an' poor i' this way?

Do yo say they're to blame? well, well, granted they are,
    Whoa is there 'at allis does reet?
Con we fairly expect men to walk o'er a snare
    Witheawt ever hurtin' their feet!
But that isn't th' question; what we've got to do,—
    An' aw think we can hardly do less,—
Is to shew eawr owd mates we're for helpin' 'em thro'
    This painful, this sad distress.

We've Christmas near to,—that breet season o' mirth,
    When joy-bells will merrily ring,
Remindin' us ole o' that wondrous birth
    Of a brother, a Saviour, an' King.
Then mony a rich Dives will be feastin' off th' best,
    Drinkin' wine eawt o' vessels o' gowd;
But whoa's to ax Lazarus in as a guest?
    Is he to stop eawt i' th' cowd!




DEAR Nutter, accept mi best thanks for thi book;
An' aw tell thee what mon—tha'rt a capital cook,
Or tha wouldn't ha' had th' wisdom an' wit to invent
Sich a wonderful banquet as this 'at tha's sent;
An' th' man 'at can't sit deawn an' have a good feed,—
Well, he must have an awful bad stomach indeed;
Th' food's wholesome, an' easy to tak, an' what's th' best,
It winna lie heavy, it's sure to digest.

Like me, tha's employed a good deol o' thi time
I' treatin' thi friends to epistles i' rhyme;
But while theaw may be blamed for producin' bad verse,
Aw've been turnin' eawt stuff 'at's a theawsand times worse.
Well, tha writes wi' thi' heart quite as mitch as thi yead,
For tha's said a good word abeawt some at are dead;
Among others, tha mentions Job Hartley, aw see,
Abeawt whom tha seems t' howd th' same opinions as me.

Hast yeard owt o' Job sin' he left th' top o' th' teawn?
Poor job! mon, he hardly knew wheer he wur beawn!
Let's hope he's arrived i' some happier sphere
Than ony he longed for, or sowt when here.
What a lot o' strange subjects tha's touched i' thi strain:
Eawr Matty will have it tha's "Burnley on th' brain."
There's birthdays, an' weddin's, an' dinners, an' trams,—
Ole come in for praise—there's not one 'at tha damns.

Tha's rhymin' epistles to young an' to owd:
Even drivers o' engines aren't left eawt i' th' cowd;
While th' women,—'at oft change their mind,—as we see,
Are sure ov an able defender i' thee.
But this isn't what aw wur wantin' to say,
When these subjects tha's treated allured me away;
Aw wur wantin' to thank thee for th' book 'at tha's sent,
Tho' thanks winno pay thee thi rates, nor thi rent.

Still, some foalk imagine 'at this is enuff;
An' 'at poets con live upo' honour an' stuff.
Aw con tell thee aw've starved upo' that mak' o' cake,
Till aw'm gettin' to look like a donn'd-up rake.
Tha mentions poor Waugh, an' his funeral i' May;
Mon, there wur some sad hearts an' wet een that day!
Ah, an' Nutter, owd friend, we feel th' loss on him still,
For a gap wur then made it's noan easy to fill.

Ben Brierley's here still, but it's plain enuff t' see
'At he's toddlin' tow'rd th' grave very fast, like me;
A few moor unsteady scratches wi' th' pen;
A few moor milestones to pass, an' then—
Two other owd Harps will ha' snapp'd a string;
An' two other brids will ha' ceased to sing!
A few moor races may have to be run,
Then th' laurels will oather be lost or won!




MESTUR Heditir, thank yo for th' "Onward" yon sent
Aw connot weel send it yo back, for it's lent;
A friend o' mine coom into th' heawse t' other neet
When this Band of Hope organ lay fair in his seet.
"Hello here!" he said, when he seed it, "What's this?"
It's a number o' "Onward," lad, that's what it is.
It's a number o' "Onward," eh?   "Wheer is it fro?"
So aw towd him fro' Lunnon, for owt as aw knew.

It's what they co'n th' Band of Hope organ is that;
"Beg pardon, aw didn't just catch it—it's what?"
It's th' Band of Hope organ—coom eawt yesterday.
"Oh, a organ o' some mack tha says—will it play?"
Play! aw think it will that; tha should yer it awhile;
When it's fairly on th' job it can play to some style.
"Well, well, lad," he said, "it's some bother, no deawt:
Aw hope it's noan like that at Waugh tells abeawt;

If it is, we shall do better beawt it nor wi' 't,
An' aw'd rayther not yer owt o' th' sort, a fine seet."
If tha'rt freet'ned, aw said, aw'll advise thee t' stand fur;
That o' Waugh's wur a rum un, but this is far wur!
Th' church organ would stop when th' tunes wur o done,
But this has played on ever sin' it begun.
Well, this friend o' mine didn't tak it in aw wur chaffin';
An' mi wife, hoo wur very near splittin' wi' laffin'.

But aw giv' her a wink, when mi friend wurn't lookin',
For he'd poo'd a short pipe eawt, an' gated a smokin'.
Sit thee deawn, mon, aw said, it con do thee no harm,
There's not th' least danger or cause for alarm.
"Well, naybur," he said, theaw surproises me reet,
An' aw'm beawn'd to admit 'at aw'm puzzled to-neet;
Aw've seen Owdham Church organ, but hang my owd hat
It's noan manufactured o' papper loike that.

Wind it up for us, mon, an' then set it a-goin',
An' let's see what th' new thing's calculated for doin'.
Wind it up, doesta say? it needs no windin' up;
An' th' players han nowt nobbut wayter to sup.
"Well, it's strange that," he said, "gradely puzzlin' to me;
There's summat abeawt it aw connot just see.
Heawever, aw'll leov thee, neaw gettin' late,
An' co ogen t' morn, an' we'll have it agate.

Aw'll bring Robin Turner 'at lives i' th' next row,
For a thing o' that mack will just pleos him, aw know.
Well, aw'll bid thee good neet, at th' same time aw must say,
Aw shall be rarely capp'd if that thing theer can play.
So we booath said good neet, an' he off eawt o' th' dur.
Eh! aw wish yo'd ha seen what a kitchen there wur!
Eawr Elizabeth laffed till hoo very nee split,
An' eawr Dick wur no better nor hur—not a bit!

"Eh, dear!" said my wife, "what a greenhorn, for sure,
Good gracious! aw hope he'll ne'er come here no moor."
Howd thi noise, lass, aw said, a good laff ull do good;
Aw'd have him i' th' heawse every neet iv aw could.
This is th' best bit o' fun 'at we'n had sin' we'rn wed,
Mack us toothery meal porritch, an' lets go to bed.
Well, neaw—Mistur Heditir, aw must give o'er,
For aw'm noan very weel, as aw towd yo before;

Still, aw'll promise yo this—iv aw have no mishap—
Aw shall let yo know heaw aw go on wi' this chap.
If he comes again t' morn, aw shall give him a tune,
An' aw'll warrant he'll see what aw'm aimin' at soon.
Aw shall mack ole reet plain, iv he connot see that,—
Tho' his name be G Sharp, aw shall co him A Flat:
Well, good neet, for mi porritch is ready, aw'm towd,
An' aw met as weel eat 'em afore they get cowd.




ONLY a poet," a schemer o' schemes;
A weaver o' fancies, a dreamer o' dreams;
Insanely eccentric, wi' long flowin' hair,
An' eyes strangely bright, wi' a meanin'less stare!
"Only a poet"—that's all, nowt no moor;
An', as every one knows, often needy an' poor;
Tho' that little fault may be remedied soon,
If th' minstrel could allis get paid for his tune.
Then look what a lot their strange yarns often cost!
Just fancy five sov'rins for "Paradise Lost"!
Why, for much less than that, there are theawsands o' men
Who would not only lose it, but find it ogen!

Neaw supposin' yo bowt some good clooas to yo'r back,
Some beef-steaks an' onions, or owt o' that mak';
These would bring yo some comfort, an' help yo to live,
But yo'll dee if yo'n newt but what poets con give.
"Only a poet"—a gazer at th' moon,
Or soarin' aloft i' some mental baloon;
Ah, some of 'em wingin' their flight to God's throne,
An' seemin' t' forget they'n a whom o' their own,
Wheer a wife may be ceaw'red in an owd tattered geawn,
Very patiently waitin' till th' husband comes deawn.
"Only a poet," a spinner o' rhymes,
An' never caught worshippin' "dollars an' dimes."

"Only a poet"—a star-gazin' bard
'At met tell yo th' earth's distance fro' th' sun to a yard;
But question him closely on trade, or bank shares,
An' he'll soon show his ignorance bi th' way 'at he stares.
Wanderin' throo' country lanes all the day long,
Gabblin' strange jargon, or croonin' some song;
Pennin' grand thowts 'at may mak' a world stare,
Then die in a mad-heawse, like poor John Clare!
"Only a poet "—ah! but what does that mean?
Bein' passed bi a naybur witheawt bein' seen;
Becose just across there comes Alderman Stott,
An' he get's th' warm greetin' th' poor bard should ha' got!
"Only a poet"—he's newt he con spare;
If his feelin's are hurt a bit, what need yo care?

For a poet is noan a much use as a friend,
Since he's newt he con give one, nor nowt he con lend.
"Only a poet," so let him alone,
Or, if yo think fit, yo may fling him a bone;
He lives o' sich stuff—bones an' owd meawldy books,
At least one would think soa, to judge by his looks.
Yo keep eawt o' th' way on him, foalks, for he's sure
To speak abeawt summat yo'n ne'er yeard befoor;
He's likely to tell yo yo'n brains i' yo'r yead,
An' a soul that'll live when yo'r body's gone dead;
He'll talk about spirit friends hoverin' areawnd,
When yo know they're asleep, fast asleep, deawn i'th' greawnd.

He'll offer to lead yo through nature's sweet beawers,
An' bid yo admire her grand fruitage an' fleawers.
Very grand an' poetical; nice food for kings,
Or bein's 'at flutter abeawt us wi' wings;
But one couldn't weel offer to clothe a bare back,
Or feed hungry bellies wi' stuff o' that mak'.
"Only a poet," like Bloomfield or Burns,
'At may happen amuse yo an' vex yo i' turns;
Neaw charmin' his readers wi' th' thowts fro' his pen,
Thus winnin' their heartiest plaudits, an' then,
It may be th' next minute yo'r filled wi disgust
At some sarcastic hit, or some pointed home-thrust!

"Only a poet"!   What moor do yo want?
Some narrow-souled parson to rave an' to rant
Abeawt th' heat an' th' dimensions, an' th' people i' hell,
Till yo fancy 'at th' chap must ha' bin' theer hissel.
Yet there are foalk i' th, world 'at don't think it amiss
To pay hundreds a year for sich twaddle as this;
While others, entitled to love an' respect,
Are treated too often wi' scorn an' neglect!
"Only a Poet," what moor do yo crave,
To sweeten life's journey fro' th' cradle to th' grave?
Which is th' likeliest—think yo—to help us along,—
An owd musty creed, or a good hearty song?




        Lines on receiving a card bearing the inscription: "What is Home Without a Mother?" the writer's wife being away at the time holiday making:—

THAT depends; if hoo's bad tempered,
    Fond o' givin' th' bairns a "seawse,"
Puncin' th' cat for bein' hungry.
    There's no peace when hoo's i' th' heawse.
If hoo's one 'at tak's to drinkin'—
    Puttin' th' husband's clooas i' pop;
One 'at never mends her stockin's,
    Let her "tak' her hook," an' stop.

If hoo's one 'at's fond o' gossip,
    Leavin' th' heawse i' th' childer's care;
Puttin' th' weshin' off to Friday,
    That's a mother we can spare.
Idle mothers, dirty slatterns,
    Lost i' filth fro' morn to neet;
Hair teed up wi' durty garters,
    These are best when eawt o' th' seet.

But a mother nicely tempered;
    One 'at's wisdom mixed wi' mirth,
Wheer hoo dwells—yo may depend on 't—
    Home's a little heaven on earth!
Would to God we'd moor o' this sort,—
    Happy homes wheer concord dwells;
Less domestic scenes o' discord,
    Fewer heart-breaks, fewer hells!

Doctor Watts (aw think it's th' Doctor),
    Tells us little birds agree;
Well, if they can do beawt wranglin'
    When together, cannot we?
Homes are what we pleos to mak' 'em.
    Never better, never worse;
Some are breetened up wi' blessin's,
    Others blighted wi' a curse.

What is home beawt prattlin' voices—
    Ringin' eawt fro' morn to neet?
Still we never seem to miss 'em,
    Till they're dead an' eawt o' th' seet!
Home's not walls, but summat grander;—
    Lovin' hearts, an' tender fleawers;
Let's protect an' prize these jewels,
    While they're with us, while they're eawrs.

Wintry winds may come an' smite 'em,
    Smite 'em while i' youthful bloom;
While we're feastin' on their beauties,
    Drinkin' in their sweet perfume.
What is home without a mother?
    Lonely, cheerless, heartless, cowd;
Wealth can never warm that homestead,
    Tho' its floors are paved wi' gowd.

Have we answered th' question fairly?
    Come, neaw, dunno be to' hard:
Can yo hope to get owt better
    Fro' a poor an' wifeless bard?
Birds can warble best when mated,
    Hutched together, so they sen;
Well, aw hardly need to tell yo
    'At it's just that way wi' men.

Let th' owd brid 'at sits here mateless,
    Frettin' on a leafless tree,
Croonin' songs o' grief an' sadness,
    Once ogen his partner see;
Then he'll tune anew his harp-strings,
    Warble once ogen i' th' grove;
Pipe eawt notes o' hearty welcome,
    Sing to th' mate he's learned to love.




JOHN Edward, it's thi birthday, lad: it's th' twentyninth o' May:
Theaw should be gerrin' on a bit, tha'rt eight year owd to day.
Aw recollect that Sunday morn when furst aw seed thee here;
Thi gronny had thee on her knee, sit deawn i'th' rockin' cheer.
A little tiny thing tha wur—a pratty babby too:
We wur some pleosed to see thee, mon; we did mak' some ado!
We lapped thee up i' flannel cooats, for fear tha'd get a cowd,
An' couldn't ha' cared moor for thee, choilt, iv tha'd bin made o' gowd.

What change sin' then! thi gronny's deod, hoo'll ne'er come here no moor,
To pick thi tops an' marbles up when t' let's 'em fo on th' floor;
Thoose arms wheer oft tha'rn used to ceawer, han long bin stiff an' cowd;
For when hoo deed tha'rn nobbut young—a year an' three months owd.
Thi dear owd grondad's deod an' o, an's wi' thi gronny laid;
Not mony weeks afore he deed he bowt thee a wooden spade:
Aw recollect he coom i' th' heawse, an' hondin' it to me,
He said he'd just bin deawn to th' fair, and bowt it theer for thee.

Soon after this bad toimes set in, when theawsands had to clem:
What made things wur for us, we'd twins, an' had to do for them;
We'd two moor then t' rigg eawt wi' clooas, an' two moor meawths to feed;
All' this went on for seven long months, when little Sarah deed.
We laid her in a stranger's grave; this pains mi heart to tell;
We thowt it hard to put her theer, an' leov her bi hersel'.
We're noan beawt troubles, then, mi lad, we'd summat t' bear tha sees:
Aw hope tha'll never ha' to feight wi pinchin toimes loike these.

Just six months after this event, another babby coom—
An' bless it! tho' we'rn quite full up, we'rn loike to foind it room.
We co'd it Robert, doesto know? a bonny little lad;
An' when aw had him on mi knee aw used to feel so glad!
But summat used to tell me then 'at we should ha' to part,
An', oh! the very thowt o' this would pierce me reet to th' heart.
Mi fears wur soon o realised—th' poor little thing geet cowd;
He'd th' measles—an' they took him off when nobbut ten months owd.

Well, toime went draggin' on, until, one dull December morn,
We'd one moor little stranger coom, for th' "Bonny Brid" wur born.
An' bless it! it wur welcome, too,—we'rn fain to see it come;
Aw towd it t' try an' settle deawn, an' mak' itsel' awhoam.
Eh, lad, we wur some busy then! we'rn welly fast, doest' see;
We'rn short o' pobbies, clogs an' stuff, for little Joe an' thee;
An', so to let th' choilt have a share, an' mak' things tee an' fit,
Thi mother, me, eawr Joe an' thee—we'rn forced to pinch a bit.

But, lad, aw've th' worst to tell thee yet, for th' truth mun neaw be towd,—
Thi mother ventured eawt to' soon, an' so hoo geet a cowd.
We laboured hard an' prayed to God, that dear one's life to save;
But o wur vain, hoo deed, an' neaw hoo's restin' in her grave.
An' Lizzie's gone! that bonny lass 'at went wi' thee to th' schoo';
Yo used to romp abeawt i' th' fields, an' play at bab-heawse too;
A lovin' little thing hoo wur, her feyther's hope an' pride;
His heart wur welly broken, lad, that mornin' when hoo died.

Aw've never held mi yead up reet sin' aw'd that heavy blow;
An' what aw've suffered i' mi moind there's very few 'at know;
Aw connot feel reet settled neaw, whatever aw may do,
But allus live i' fear an' dread lest aw should lose thee too.
It may be 'at aw shannot have this bitter draught to drink;
God may see fit to bless me moor nor aw con hope or think.
At onyrate, aw feel resolved to trust Him as 'i th' past,
These trials may prove blessin's yet, an' turn eawt reet at last.

Let's hope for th' best.   Well, come, mi lad, aw think we'rn heawn to bake,
An', as tha loikes 'em, tha shall have a noice oon-bottom cake;
An' here's a penny for thee, too, tha'rt fond o' summat sweet,
So ware a haupney on it neaw,—save t' other whoile to-neet.
Neaw, then, look sharp, be off to th' schoo', aw've towd thee o aw want:
Tha'll foind thi bag an' slate i' th' nook, an' here's thi top an' bant;
Be sure tha comes streight whoam at noon, we're havin' pie to-day;
We allis get thee summat noice for th' twenty-ninth o' May.




HOWD thi noise, Sam Ashton, wilta—
    What's this bother—o this fuss?
Ax me t' write ogen if t' dar do,
    Tha'll be in for 't iv tha does.
Does ta think awve nowt else t' do mon—
    Only write for foalk loike thee?
Iv tha does, tha'rt off it rarely;
    Come on here, an' then tha'll see.

Tell thi friends i' Hyde an' Newton,
    Those 'at's wantin' summat new,
Aw'll noan write till awm i' th' humour,
    Now, awm beggared iv aw do!
Are o th' owd uns read aw wonder,
    Those to Wed an' Single Men?
Ax 'em—iv they sey'n they'n read 'em,
    Tell 'em t' read 'em o'er ogen.

Here I am at th' soide o' th' ocean—
    (Eh, mon, it's a whoppin' dam!)
Iv tha's never been to see it,
    Hie thee, come an' see it, Sam.
Talk abeawt that dam at th' printworks,
    On theer past th' Commercial Broo!
Why, mon, when compared wi' th' ocean,
    That owd stinkin' hole's a foo'!

Howd thi noise abeawt th' broad wayter;
    Never mention th' Brushes Clough;
Aw could sup what those contain mon,
    Iv aw're nobbut dry enough!
Mon, yo' foalk 'at live at Newton
    Ne'er see nowt worth namin' theer;
Blackpool's th' place for sights worth seein',
    Lots o' wayter sturrin' here.

Heaw art gerrin' on neaw, Sam, lad?
    Lookin' cuts aw recon yet?
Tha'll ha' thy cuts looked o'er some day,
    Tha'll be in for 't then aw'll bet.
Well, ne'er moind; heaw's th' wife an' childer—
    Mitch as usual?   Well, that's reet.
We're all weel at present, thank thee;
    Compliments, owd chum—good neet.




ONE loikes to see childer i' frolicksome glee;
Youths an' maidens, as happy as happy can be;
But we think a moor touchin', a nobler seet,
Is presented i' th' picture afore us to-neet.
Here are totterin' sires, wi' their silvery hairs,
An' wrinkles 'at tell us they're noan witheawt cares;
Their owd dames—bless 'em—arno so honsome an' strong,
Nor quite as bewitchin', as when they wur young.

Toime plays weary pranks wi' these bodies o' eawrs;
We may hang 'em wi' jewels, or deck 'em wi fleawers;
But we're never noa better for th' trouble we'n made,
For th' jewels ull tarnish, an' th' fleawers ull o fade.
Here's owd Betty Smith—what there's left—skin an booan—
Wheer's thoose plump rosy cheeks hoo once had?
        Ole gooan!
It's fifty long year' sin' hoorn decked as a broide,
An' trudgin' to th' church, wi' young Tim at her soide.

But tho' it's so long sin' this happen'd, aw'll bet
Th' owd dame can distinctly remember it yet;
Just look heaw hoo's sittin' theer smilin'!   Bi th' mass!—
It's a bit ov a leetenin' up for th' owd lass.
But we'll leov her, or else ho'll be settin' her cap,
An' runnin' away wi' some other young chap;
We munno speak eawt abeawt some foalk so leawd,
Or they'll very soon get to' conceited an' preawd.

Well, there's two dear owd foalk aw've bin ax'd just to name,
Aw meon owd Dick Brierley, an' Ailse his good dame:
No deawt they're weel known to yo all abeawt here,
As their, manners are thowt rayther oddish an' queer.
We're towd 'at whenever they sit deawn to ate,
They allis contriven to do wi' one plate;
Well, this looks rayther childish, bo' let 'em a-be,
They'n nobbut one pot to wesh-up, do yo see.

Th' owd chap drives a cart, an' says, "Aw, gee, come up"
An' when he's bin tastin' o' summat to sup,
Th' owd brid's gradely merry, an' sings loike a lark;—
Bless yo'r loife, it's a treat to see him at his wark!
He's eawt i' o weathers, but, still, for o that,
It's bo' seldom yo'll see him abeawt in his hat;
An' it isn't 'at he has noan, as some foalks have said,
But becose he loikes th' air blowin' cool on his yead.

Still, tho' he's no need for his hat at his wurtch,
He dons it when goin' to Stubbins Vale Church;
For owd Dick goes to th' church neaw an' then, do yo know;
An' tho' he's noa idols he worships below—
Sich as wealthy employers, an' lordlin's o' th' sod,
He isn't witheawt reverence an' love for his God;
An' he's quite as sincere i' what little he does,
As some ov his nayburs 'at mak' so mich fuss.

Well, we'll leov owd Dick Brierley, an' turn to his woife,
Who, it seems, never wore a foine geawn in her loife;
But allis at parties hoo's seen to appear
In a plain printed bed-geawn, loike that hoo has here.
Neaw, owd Ailse is a good hond at talkin', aw'm towd;
Hoo met wi' a parson one day i' their fowd,
'At had gone wi' th' idea 'at he'd mend her a bit,
But he soon larned 'at preitchin' to her wouldn't fit.

"Whoa art theaw, doesta recon? theaw'rt donned very foine;
Art a parson or summat?   Theaw looks i' that loine;
Iv theaw art, let me tell thee theaw's no need to come,
For aw've just said mi prayers, an' eawr Dick's noan awhoam."
"My good woman," he said, as before her he stood,
"I have called here desiring to do you some good."
Theaw con ne'er convart me,' said owd Ailse, "go thi ways,
Or aw'll throw this burn-canful o' suds i' thi face!"

Well, we'll leov this strange couple, an' do th' thing 'at's reet:
That is—thank these good foalk 'at han gan us this treat.
There's Porritt, an' Ratcliffe, an' Maden we'll name;
An' other kind friends, who can equally claim
Eawr warm plaudits, for havin' done o' they wur able
Tort bringin' th' good things 'at we'n seen upo' th' table.
It's bo' seldom one looks at a bonnier seet
Nor these dear aged people afoor us to-neet!

God bless yo, owd foalk! thoose deep furrows declare,
'At yo'n had some hard crosses an' trials to bear;
Yo'll know what it is to ha' stood at th' bed-side
O' some favourite fleawers ere they'n wither'd an' died.
Yo'll remember that drawer wheer yo keep th' little shoon
At wur worn bi th' dear angels 'at's gone up aboon!
Well, come, dunno fret or repine o'er 'em here,
But get yorsel's ready to meet 'em up theer.

Dear owd friends, we respect, an' we honour yo, too;
After o, it's but little th' best on us can do.
Yo'r journey deawn here's gettin' close to an end,
But there's One up aboon 'at ull stond as yo'r friend.
Yo may go to Him neaw, tho' it's th' evenin' o' th' day;
Just yo try Him, owd friends—He'll noan send yo away;
An' when thoose frail bodies get knocked eawt o' tune,
Yo'r souls ull be baskin' i' bliss up aboon.

Well, neaw, mi dear friends, aw'm as set up as owt,
'At aw've getten to come to this party for nowt;
Aw live deawn at Blackpool, as some on yo know,
Wheer storm-music greets one, an' hurricanes blow;
An' often these een have beheld a grand seet,
But noa grander nor that 'at aw've witnessed to-neet;
An' o' one thing aw'm sure—aw shall never need rue,
At aw've bin to this party at Stubbins Vale Schoo'.



Ashton Binn.
Residence of Laycock's grandfather.



AW'VE just had a ramble to th' owd farmheawse,
    Wheer mi gronfeyther lived at so long;
So aw'll draw eawt a bit ov a sketch, which aw hope
    Will noather be tedious nor long.
I' th' furst place, aw feel very sorry to find
    'At th' place isn't same as it wur,
For th' di'mond-shaped windows have o been pood eawt,
    An' they've ta'en th' wooden latch off th' dur.

They've shifted that seot wheer mi gronfeyther sat,
    When at neets he read th' Owd Book:
An' aw couldn't find th' nail wheer he hung up his hat,
    An' th' pot-shelf wur gone eawt o' th' nook.
There's th' dog-kennel yonder, and th' hen-cote aw see,
    An' th' cloos-prop just stonds as it did;
There's a brid-cage hung up wheer mi gronfeyther's wur,
    But aw couldn't see owt ov a brid.

A rare fine owd fellow mi grondfeyther wur,
    Wi' a regular big Roman nose;
An' tho' nearly eighty, he're lusty an' hale,
    An' his cheeks wur as red as a rose.
There wur newt abeawt him 'at wur shabby or mean;
    As to sense, well, his brain-pon wur full.
He wur allis straightforward i' o 'at he did—
    An owd-fashioned Yorkshur John Bull.

He'd a farm 'at he leased, an' a nice little pond,
    Wheer we used to go fishin' for treawt;
An' aw haven't forgetten when th' hay-time coom reawnd,
    For we childer had mony a blow eawt.
An' when th' "heawsin'" wur done, eh, we had some rare fun,
    Wi' tipplin' an rowlin' on th' stack;
An' then mi owd gronfeyther 'd come wi' his pipe,
    An' carry us abeawt on his back,

When aw wur a lad abeawt thirteen year' owd,
    Aw used to have mony a good ride;
For mi gronfeyther kept a young horse or two then,
    An' a donkey, but th' poor thing died.
He'd a bit ov a garden, at th' backside o' th' heawse,
    Wheer eawr Bobby an' me used to ceawer,
Eatin' goosebris, an' curran's, an' rhubard, an' crabs;
    In fact, owt wur reet 'at wur seawer.

Neaw, mi gronfeyther, bless him! reet doated o' me;
    An' he'd tell me aw geet a fine lad;
An' he'd mony a time say—as aw've sat on his knee,—
    "Eh, bless thee! tha favours thi dad!"
Then he'd say to mi gronny, "Gie th' lad here some spice,"
    An', whenever hoo happened to bake,
He'd tell her to reach deawn a pot o' presarves,
    An' mak' me a nice presarve cake.

Well, he's long been gone; but a kinder owd mon
    Ne'er existed than Abram wur!
Th' last time aw wur o'er theer, an' saw him alive,
    He wur sittin' eawtside his dur.
He geet howd o' mi hond when we parted that day,
    An' aw think aw shall never forget
Heaw he looked i' mi face when aw're goin' away:
    It wur th' last time 'at ever we met!

A week or two after th' owd fellow 'd a stroke;
    An' fell off his cheer on to th' floor;
They lifted him up, an' they took him to bed,
    But he never wur gradely no moor.
Good-bye, dear owd gronfeyther! nob'dy i' th' world
    Could be fonder than aw wur o' thee;
An', if in th' future dear bonds are renewed,
    Tha'rt one 'at aw'm hopin' to see!




WELL, aw'm fain thi good friends here have gan thee this stick,
To help thee a bit on th' way here while wick.
It connot i' thy case be truthfully said,
At th' honour's kept back till th' poor author's gone dead.
Mon, these Lancashire foalk are a warm-hearted lot;
They only want ticklin' a bit i' th' reet spot,
An' tha's managed to do this job grandly, owd brid,—
Soa as noa other songster i' th' grove ever did.

So tha'rt seventy year' owd, friend, thi toppin's turned grey;
It's wi' thee as wi' me—gettin' latish i' th' day.
These cuts 'at we're weavin' will soon be wove eawt;
An', Edwin, they aren't quite faultless, aw deawt.
But whoa is there perfect, beawt blemish or spot?
One weaver i' th' world, Ned?   Aw rayther think not.
There'll be flaws feawnd i' th' pattern, an' faults among th' fleawers,
If their work's nobbut held up to th' leet same as eawrs.

Well, for mitch 'at aw've done, Waugh, aw have to thank thee;
When aw furst saw "Come Whoam to thi Childer an' Me,"
It worked on mi mind like a charm or a spell;
Th' result wur—aw started o' scribblin' misel'!
It's to thee 'at aw owe mi furst Lancashire lay;
It's for thee 'at aw'm croonin' this last one to-day;
But we're noan here to listen to owt abeawt me,
But to mak' thee a present, an' talk abeawt thee.

Tha'rt seventy year' owd, an' for th' hawve o' that time,
We've fairly been charmed wi' thi Lancashire rhyme.
Tha started wi' mendin' up th' fire wi' a cob,
An' puttin' some nice bacon collops on th' hob;
All' tha's kept goin' on till we'n roared at thi wit,
Or been melted to tears at some tenderish bit.
If we'n sixpence to spare, an' dull axes to grind,
Tha's gan us a hint wheer we're likely to find—

A soft-lookin' lad—very mitch like a foo'—
'At would rayther turn hondles nor go to a schoo'.
Still, aw think tha macks Enoch a trifle to' bad,
I' keepin' that sixpence he promised to th' lad;
An' it doesn't mend th' matter—at least to my mind—
Enoch givin' th' young urchin "a lifter behind."
After o, it's a sample o' th' world's cruel tricks;
Even poets must get fewer haupneys nor kicks.

Well, worthy owd songster, it's pleasin' to see
Heaw thi grateful admirers are honourin' thee.
Tha'rt sure ov a pension as long as tha'rt wick;
Th' other week tha'd a banquet; to-day tha's a stick;
But what are grand banquets, or purses o' gowd,
To a Lancashire poet 'at's seventy year' owd!
Mon, tha'd rayther walk eawt i' th' breet sunshine, an' sing,
Than be petted an' placed on a throne as a king!

We're honourin' thee neaw, while tha'rt livin', tha sees;
An' not keepin' back these good things till tha dees.
'At we love an' respect thee we want thee to know;
But heaw con we tell thee when sleepin' below!
Costly urns raised to worth may be ole reet enuff,
But to thoose 'at have left us it's useless puff.
An' it's seldom these matters get into one's yead,
Till th' scribbler's been hurried fro' th' warkheawse—dead!

But we're rayther moor fair to these wielders o' th' pen;
While we prize th' gowden eggs we tak' care o' th' hen.
We're preawd o' eawr bards here, an' th' bit 'at we give,—
While it softens their death pangs, it helps 'em to live.
There's no jealousy here among th' bards; oh, no;
An' there's no need there should be; there's reawm for us o.
On one point at least aw feel perfectly clear,
Tha'll play on th' furst fiddle so long as tha'rt here!

Aw'm content wi' a meaner place, somewheer at th' back;
Turnin' th' leovs o'er for th' players, or owt o' that mack.
Mon, aw shouldn't consider aw're stoopin' to' low
If aw pieced thee thi strings up, an' rosin'd thi bow.
It's respect for th' owd bard 'at's induced me to come
Fro' th' comforts an' joys o' mi sea-side whoam;
But aw'll risk gettin' cowd—ah, aw'll risk a damp bed,
To tak' part in a meetin' to honour thee, Ned!

Tha'rt seventy year' owd; may thi last days be th' best;
May th' owd brid long be spared in his snug, cosy nest!
Tha'd warbled thi notes, an' tha'd addled thi wage,—
Ere some o' us brids had been hatched i' th' cage;
An' we're feelin' to-day 'at it's time to begin
To do what we owt to have done long sin!
Heawever, we're glad 'at tha'rt lookin' so wick,
An' hope tha'll be spared to mak' use o' that stick.

When tha's that i' thi hond—as tha'rt trudgin' on th' way,
Tha'll think o' thi friends, an' this meetin' to-day;
An', noa deawt, tha'll have larned—fro' present we've browt,—
'At tha hasn't been livin' an' thinkin' for nowt;
But 'at th' country 'at's th' honour o' givin' thee birth
Has decided, tho' late, to acknowledge thi worth.
Perhaps we may venture to hope an' expect
'At tha'll kindly forgive us for past neglect.

Aw'm obliged to mi friends here for bein' so kind
As to gie me this chance to unburden mi mind;
As aw've hinted before, worthy friend, I for one,
Feel indebted to thee for a deol 'at aw've done,
Tha's lit up life's journey wi' mony a breet ray,
For which let me publickly thank thee to-day!
An' i' th' last words aw'll say ole will join me, aw'm sure,—
May God's blessin' rest on thi own silver yure!





IT'S but seldom one gets to these dooments;
    But aw find—when aw do get a chance—
Tho' so little, retirin' an' modest,
    Aw seem to be "spotted" at once.
To me yo'll be th' mooast on yo strangers,
    So aw might ha' slipp'd in unseen,
But there's one or two keen-seeted stagers
    Keep a sharpish look-eawt wi' their een.

There's eawr worthy owd President Milner—
    Beg pardon, sir, hope aw'm forgiven;
But aw really believe 'at he'd know me,
    If he happen'd to meet me i' heaven!
Of course he'd be struck wi' amazement,
    An' think aw wur eawt o' mi sphere,
But aw should be just as asteawnded
    An' stagger'd at seein' him theer.

Well, this is a joke, an' a bad un,
    An' aw'm freetened yo'll tak' it amiss,
To be drawn here fro' o' parts o' th' country,
    To hearken sich stuff as this.
An' gentlemen, to', men o' letters,
    White-choker'd men, trained for th' "tub,"
Cracked poets, an' college professors,
    An' ole members o' th' Literary Club.

Why, it's awful! an' comin' fro' Blackpool
    Yo'd hardly expect sich thrash,
Sich thowtless an' meanin'less twaddle,
    Sich a senseless an' tasteless hash.
So aw'll put a fresh cop i' mi shuttle,
    That is, if it's reet to yo;
An' aw'll tell yo a bit ov a secret,
    'At aw think yo owt to know.

As Alf. Tennyson's post is still vacant,
    An' aw'm weary o' ceawrin' bi' th' hob,
An' findin' mi brains gettin' reawsty,
    Aw'm determined to try for th' job.
So stond o' one side yo young rhymsters,
    "Nunquam," "Walt. Whitman, jun.," an' "Boggs;"
Clear away eawt o' th' field' an' be handy
    Or aw'll help yo a bit wi' mi clogs.

Not fit to be th' Laureate!   Who says so?
    Aw con fancy aw hear somb'dy yell,
"There's another chap slipp'd em' at Prestwich,
    An' a poet, 'at connot e'en spell."
What care I for their jeers an' fine larnin':
    Their A.S.S. or D.D.'s?
Is it likely 'at Tennyson's mantle
    Will fall on sich "cads" as these?

Not it; an' aw think Mr. Gladstone
    Will noan ha' mitch trouble to see,
'At there's only one chap in creation
    'At th' mantle 'll fit, an' that's me!
What's that? have aw had ony practice?
    Well, well, aw should think aw have that!
Have'nt aw penn'd "Mi Experience i' th' Warkheawse,"
    An' a lyric on th' "Death of a Cat?"

An' this isn't ole 'at aw con do;
    Aw've lots o' ideas i' mi knob,
Grand thowts 'at are ready for hatchin',
    Just suited for th' rhyme-makin' job.
Neaw, aw should'nt need mitch of a pension,
    Aw could manage to think a good think,
An' put my ideas on to papper,
    Witheawt oather 'bacco or drink.

Aw could write what aw knew to be wanted,
    Mak' mi rhymes oather merry or sad;
An' as to political matters,
    Aw could oather be Tory or Rad.
Neaw, aw'm noan very strong on religion—
    A failin' mi friends must ha' seen;
Aw'm deficient i' reverence for parsons,
    An' turnin' up th' white o' mi een.

Still, this should'nt go mitch against me,
    For dunnot aw every day see
Foalk 'at do sich like tricks to perfection,
    'At couldn't howd a candle to me!
If thoose i' high places were guilty
    O' panderin' to filth an' vice,
Aw could mak' 'em appear as pure angels,
    An' turn 'em eawt clean an' nice.

Well, isn't ole this i' mi favour?
    Need Gladstone to bother his brains—
As to who pipes th' best an' th' sweetest,
    An' turns eawt th' grandest strains?
If he'll send me a ticket for Lunnon,
    Aw'll go theer, an' get on th' scales,
An' he'll see 'ut aw'm weight for a Morris,
    Or owt they can find i' Wales.

Aw should like an engagement o' some mak',
    For mi brains are fast runnin' to waste,
An' this shop 'at neaw waits for a tenant,
    Is exactly the one to my taste.
Aw should never succeed as a lawyer;
    Mi ideas are to' strange for a "tub,"
So as th' rhyme mill's i' th' market, aw'll run it
    For ten "Bob" a week an' mi grub.

Aw may tell yo, bi th' way o' conclusion,
    'At it's said 'at aw'm th' favoured pet;—
'At th' other rhyme spinners are nowheer;
    But, of course, its noan sattled yet.
Well, aw'm pleased to be with yo this evenin';
    As yo know, its but seldom aw come;
But a chap 'at imagines he's poorly,
    Is best at his sea-side whoam.

Aw've oft felt ashamed o' mi absence,
    An' wish aw could mak' some amends
For what may appear as indifference,
    Or a slight upon you, dear friends.
As a club we have had eawr changes,
    We've experienced booath kisses an' kicks,
Sin' yo did me th' great honour aw'm preawd of,
    I' Eighteen Sixty-Six.

Death's robbed these Christmas parties;
    For some we were wont to greet
Wi' brotherly love an' affection
    Are sadly missed to-neet!
Thank God, we have still Ben Brierley;
    Like mysel', he's grey wi' age;
We're waitin' for th' curtain fallin',
    An' th' order to come off th' stage.

A few more brotherly greetin's,
    An' a few more peeps at th' sun,
Then life's excitin' battles
    Will oather be lost or won!




AW'M reet glad to be wi' yo this evenin';
    For nothin' soa peawerfully tends
To leeten an' sweeten life's journey
    As these meetin's o' dear owd friends.
For th' crosses an' th' cares ov a lifetime
    Soa harras an' worry a mon,
'At aw hardly need say it behoves him
    T' get from 'em as mitch as he con;—

Not bi wilfully shirkin' one's duties
    Or eawr lawful engagements to shun,—
But wi' mixin' one's pains up wi' pleasure,
    An' sweetenin' th' physic wi' fun.
Soa lay yo'rsel's eawt for enjoyment;
    Let noa sign o' sorrow be seen;
Noa mournin' man's many misfortunes,
    Or turnin' up th' white o' yo'r een.

True, there may be a time for reflection,
    For sadly bewailin' one's lot;
For balancin' gains against losses,—
    But certainly this isn't th' spot.
Soa, Frank, bring thi favourite fiddle,
    An' scrape eawt a bit ov a tune;
An', tho' th' wintry wind whistles wildly,
    We'll mack things look lively, an' soon!

Come, Burgess, thee square eawt thi pappers,
    An' prepare for a slashin' report,
For we're fairly on th' job, aw con tell thee;
    We're in for a neet o' good-sport.
Mon, there'll be a rare sale for th' Reporter;
    Soa mind 'at tha lays in enoo;
Foalks 'll want to scan o'er these proceedin's,
    To see who's been th' bigg'st foo!

We've come fro' ole parts o' th' creation;—
    Well,—aw mean that creation reawnd here;
Aw've come trailin' to Mossley fro' Blackpool,
    To read this stuff, an' drink smo'-beer!
Eawr worthy friend Bardsley's fro' Owdham,
    Wheer it's said they float Hencoats an' things;
Wheer they eat cheese an' "tommy" i' th' neet time,
    For th' poor, paltry "divi." it brings.

Well, then, we've eawr friend William Heap here;—
    Th' dear guest we've to honour to-neet.
As aw said th' other week on at Blackpool,—
    We're intendin' to do this job reet.
We've talent enuff i' this meetin'
    'At—when it gets fairly drawn eawt,
An' th' listeners are leawdly applaudin',
    They'll hear us i' Yorkshire, noa deawt.

Well, this is friend William Heap's birthday;—
    At onyrate—that's what aw'm towd;
An', tho' he may noan like to hear it,—
    He's neaw getten sixty year' owd.
'At he'll live to see mony moor birthdays,
    Is what we're ole hopin', aw'm sure.
A brid 'at can warble like he con,
    Should live to a hundred or moor.

Well, aw've been rayther selfish wi' th' footbo;
    'An it's time someb'dy else had a kick;
But aw'm gettin' to th' end o' mi tether,
    An' shapin' for cuttin' mi stick.
Aw'm freetened aw've wearied the spectators,
    Wi' th' very poor play aw've supplied;
For—tho' aw've noan given mony "corners,"
    Aw've often been playin' "off-side."

But this 'll do noan, friends, aw'm ramblin';
    An' must have a slate off mi thatch;
Aw'd getten th' idea aw're at Blackpool,
    Tackin' part in a footbo' match!
An', aw'm here, at a Literary gatherin',
    'Mong poets, an' writers for th' press;
An' th' Mayor o' Mossley here near me!
    Well, aw've getten misel' in a mess.

Shades o' Byron, Burns, Shelly, an' Wordsworth;
    Ah, an' th' muse o' th' reneawned "Poet Close,"
Come, lend a poor chap yo'r assistance
    An' pity his follies an' woes.
Lead me eawt into climes moor congenial,—
    Wheer th' surreawndin's moor pleasure can yield;
An' th' ideas are mitch purer an' grander
    Than we get in a footbo' field.

Ave bards, an' professors o' music,
    To be fed wi' sich fodder as this!
Are these to be th' heights they're to climb to,
    To reach intellectual bliss!
Well, friends, aw'm reet glad to be wi' yo,
    To join i' yo'r music an' song;
For, to my mind, i' meetin's o' this sort,
    We connot get very far wrong.

We shall ole be good lads here this evenin',
    As His Worship the Mayor will see;
That is, iv yo'll tak' my example,
    An' drink yarb beer, like me.
Well, thank yo for th' kind invitation
    Yo Mossley foalk thowt fit to send;
For aw'm sure it affords me great pleasure
    To join yo i' honourin' eawr friend.




WHEN axed bi eawr friend, Mr. Newsholme, to come here an' help yo a bit,
Instead ov a deawnright refusal, an' shewin' some wisdom an' wit,
I alleawed him to tak' an advantage—attack th' weakest part ov a mon;
So must neaw 'at aw've got i' this hobble, get eawt on't as weel as aw con.
But what con aw do for yo, bless yo! or heaw con aw help yo' along?
Yo'n surely no need for reciters, when yo'n get so mitch music and song.
If aw gave "Bowton's Yard," or th' "Owd Bellman," yo met tell me yo'd yeard it before;
An' it certainly wouldn't be pleasant to come an' be snubbed as a "bore."

Aw've travelled life's journey soa long, friends, that aw feel aw could do wi' a rest;
An' aw think it would sometimes be better iv yo left th' owd brid in his nest.
Aw've been toilin' i' my simple way, sir, for close upo' fifty long years;
Th' seed's sometimes been sown wi' rejoicin', at other times waytered wi' tears.
A writer stands mitch like a farmer; th' seed sown may be perfectly seawnd,
But to get a good crop we've to see to boath' th' state an' th' position o' th' greawnd.
Th' surreawndin's will have to be genial, on th' surface as weel as at th' root,
If th' sower's t' be paid for his labour, an' his heart to be gladdened wi' th' fruit.

We're here, at this Band of Hope meetin', wheer we're tryin' to sow good seed;
Is it likely to grow to perfection, or will it be choked wi' weed?
Will th' enemy come here i' th' neet time, an' secretly sow his tares?
Must these childer' be blasted an' blighted wi' legalised traps an' snares?
We shall never succeed i' eawr efforts while feightin' wi' Nature's laws;
We can never get rid ov effect till we set to an' stamp eawt th' cause!
Can we hope to keep th' little uns sober, while their parents are dabblin' i' th' cup?
If th' example they set brings their deawnfall, what's th' use o' us poikin' 'em up?

Here these childer are gethered areawnd us—are their lives to be blest or curst?
Are these plants 'at we value so dearly—'at we've carefully trained an' nurst—
Are these to be left uncared for, or heartlessly flung i' th' ditch?
Is it needful 'at these should be beggared to gie others a chance to get rich?
It's a terrible battle we're wagin'—a wearisome uphill feight!
A conflict 'tween Good an' Evil—a struggle 'tween Wrong an' Reight!
It's sad, an' one connot help feelin' a certain degree o' disgust,
When th' heartless an' Godless are chosen for places o' honour an' trust!

Need we wonder at moral reformers—seein' matters so mitch eawt o' square—
Should be tempted to strip off their armour, an' throw th' job up i' despair?
Havin' given up ease an' home-comforts, to labour for justice an' reet,
They're looked on as fools an' fanatics, an' shunned when they're met i' th' street.
Aw dar say yo'll some on yo wonder why aw've chosen soa mournful a theme,
An' perhaps yo'll be tempted to call it a purely poetical dream;
A dream! when one's brothers and sisters are fallin' on every hond!
An' slayers an' th' slain eawr own nayburs, browt up in a Christian lond.

A dream! when we know 'at eawr loved ones, 'at we're doin' eawr best to save,
May be heartlessly drawn into th' whirlpool—dragged deawn to a drunkard's grave !
Aw should like to pen summat moor cheerful, at a season when all should be glad,
But th' surreawndin's at present are gloomy, an' one connot help feelin' sad.
"There's a time," soa Solomon tells us, "for everything under the sun,"
A time for serious reflection, as weel as a time for fun;
While Rachael mourns loss of her childer, shall we be unfeelin as stone,
An' foldin' our arms unconcernedly, leave her to suffer alone?

Yes, we'd like to hear summat moor hopeful, an' iv we could have eawr own wills
We should all select joy before sorrow—tak' puddin's i' preference to pills.
Would a doctor, when called in to tackle some dangerous an deadly disease,
Gi'e th' patient a paper o' toffy, 'cause he knows ut that toffy may please?
Would treatment o' this kind be honest, or e'en his own interests advance?
Wouldn't he show more discretion an' wisdom by skilfully using his lance?
Can I, as a teacher o' morals, successfully tackle a wrong,
Or rouse up mi audience to duty wi' a humorous Lancashire song?

It's pleasant to come to these meetin's, wheer all seems so hopeful an' breet,
But what o' eawr brothers an' sisters, 'at are creawdin' reawnd th' vaults to-neet?
Must th' Spoiler go on desolatin', still wantonly crush these fleawers?
An' shall we stand by unconcerned, an' say it's noa business o' eawrs?
That poor tattered thing 'at's i' th' gutter, 'at they'n flung eawt o' th' "Piebald Ceaw,"
Wur once as pure an' as happy as these dear little childer are neaw!
What changes these angels to demons—fro' which thoose at love 'em must shrink?
It's th' curse 'at's induced me to scribble, an' scribble so savagely—drink!

Let th' childer go in for enjoyment, that only seems nat'ral an' reight;
But men should tak' lessons fro' th' "Redskins," an' show they're determined to feight;
Not wi' foes in imagination, conceived in a poet's brain,—
Mere fleshless phantoms o' fancy, 'at yo'r shots may strike i' vain,
But a foe ever lurkin' i' ambush, an' secretly tryin' to steal
Whatever is noblest an' fairest, or adds to this country's weal;
Yo'r minister here—Mr. Newsholme—invited me here to recite,
But yo see 'at aw've felt it mi duty to tak up mi pen an' write.

Noa deawt, when yo looked at yo'r programmes, yo'd think yo wur in for some fun,
But, instead o' mi frolicsome fiddle, yo'll see 'at aw've browt mi gun;
Still, aw haven't mitch taste for feightin', aw'd a theawsand times sooner play,
But there's sich a thing known as a conscience, 'at we're sometimes beawnd to obey.
When dram-shops are turned into churches, an' breweries made into schools;
When swords are converted to ploughshares, or harmless an' useful tools;
When toilers reap th' fruit o' their labours, an' plenty an' peace shall abeawnd;
If these glorious reforms should be won, before aw'm put deawn i' th' greawnd;—

Aw may look up summat moor tasty fro' eawt o' mi curious store,
Attempt once ogen to amuse yo, as aw've oftentimes done before;
But time an' tide wait for no man, an' age creeps on, as yo know;
While reforms an' praiseworthy movements, are nat'rally tardy an' slow.
But puttin' eawr shoulders to th' wheels, friends, we may help th' car o' progress along;
An' tho' not permitted to join in that grand, triumphant song;
These childer, neaw gathered areawnd us, whose cause we are pleadin' to night,
May join in this song o' thanksgivin', an' we may look deawn on th' sight!

Aw wish yo success at South Shore here; an' tho' neaw in a humble way,
Yo'r doin' good wark wi' these childer, 'at may cheer yo'r hearts some day;
These plants 'at yo'r carefully trainin', are certain to thrive an' bloom,
An' repay yo for ole yo'r labours, wi' grateful an' lastin' perfume;
These soldiers yo'r trainin' for th' army, 'at we look on wi' hope an' pride,
Will carry on th' battle for Temperance, when we shall be laid aside;
So aw wish yo success, Mr. Newsholme, an' thank yo for havin' seen fit,
To ax an owd Temperance worker to come here an' help yo a bit.




LIFE'S a wearisome journey to travel;
    A battle wi' sun an' wi' dust;
A terrible feight for existence,—
    A shelter, a drink, an' a crust!
It's a voyage across a wild ocean,
    Wheer treacherous winds oft blow;
An' wheer we may get to at th' finish,—
    Its certain we none of us know.

Its a race for a goal 'at we see not;
    A conflict wi' th' world an' sin;
An' th' greawnd bein' so hard t' get over,
    A deol ov us have to give in;—
A game we may ole tak' a part in;—
    Some failin' while others may score:—
A play, an' we're everyone actors,
    Till th' curtain falls deawn, an' ole's o'er.



Tune: "John Brown."

AW'VE noa guinea aw con spend,
Aw've a woife, but hoo's noa friend—
Bringin' hungry little childer
Into th' world, John Bull.
Aw've a cottage—not mi own—
It belongs to Smith, i' th' lone,
An' mi garden fleawers are droopin'
Same as me, John Bull.
Here aw'm sittin' at mi door,
Bearin' ills aw connot cure,
Keepin' th' "bumbs" fro' tackin' th' stuff
To pay mi "tithes," John Bull.
So if theaw mi cot should pass,
Tha'll get neither poipe nor glass,
But aw'll tell thee what aw love
An' what aw hate, John Bull.

Aw love thoose songs o' th' birds,
An' mi childer's winnin' words,
An' a woman, when hoo's talkin'
Common sense, John Bull.
But aw hate to yer their tongues
Allis pratin' o'er their wrongs,
When they owt to shut their meawths
An' fall asleep, John Bull!
Aw'm fond o' pratty fleawers,
Lover's walks an' shady beawers,
An' aw love a honest heart
'At's free fro' guile, John Bull.
But aw hate those cunnin' knaves
'At would mack their nayburs slaves;
Drones should never live o' th' honey
Th' bees have made, John Bull.

Neaw, aw love a good owd song,
One 'at raps at vice an' wrong,
An' raises hope i' th' breasts
O' th' good an' pure, John Bull;
But aw hate thoose tricks o' thine,
Steppin' o'er thi nayburs line,
Robbin' other people's gardens—
Oh, forshame! John Bull.
It there's one thing 'at aw hate,
It's thy cunnin' an' decate,—
Th' way tha'rt shufflin' wi' th' nayburs
Ole reawnd, John Bull.
Sich loike conduct pains mi mind,
An' mi heart may seem unkind,
But aw never can excuse
Sich faults as these, John Bull.

But, if tha'll mend thi ways,
Tha may yet see better days,
An' thi 'nayburs may respect thee
As i' th' past, John Bull.
Let ole envious feelin's sink;
Th' world's noan thine tha need'nt think;
Spend thi brass o' stuff 'at's useful
If tha'rt wise, John Bull.
An' don't be over nice,
Tack this bit o' good advice,—
Plain an' whoamly an' unpolish'd
Tho' it be, John Bull.
Aw shall keep mi conscience clear,
Tho' I live a theawsand year'.
An' get nowt to eat but porritch
Ole mi loife, John Bull!




GOOD-BYE a bit, John; we shall meet ogen soon;
    Aw shall noan be long after, tha'll see;
So aw want thee—when settled i' th' mansions aboon,
    To look eawt for a place for me.
Tha'll know what'll suit me—a bit ov a spot
    Aw con ceawer in, an' feel 'at it's mine;
Just a few simple fleawers reawnd a plain-lookin' cot,
    An' let it be nearish to thine.

As a naybur an' friend, John, aw feawnd tha wur true;
    When tha piped aw wur tempted to dance;
An' aw think we could manage Eternity throo'—
    That is—iv we'd nobbut th' chance.
Aw went to thi berrin'! an', dear-a-me, John,
    Sich a seet aw've but seldom seen!
There wur theawsands o' foalks stood watchin' it, mon,
    An' they'd th' mooast on 'em tears i' their een!

It's not merely th' public 'at's mournin' their loss,
    But it's thoose 'at's lost husband an' dad;
Th' poor mother wur fairly weighed deawn wi' her cross,
    An' th' childer wur just as bad.
Th' tall, wasted form 'at tha left behind,
    We reverently put into th' greawnd;
Feelin' certain at dear Mother Earth 'll be kind,
    An' thi sleep undisturbed an' seawnd.

This isn't to th' dead husk, but to th' livin' grain;
    Aw'm speakin' to John hissel!
To th' spirit, an' not to th' lifeless brain;
    To th' kernel, an' not to th' shell!
Aw'm aware these 'll strike some as strangish views;
    An' one's lots o' times yeard it said
'At nobody but idiots an' crazy foo's
    Would pretend to converse wi' th' dead.

Well, they may be reet, an' th' writer wrong;
    We're none of us feawnd o'er breet;
But these are mi thowts, an' they're put i' mi song,
    Becose aw believe 'em reet.
Shall aw get a response?   Well, it's hard to say;
    But supposin' aw don't get a word,—
Must silence be ta'en as a proof 'at mi lay
    Has noather been read or heard?

Well, good-bye a bit, John; we shall meet ogen soon,
    Wheer th' sun never hides his rays;
Wheer there's never a veil o'er th' face o' th' moon,
    Nor gloomy November days.
Wheer tha's cast anchor on th' gowden strand,
    There'll be no storms to brave;
No oars to grasp, no boats to be man'd,
    Nor shipwrecked foalk to save!




SING on, there's nobbut thee an' me;
We'll mack th' heawse ring, or else we'll see.
Thee sing thoose little songs o' thine,
As weel as t' con, an' aw'll sing mine.
We'll have a concert here to-neet,
Soa pipe thi notes eawt clear an' sweet:
Thee sing a stave or two for me,
An' then aw'll sing a bit for thee.
That's reet, goa on, mi little guest,
Theaw tries to do thi very best,
An' aw'll do th' same, then thee an' me
May get eawr names up yet tha'll see.
Why, th' childer's listenin' neaw at th' door;
There's creawds abeawt! there is, forshure.
Heaw pleosed they seem—dear little things!
Aw'd sooner sing for them than kings.




DEAR D., thy epistle has just come to hand;
An', lookin' it o'er, aw con weel understand
Heaw mi worthy owd friend would be taken a-back,
When he feawnd 'at his letter wur still i' th' rack.
But his version—'at "spirits" to Owdham might tramp,
To collar his letter' an' tak' off th' stamp,—
Or prevent this same missive fro' comin' to me,—
Well, this explanation aw connot just see.

My experience o' "spirits" would leod me to think
'At they'd ne'er visit Owdham—unless they're "i' drink."
Noa respectable ghost would go sully it' wings,
Or seek penny stamps among chimneys an' things.
No, mi worthy friend D., gie th' spirits fair play,
An' clear this mishap up i' some other way.
Mon, aw think yo' good Owdham foalk rayther to' cute,
To throw blame on a tune 'at belongs to th' flute.

Aw'm obliged for thoose kindly remarks 'at tha's made;
An', comin' fro' one like thee 'at's "i' th' trade,"
Aw'm sure tha's noa interest or wish to deceive;
Nor would tha pen deawn what tha doesn't believe.
An', mon, aw feel preawdish o' th' wark 'at aw've done,
Neaw aw know it's admired booath bi thee an' thi son.
As tha says—aw've long tried, i' mi own simple style,—
To help an' encourage th' poor childer o' toil.

An'—to use an owd Lancashire word—aw'm "fain"
To know 'at aw haven't been toilin' i' vain;
But 'at th' seed 'at aw've sown in a humble way—
Is springin' to life 'neath a friendly ray;
For opinions like thine—fro' ole prejudice freed—
Aw prize an' esteem very highly indeed;
An' must try—for a short time at least—not to "meawt,"
But push these owd quills o' mine still further eawt.

In a postscript to th' letter tha'rt pleased to state,
'At, iv aw'll observe, aw shall see fro' th' date,
'At thi letter wur written on March twenty-nine;
An' then tha assures mi i' th' very next line,—
After swearin' on schoo books' or owt i' thi way—
'At tha posted ole th' lot on th' 30th o' May.
Well, it certainly looks like a trick o' some ghost,—
'At aw've this some three weeks ere it's put into th' post!

But Owdham foalks do some queer things, we must own;
Still, this one is th' queerest 'at ever aw've known.
An' yet, after ole's said, aw've not the least deawt,
But mi friend D. will wriggle an' worm hissel' eawt.
If a "brave Owdham roughyead" should ever get fast,
Wi' owt 'at belongs oather th' present or th' past,—
Th' great Ruler o' ole things may fling off his robe,
An' say it's quite time he should wind up th' globe!

Aw'll send thee thi letter back, then tha may see
What it is 'at's so seriously botherin' me.
After ole, friend D., it could never be meant
'At aw should read letters before they're sent.
But, really, aw musn't be wastin' thi time,
Or expose mi own folly wi' foolish rhyme;
But dunno neglect puttin' letters i' th' post,
An' then throw th' blame on some wanderin' ghost.




MY compliments, dear brother John;
Tha'rt sixty-one to-day, owd mon;
Tha'rt nobbut wantin' nineteen moor.
To mak' thee ten past up—fourscoor.
An' aw keep followin' close behind;
An', same as thee—gone grey, aw find.
Sixty-one! what hopes an' fears!
What joys an' sorrows, smiles an' tears!

But aw've no wish at ole, mi lad,
To mak' a brother's birthday sad;
So here aw feel inclined to stop,
An' let this painful subject drop;
For life to us—like other foalks—
Has been mixed up wi' groans an' jokes;
An', while we've had eawr gloomy heawers,
We've had th' breet sun, an' th' bonny fleawers.

An' neaw we're gettin' on i' life,
An's past thro' mooast o' th' toil an' strife
'At meets us on eawr pathway here,—
Aw think there's nowt one needs to fear.
Why should we fret becose we soon
May have to meet eawr friends aboon?
It surely connot give us pain,
To meet these loved one's once again.

Well, thowts come slowly; an' tha'll see
Mi rhymes are rayther lawm—like me;
But then—tha's gan me little time,
To put a birthday wish i' rhyme.
Aw'll only say "Aw wish thee health;
A moderate share o' this world's wealth
Well,—not a lot o' useless stuff,—
Tha'll never need, but just enuff."




ATTENTION, please, an' look at me,
An' aw'll tell yo what aw loike to see;
Neaw aw loike to see foalk doin' weel—
Heaw glad it allis makes one feel!
For tho' aw'm gettin' grey an owd
Mi heart is noather hard nor cowd;
Aw feel as free an' strong on th' wing
As when aw furst began to sing.

Aw loike to ceawer mi deawn i' th' nook
An' read a bit fro' some noice book.
Good books are th' thowtful student's gowd—
They'll pleos an' bless booath young an' owd.
Aw loike to join i' th' evenin' song
When th' days are short an' th' neets are long;
Aw loike to mix wi' th' good an' true
To spend a pleasant heawr or two.

Aw loike to tak' a walk at neet,
When th' moon an' stars are shoinin' breet;
When th' fleawers have shut their een' an' said
"Good neet" to th' dew' an' gone to bed;
When youths are walkin' eawt i' th' grove
Wi' th' maidens 'at they fondly love,
An' many an artless lover's tale
Is borne along on th' evenin' gale.

Aw loike to yer a good owd song,
Uphowdin' th' right, deneawncin' wrong;—
A song 'at cheers one on his way
An' points him to a breeter day;—
A song o' gratitude to Heaven
For th' sheawers o' mercies freely given;—
A song o' thankfulness an' love
Fro' man below to God above.

Aw loike to see an aged pair
Ceawered side bi side wi' silvery hair,
Waitin' wi' anxious tearful eyes
A call to "mansions in the skies."
Aw loike to read o' noble deeds,
Wheer rich men see to poor men's needs,
An' love to stretch their hands to bless
An' comfort thoose i' deep distress.

Aw loike mi friends, mi country too,
An' everythin' 'at's good an' true;
Aw'm fond o' rhymes, an' neaw an' then
Aw loike to tak' mi humble pen
An' paint some thowt 'at pleoses me
For other curious minds to see;
An' tho' mi pictur's fail to please
Aw'm satisfied an' feel at ease.

Aw'm fond o' trees, aw'm fond o' fleawers,
Aw like to stroll thro' leafy beawers
Wheer th' merry song-birds meet to sing,
An' th' woods wi' th' echoes fairly ring;
When earth an' air unite to raise
One grand triumphant song o' praise,
While angel bands are hoverin' reawnd
As if entranced wi' th' joyful seawnd.

Aw loike to worship, not to scoff;
Aw loike mi foes—a long way off;
Mi cat an' dog aw loike to see;
Mi childer clamberin' reawnd mi knee;
Aw loike a bit o' good advice;
To kiss a pratty woman twice;
Aw've one loike moor, but shame to tell—
Well, this is it—aw loike misel'!




A chap up i' Yorkshur, a little bit soft,
'At had never bin eawt o' their heawse very oft,
Bethowt him one day he should loike a nice eawt;
For he said he wur weary o' idlin' abeawt.
Well, one Seturday mornin' he donn'd hissel' up,
Put some meat in his pocket, an' summat to sup,
Then shook honds wi' his mother, an' bid her good day,
An' said he wur goin' tort Manchester way.

When he geet eawt o' th' dur, an' wur goin' deawn th' fowd,
He met Robin Shay—a chap eighty year owd;
"Neah then, lad," said Robin, "an wheer art tha bean?
Tha looks as if somb'dy been strooakin' thee dean;
Well, well, arta bean up to Lunnon, or wheer?
Heigh! Ailse, my owd lass, does ta yer?   Sithee, here!
There's Tommy o' Dan's, he's for off, doesta see."
"Hello! Tommy, lad," said owd Ailse, "Is that thee!"

"Wheer arto for off this fawn mornin' soa suin?
Well, tha art some an' smart i' thi halliday shuin!"
"Ah, middlin'," said Tommy, "aw lawk to be fawn,
They're nawcer are these nor yond wooden uns o' mawn;
They'll be leeter to wolk in nor clogs, a fawn seet!
Besawds bein' a great deol yezzier to th' feet.
Aw'd noa bobbins to waund for mi uncle to-day,
Soa aw thowt aw should lawk to goa Manchester way."

"Nowt but reight, noather, Tom; nowt but reight," said th owd lass,
"But, lad, do thee mawnd an' ta care o' thi brass."
"Eh, aw ha nobbut fourpince," said Tom, "un it's here;
Aw shall ware it o' dinner, Ailse, when aw get theer."
"Reight ogain, lad," said Ailse, couldn't do better iv t' trawd;
They'll sure-ly noan steyl what tha has i' th' insawde.
But maw breod ull be burnin' o' th' bakstone, aw fear,
Soa guid day to thee lad; aw wish thee safe theer."

Well, Tommy seet off i' good matter again—
As he passed Slawwit church th' clock wur just strikin' ten;
He seed lots o' owd whistlin' shops upo' th' road,
But noather bein' hungry nor dry he ne'er co'd.
He geet into Manchester just abeawt dark,
When foalk wur o' hurryin' whoam fro' their wark;
They elbow'd an' push'd an' shoved Tommy abeawt,
An' trod on his toes, till he fairly roared eawt.

At length he turned off, an' slipp'd deawn a back street,
Wheer he poo'd off his shoon, an' he looked at his feet:
"By George," he exclaimed "but aw'm hurt, aw am sooa!
Plague on 'em! they'n vary near split maw gret tooa!"
But he'rn hungry, wur Tom, till he couldn't abide,
An' wrinkles began to appear in his hide;
An', altho' th' foalk had been rather rough wi' th' owd lad,
Aw believe 'at his stomach just pained him as bad.

Well, he went treawnsin' on at a very slow rate,
Lookin' eawt for a shop wheer they sowd summat t' ate;
At length, to his joy, he spied eawt across th' way
A sign, wi' these words on, "Fresh stew every day."
"Come," he said to hissel', "this is th' reet place for me;
An' aw'll have a blow yeat i' this hoyle, or aw'll see.
He went in, as he thowt, but soa bothered he wur
That he made a mistake an' went into th' next dur.

Neaw th' next dur there'n a barber sat mendin' a harp;
"Fourpenorth o' stew," Tommy bawled, "an' be sharp."
Th' barber, bein a bit deof, didn't yer Tommy sheawt,
Soa he geet a white cloth 'at wur lyin' abeawt,
An' went tort Tommy, an' put it him on,
An' wur fotchin' some lather he had in a pon,
When Tommy said, "Measter, neah, neah, are yo wauld?
Tay this back, an' bring th' stew, awst noan slatter me, chawld!"




WHEN one's friends are cast deawn wi' bereavements
        an' cares,
    An their hearts are nigh brocken wi' grief,
It's a difficult matter to know what to do,—
    To console 'em, or give 'em relief;
An' this is th' position aw'm in just neaw;
    For aw've friends 'at are mournin' their loss;
An' aw'm anxious to help 'em as mitch as aw con,
    While they're bearin' their heavy cross.

But when troubles o'er tak' us heaw helpless we feel,
    An' con do nowt but murmer an' groan,
If we try to help others, we stagger becose
    We're o'erburdened wi' cares o' eawr own.
Well, it's strange 'at a songster soa charmin' an' sweet
    Should be ta'en away from us so soon!
But, it may be, it's ole for th' best, an' let's hope
    'At he's singin' i' th' mansions aboon!

Yo'n been favoured at Failsworth wi' two men at least—
    'At have made life moor joyous an' breet:
Aw refer to th' esteemed an' reneawned "Ab o' th' Yate,"
    An' th' dear friend 'at's just gone eawt o' th' seet.
An', tho' yo sit wringin' yo'r honds i' dispair,
    Yo'n surely some cause to rejoice
At what Brierley's so cleverly done wi' his pen,
    An' James Whittaker's done wi' his voice.

No deawt yo'll feel preawd o' yo'r notable "Pow,"
    An' yo'r handicraft's oft been praised;
But there's one thing yo owt to feel preawder on still,—
    An' that is—th' grand men 'at yo'n raised!
It's likely enuff 'at yo'll murmur an' fret,
    For one on 'em's knocked eawt o' tune,
An' th' other one's toddlin slowly abeawt,
    An' must finish his journey soon!

Yo'll excuse me, aw hope, for intrudin' neaw,
    For aw couldn't help pennin' a line
To tell yo if sympathy meets yo'r case,
    Yo'r heartily welcome to mine.
An' it's ole aw con give, an' ole 'at yo need;
    For riches can never console
Wheer Death's been an' hurried some loved one away,
    Nor mack a poor brocken heart whole.




WELL, it's shameful to ha sich a salary as that!
It isn't enuff to provide for a cat.
Of course this affair is noa business o' mine,
If it wur aw should throw th' job up an' resign.
To' mitch, did yo say?   Why, surely, yo joke;
Twenty theawsand for mindin' five million o' foalk!
Just think o' th' big meetin's he has to disperse;
An' then look at th' numbers he has to coerce!

Don't yo see 'at o' this wage he'll never get rich?
True, some foalk may grumble, an' say it's to' mitch.
Neaw, aw once did some wark at a guinea a week,
But aw'd newt mitch to do but to carry up breek.
Why, aw'd sooner wheel turnips six days for a "bob,"
Than tackle that Irish Viceroyalty job.
Aw'm noan seekin' Government offices yet,
Nawe, aw'll stick to mi rhymin', iv that's o' they get.

Aw'm here, an' the devil won't get me to stur,
For that poor, paltry wage,—twenty theawsand a year!
Come whoam, for tha'rt th' worst abused mon upon earth,
An' we'll get thee moor pay, an' a easier berth.
Con t' carry a hod, or mix mortar an' stuff?
What! freeten'd tha hasn't had practice enuff!
Well, come on to Blackpool towards th' middle o' June,
An' we'll find thee a job here at polishin' shoon.

If tha'rt freeten'd that business may durty thi honds,
Tha con drive thi relations abeawt on th' sonds.
Con t' work in a soof?   Wheel a barrow o' muck?
Howd a pig while it's killed? or scrape it when stuck?
Oh,—heaw would ta like leetin' th' lamps up at neets?
Or bein' a policeman, an' guardin' th' streets?
There's lots o' nice jobs 'at would suit thee, noa deawt;—
Howd! aw've dropp'd on it neaw,—art a good "chucker eawt?"

Arta strongish i' th' arm, an' weakish i' th' yead?
Arta willin' to sacrifice manhood for bread?
Can ta freawn upo' honesty, smile upo' cant?
If tha con, come at once, for tha'rt th' chap 'at we want.
Th' best berth here i' winter, mon;—drink an' a "bob;"
An', when argument fails, tha'll be sure ov a job.
What's that 'at tha'rt botherin' abeawt—who's to pay?
Well, tha'll soon find that eawt iv tha comes this way.

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