Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Yorkshire Dialect Poems by F.W. Moorman

Part 3 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

I moight be wagoner or hoind within a year or two;
And thin thoo'll see, or I'm a cauf, I'll mak 'em ring choch bell,
And carry off et Martinmas yon prize-pie-makkin' gell.
And whin thoo's buyin' coats and beats(3) wi' wages thot ye take,
It's I'll be buyin' boxes for t' laatle bits o' cake;
And whin I've gar a missus ther'll be no more askin' why
She awlus gers oor biggest dish for pudden and for pie.

1. Good. 2. Third lad on the farm. 3. Boots.

I's Gotten t' Bliss (1914)

George H. Cowling

I's gotten t' bliss o' moonten-tops to-neet,
Thof I's i' bondage noo, an' blinnd an' deeaf.
Brethren, I's stoun(1)! an' fand it varry sweet,
Sea strike my neame off, if't be your belief
I's slidin' back.
Last neet, as I were shoggin'(2) on up t' street,
I acted t' thief.

Ye think I's hardened. Ay! I see ye lewvk.
I stell't,(3) it's true; bud, brethren, I'll repay.
I'll pay back ten-foad iverything I tewk,
An' folks may say whate'er they like to say.
It were a kiss,
An' t' lass has promised iv oar ingle-newk
To neame t' day.

1. Stolen. 2. Jogging 3. Stole.

A Natterin' Wife

George H. Cowling

The parson, the squire an' the divil
Are troubles at trouble this life,
Bud each on em's dacent an' civil
Compared wi' a natterin'(1) wife.

A wife at mun argie an' natter,
She maks a man's mortal life hell.
An' that's t' gospel-truth o' t' matter,
I knaws, 'cause I's got yan misel.

1. Nagging.

O! What do ye Wesh i' the Beck

George H. Cowling

"O! What do ye wesh i' the beck, awd wench?
Is it watter ye lack at heame?"
It's nobbut a murderer's shrood, young man,
A shrood for to cover his weam.(1)

"O! what do ye cut i' the slack, awd hag?
Is it fencin' ye lack for your beas'(2)?"
It's nobbut a murderer's coffin, sir,
A coffin to felt(3) his feace."

"O! what do ye greaye(4) at the crossroads, witch?
Is it roots ye lack for your swine?"
"It's nobbut a murderer's grave, fair sir,
A grave for to bury him fine."

"An' whea be-owes(5) coffin an' shrood, foul witch?
An' wheas is the grave i' the grass?"
"This spell I hae woven for thee, dear hairt,
Coom, kill me, an' bring it to pass."

1. Belly. 2. Beasts, cattle.. 3. Hide.
4. Dig 5. Owns,

Part II

Traditional Poems

Cleveland Lyke-wake Dirge(1)

This ya neet, this ya neet,
Ivvery neet an' all;
Fire an' fleet(2) an' can'le leet,
An' Christ tak up thy saul.

When thoo frae hence away art passed(3)
Ivvery neet an' all;
To Whinny-moor thoo cooms at last,
An' Christ tak up thy saul.

If ivver thoo gav owther hosen or shoon,
Ivvery neet an' all;
Clap thee doon an' put 'em on,
An' Christ tak up thy saul.

Bud if hosen or shoon thoo nivver gav nean,(4)
Ivvery neet an' all;
T' whinnies 'll prick thee sair to t' bean,(5)
An' Christ tak up thy saul.

Frae Whinny-moor when(6) thoo mayst pass,
Ivvery neet an' all;
To t' Brig o' Dreead thoo'll coom at last,
An' Christ tak up thy saul.

If ivver thoo gav o' thy siller an' gowd,
Ivvery neet an' all;
At t' Brig o' Dreead thoo'll finnd foothod,
An' Christ tak up thy saul.

Bud if siller an' gowd thoo nivver gav nean,
Ivvery neet an' all;
Thoo'll doan, doon tum'le towards Hell fleames,
An' Christ tak up thy saul.

Frae t' Brig o' Dreead when thoo mayst pass,
Ivvery neet an' all;
To t' fleames o' Hell thoo'll coom at last,
An' Christ tak up thy saul.

If ivver thoo gav owther bite or sup,
Ivvery neet an' all;
T' fleames 'll nivver catch thee up,
An' Christ tak up thy saul.

Bud if bite or sup thoo nivver gav nean,
Ivvery neet an' all;
T' fleames 'll bon(7) thee sair to t' bean,
An' Christ tak up thy saul.

1. The text of this version of the "Lyke-wake Dirge" follows, with slight
variations, that found in Mr. Richard Blakeborough's Wit, Character,
Folklore, and Customs of the North Riding (p. 123), where the following
account is given: "I cannot say when or where the Lyke Walke dirge was
sung for the last time in the North Riding, but I remember once talking
to an old chap who remembered it being sung over the corpse of a distant
relation of his, a native of Kildale. This would be about 1800, and he
told me that Lyke-wakes were of rare occurrence then, and only heard of
in out-of-the-way places. ... There are other versions of the song; the
one here given is as it was dictated to me. There is another version in
the North Riding which seems to have been written according to the tenets
of Rome; at least I imagine so, as purgatory takes the place of hellish
flames, as given above." In the Appendix to this volume will be found
the other version with the introduction of purgatory to which Mr.
Blakeborough refers. I have taken it from Sir Walter Scott's Border
Minstrelsy (ed. Henderson, vol. ii. pp. 170-2), but it also finds a
place in John Aubrey's Remains of Gentilisme and Judaisme (1686-7),
preserved among the Lansdowne MSS. in the British Museum. Aubrey
prefixes the following note to his version of the dirge: The beliefe in
Yorkeshire was amongst the vulgar (perhaps is in part still) that after
the person's death the soule went over Whinny-moore, and till about
1616-24 at the funerale a woman came (like a Praefica) and sang the
following song." Further information about this interesting dirge and
its parallels in other literatures will be found in Henderson's edition
of the Border Minstrelsy, p. 163) and in J. C. Atkinson's Glosary of the
Cleveland Dialect, p. 595.

Cleveland Lyke-wake Dirge

Sir Walter Scott's version

>From Appendix I of 1st Edition.

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle;
Fire and sleete and candle lighte,
And Christe receive thye saule.

When thou from hence away are paste,
Every nighte and alle;
To Whinny-muir thou comest at laste;
And Christe receive thye saule.

If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon,
Every nighte and alle;
Sit thee down, and put them on;
And Christe receive thye saule.

If hosen and shoon thou ne'er gavest nane,
Every nighte and alle;
The whinnes shall pricke thee to the bare bane,
And Christe receive thye saule.

>From Whinny-muir when thou mayst passe,
Every nighte and alle ;
To Brigg o' Dread thou comest at laste,
And Christe receive thye saul

(A stanza wanting)

>From Brigg o' Dread when thou mayst passe,
Every nighte and alle;
To purgatory fire thou comest at laste;
And Christ receive thye saule.

If ever thou gavest meat or drinke,
Every nighte and alle;
The fire shall never make thee shrinke;
And Christ receive thye saule.

If meate or drinke thou never gavest nane,
Every nighte and alle;
The fire will burn thee to the bare bane;
And Christe receive thye saule.

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle;
Fire and sleete, and candle lighte,
And Christe receive thye saule.

A Dree Neet(1)


'T Were a dree(2) neet, a dree neet,
as t' squire's end drew nigh,
A dree neet, a dree neet,
to watch, an pray, an' sigh.

When t' streeam runs dry, an' t' deead leaves fall,
an' t' ripe ear bends its heead,
An' t' blood wi' lithin'(3), seems fair clogg'd,
yan kens yan's neam'd wi' t' deead.

When t' een grows dim, an' folk draw nigh
frae t' other saade o' t' grave,
It's late to square up awd accoonts
a gannin' sowl to save.

T' priest may coom, an' t' priest may gan,
his weel-worn tale to chant,
When t' deeath-smear clems a wrinkled broo,
sike disn't fet yan's want.(4)

Nea book, nea can'le, bell, nor mass,
nea priest iv onny lan',
When t' dree neet cooms, can patch a sowl,
or t' totterin' mak to stan'.

. . . . .

'T were a dree neet, a dree neet,
for a sowl to gan away,
A dree neet, a dree neet,
bud a gannin' sowl can't stay.

An' t' winner shuts(5) they rattled sair,
an' t' mad wild wind did shill,
An' t' Gabriel ratchets(6) yelp'd aboon,
a gannin' sowl to chill.

'T were a dree neet, a dree neet,
for deeath to don his cowl,
To staup(7) abroad wi' whimly(8) treead,
to claim a gannin' sowl.

Bud laal(9) deeath recks hoo dree t' neet be,
or hoo a sowl may pray,
When t' sand runs oot, his sickle reaps;
a gannin' sowl can't stay.

'T were a dree neet, a dree neet,
ower Whinny-moor to trake,(10)
Wi' shoonless feet, ower flinty steanes,
thruf monny a thorny brake.

A dree neet, a dree neet,
wi' nowt neaways to mark
T' gainest trod(11) to t' Brig o' Deead;
a lane lost sowl i' t' dark.

A dree neet, a dree neet,
at t' brig foot theer to meet
Laal sowls at(12) he were t' father on,
wi' nea good-deame i' seet.

At t' altar steps he niver steead,
thof monny a voo he made,
Noo t' debt he awes to monny a lass
at t' brig foot mun be paid.

They face him noo wiv other deeds,
like black spots on a sheet,
They noo unscape,(13) they egg him on,
on t' brig his doom to meet.

Nea doves has sattled on his sill,
bud a flittermoose(14) that neet
Cam thrice taames thruf his casement,
an' flacker'd roond his feet.

An' thrice taames did a raven croak,
an' t' seame-like thrice cam t' hoot
Frae t' ullets' tree; doon chimleys three
there cam a shrood o' soot.

An' roond t' can'le twea taames there cam
a dark-wing'd moth to t' leet,
Bud t' thod(15), it swirl'd reet into t' fleame,
wheer gans his sowl this neet.

'T were a dree neet, a dree neet,
for yan to late(16) to pray,
A dree neet, a dree neet,
bud a gannin' sowl can't stay.

. . . . .

1, From R. Blakeborough's "Old Songs of the Dales," appended
to his T' Hunt o' Yatton Brigg, p. 37, second edition.
2. Gloomy. 3. Thickening.
4. The literal meaning of this line is, When the death-salve bedaubs
a wrinkled brow, rites such as these do not fetch (i.e. supply)
one's want. The reference is to extreme unction.
5. Window shutters. 6. The hounds of death. 7. Stalk. 8. Stealthy.
9. Little. 10. Wander. 11. Shortest path. 12. That.
13. Stir up memories. 14. Bat. 15. Third. 16. Attempt.

The Bridal Bands


>From R. Blakeborough's Wit, Character, Folklore,
and Customs of the North Riding, p. 97.

Blushing, theer oor Peggy sits,
Stitchin', faane stitchin',
Love-knots roond her braadal bands,
Witchin', bewitchin'.

T' braade's maids all mun dea a stitch,
Stitchin', faane stitchin',
An' they mun binnd it roond her leg,
Witchin', bewitchin'.

Bud some bauf(1) swain at's soond o' puff,
Stitchin', faane stitchin',
Will claim his reet to tak it off,
Witchin', bewitchin'.

An' he aroond his awn love's leg,
Stitchin', faane stitchin',
Will lap(2) it roond to binnd his love,
Witchin', bewitchin'.

Whal she, sweet maid, 'll wear his troth,
Stitchin', faane stitchin',
Maanding each taame she taks it off,
Witchin', bewitchin',

That day when she will hae to wear,
Stitchin', faane stitchin',
Nut yan, bud twea, a braadal pair,
Witchin', bewitchin'.

Oh! happy day, when she sal stitch,
Stitchin', faane stitchin',
Her braadal bands, the wearin' which
Maks maids bewitchin'.

1 Sturdy. 2. Wrap.

The Bridal Garter(1)

A Catch


Here's health to t' lass whea donn'd this band
To grace her leg,
An' ivvery garter'd braade i' t' land:
Sea sip it, an' tip it, bud tip it doon your wizan.(2)

Aroond her leg it has been bun',
I wish I'd bun' it.
A trimmer limb could nut be fun':
Sea sip it, an' tip it, bud tip it doon your wizan.

May ivvery yan at lifts his glass
To this faane band
Uphod(3) he gans wi' t' best-like lass:
Sae sip it, an' tip it, bud tip it doon your wizan.

Frae wrist to wrist this band we pass,
As han' clasps han';
I' turn we through it draw each glass:
Sea sip it, an' tip it, bud tip it doon your wizan.

An' here's tiv her at fast(4) did weer
A braadal band
Bun' roond her leg; gie her a cheer:
Sea sip it, an' tip it, bud tip it doon your wizan.

An' here's to Venus; let us beg
A boon at she
Will gie each braade a pattern leg:
Sea sip it, an' tip it, bud tip it do on your wizan.

1 From Mr. Richard Blakeborough's "Old Songs of the Dales,"
appended to his T' Hunt o' Yatton Brigg, p. 57, 2nd edition..
2 Throat. 3 Uphold, maintain. 4 First.

Nance and Tom


>From Mr. R. Blakeborough's "Old Songs of the Dales,"
appended to his T' Hunt o' Yatton Brigg, p. 44, 2nd edition.

I' t' merry taame o' harvestin'
Lang sen,(1) aye well a day!
Oar Nancy, t' bonniest lass i' t' field
Had varra laal to say.
An' Tom whea follow'd, follow'd her,
An' neigh as dumb were he,
An' thof he wark'd some wiv his hands
He harder wark'd his ee.

For Nan were buxom, Nan were fair,
Her lilt were leet an' free;
An' Tom could hardlins hod(2) his wits,
He couldn't hod his ee
Frae Nancy's face; an' her breet smaale
Made Tom's heart lowp(3) an' thump;
Whal Nancy awn'd t' fost kiss he gav,
Her stays mun git a bump

Bud o' ya neet, Tom set her yam,
" Noo, Nance,"tell'd he," I've gitten
A cauvin' coo, an' twea fat pigs;
Wi' thy fair charms I'm smitten.
Thoo knaws I have a theak,(4) my lass,
An' gear, baith gert an' small,
I've fotty pund ligg'd by at yam,
Tak me, lass, tak it all."

Nance hing'd her heead an' dropp'd her een,
An' then she sighed, "Ah, dear!
Noo hod thy whisht,(5) thoo's tell'd t' same tale
To monny a maid, I fear."
Bud Tom just bowdly sleev'd(6) her waist
An chuck'd her unner t' chin.
"O' Sunday neet," said he, " I'll wait
To hug(7) thy milk-skeel(8) in.

(A verse is missing)

She bun' aboot her matchless cauf
Four cletchin' streas,(9) did Nan,
Twea wheaten an' twea oaten streas,
Bud niver tell'd her man.
She platted 'em when t' harvest mean
Her colour'd cheek made pale,
For nea lass plats her band for bairns
And then blirts(10) out her tale.

An' t' mean for sham' ahint a clood
Her smaalin' feace did hide;
Sea nea hedge-skulker gat a peep
At Nan's leg when 't were tied.
An' nean i' t' village would have knawn,
At roond her leg, like thack,(11)
She'd bun' a band to gie her bairns,
Bud she tummel'd offen(12) t' stack,

An' deaz'd she ligg'd, her shapely limb
Laid oot for all to see;
An' roond her leg a platted band
Were bun' belaw her knee.
Then up she sprang, an' laughin' said,
"Noo, Tom warn't here to see;
An' nean can say I's scrawmy(13) cauf'd,
An' t' band still guards my knee."

1. Long ago. 2 .Hold. 3, Leap. 4. Thatched roof.
5. Hold thy tongue. 6. Encircled. 7. Carry.
8. Milk-pail. 9. Thatching straws. 10. Blurts.
11. Thatch. 12. Off. 13. Unshapely.

The Witch's Curse(1)


Fire coom,
Fire gan,
Curlin' smeak
Keep oot o' t' pan.
Ther's a tead(2) i' t' fire, a frog on t' hob,
Here's t' heart frev a crimson ask(3);
Here's a teath fra t' heead
O' yan at's deead,
At niver gat thruf his task.
Here's prick'd i' blood a maiden's prayer,
At t' ee o' man maunt(4) see;
It's prick'd upon a yet warm mask,(5)
An' lapp'd(6) aboot a breet green ask,
An' it's all fer him an' thee.
It boils,
Thoo'll drink;
He'll speak,
Thoo'll think:
It boils,
Thoo'll see;
He'll speak,
Thoo'll dee.

1 From R. Blakeborough's T' Hunt o' Yatton Brigg, p. 12; see
also the same author's Yorkshire Wit, Character, Folklore, and
Customs, p. 169.
2. Toad. 3. Newt. 4. May not. 5, Brew. 6. Wrapped.

Ridin' t' Stang(1)

(Grassington Version)


Hey dilly, how dilly, hey dilly, dang!
It's nayther for thy part, nor my part,
That I ride the stang.
But it's for Jack Solomon,
His wife he did bang.
He bang'd her, he bang'd her,
He bang'd her indeed,
He bang'd t' poor woman
Tho' shoo stood him no need.
He nayther took stick, stain, wire, nor stower,(2)
But he up wi' a besom an' knock'd her ower.
So all ye good neighbours who live i' this raw,
I pray ye tak warnin', for this is our law.
An' all ye cross husbands
Who do your wives bang,
We'll blow for ye t' horn ,
An' ride for ye t' stang.
Hip, hip, hip, hurrah!

1 From B. J. Harker's Rambles in Upper Wharfedale. Other
versions, more or less similar to the above, are to be found in R.
Blakeborough's Wit, Folklore, and Customs of the North Riding, and
J. Nicholson's Folk Speech of the East Riding. In the Yorkshire
Dialect Society's Transactions, vol. iii., part xvi., will be found a
racy account, in the Beverley dialect, of the custom of "ridin' t'

2. Pole.

Elphi Bandy-legs(1)


Elphi bandy-legs,
Bent, an' wide apart,
Nea yan i' this deale
Awns a kinder heart.
Elphi, great-heead,
Greatest iver seen,
Nea yan i' this deale
Awns a breeter een.
Elphi, little chap,
Thof he war so small,
War big wi' deeds o' kindness,
Drink tiv him yan an' all.
Him at fails to drain dry,
Be it mug or glass,
Binnot woth a pescod,
Nor a buss(3) frae onny lass.

1. Written in an old cook-book and signed "J. L. 1699";
from Gordon Home's 'The Evolution of an English Town, p208.

2. Is not worth. 3. Kiss

Singing Games



Stepping up the green grass
Thus and thus and thus;
Will you let one of your fair maids
Come and play with us.

We will give you pots and pans,
We will give you brass;
We will give you anything
For a pretty lass.

We won't take your pots and pans,
We won't take your brass,
We won't take your "anything
For a pretty lass."

We will give you gold and silver,
We will give you pearl;
We will give you anything
For a pretty girl.

Come, my dearest Mary,
Come and play with us;
You shall have a young man
Born for your sake.
And the bells shall ring,
And the cats shall sing,
And we'll all clap hands together.


Sally made a pudden,
Shoo made it ower sweet;
Shoo dursn't stick a knife in 't,
Till Jack cam home at neet.

John, wilta have a bit like?
Don't say nay,
For last Monday mornin'
Was aar weddin'-day.


Sally Water, Sally Water,
Come sprinkle your can,
Why do you lie mournin'
All for a young man?
Come, choose o' the wisest,
Come, choose o' the best,
Come, choose o' the young men
The one you love best.


Diller a dollar,
A ten o' clock scholar,
What maks you coom sae soon?
You used to coom at ten o'clock,
Bud noo you coom at noon.

1. From S. O. Addy, A Sheffield Glossary, p. 239;
current in other parts of England.

Hagmana Song(1)

Fragment of the Hagmana Song!

(As sung at Richmond, Yorkshire, on the eve of the
New Year, by the' Corporation Pinder.)

To-night it is the New-year's night, to-morrow is the day,"
And we are come for our right, and for our ray,(2)
As we used to do in old King Henry's day.
Sing', fellows, sing, Hagman-heigh.

If you go to the bacon-flick, cut me a good bit;
Cut, cut and low, beware of your maw;
Cut, cut and round, beware of your thumb,
That me and my merry men may have some.
Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman-heigh.

If you go to the Black-ark, bring me ten mark;
Ten mark, ten pound, throw it down upon the ground,
That me and my merry men may have some.
Sing, fellows, sing, Hagman-heigh.

1. Hagmena, or Hogmanay, is a north-country name for New Year's
eve; the name is also applied to the offering for which children go
round and beg on that evening.
2. A Portuguese coin of emall value.

Round the Year

New Year's Day

Lucky-bird, lucky-bird, chuck, chuck, chuck!
Maister an' mistress, it's time to git up.
If you don't git up, you'll have nea luck;
Lucky- bird, lucky-bird, chuck, chuck, chuck!


On Can'lemas, a February day,
Throw can'le an' can'lestick away.

A Can'lemas crack
Lays mony a sailor on his back.

If Can'lemas be lound(1) an' fair,
Ya hauf o' t' winter's to coom an' mair.
If Can'lemas day be murk an' foul,
Ya hauf o' t' winter's gean at Yule.

1. Calm.

February Fill-Dike

February fill-dyke,
Fill it wi' eyther black or white.
March muck it oot,
Wi' a besom an' a cloot.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday, palm away;
Next Sunday's Easter-day.

Good Friday

On Good Friday rist thy pleaf,(1)
Start nowt, end nowt, that's eneaf.

Lang Friday's niver dean,
Sea lig i' bed whal Setterday nean.
1. Rest thy plough.

Royal Oak Day

It's Royal Oak Day,
T' twenty-naanth o' May.
An' if ye dean't gie us holiday,
We'll all run away.

Harvest Home and the Mell-Sheaf(1)

1. The " mell " is the last sheaf of corn left in the field
when the harvest is gathered in.

We have her, we have her,
A coo iv a tether.
At oor toon-end.
A yowe(1) an' a lamb,
A pot an' a pan.
May we git seafe in
Wiv oor harvest-yam,
Wiv a sup o' good yal,
An' some ha'pence to spend.

3. Ewe.

Here we coom at oor toon-end,
A pint o' yal an' a croon to spend.
Here we coom as tite as nip(1)
An' niver flang ower(2) but yance iv a grip.(3)

1. Very quickly. 2. Tumbled. 3. Ditch.

Weel bun' an' better shorn
Is Mr. Readheead's corn.
We have her, we have her,
As fast as a feather.
Hip, hip, hurrah!
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

John Metcalfe has gitten all shorn an' mawn,
All but a few standards an' a bit o' lowse corn.
We have her, we have her,
Fast i' a tether
Coom help us to hod her.
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

Blest be t' day that Christ was born,
For we've getten t' mell o' t' farmer's corn.
It's weel bun', but better shorn.
Mell! Shout, lads, Mell!

Guy Fawkes Day

A Stick and a stake,
For King James's sake.
Please give us a coil,(1) a coil.
1. Coal.

Awd Grimey sits upon yon hill,
As black as onny awd craw.
He's gitten on his lang grey coat
Wi' buttons doon afoor.
He's gitten on his lang grey coat
Wi' buttons doon afoor.


I wish you a merry Kessenmas an' a happy New Year,
A pokeful o' money an' a cellar-full o' beer.
A good fat pig an' a new-cauven coo;
Good maisther an' misthress, hoo do you do?

Cleveland Christmas Song(1)

God rist you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothin' you dismay,
Remember Christ oor Saviour
Was born o' Kessmas day,
To seave wer sowls fra Sattan's power;
Lang taam we've gean astray.
This brings tidin's o' comfort an' joy.

Noo stright they went to Bethlehem,
Wheer oor sweet Saviour lay;
They fan' him iv a manger,
Wheer oxen fed on hay,
To seave wer sowls fra Sattan's power;
Lang taam we've gean astray.
This brings tidin's o' comfort an' joy.

God bliss t' maister o' this hoose,
An' t' mistress also,
An' all your laatle childeren
That roond your teable go;
An' all your kith an' kindered,
That dwell beath far an' near;
An' I wish you a Merry Kessamas
An' a Happy New Year.

1. From Mrs. Tweddell's Rhymes and Sketches, p. 14.

A Christmas Wassail(1)

Here we coom a-wessellin(2)
Among the leaves so green,
An' here we coom a-wanderin'
So fair as to be seen.

An' to your' wessel
An' to jolly wessel,
Love an' joy be to you
An' to your wessel-tree.

The wessel-bob(3) is made
O' rosemary tree,
An' so is your beer
O' the best barley.
An' to your wessel, etc.

Weare not beggars' childeren
That begs from door to door,
But we are neighbours' childeren
That has been here before.
An' to your wessel, etc.

We have got a little purse
Made i' ratchin(4) leather skin,
An' we want a little money
To line it well within.
An' to your wessel, etc.

Bring us out your table
An' spread it wi' a cloth;
Bring us out your mouldy cheese
Likewise your Christmas loaf.
An' to your wessel, etc.

God bless the master o' this house,
Likewise the mistress too;
An' all the little childeren
That round the table go.
An' to your wessel, etc.

Good master an' good' misteress,
While you're sittin' by the fire
Pray, think of us poor childeren
That's wanderin' i' the mire.
An' to your wessel, etc.

1. From Easther and Lees, Almondbury and Huddersfield Glossary
(English Dialect Society Publications, vol. 39, pp. xvii.-xviii).
2. Wassailing. 3. Wassail-bough. 4. Urchin, hedgehog.

Sheffield Mumming Song(1)

Come all ye jolly mummers
That mum in Christmas time.
Come join with us in chorus
Come join with us in rhyme.
And a-mumming we will go, we'll go,
And a-mumming we will go ;
With a white cockade in all our hats,
We'll go to t' gallant show.

It's of St. George's valour
So loudly let us sing;
An honour to his country
And a credit to his King.
And a-mumming we will go, we'll go,
And a-mumming we will go ;
We'll face all sorts of weather
Both rain, cold, wet, and snow.

It's of the King of Egypt,
That came to seek his son;
It's of the King of Egypt,
That made his sword so wan.
And a-mumming, etc.

It's of the black Morocco dog
That fought the fiery battle;
It's of the black Morocco dog
That made his sword to rattle.
And a-mumming, etc.

1 From S. O. Addy, Sheffield Glossary (English Dialect Society
Publications, vol. xxii. p. 153). The song is sung at Christmas time
in the villages about Sheffield at the conclusion of the folkplay,
"The Peace Egg." See S. O. Addy, Sheffield Glossary (English
Dialect Society), p. 153.

Charms, "Nominies," and Popular Rhymes


Wilful weaste maks weasome want,
An' you may live to say:
I wish I had that sharve(1) o' breead
That yance I flang away.

1. Crust

A rollin' stone gethers no moss,
A ram'lin' lad saves no brass;
A whistlin' lass an' a crowin' hen
Will fotch t' devil oot o' his den.

Than awn a crawin' hen,
I seaner wad t' awd divil meet,
Hickity O, pickity O, pompolorum jig!
Or breed a whistlin' lass,
I seaner wad t' awd divil treat,
Hickity O, pickity O, pompolorum jig!

Nowt bud ill-luck 'll fester where
There craws an' whistles sike(1) a pair;
May hens an' women breed nea mair.
Pompolorum jig.

1. Such.

Meeat maks,
An' clease shaps,
But that is nut t' man;
For bonnie is that bonnie diz,
Deny it if you can.

The Miller's Thumb

Miller, miller, mooter-poke,
Teak a laid an' stale a stroke.(2)

2. Took a load of corn and stole a half-bushel; mooter, or multure,
is the toll of meal taken by the miller for grinding the corn:
mooter-poke, or multure-pocket, is accordingly a nickname for a miller.

Down i' yon lum(1) we have a mill,
If they send more grist we'll grind more still.
With her broad arm an' mighty fist
Shoo rams it into t' mooter-chist.(2)

1. Wood. 2. The chest in which the toll of meal was kept.

Hob-Trush Hob

"Hob-Trush Hob, wheer is thoo?"
"I's tryin' on my left-foot shoe,
An' I'll be wi' thee--noo!"

Gin Hob mun hae nowt but a hardin' hamp,
He'll co om nae mair nowther to berry nor stamp.(1)

1. The meaning seems to be, If Hob is allowed nothing more than a
smock-frock of coarse hemp, he will not come again either to thresh
corn or to beat flax.

Nanny Button-Cap

T' moon shines breet,
T' stars give leet,
An' little Nanny Button-cap
Will coom to-morra neet.

The New Moon

A Setterday's mean
Cooms yance i' seven year ower sean.

I see t' mean an' t' mean sees me,
God bless t' sailors oot on t' sea.

New mean, new mean, I hail thee,
This neet my true love for to see.
Not iv his best or worst array,
Bud iv his apparel for ivery day.
That I to-morrow may him ken
Frev amang all other men.

Eevein' red an' mornin' gray:
Certain signs o' a bonnie day.
Evenin' gray an' mornin' red
Will send t' shepherd weet to bed.

Souther, wind, souther!(1)
An' blaw my father heame to my moother.(2)

1. Veer to the south.
2. This is the lilt of the children of the east-coast fishermen when
the boats are at sea.

Friday Unlucky

Dean't o' Friday buy your ring,
O' Friday dean't put t' spurrins(1) in;
Dean't wed o' Friday. Think on o' this,
Nowther blue nor green mun match her driss.

1. Banns

An Omen

Blest is t' bride at t' sun shines on,
An' blest is t' deead at t' rain rains on.

A Charm

Tak twea at's red an' yan at's blake,(1)
O' poison berries three,
Three fresh-cull'd blooms o' devil's glut,(2)
An' a sprig o' rosemary.

Tak henbane, bullace, bummlekite,(3)
An' t' fluff frev a deead bulrush,
Naan berries shak frae t' rowan-tree,
An' naan frae t' botterey-bush.(4)

1. Yellow. 2. Bindweed. 3. Blackberries. 4. Elder Tree

A gift(1) o' my finger
Is seer to linger;
A gift o' my thumb
Is seer to coom.

1. White speck.

Sunday clipt, Sunday shorn,
Better t' bairn had niver been born.

A Monday's bairn 'll grow up fair,
A Tuesday's yan i' grace thruf prayer;
A Wednesday's bairn has monny a pain,
A Tho'sday's bairn wean't baade at heame.
A Friday's bairn is good an' sweet,
A Settherday's warks frae morn to neet.
Bud a Sunday's bairn thruf leyfe is blist,.
An' seer i' t' end wi' t' saints to rist.

A cobweb i' t' kitchen,
An' feat-marks on t' step,
Finnd nea wood i' t' yune(1)
An' nea coals i' t' skep.(2)

1. Oven. 2. Scuttle.

Snaw, snaw, coom faster,
White as allyblaster,
Poor owd women, pickin' geese,
Sendin' t' feathers daan to Leeds.

Julius Caesar made a law,
Augustus Caesar sign'd it,
That ivery one that made a sneeze
Should run away an' find it.

A weddin', a woo, a clog an' a shoe,
A pot-ful o' porridge, away they go!

Chimley-sweeper, blackymoor,
Set o' t' top o' t' chapel door.
Tak a stick an' knock him daan,
That's the way to Chapeltaan.

The Lady-bird

Cow-lady, cow-lady, hie thy way wum,(1)
Thy haase is afire, thy childer all gone;
All but poor Nancy, set under a pan,
Weyvin' gold lace as fast as shoo can.

1. Home.

The Magpie

I cross'd pynot,(1) an' t' pynot cross'd me.
T' devil tak t' pynot an' God save me. .

1. Magpie.

Thy tongue's slit,
An ivery dog i' t' toon 'll get a bit.

The Bat

Coom doon by hereaway.

The Snail

Sneel, sneel, put oot your horn,
Your fayther an' muthel'll gie ye some corn.


When all the world shall be aloft,
Then Hallamshire shall be God's croft.
Winkabank and Templebrough
Will buy all England through an' through.


When lords an' ladies stinking water soss,(2)
High brigs o' stean the Nidd sal cross.
An' a toon be built on Harrogate moss.

1. Attributed to Mother Shipton. 2. Gulp.

The River Don

The shelvin', slimy river Don
Each year a daughter or a son.(1)

1. Compare the Dartmoor rhyme:

River of Dart, oh! river of Dart,
Every year thou claimest a heart.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest