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Yorkshire Dialect Poems by F.W. Moorman

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Traditional Poems

with an Historical Introduction
F. W. Moorman
(Professor of English Language, University of Leeds)

Published for the Yorkshire Dialect Society
by Sidgwick and Jackson, Ltd., 1916, 1917

The Yorkshiremen Serving their
Country in Trench or on Battleship
I respectfully dedicate
this collection
of Songs from the Homeland

Preface to Etext Edition
Preface (To the Second Edition)
A Yorkshire Dialogue between an awd Wife a Lass and a butcher .
An Honest Yorkshireman. Henry Carey
From "Snaith Marsh" Anonymous
When at Hame wi' Dad Anonymous
I'm Yorkshire too Anonymous
The Wensleydale Lad Anonymous
A Song 1. Thomas Browne
A Song 2. Thomas Browne
The Invasion: An Ecologue Thomas Browne
Elegy on the Death of a Frog David Lewis
Sheffield Cutler's Song Abel Bywater
Address to Poverty Anonymous
The Collingham Ghost Anonymous
The Yorkshire Horse Dealers Anonymous
The Lucky Dream John Castillo
The Milkin'-Time J. H. Dixon
I Niver can call Her my Wife Ben Preston
Come to thy Gronny, Doy Ben Preston
Owd Moxy Ben Preston
Dean't mak gam o' me Florence Tweddell
Coom, stop at yam to-neet Bob Florence Tweddell
Ode to t' Mooin J. H. Eccles
Aunt Nancy J. H. Eccles
Coom, don on thy Bonnet an' Shawl Thomas Blackah
My awd hat Thomas Blackah
Reeth Bartle Fair John Harland
The Christmas Party Tom Twistleton
Nelly o' Bob's John Hartley
Bite Bigger John Hartley
Rollickin' Jack John Hartley
Jim's Letter James Burnley
A Yorkshire Farmer's Address to a Schoolmaster George Lancaster
The Window on the Cliff Top W. H. Oxley
Aar Maggie Edmund Hatton
T' First o' t' Sooart John Hartley
Pateley Reaces Anonymous
Play Cricket Ben Turner
The File-cutter's Lament to Liberty E. Downing
A Kuss John Malham-Dembleby
Huntin' Song Richard Blakeborough
Spring F. J. Newboult
Heam, Sweet Heam A. C. Watson
Then an' Nae E. A. Lodge
Owd England Walter Hampson.
Love and Pie J. A. Carill
I's Gotten t' Bliss George H. Cowling
A Natterin' Wife George H. Cowling
O! What do ye Wesh i' the Beck George H. Cowling
Traditional Poems
Cleveland Lyke-wake Dirge 1
Cleveland Lyke-wake Dirge 2 Sir Walter Scott's version
A Dree Neet
The Bridal Bands
The Bridal Garter
Nance and Tom
The Witch's Curse
Ridin' t' Stang
Elphi Bandy-legs
Singing Games
Stepping up the green grass
Sally made a pudden
Sally Water, Sally Water
Diller a dollar
Hagmana Song
Round the Year
New Year's Day
Lucky-bird, lucky-bird, chuck, chuck, chuck!
On Can'lemas, a February day
A Can'lemas crack
If Can'lemas be lound an' fair,
February Fill-Dike
February fill-dyke
Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday, palm away;
Good Friday
On Good Friday rist thy pleaf
Royal Oak Day
It's Royal Oak Day,
Harvest Home and the Mell-Sheaf
We have her, we have her,
Here we coom at oor toon-end,
Weel bun' an' better shorn
Blest be t' day that Christ was born,
Guy Fawkes Day
A Stick and a stake,
Awd Grimey sits upon yon hill,
I wish you a merry Kessenmas an' a happy New Year,
Cleveland Christmas Song
A Christmas Wassail
Sheffield Mumming Song
Charms, "Nominies," and Popular Rhymes
Wilful weaste maks weasome want
A rollin' stone gethers no moss
Than awn a crawin' hen
Nowt bud ill-luck 'll fester where
Meeat maks
The Miller's Thumb
Miller, miller, mooter-poke
Down i' yon lum we have a mill,
Hob-Trush Hob
"Hob-Trush Hob, wheer is thoo?"
Gin Hob mun hae nowt but a hardin' hamp,
Nanny Button-Cap
The New Moon
A Setterday's mean
I see t' mean an' t' mean sees me,
New mean, new mean, I hail thee,
Eevein' red an' mornin' gray
Souther, wind, souther!
Friday Unlucky
Dean't o' Friday buy your ring
An Omen
Blest is t' bride at t' sun shines on
A Charm
Tak twea at's red an' yan at's blake
A gift o' my finger
Sunday clipt, Sunday shorn
A Monday's bairn 'll grow up fair
A cobweb i' t' kitchen,
Snaw, snaw, coom faster
Julius Caesar made a law
A weddin', a woo, a clog an' a shoe
Chimley-sweeper, blackymoor
The Lady-bird
Cow-lady, cow-lady, hie thy way wum,
The Magpie
I cross'd pynot,(1) an' t' pynot cross'd me
The Bat
The Snail
Sneel, sneel, put oot your horn,
When all the world shall be aloft,
When lords an' ladies stinking water soss,
The River Don
The shelvin', slimy river Don

Preface to Etext Edition

This is a mixture of the First and Second editions as noted.

The name of the author has been inserted after every title, so that it
will be included when poems are copied individually.

The footnotes have been renumbered and placed at the bottom of each
individual poem.

The sequence of the poems in the second edition has generally been
adhered to, and the contents list has been built on this basis. The
Indexes have been omitted because of the lack of pagination in etext.
Computer searches also make them redundant,

Dave Fawthrop


Several anthologies of poems by Yorkshiremen, or about Yorkshiremen, have
passed through the press since Joseph Ritson published his Yorkshire
Garland in 1786. Most of these have included a number of dialect poems,
but I believe that the volume which the reader now holds in his hand is
the first which is made up entirely of poems written in "broad
Yorkshire." In my choice of poems I have been governed entirely by the
literary quality and popular appeal of the material which lay at my
disposal. This anthology has not been compiled for the philologist, but
for those who have learnt to speak "broad Yorkshire" at their mother's
knee, and have not wholly unlearnt it at their schoolmaster's desk. To
such the variety and interest of these poems, no less than the
considerable range of time over which their composition extends, will, I
believe, come as a surprise.

It is in some ways a misfortune that there is no such thing as a standard
Yorkshire dialect. The speech of the North and East Ridings is far
removed from that of the industrial south-west. The difference consists,
not so much in idiom or vocabulary, as in pronunciation--especially in
the pronunciation of the long vowels and diphthongs.(1) As a consequence
of this, I have found it impossible, in bringing together dialect poems
from all parts of the county, to reduce their forms to what might be
called Standard Yorkshire. Had I attempted to do this, I should have
destroyed what was most characteristic. My purpose throughout has been
to preserve the distinguishing marks of dialect possessed by the poems,
but to normalise the spelling of those writers who belong to one and the
same dialect area.

The spelling of "broad Yorkshire" will always be one of the problems
which the dialect-writer has to face. At best he can only hope for a
broadly accurate representation of his mode of speech, but he can take
comfort in the thought that most of those who read his verses know by
habit how the words should be pronounced far better than he can teach
them by adopting strange phonetic devices. A recognition of this fact
has guided me in fixing the text of this anthology, and every spelling
device which seemed to me unnecessary, or clumsy, or pedantic, I have
ruthlessly discarded. On the other hand, where the dialect-writer has
chosen the Standard English spelling of any word, I have as a rule not
thought fit to alter its form and spell it as it would be pronounced in
his dialect.

I am afraid I may have given offence to those whom I should most of all
like to please--the living contributors to this anthology--by
tampering in this way with the text of their poems. In defence of what I
have done, I must put forward the plea of consistency. If I had
preserved every poet's text as I found it, I should have reduced my
readers to despair.

In conclusion, I should--like to thank the contributors to this volume,
and also their publishers, for the permission to reproduce copyright
work. Special thanks are due to Mr. Richard Blakeborough, who has placed
Yorkshiremen under a debt, by the great service which he has rendered in
recovering much of the traditional poetry of Yorkshire and in giving it
the permanence of the printed page. In compiling the so-called
traditional poems at the end of this volume, I have largely drawn upon
his Wit, Character, Folklore, and Customs of the North Riding.

F. W. Moorman

1. Thus in the south-west fool and soon are pronounced fooil and sooin,
in the north-east feeal and seean. Both the south-west and the
north-east have a word praad--with a vowel--sound like the a in father--but
whereas in the south-west it stands for proud, in the north-east it
stands for pride,

Preface (To the Second Edition)

The demand for a second edition of this anthology of Yorkshire dialect
verse gives me an opportunity of correcting two rather serious error's
which crept into the first edition. The poem entitled "Hunting Song" on
page 86, which I attributed to Mr. Richard Blakeborough, is the work of
Mr. Malham-Dembleby", whose poem, "A Kuss," immediately precedes it in
the volume.

The poem on page 75, which in the first edition was marked Anonymous and
entitled "Parson Drew thro' Pudsey," is the work of the late John
Hartley; its proper' title is "T' First o' t' Sooar't," and it includes
eight introductory stanzas which are now added as Appendix II.

Through the kindness of: Fr W. A. Craigie, Dr. M. Denby, and Mr. E. G.
Bayford, I have also been able to make a few changes in the glossarial
footnotes, The most important of these is the change from "Ember's" to
"Floor" as the meaning of the word, "Fleet" in the second line of "A
Lyke-wake Dirge." The note which Dr. Craigie sen't me on this word is so
interesting that I reproduce it here verbatim:

"The word fleet in the 'Lyke-wake Dirge' has been much misunderstood, but
it is certain1y the same thing as flet-floor; see the O.E.D. and E.D.D.
under. FLET. The form is not necessarily 'erroneous,' as is said in the
O.E.D., for it might represent ,the O.N. dative fleti, which must have
been common in the phrase a fleti (cf. the first verse of 'Havamal').
The collocation with 'fire' occurs in 'Sir Gawayne' (l. 1653): 'Aboute
the fyre upon flet.' 'Fire and fleet and candle-light' are a summary of
the comforts of the house, which the dead person still enjoys for 'this
ae night,' and then goes out into the dark and cold."
F. W. Moorman


The publication of an anthology of Yorkshire dialect poetry seems to
demand a brief introduction in which something shall be said of the
history and general character of that poetry. It is hardly necessary to
state that Yorkshire has produced neither a Robert Burns, a William
Barnes, nor even an Edwin Waugh. Its singers are as yet known only among
their own folk; the names of John Castillo and Florence Tweddell are
household words among the peasants of the Cleveland dales, as are those
of Ben Preston and John Hartley among the artisans of the Aire and Calder
valleys; but, outside of the county, they are almost unknown, except to
those who are of Yorkshire descent and who cherish the dialect because of
its association with the homes of their childhood.

At the same time there is no body of dialect verse which better deserves
the honour of an anthology. In volume and variety the dialect poetry of
Yorkshire surpasses that of all other English counties. Moreover, when
the rise of the Standard English idiom crushed out our dialect
literature, it was the Yorkshire dialect which first reasserted its
claims upon the muse of poetry; hence, whereas the dialect literature of
most of the English counties dates only from the beginning of the
nineteenth century, that of Yorkshire reaches back to the second half of
the seventeenth.

In one sense it may be said that Yorkshire dialect poetry dates, not from
the seventeenth, but from the seventh century, and that the first
Yorkshire dialect poet was Caedmon, the neat-herd of Whitby Abbey. But
to the ordinary person the reference to a dialect implies the existence
of a standard mode of speech almost as certainly as odd implies even.
Accordingly, this is not the place to speak of that great heritage of
song which Yorkshire bequeathed to the nation between the seventh century
and the fifteenth. After the Caedmonic poems, its chief glories are the
religious lyrics of Richard Rolle, the mystic, and the great cycles of
scriptural plays which are associated with the trade-guilds of York and
Wakefield. But in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the
all-conquering Standard English spread like a mighty spring-tide over
England and found no check to its progress till the Cheviots were
reached. The new "King's English" was of little avail in silencing
dialect as a means of intercourse between man and man, but it checked for
centuries the development of dialect literature. The old traditional
ballads and songs, which were handed down orally from generation to
generation in the speech of the district to which they belonged, escaped
to some extent this movement towards uniformity; but the deliberate
artificers of verse showed themselves eager above all things to get rid
of their provincialisms and use only the language of the Court.
Shakespeare may introduce a few Warwickshire words into his plays, but
his English is none the less the Standard English of his day, while
Spenser is sharply brought to task by Ben Jonson for using archaisms and
provincialisms in his poems. A notable song of the Elizabethan age is
that entitled "York, York, for my Monie," which was first published in
1584; only a Yorkshireman could have written it, and it was plainly
intended for the gratification of Yorkshire pride; yet its language is
without trace of local colour, either in spelling or vocabulary. Again,
there appeared in the year 1615 a poem by Richard Brathwaite, entitled,
"The Yorkshire Cottoneers," and addressed to "all true-bred Northerne
Sparks, of the generous society of the Cottoneers, who hold their
High-roade by the Pinder of Wakefield, the Shoo-maker of Bradford, and
the white Coate of Kendall"; but Brathwaite, though a Kendal man by
birth, makes no attempt to win the hearts of his "true-bred Northern
Sparks" by addressing them in the dialect that was their daily wear. In
a word, the use of the Yorkshire dialect for literary purposes died out
early in the Tudor period.

As already stated, its rebirth dates from the second half of the
seventeenth century. That was an age of scientific investigation and
antiquarian research. John Ray, the father of natural history, not
content with his achievements in the classification of plants, took up
also the collection of outlandish words, and in the year 1674 he
published a work entitled, A Collection of English Words, not generally
used, with their Significations and Original, in two Alphabetical
Catalogues, the one of such as are proper to the Northern, the other to
the Southern Counties. Later he entered into correspondence with the
Leeds antiquary, Ralph Thoresby, who, in a letter dated April 27, 1703,
sends him a list of dialect words current in and about Leeds.(1)

Side by side with this new interest in the dialect vocabulary comes also
the dialect poem. One year before the appearance of Ray's Collection of
English Words the York printer, Stephen Bulkby, had issued, as a humble
broadside without author's name, a poem which bore the following title: A
Yorkshire Dialogue in Yorkshire Dialect; Between an Awd Wife, a Lass, and
a Butcher. This dialogue occupies the first place in our anthology, and
it is, from several points of view, a significant work. It marks the
beginning, not only of modern Yorkshire, but also of modern English,
dialect poetry. It appeared just a thousand years after Caedmon had sung
the Creator's praise in Whitby Abbey, and its dialect is that of
northeast Yorkshire--in other words, the lineal descendant of that speech
which was used by Caedmon in the seventh century, by Richard Rolle in the
fourteenth, and which may be heard to this day in the streets of Whitby
and among the hamlets of the Cleveland Hills.

The dialogue is a piece of boldest realism. Written in an age when
classic restraint and classic elegance were in the ascendant, and when
English poets were taking only too readily to heart the warning of
Boileau against allowing shepherds to speak "comme on parle au village,"
the author of this rustic dialogue flings to the winds every convention
of poetic elegance. His lines "baisent la terre" in a way that would
have inexpressibly shocked Boileau and the Parisian salons. The poem
reeks of the byre and the shambles; its theme is the misadventure which
befalls an ox in its stall and its final despatch by the butcher's
mallet! One might perhaps find something comparable to it in theme and
treatment in the paintings of the contemporary school of Dutch realists,
but in poetry it is unique. Yet, gross as is its realism, it cannot be
called crude as a work of poetic art. In rhyme and rhythm it is quite
regular, and the impression which it leaves upon the mind is that it was
the work of an educated man, keenly interested in the unvarnished life of
a Yorkshire farm, keenly interested in the vocabulary and idioms of his
district, and determined to produce a poem which should bid defiance to
all the proprieties of the poetic art.

Eleven years later--in 1684--appeared two more poems, in a dialect
akin to but not identical with that of the above and very similar in
theme and treatment. These are A Yorkshire Dialogue in its pure Natural
Dialect as it is now commonly spoken in the North Parts of Yorkeshire,
and A Scould between Bess and Nell, two Yorkshire Women. These two poems
were also published at York, though by a different printer, and in the
following year a second edition appeared, followed by a third in 1697. To
the poems is appended Francis Brokesby's "Observations on the Dialect and
Pronunciation of Words in the East Riding of Yorkshire," which he had
previously sent to Ray,(1) together with a collection of Yorkshire
proverbs and a "Clavis," or Glossary, also by Brokesby. The author of
these two poems, who signs himself" G. M. Gent" on the title-page, is
generally supposed to be a certain George Meriton, an attorney by
profession, though Francis Douce, the antiquary, claims George Morrinton
of Northallerton as the author.

"G. M." is a deliberate imitator of the man who wrote the Dialogue
Between an Awd Wife, a Lass, and a Butcher. All that has been said about
the trenchant realism of farmlife in the dialogue of 1673 applies with
equal force to the dialogues of 1684. The later poet, having a larger
canvas at his disposal, is able to introduce more characters and more
incident; but in all that pertains to style and atmosphere he keeps
closely to his model. What is still more apparent is that the author is
consciously employing dialect words and idioms with the set purpose of
illustrating what he calls the "pure Natural Dialect" of Yorkshire; above
all, he delights in the proverbial lore of his native county and never
misses an opportunity of tagging his conversations with one or other of
these homespun proverbs. The poem is too long for our anthology,(2) but
I cannot forbear quoting some of these proverbs:

"There's neay carrion can kill a craw."
"It's a good horse that duz never stumble,
And a good wife that duz never grumble."
"Neare is my sarke, but nearer is my skin."
"It's an ill-made bargain whore beath parties rue."
"A curst cow hes short horns."
"Wilfull fowkes duz never want weay."
"For change of pastures macks fat cawves, it's said,
But change of women macks lean knaves, I'se flaid

The excellent example set by the authors of the Yorkshire Dialogues was
not followed all at once. Early in the eighteenth century, however,
Allan Ramsay rendered conspicuous service to dialect poetry generally by
the publication of his pastoral drama, The Gentle Shepherd (1725), as
well as by his collections of Scottish songs, known as The Evergreen and
Tea Table miscellanies. Scotland awoke to song, and the charm of Lowland
Scots was recognised even by Pope and the wits of the coffee-houses. One
can well believe that lovers of dialect south of the Tweed were thereby
moved to emulation, and in the year 1736 Henry Carey, the reputed son of
the Marquis of Halifax, produced a ballad-opera bearing the equivocal
title, A Wonder, or An Honest Yorkshireman.(3) Popular in its day, this
opera is now forgotten, but its song, "An Honest Yorkshireman" has found
a place in many collections of Yorkshire songs. It lacks the charm of
the same author's famous "Sally in our Alley," but there is a fine manly
ring about its sentiments, and it deserves wider recognition. The
dialect is that of north-east Yorkshire.

In 1754 appeared the anonymous dialect poem, Snaith Marsh.(4) This is a
much more conventional piece of work than the seventeenth- century
dialogues, and the use which is made of the local idiom is more
restricted. Yet it is not without historic interest. Composed at a time
when the Enclosure Acts were robbing the peasant farmer of his rights of
common, the poem is an elegiac lament on the part of the Snaith farmer
who sees himself suddenly brought to the brink of ruin by the enclosure
of Snaith Marsh. To add to his misery, his bride, Susan, has deserted
him for the more prosperous rival, Roger. As much of the poem is in
standard English, it would be out of place to reprint it in its entirety
in this collection, but, inasmuch as the author grows bolder in his use
of dialect as the poem proceeds, I have chosen the concluding section to
illustrate the quality of the work and the use which is made of dialect.

>From the date of the publication of Snaith Marsh to the close of the
eighteenth century it is difficult to trace chronologically the progress
of Yorkshire dialect poetry. The songs which follow in our anthology--
"When at Hame wi' Dad" and "I'm Yorkshire, too "--appear to have an
eighteenth-century flavour, though they may be a little later. Their
theme is somewhat similar to that of Carey's song. The inexperienced but
canny Yorkshire lad finds himself exposed to the snares and temptations
of " Lunnon city." He is dazzled by the spectacular glories of the
capital, but his native stock of cannyness renders him proof against
seduction. The songs are what we should now call music-hall songs, and
may possibly have been written for the delights of the visitors to
Ranelagh or Vauxhall Gardens.

"The Wensleydale Lad" seems to be of about the same period, for we learn
from the song that the reigning monarch was one of the Georges. Its
opening line is a clear repetition--or anticipation--of the opening
line of "When at Hame wi' Dad"; but whereas the hero of the latter poem,
on leaving home, seeks out the glories of Piccadilly and Hyde Park, the
Wensleydale lad is content with the lesser splendours; of Leeds. The
broad humour of this song has made it exceedingly popular; I first heard
it on the lips of a Runswick fisherman, and since then have met with it
in different parts of the county.

In the year 1786 Joseph Ritson, the antiquary, published a slender
collection of short poems which he entitled The Yorkshire Garland. This
is the first attempt at an anthology of Yorkshire poetry, and the
forerunner of many other anthologies. All the poems have a connection
with Yorkshire, but none of them can, in the strict sense of the word, be
called a dialect poem.

In the year 1800 the composition of Yorkshire dialect poetry received an
important stimulus through the appearance of a volume entitled, Poems on
Several Occasions. This was the posthumous work of the Rev. Thomas
Browne, the son of the vicar of Lastingham. The author, born at
Lastingham in 1771, started life as a school-master, first of all at
Yeddingham, and later at Bridlington; in the year 1797 he removed to Hull
in order to engage in journalistic work as editor of the recently
established newspaper, The Hull Advertiser. About the same time he took
orders and married, but in the following year he died. Most of the poems
in the little volume which his friends put through the press in the year
1800 are written in standard English. They display a mind of
considerable refinement, but little originality. In the form of ode,
elegy, eclogue, or sonnet, we have verses which show tender feeling and a
genuine appreciation of nature. But the human interest is slight, and
the author is unable to escape from the conventional poetic diction of
the eighteenth century. Phrases like "vocal groves," "Pomona's rich
bounties," or "the sylvan choir's responsive notes" meet the reader at
every turn; direct observation and concrete imagery are sacrificed to
trite abstractions, until we feel that the poet becomes a mere echo of
other and greater poets who had gone before him. But at the end of the
volume appear the "Specimens of the Yorkshire Dialect," consisting of
three songs and two eclogues. Here convention is swept aside; the author
comes face to face with life as he saw it around him in Yorkshire town
and village. We have the song of the peasant girl impatiently awaiting
the country fair at which she is to shine in all the glory of "new cauf
leather shoon" and white stockings, or declaring her intention of
escaping from a mother who "scaulds and flytes" by marrying the
sweetheart who comes courting her on "Setterday neets." What is
interesting to notice in these songs'is the influence of Burns. Browne
has caught something of the Scottish poet's racy vigour, and in his use
of a broken line of refrain in the song, "Ye loit'ring minutes faster
flee," he is employing a metrical device which Burns had used with great
success in his "Holy Fair" and "Halloween." The eclogue, "Awd Daisy," the
theme of which is a Yorkshire farmer's lament for his dead mare, exhibits
that affection for faithful animals which we meet with in Cowper, Burns,
and other poets of the Romantic Revival. In the sincerity of its emotion
it is poles apart from the studied sentimentality of the famous lament
over the dead ass in Sterne's Sentimental Journey; indeed, in spirit it
is much nearer to Burns's "Death of Poor Mailie," though Browne is wholly
lacking in that delicate humour which Burns possesses, and which
overtakes the tenderness of the poem as the lights and shadows overtake
one another among the hills. The other eclogue, " The Invasion," has
something of a topical interest at a time like the present, when England
is once more engaged in war with a continental power; for it was written
when the fear of a French invasion of our shores weighed heavily upon the
people's minds. In the eclogue this danger is earnestly discussed by the
two Yorkshire farmers, Roger and Willie. If the French effect a landing,
Willy has decided to send Mally and the bairns away from the farm, while
he will sharpen his old "lea" (scythe) and remain behind to defend his
homestead. As long as wife and children are safe, he is prepared to lay
down his life for his country.

The importance of Browne's dialect poems consists not only in their
intrinsic worth, but also in the interest which they aroused in dialect
poetry in Yorkshire, and the stimulus which they gave to poets in
succeeding generations. There is no evidence that the dialogues of
George Meriton, or Snaith Marsh, had any wide circulation among the
Yorkshire peasantry, but there is abundant evidence that such was the
case with these five poems of Thomas Browne. Early in the nineteenth
century enterprising booksellers at York, Northallerton, Bedale, Otley,
and ,Knaresborough were turning out little chap-books, generally bearing
the title, Specimens of the Yorkshire Dialect, and consisting largely of
the dialect poems of Browne. These circulated widely in the country
districts of Yorkshire, and to this day one meets with peasants who take
a delight in reciting Browne's songs and eclogues.

Down to the close of the eighteenth century the authors of Yorkshire
dialect poetry had been men of education, and even writers by profession.
With the coming, of the nineteenth century the composition of such poetry
extends to men in a humbler social position. The working-man poet
appears on the scene and makes his presence felt in many ways. Early in
the century, David Lewis, a Knaresborough gardener, published, in one of
the chap-books to which reference has just been made, two dialect poems,
"The Sweeper and Thieves" and "An Elegy on the Death of a Frog"; they
were afterwards republished, together with some non-dialect verses, in a
volume entitled The Landscape and Other Poems (York, 1815) by the same
author. A dialogue poem by Lewis, entitled The Pocket Books," appears in
later chap-books. It cannot be claimed for him that his poetic power
is of a high standard, but as the first Yorkshire peasant poet to write
dialect verse he calls for notice here. His "Elegy on the Death of a
Frog" is perhaps chiefly interesting as showing the influence of Burns
upon Yorkshire poets at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In
idea, and in the choice of verse, it is directly modelled on the famous
"To a Mouse."

The reader will doubtless have noticed that in this historic review of
Yorkshire dialect poetry it has always been the life of rural Yorkshire
which is depicted, and that the great bulk of the poetry has belonged to
the North Riding. What we have now to trace is the extension of this
revival of vernacular poetry to the densely populated West Riding, where
a dialect differing radically from that of the, north and east is spoken,
and where, an astonishing variety of industries has created an equally
varied outlook upon life and habit of thought. Was the Sheffield cutler,
the Barnsley miner, the Bradford handloom-weaver, and the Leeds forge-man
to find no outlet in dialect verse for his thoughts and emotions, his
hopes and his fears? Or, if dialect poetry must be concerned only with
rustic life, was the Craven dalesman to have no voice in the matter?
Questions such as these may well have passed through the minds of West
Riding men as they saw the steady growth of North Riding poetry in the
first forty years of the nineteenth century, and passed from hand to hand
the well-thumbed chap-books wherein were included poems like "Awd Daisy,"
"The Sweeper and Thieves," and the dialect-songs. The desire to have a
share in the movement became more and more urgent, and when the West
Riding joined in, it was inevitable that it should widen the scope of
dialect poetry both in spirit and in form.

A West Riding dialect literature seems to have arisen first of all in
Barnsley and Sheffield in the fourth decade of the nineteenth century.
Between 1830 and 1834 a number of prose "conversations" entitled, The
Sheffield Dialect.' Be a Shevvild Chap, passed through the press. The
author of these also published in 1832 The Wheelswarf Chronicle, and in
1836 appeared the first number of The Shevvild Chap's Annual in which the
writer throws aside his nom-de-plume and signs himself Abel Bywater.
This annual, which lived for about twenty years, is the first of the many
"Annuals" or "Almanacs" which are the most characteristic product of the
West Riding dialect movement. Their history is a subject to itself, and
inasmuch as the contributions to them are largely in prose, they can only
be referred to very lightly here. Their popularity and ever-increasing
circulation is a sure proof of their wide appeal, and there can be no
doubt that they have done an immense service in endearing the local idiom
in which they are written to those who speak it, and also in interpreting
the life and thought of the, great industrial communities for whom they
are written. The literary quality of these almanacs varies greatly, but
among their pages will be found many poems, and many prose tales and
sketches, which vividly portray the West Riding artisan. Abundant
justice is done to his sense of humour, which, if broad and at times even
crude, is always good-natured and healthy, as well as to his intense love
of the sentimental, which to the stranger lurks hidden beneath a mask of
indifference. Incidentally, these almanacs also present a faithful
picture of the social history of the West Riding during the greater part
of a century. As we study their pages, we realise what impression events
such as the introduction of the railroad, the Chartist Movement, the
Repeal of the Corn Laws, mid-Victorian factory legislation, Trade-
Unionism, the Co-operative movement and Temperance reform made upon the
minds of nineteenth-century Yorkshiremen; in other words, these almanacs
furnish us with just such a mirror of nineteenth-century industrial
Yorkshire as the bound volumes of Punch furnish of the nation as a
whole. Among the most famous of these annual productions is The Bairnsla
Foak's Annual, an Pogmoor Olmenack, started by Charles Rogers (Tom,
Treddlehoyle) in 1838, and The Halifax Original Illuminated Clock Almanac
begun by John Hartley in 1867. The number of these almanacs is very
large; most of them are published and circulated chiefly in the
industrial districts of the Riding, but not the least interesting among
them is The Nidderdill Olminac, edited by "Nattie Nidds" at Pateley
Bridge; it began in 1864 and ran until 1880. Wherever published, all of
these almanacs conform more or less to the same pattern, as it was first
laid down by the founder of the dialect almanac, Abel Bywater of
Sheffield, in the year 1836. Widely popular in the West Riding, the
almanac has never obtained foothold in the other Ridings, and is little
known outside of the county. The "Bibliographical List" of dialect
literature, published by the English Dialect Society' in 1877, mentions
only two annuals or almanacs, in addition to those published in the West
Riding, and both of these belong to Tyneside.

Abel Bywater finds a place in our anthology by virtue of his "Sheffield
Cutler's Song." In its rollicking swing and boisterous humour it serves
admirably to illustrate the new note which is heard when we pass from
rural Yorkshire to the noisy manufacturing cities. We exchange the farm,
or the country fair, for the gallery of the city music-hall, where the
cutler sits armed with stones, red herrings, "flat-backs," and other
missiles ready to be hurled at the performers "if they don't play'
Nancy's Fancy' or onay tune we fix."

We are not concerned here with the linguistic side of Yorkshire dialect
literature, but the reader will notice how different is the phonology,
and to a less extent the vocabulary and idiom, of this song from that of
the North Riding specimens.

Returning once more to the North Riding, we must first of all draw
attention to the poet, John Castillo. In the country round Whitby and
Pickering, and throughout the Hambledon Hills, his name is very familiar.
Born near Dublin, in 1792, of Roman Catholic parents, he was brought up
at Lealholm Bridge, in the Cleveland country, and learnt the trade of a
journeyman stone-mason. Having abjured the faith of his childhood, he
joined, in 1818, the Wesleyan Methodist Society and acquired great
popularity in the North Riding as a local preacher. His well-known poem,
"Awd Isaac," seems to have been first printed at Northallerton in 1831.
Twelve years later it occupies the first place in a volume of poems
published by the author at Whitby under the title, Awd Isaac, The
Steeplechase, and Other Poems. Like most of his other poems, "Awd Isaac"
is strongly didactic and religious; its homely piety and directness of
speach have won for it a warm welcome among the North Yorkshire
peasantry, and many a farmer and farm-labourer still living knows much of
the poem by heart. As "Awd Isaac " is too long for an anthology, I have
chosen "The Lucky Dream" as an illustration of Castillo's workmanship.
Apart from its narrative interest, this poem calls for attention as a
Yorkshire variant of an ancient and widely dispersed folk-tale, the
earliest known version of which is to be found in the works of the
thirteenth-century Persian poet Jalalu'd-Din. Castillo died at Pickering
in 1845, and five years later a complete edition of his poems was
published at Kirkby Moorside.

Less popular than "Awd Isaac," but often met with in collections of
dialect verse, is the poem entitled "The York Minster Screen." This was
the work of George Newton Brown, a lawyer by profession, who lived at
Nunnington in Ryedale. The poem, which is in the form of a dialogue
between two Yorkshire farmers, was first published at Malton in 1833.
The conversation, which is of the raciest description, is supposed to
take place in York Minster and turns on the repairs which were made in
1832 to the famous organ-screen which separates the nave and transepts
from the chancel. The question of altering the position of the screen is
debated with much humour and vivacity.

Before leaving the North Riding, reference must be made to Elizabeth
Tweddell, the gifted poetess of the Cleveland Hills. Born at Stokesley
in 1833, the daughter of Thomas Cole, the parish-clerk of that town, she
married George Markham Tweddell, the author of The People's History of
Cleveland, and in 1875 she published a slender volume of dialect verse
and prose entitled Rhymes and Sketches to Illustrate the Cleveland
Dialect. In her modest preface Mrs. Tweddell declares that the only
merit of her work lies in "the stringing together of a good many
Cleveland words and expressions that are fast becoming obsolete"; but the
volume has far deeper claims on our gratitude than this. There is much
homely charm in her rhymes and sketches, and the two extracts which find
a place in this collection are models of what simple dialect-poems should
be. Above all, Mrs. Tweddell has the gift of humour; this is well
illustrated by the song, "Dean't mak gam o' me," and also by her
well-known prose story, "Awd Gab o' Steers." Her most sustained effort in
verse is the poem entitled " T' Awd Cleveland Customs," in which she
gives us a delightful picture of the festive seasons of the Cleveland
year from " Newery Day," with its "lucky bod," to "Kessamus," with its
"sooard dancers."

The western portion of the North Riding, including Swale and Wensleydale,
has been less fruitful in dialect poetry than the eastern. Apart from
the anonymous "Wensleydale Lad" already noticed, it is represented in
this anthology only by the spirited poem, "Reeth Bartle Fair," the work
of a true lover of dialect speech, Captain John Harland, who published
for the English Dialect Society a valuable glossary of Swaledale words
(1873). The Craven country, the dialect of which differs materially from
that spoken in the manufacturing districts of the West, Riding, is not
without its bards. These include James Henry Dixon (1803-1876),--a
local historian and antiquary of scholarly tastes, who edited for the
Percy Society the delightful collection of folk-poetry entitled, Ancient
Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England (1846). Mr. Dixon
wrote comparatively little poetry himself, but his song, "The
Milkin'-time," has the lilt of the best Scottish folk-songs and well
deserves its inclusion here. In a longer poem, "Slaadburn Faar" (1871),
he gives a humorous and racy description of the adventures of a farmer
and his wife on their journey from Grassington to Slaidburn to attend the
local fair. In general idea it resembles Harland's "Reeth Bartle Fair,"
which appeared in the preceding year.

But the typical poet of the Craven country was Tom Twistleton, a farmer
near Settle, whose Poems in the Craven, Dialect first appeared in 1869,
and soon ran through several editions. He was a disciple of Burns, and
his poem "The Christmas-Party" (see below) daringly challenges comparison
with the immortal "Halloween." His description of the dancing in the
farm-house kitchen, and of the adventures of the pair of lovers who
escape from the merry throng, is singularly vivid, and illustrates the
author's ready humour and keen observation of rustic life and character.

Reference has already been made to the Nidderdill Olminac which ,vas
produced by "Nattie Nidds" between 1864 and 1880 and published at Pateley
Bridge. Among the contributors to it was Thomas Blackah, a working miner
of Greenhow Hill, who in 1867 published a volume of dialect verse
entitled Songs and Poems in the Nidderdale Dialect. In their truth to
life, homely charm and freedom from pretentiousness, these dialect poems
resemble those of Mrs. Tweddell, and deserve a wider recognition than
they have so far won.

After this excursion into the dales of the North and West Riding, where,
apart from mining, the life of the people is largely spent on the farm,
we must turn once again to the industrial Yorkshire of the south-west,
and see to what extent dialect poetry has flourished in the smoke-laden
air of chimney-stacks and blast-furnaces, and with what success the
Yorkshire dialect poets of the towns and cities have interpreted the life
and thoughts of those who work in the mill or at the forge. As we have
already seen, the first attempts to interpret in dialect poetry the life
of industrial Yorkshire were made at Sheffield early in the nineteenth
century by Abel Bywater. As the century advanced, the movement spread
northwards, and the great artisan communities of Bradford, Leeds, and
Halifax produced their poets. Among these pre-eminence belongs to Ben
Preston, the Bradford poet, who stepped swiftly into local fame by the
publication of his well-known poem, "Natterin' Nan," which first appeared
in a Bradford journal in 1856. This is a vigorous piece of dramatic
realism, setting forth the character of a Yorkshire scold and grumbler
with infinite zest and humour. But it is in pathos that the genius of
Preston chiefly consists. In poems like "Owd Moxy," "T' Lancashire
Famine," and "I niver can call her my wife," he gives us pictures of the
struggle that went on in the cottage-homes of the West Riding during the
"hungry forties." In "Owd Moxy" his subject is the old waller who has to
face the pitiless winter wind and rain as he plies his dreary task on the
moors; but in most of his poems it is the life of the handloom-weaver
that he interprets. The kindliness of his nature is everywhere apparent
and gives a sincerity to the poems in which he portrays with rare
discernment and sympathy the sufferings of the artisan, toiling from
morning to night on eight shillings a week. His pathos has dignity and
restraint, and in the poem "I niver can call her my wife" it rises to the
heights of great tragedy. This is Ben Preston's masterpiece, and, though
scarcely known outside of the county, it deserves to take a place side by
side with Hood's " Song of the Shirt" by reason of the poignancy with
which it interprets the tragedy of penury.(5)

The example set by Ben Preston has been followed by other dialect poets
living in the district round Bradford. Mention may be made of James
Burnley, whose poem, "Jim's Letter," is a telling illustration of the
fine use which can be made of dialect in the service of the dramatic
lyric; and of Abraham Holroyd, who not only wrote original verse, but
also made a valuable collection of old Yorkshire songs and ballads.(6)

The rivalry between Bradford and Leeds is proverbial, and, though the
latter city has lagged behing Bradford in the production of dialect
literature, the Yorkshire Songs of J. H. Eccles, published in 1862, is a
notable contribution to the movement whose history is here being
recorded. In John Hartley, Halifax possessed the most versatile
dialect-writer that Yorkshire has so far produced. For fifty years this
writer, who died in 1915, poured forth lyric song and prose tale in
unstinted measure. Most of his dialect work found a place in the
Original Illuminated Clock Almanac, which he edited from 1867 until his
death; but from time to time he gathered the best of his work into book
form, and his Yorkshire Lyrics, published in 1898, occupy a place of
honour in many a Yorkshire home. The examples from his works here given
will serve to illustrate his fine ear for metrical harmony, his
imaginative power, and his sympathetic interpretation of Yorkshire
character. Of the younger generation of Yorkshire poets, most of them
still alive, I must speak more briefly. But it must not be overlooked
that, so far from there being any falling off in the volume or quality of
dialect-verse, it is safe to say that it has never been in so flourishing
a condition as at the present day. Dialect poems are now being written
in all parts of the county. Editors of weekly papers welcome them gladly
in their columns; the Yorkshire Dialect Society has recently opened the
pages of its annual Transactions to original contributions in verse and
prose, and every year the printing presses of London and Yorkshire
publish volumes of dialect verse. Of individual writers, whose work
finds illustration in this anthology, mention may be made of the Rev. W.
H. Oxley, whose T' Fisher Folk o' Riley Brig (1888) marks, I believe, the
first attempt to interpret in verse the hazardous life of the east-coast
fisherman. Farther north, Mr. G. H. Cowling has given us in his A
Yorkshire Tyke (1914) a number of spirited and winsome studies of the
life and thought of the Hackness peasant. The wold country of the East
Riding has found its interpreter in Mr. J. A. Carill, whose Woz'ls
(1913) is full of delightful humour, as readers of "Love and Pie" will
readily discover for themselves. "The File-cutter's L'ament " (see
below), which I have selected from Mr. Downing's volume, Smook thru' a
Shevvield Chimla, will show that the Sheffield "blade" is doing his best
to carry on the tradition set by Abel Bywater eighty years ago. Airedale
still has its poets, among the most ambitious of whom is Mr.
Malham-Dembleby, who published in 1912 a volume of verse entitled,
Original Tales and Ballads in the Yorkshire Dialect. Mr. F. J. Newboult
has deservedly won fame as a prosewriter in dialect; his dialect sketches
which have for some years appeared in The Yorkshire Observer are full of
broad humour and dramatic power, and his dainty little lyric "Spring" (p.
87) is a sufficient indication that he has also the dower of the poet.
In Alderman Ben Turner of Batley Yorkshire possesses a courageous
advocate of the social betterment of the working man and woman, and in
the midst of a busy life he has, found' time to give utterance to his
indignation and his faith in dialect-poems which appeal from the heart to
the heart. Mr. Walter Hampson, of Normanton, writes in a lighter vein
in his Tykes Abrooad (1911); he is our Yorkshire Mark Twain, and his
narrative of the adventures of a little party of Yorkshiremen in Normandy
and Brittany is full of humour. Songs are scattered through the story,
and one of these, "Owd England," finds a place in this collection. The
Colne Valley and the country round Huddersfield has been somewhat slow in
responding to the call of the homely muse of dialect but Mr. E. A.
Lodge's little volume of verse and prose. entitled Odds an' Ends,
marks a successful beginning.

In our account of the history of dialect poetry in Yorkshire it will have
been noticed that the chief forms of verse to which local poets have had
recourse have been the song, personal or dramatic, the ballad, and the
dialogue. Among the most hopeful signs of the times has been the recent
extension of dialect to poems of a more sustained character. Within the
last twenty years two writers, associated with the far north and the far
south of the county respectively, have made the bold attempt to use
dialect in narrative poems of larger compass than the simple ballad.
These are Mr. Richard Blakeborough, the author of T' Hunt o' Yatton
Brigg (1896), and Mr. J. S. Fletcher, who, as recently as 1915, published
in the dialect of Osgoldcross his Leet Livvy. These two poems are in
general character poles apart: that of Mr. Blakeborough is pure romance,
whereas Mr. Fletcher never steps aside from the strait path of realism.
T' Hunt o' Yatton Brigg is steeped in all the eerie witch-lore of the
Cleveland moors. The plot is laid in the district round the famous
Roseberry Topping, and deals with the adventures which befall a certain
Johnny Simpson, who, when crossed in love, seeks the aid of the witches
to aid him in his work of vengeance on the woman who has cast him off.
The story is told with great vividness, and the author has made an
effective use of all the malevolent powers of witchcraft, seconded by the
elemental forces of thunder and lightning, to aid him in telling a story
of great dramatic power. Leet Livvy, on the other hand, is as sober and
restrained as one of the verse-tales of Crabbe, and the only resemblance
which it bears to Mr. Blakeborough's witch-story lies in the fact that
its hero, like Johnny Simpson, belongs to the peasantry and has suffered
at the hands of a woman. The tragic story of "Owd Mattha o' Marlby Moor"
is recorded by the sexton whose duty it is to toll the passing bell, and
Mr. Fletcher, whose reputation as a novelist is deservedly high, has
rendered the narrative with consummate art. The use of dialect enhances
the directness and dramatic realism of the story at every turn; the
characters stand out sharp and clear, and we are brought face to face
with the passion that makes for tragedy. The poem is purged clean of all
sentiment and moralising: it is narrative pure and simple, but aglow with
the lurid flame of a passion that burns to the very roots of life. It is
no exaggeration to say that Leet Livvy is the greatest achievement in
Yorkshire dialect poetry up to the present time; let us hope that it is
an earnest of even greater things yet to come.

The duty still remains of offering a few words of explanation concerning
the poems which find a place in the second part of this anthology, and
which I have classified as "traditional poems." It is not contended that
all of these are folk-poems in the strict sense of the term, but all of
them are of unknown authorship, and for most of them a considerable
antiquity may be claimed; moreover, like the folk-song, they owe their
preservation rather to oral tradition than to the labours of the scribe.
Many of these poems enshrine some of the customs and superstitions of the
country-side and carry our thoughts back to a time when the
Yorkshireman's habit of mind was far more primitive and childlike than it
is to-day. Moreover, though many of the old popular beliefs and rites
have vanished before the advance of education and industrialism, the
Yorkshireman still clings to the past with a tenacity which exceeds that
of the people farther to the south. For example, nowhere in England does
the old folk-play which enacts the combats of St. George with his Saracen
adversaries enjoy such popularity as in the upper waters of the Calder
Valley and in busy Rochdale over the border. This play, known locally as
"The Peace [or Pasque, i.e. Easter] Egg," was once acted all over
England. Driven from the country-side, where old traditions usually live
the longest, it survives amid the smoke-laden atmosphere of cotton-mills
and in towns which pride themselves, not without reason, on their love of
progress and their readiness to receive new ideas. It is, for our
purpose, unfortunate that this fine old play preserves little of the
local dialect and is therefore excluded from this anthology.(7) Apart
from "The Peace Egg," it is the remote Cleveland country in the North
Riding in which the old traditional poetry of Yorkshire has been best
preserved. This is the land of the sword-dance, the bridal-garter, and
the "mell- supper," the land in which primitive faiths and traditions
survive with strange tenacity. The late Canon Atkinson has made this
land familiar to us by his fascinating Forty Years in a Moorland Parish,
and, to the lover of traditional dialect songs, an even greater service
has been rendered by a later gleaner in this harvest-field, Mr. Richard
Blakeborough of Norton-on-Tees, whose T' Hunt o' Yatton Brigg has already
been considered. In his supplement to the little volume which contains
that poem, and again in his highly instructive and entertaining Wit,
Character, Folklore, and Customs of the North Riding of Yorkshire, Mr.
Blakeborough has brought together a number of traditional songs and
proverbial rhymes of great interest, and, to some extent at least, of
high antiquity. Many of these have been collected by him among the
peasantry, others are taken from a manuscript collection of notes on
North Riding folklore made by a certain George Calvert early in the
nineteenth century, and now in Mr. Blakeborough's possession.

Of the first importance in this anthology of traditional song are the
"Cleveland Lyke-wake Dirge" and "A Dree Neet." The former has been well
known to lovers of poetry since Sir Walter Scott included it in his
Border Minstrelsy; the latter, I believe, was never published until the
appearance of T' Hunt o' Yatton Brigg in 1896. The tragic power and
suggestiveness of these two poems is very remarkable. It is, I think,
fairly certain that they stand in intimate association with one another
and point back to a time when the prevailing creed of Yorkshire was Roman
Catholicism. Both depict with deep solemnity the terrors of death and of
the Judgment which lies beyond. Whinny Moor appears in either poem as
the desolate moorland tract, beset with prickly whin-bushes and flinty
stones, which the dead man must traverse on "shoonless feet" on his
journey from life. And beyond this moor lies the still more mysterious
"Brig o' Dreead," or "' Brig o' Deead," as "A Dree Neet" renders it. It
would be tempting to conjecture the precise significance of this
allusion, and to connect it with other primitive myths and legends of a
similar character; but space fails us, and it may well be that the very
vagueness of the allusion is of more haunting tragic power than precise
knowledge. It is also interesting to notice the effective use which is
made in "A Dree Neet" of all the superstitions which gather about the
great pageant of death. The flight of the Gabriel ratchets, or Gabriel
hounds, through the sky, the fluttering of bats at the casement and of
moths at the candle flame, and the shroud of soot which falls from the
chimney of the room where the dying man lies, are introduced with fine
effect; while the curious reference to the folk that draw nigh from the
other side of the grave has an Homeric ring about it, and recalls the
great scene in the Odyssey where the ghosts of Elpenor, Teiresias, and
other dead heroes gather about the trench that Odysseus has digged on the
other side of the great stream of Oceanus, hard by the dank house of

It is unnecessary to speak at any length of the other songs, proverbial
rhymes, and "nominies" which find a place among the traditional poems in
this collection. The mumming-songs, the boisterous "Ridin' t' stang"
verses, and all the snatches of folk-song which are, associated with the
festive ritual of the circling year either carry their own explanation
with them or have been elucidated by those who have written on the
subject of Yorkshire customs and folklore. I heartily commend to the
reader's notice the three songs entitled "The Bridal Bands," "The Bridal
Garter," and "Nance and Tom," which we owe to Mr. Blakeborough, and which
present to us in so delightful a manner the picture of the bride tying
her garter of wheaten and oaten straws about her left leg and the
bride-groom unloosing it after the wedding. It is hoped, too, that the
reader may find much that is interesting in the singing-games, verses and
the rhymes which throw light upon the vanishing customs, folklore, and
faiths of the county. They serve to lift the veil which hides the past
from the present, and to give us visions of a world which is fast passing
out of sight and out of memory. It is a world where one may still
faintly hear the horns of elfland blowing, and where Hob-trush Hob and
little Nanny Button-cap wander on printless feet through the star-lit
glades; where charms are still recited when the moon is new, and where on
St. Agnes' Eve the milkmaid lets the twelve sage-leaves fall from her
casement-window and, like Keats's Madeline, peers through "the honey'd
middle of the night "for a glimpse of the Porphyro to whom she must
pledge her troth.

1. Some years before Thoresby's letter was written, another Yorkshireman,
Francis Brokesby, rector of Rowley in the East Riding, communicated with
Ray about dialect words in use in his district. See Ray's Collection of
English Words, second edition, pp. 170-73 (1691).

2. It has been republished by the late Professor Skeat in the English
Dialect Society's volume, Nine Specimens of English Dialects.

3. Two editions of this ballad-opera were published in 1736. The title of
the first (? pirated) edition runs as follows: A Wonder; or, An Honest
Yorkshire-man. A Ballad Opera; As it is Performed at the Theatres with
Universal Applause. In the second edition the words, "A Wonder,"
disappear from the title.

4. Edited by J. O. Halliwell in his Yorkshire Anthology, 1851.

5. The first edition of Ben Preston's poems appeared in 1860 with the
title, Poems and Songs in the Dialect of Bradford Dale.

6. A. Holroyd: A Collection of Yorkshire Ballads, ed. by C. F. Forshaw.
(G. Bell, 1892.)

7. The reader will find a reprint of the West Riding version of The Peace
Egg, with an attempt by the editor of this anthology to throw light upon
its inner meaning, in the second volume of Essays and Studies of the
English Association (Clarendon Press, 1911).


A Yorkshire Dialogue between an awd Wife a Lass and a butcher. (1673)


Printed at York as a broadside by Stephen Bulkley in 1673.
The original broadside is lost, but a manuscript transcript of it
was purchased by the late Professor Skeat at the sale of Sir F.
Madden's books and papers, and published by him in volume xxxii.
of the Dialect Society's Transactions, 1896.

AWD WIFE. Pretha now, lass, gang into t' hurn(1)
An' fetch me heame a skeel o' burn(2);
Na, pretha, barn, mak heaste an' gang,
I's mar my deagh,(3) thou stays sae lang.
LASS. Why, Gom,(4) I's gea, bud, for my pains,
You's gie me a frundel(5) o' your grains.
AWD WIFE. My grains, my barn! Marry! not I;
My draugh's(6) for t' gilts an' galts(7) i' t' sty.
Than, pretha, look i t' garth and see
What owsen(8) i' the stand-hecks(9) be.
LASS. Blukrins! they'll put,(10) I dare not gang
Oute'en(11) you'll len' me t' great leap-stang.(12)
AWD WIFE. Tak t' frugan,(13) or t' awd maulin-shaft,(14)
Coom tite(15) agean an' be not daft.
LASS. Gom, t' great bull-segg(16) he's brokken lowse,
An' he, he's hiked(17) your broad-horned owse;
An' t' owse is fall'n into t' swine-trough,
I think he's brokken his cameril-hough.(18)
AWD WIFE. Whaw! Whaw! lass, mak heaste to t' smedy,(19)
He's noo dead, for he rowts(20) already;
He's boun; oh! how it bauks an' stangs!(21)
His lisk(22) e'en bumps an' bobs wi' pangs.
His weazen-pipe's(23) as dry as dust,
His dew-lap's swelled, he cannot hoast.(24)
He beals(25); tak t' barghams(26) off o' t' beams
An' fetch some breckons(27) frae the clames.(28)
Frae t' banks go fetch me a weam-tow(29)
My nowt's(30) e'en wrecken'd, he'll not dow.(31)
E'en wellanerin!(32) for my nowt,
For syke a musan(33) ne'er was wrowt.
Put t' wyes(34) amell(35) yon stirks an' steers
I' t' owmer,(36) an' sneck the lear-deers.(37)
See if Goff Hyldroth be gain-hand (38)
Thou helterful,(39) how dares ta stand!
LASS. He'll coom belive,(40) or aibles titter,(41)
For when he hard i' what a twitter(42)
Your poor owse lay, he took his flail
An' hang'd 't by t' swipple(43) on a nail;
An' teuk a mell(44) fra t' top o' t' wharns(45)
An' sware he'd ding your owse i' t' harns.(46)
He stack his shak-fork up i' t' esins(47)
An' teuk his jerkin off o' t' gresins.(48)
Then teuk his mittens, reached his bill,
An' off o' t' yune-head(49) teuk a swill(50)
To kep t' owse blude in. Leuk, he's coom.
AWD WIFE. Than reach a thivel(51) or a strum(52)
To stir his blude; stand not to tauk.
Hing t' reckans(53) up o' t' rannel-bauk.(54)
God ye good-morn, Goff; I's e'en fain
You'll put my owse out o' his pain.
BUTCHER. Hough-band him, tak thir(55) weevils hine(56)
F'rae t' rape's end; this is not a swine
We kill, where ilkane hauds a fooit.
I's ready now, ilkane leuk to it.
Then "Beef!" i' God's name I now cry.
Stretch out his legs an' let him lie
Till I coom stick him. Where's my swill?(57)
Coom hither, lass; haud, haud, haud still.
LASS. What mun I do wi' t' blude? BUTCHER. Thou fool,
Teem(58) 't down i' t' garth, i' t' midden-pool.
Good beef, by t' mass! an' when 'tis hung
I's roll it down wi' tooth an' tongue,
An' gobble 't down e'en till I worry.
An' whan neist mell(59) we mak a lurry(60)
A piece o' this frae t' kimlin(61) browt
By t' Rood! 't will be as good as owt.
AWD WIFE. Maut-hearted(62) fool, I e'en could greet(63)
To see my owse dead at my feet.
I thank you, Goff; I's wipe my een
An', please, you too. BUTCHER. Why, Gom Green?

1. Corner. 2. Bucket of water. 3. Dough. 4. Grand-mother.
5. Handful. 6. Draff. 7. Sows and boars. 8. Oxen. 9. Stalls.
10. Gore. 11. Unless. 12. Pole. 13. Oven-fork.
14. Handle of oven-mop. 15. Quickly. 16. Bullock. 17. Gored.
18. Bend of hind.leg. 19. Smithy. 20. Snorts. 21. Swells and stings.
22. Flank. 23. Windpipe. 24. Cough. 25. Bellows. 26. Horse-collars.
27. Bracken. 28. Heaps. 29. Belly-band. 30. Ox. 31. Recover.
32. Alas! 33. Wonder. 34. Heifers. 35. Among. 36. Shade.
37. Barn-doors. 38. Near at hand. 39. Halter-full. 40. Soon.
41. Perhaps sooner. 42. Perilous state. 43. Flap-end. 44. Mallet.
45. Hand-mill. 46. Brains. 47. Eaves. 48. Stairs. 49. Oven-top.
50. Bucket. 51. Porridge-stick. 52. Stick.
53. Iron chains for pot-hooks. 54. Chimney cross-beam. 55. Those.
56. Away. 57. Bucket. 58. Pour. 59. Next harvest-supper.
60. Merry feast. 61. Tub. 62. Maggot-hearted. 63. Weep.

An Honest Yorkshireman

Henry Carey (Died 1748)

I is i' truth a coontry youth,
Nean used to Lunnon fashions;
Yet vartue guides, an' still presides
Ower all my steps an' passions.
Nea coortly leer, bud all sincere,
Nea bribe shall iver blinnd me ;
If thoo can like a Yorkshire tike,
A rogue thoo'll niver finnd me.

Thof envy's tongue, so slimly hung,
Would lee aboot oor coonty,
Nea men o' t' earth boast greater worth,
Or mair extend their boonty.
Oor northern breeze wi' us agrees,
An' does for wark weel fit us ;
I' public cares, an' love affairs,
Wi' honour We acquit us.

Sea great a maand(1) is ne'er confaand(2)
'Tiv onny shire or nation,
They gie un meast praise whea weel displays
A larned eddication;
Whaal rancour rolls i' laatle souls,
By shallow views dissarnin',
They're nobbut wise at awlus prize
Good manners, sense, an' larnin'.

1. Mind 2. Confined

>From "Snaith Marsh" (1754)


This was written at the time of the Enclosure Acts
which robbed the peasent farmer of his rights to use Commons.

Alas! will Roger e'er his sleep forgo,
Afore larks sing, or early cocks 'gin Crow,
As I've for thee, ungrateful maiden, done,
To help thee milking, e'er day wark begun?
And when thy well-stripp'd kye(1) would yield no more,
Still on my head the reeking kit(2) I bore.
And, Oh! bethink thee, then, what lovesome talk
We've held together, ganging down the balk,
Maund'ring(3) at time which would na for us stay,
But now, I ween, maes(4) no such hast away.
Yet, O! return eftsoon and ease my woe,
And to some distant parish let us go,
And there again them leetsome days restore,
Where, unassail'd by meety(5) folk in power,
Our cattle yet may feed, tho' Snaith Marsh be no more.
But wae is me! I wot I fand(6) am grown,
Forgetting Susan is already gone,
And Roger aims e'er Lady Day to wed;
The banns last Sunday in the church were bid.
But let me, let me first i' t' churchyard lig,
For soon I there must gang, my grief's so big.
All others in their loss some comfort find;
Though Ned's like me reduc'd, yet Jenny's kind,
And though his fleece no more our parson taks,
And roast goose, dainty food, our table lacks,
Yet he, for tithes ill paid, gets better land,
While I am ev'ry o' t' losing hand.
My adlings wared,(7) and yet my rent to pay,
My geese, like Susan's faith, flown far away;
My cattle, like their master, lank and poor,
My heart with hopeless love to pieces tore,
And all these sorrows came syne(8) Snaith Marsh was no more

1. Well-milked kine (cattle) 2. Pail 3. Finding Fault
4. Makes 5. Mighty 6. Fond, Foolish 7. Earnings spent
8. Since

When at Hame wi' Dad


When at hame wi' dad,
We niver had nae fun, sir,
Which meade me sae mad,
I swore away I'd run, sir.
I pack'd up clease(1) sae smart,
Ribbed stockings, weastcoats pretty;
Wi' money an' leet heart,
Tripp'd off to Lunnon city,
Fal de ral de ra.

When I did git there
I geap'd about quite silly,
At all the shows to stare
I' a spot call'd Piccadilly.
Lord! sike charmin' seights:
Bods(2) i' cages thrive, sir',
Coaches, fiddles, feights,
An' crocodiles alive, sir,
Fal de ral de ra.

Then I did gan to see
The gentry in Hyde Park, sir,
When a lass push'd readely(1) by,
To whom I did remark, sir:
"Tho' your feace be e'en sae fair,
I've seen a bear mair civil."
Then, the laatle clease they wear!
God! Lunnon is the divil,
Fal de ral de ra.

To t' play-house then I goes,
Whar I seed merry feaces,
An' i' the lower rows
Were sarvants keepin' pleaces.
The players I saw sean,
They managed things quite funny;
By gock! they'd honey-mean
Afore they'd matrimony.
Fal de ral de ra.

Now havin' seen all I could
An' pass'd away my time, sir,
If you think fit an' good,
I'll e'en give up my rhyme, sir.
An', sud my ditty please,
The poppies in this garden
To me would be heart's-ease;
If not, I axe your pardon.
Fal de ral de ra.

1. Clothes 2. Birds 3. Rudely

I'm Yorkshire too


>From A Garland of New Songs, published by W. Appleton,
Darlington, 1811.

By t' side of a brig, that stands over a brook,
I was sent betimes to school;
I went wi' the stream, as I studied my book,
An' was thought to be no small fool.
I never yet bought a pig in a poke,
For, to give awd Nick his due,
Tho' oft I've dealt wi' Yorkshire folk,
Yet I was Yorkshire too.

I was pretty well lik'd by each village maid,
At races, wake or fair,
For my father had addled a vast(1) in trade,
And I were his son and heir.
And seeing that I didn't want for brass,
Poor girls came first to woo,
But tho' I delight in a Yorkshrre lass,
Yet I was Yorkshire too!

To Lunnon by father I was sent,
Genteeler manners to see;
But fashion's so dear, I came back as I went,
And so they made nothing o' me
My kind relations would soon have found out
What was best wi' my money to do:
Says I, "My dear cousins, I thank ye for nowt,
But I'm not to be cozen'd by you!
For I'm Yorkshire too."

1. Earned a lot.

The Wensleydale Lad


When I were at home wi' my fayther an' mother,
I niver had na fun;
They kept me goin' frae morn to neet,
so I thowt frae them I'd run.
Leeds Fair were coomin' on,
an' I thowt I'd have a spree,
So I put on my Sunday cooat
an' went right merrily.

First thing I saw were t' factory,
I niver seed one afore;
There were threads an' tapes, an' tapes an' silks,
to sell by monny a score.
Owd Ned turn'd iv'ry wheel,
an' iv'ry wheel a strap;
"Begor!" says I to t' maister-man,
"Owd Ned's a rare strong chap."

Next I went to Leeds Owd Church--
I were niver i' one i' my days,
An' I were maistly ashamed o' misel,
for I didn't knaw their ways;
There were thirty or forty folk,
i' tubs an' boxes sat,
When up cooms a saucy owd fellow.
Says he, "Noo, lad, tak off thy hat."

Then in there cooms a great Lord Mayor,
an' over his shooders a club,
An' he gat into a white sack-poke,(1)
an gat into t' topmost tub.
An' then there cooms anither chap,
I thinks they call'd him Ned,
An' he gat into t' bottommost tub,
an' mock'd all t' other chap said.

So they began to preach an' pray,
they prayed for George, oor King;
When up jumps t' chap i' t' bottommost tub.
Says he, "Good folks, let's sing."
I thowt some sang varra weel,
while others did grunt an' groan,
Ivery man sang what he wad,
so I sang " Darby an' Joan."(2)

When preachin' an' prayin' were over,
an' folks were gangin' away,
I went to t' chap i' t' topmost tub.
Says I, "Lad, what's to pay?"
"Why, nowt," says he, "my lad."
Begor! I were right fain,
So I click'd hod(3) o' my gret club stick
an' went whistlin' oot again.

1. Corn-sack 2. Another reading is "Bobbing Joan."
3. Took hold

A Song 1.

Thomas Browne (1771-1798)

Ye loit'ring minutes faster flee,
Y' are all ower slow by hauf for me,
That wait impatient for the mornin';
To-morn's the lang, lang-wish'd-for fair,
I'll try to shine the fooremost there,
Misen in finest claes adornin',
To grace the day.

I'll put my best white stockings on,
An' pair o' new cauf-leather shoon,
My clane wash'd gown o' printed cotton;
Aboot my neck a muslin shawl,
A new silk handkerchee ower all,
Wi' sike a careless air I'll put on,
I'll shine this day.

My partner Ned, I know, thinks he,
He'll mak hiss en secure o' me,
He's often said he'd treat me rarely;
But I's think o' some other fun,
I'll aim for some rich farmer's son,
And cheat oor simple Neddy fairly,
Sae sly this day.

Why mud not I succeed as weel,
An' get a man full oot genteel,
As awd John Darby's daughter Nelly?
I think misen as good as she,
She can't mak cheese or spin like me,
That's mair 'an(1) beauty, let me tell ye,
On onny day.

Then hey! for sports and puppy shows,
An' temptin' spice-stalls rang'd i' rows,
An' danglin' dolls by t' necks all hangin';
An' thousand other pratty seets,
An' lasses traul'd(2) alang the streets,
Wi' lads to t' yal-hoose gangin'
To drink this day.

Let's leuk at t' winder, I can see 't,
It seems as tho' 't was growin' leet,
The cloods wi' early rays adornin';
Ye loit'ring minutes faster flee,
Y' are all ower slow be hauf for me,
At(3) wait impatient for the mornin'
O' sike a day.

1. Than 2. Trailed 3. That

A Song 2.

Thomas Browne (1771--1798)

When I was a wee laatle totterin' bairn,
An' had nobbud just gitten short frocks,
When to gang I at first was beginnin' to lairn,
On my brow I gat monny hard knocks.
For sae waik, an' sae silly an' helpless was I
I was always a tumblin' doon then,
While my mother would twattle me(1) gently an' cry,
"Honey Jenny, tak care o' thisen."

When I grew bigger, an' got to be strang,
At I cannily ran all about
By misen, whor I liked, then I always mud gang
Bithout(2) bein' tell'd about ought;
When, however, I com to be sixteen year awd,
An' rattled an' ramp'd amang men,
My mother would call o' me in an' would scaud,
An' cry--" Huzzy, tak care o' thisen."

I've a sweetheart cooms noo upo' Setterday nights,
An' he swears at he'll mak me his wife;
My mam grows sae stingy, she scauds an' she flytes,(3)
An' twitters(4) me oot o' my life.
Bud she may leuk sour, an' consait hersen wise,
An' preach agean likin' young men;
Sen I's grown a woman her clack(5) I'll despise,
An' I's--marry!--tak care o' misen.

1. Prattle to me. 2. Without. 3. Argues,
4. Worries. 5. Talk

The Invasion: An Ecologue

Thomas Browne (1771--1798)

Impius haec tam culta novalia miles habebit?--Virgil.

A wanton wether had disdain'd the bounds
That kept him close confin'd to Willy's grounds;
Broke through the hedge, he wander'd far astray,
He knew not whither on the public way.
As Willy strives, with all attentive care,
The fence to strengthen and the gap repair,
His neighbour, Roger, from the fair return'd,
Appears in sight in riding-graith adorn'd;
Whom, soon as Willy, fast approaching, spies,
Thus to his friend, behind the hedge, he cries.

How dea ye, Roger? Hae ye been at t' fair?
How gangs things? Made ye onny bargains there?

I knaw not, Willy, things deant look ower weel,
Coorn sattles fast, thof beas'(1) 'll fetch a deal.
To sell t' awd intak(2) barley I desaagn'd,
Bud couldn't git a price to suit my maand.
What wi' rack-rents an' sike a want a' trade,
I knawn't how yan's to git yan's landloords paid.
Mair-ower(3) all that, they say, i' spring o' t' year
Franch is intarmin'd on 't to 'tack us here.

Yea, mon! what are they coomin' hither for?
Depend upon 't, they'd better niver stor.(4)

True, Willy, nobbud Englishmen 'll stand
By yan another o' their awwn good land.
They'll niver suffer--I's be bun' to say
The Franch to tak a single sheep away.
Fightin' for heame, upo' their awn fair field,
All power i' France could niver mak 'em yield.

Whaw! seer(5) you cannot think, when put to t' pinch,
At onny Englishmen 'll iver flinch!
If Franch dea coom here, Roger, I'll be hang'd
An' they deant git theirsens reet soondly bang'd.
I can't bud think--thof I may be mistean
Not monny on 'em 'll git back agean.

I think nut, Willy, bud some fowk 'll say,
Oor English fleet let t' Franch ships git away,
When they were laid, thou knaws, i' Bantry Bay;
At(6) they could niver all have gien 'em t' slip,
Bud t' English wanted nut to tak a ship.

Eh! that's all lees!

I dinnot say it's true,
It's all unknawn to sike as me an' you.
How do we knaw when fleets do reet or wrang?
I whope it's all on't fause, bud sea talks gang.
Howsiver this I knaw, at when they please,
Oor sailors always beat 'em upo' t' seas.
An' if they nobbut sharply look aboot,
T'hey needn't let a single ship coom oat.
At least they'll drub 'em weel, I dinnot fear,
An' keep 'em fairly off frae landin' here.

I whope sea, Roger, bud, an' if they dea
Coom owerr, I then shall sharpen my awd lea.(7)
What thof(8) I can bud of a laatle boast,
You knaw van wadn't hae that laatle lost.
I's send our Mally an' all t' bairns away,
An' I misen 'll by the yamstead(9) stay.
I'll fight, if need; an' if I fall, why, then
I's suffer all the warst mishap misen.
Was I bud seer my wife an' bairns were seafe,
I then sud be to dee content eneaf.

Reet, Willy, mon, what an' they put us tea 't
I will misen put forrad my best feat.(10)
What thof I's awd, I's nut sae easily scar'd;
On his awn midden an awd cock fights hard.
They say a Franchman's torn'd a different man,
A braver, better soldier, ten to yan.
Bud let the Franch be torn'd to what they will,
They'll finnd at Englishmen are English still.
O' their awn grund they'll nowther flinch nor flee,
They'll owther conquer, or they'll bravely dee.

1. Beasts, cattle. 2 Enclosure. 3. Besides.
4. Stir. 5. Surely. 6. That.
7. Scythe. 8. Though. 9. Homestead. 10 Foot.

Elegy on the Death of a Frog (1815)

David Lewis

Ya summer day when I were mowin',
When flooers of monny soorts were growin',
Which fast befoor my scythe fell bowin',
As I advance,
A frog I cut widout my knowin'--
A sad mischance.

Poor luckless frog, why com thoo here?
Thoo sure were destitute o' fear;
Some other way could thoo nut steer
To shun the grass?
For noo that life, which all hod dear,
Is gean, alas!

Hadst thoo been freeten'd by the soond
With which the mowers strip the groond,
Then fled away wi' nimble boond,
Thoo'd kept thy state:
But I, unknawin', gav a wound,
Which browt thy fate.

Sin thoo com frae thy parent spawn,
Wi' painted cooat mair fine than lawn,
And golden rings round baith ees drawn,
All gay an' blithe,
Thoo lowpt(1) the fields like onny fawn,
But met the scythe.

Frae dikes where winter watters steead(2)
Thoo com unto the dewy mead,
Regardless of the cattle's treead,
Wi' pantin' breeath,
For to restore thy freezin' bleead,
But met wi' deeath.

A Frenchman early seekin' prog,(3)
Will oftentimes ransack the bog,
To finnd a sneel, or weel-fed frog,
To give relief;
But I prefer a leg of hog,
Or roond o' beef.

But liker far to the poor frog,
I's wanderin' through the world for prog,
Where deeath gies monny a yan a jog,
An' cuts them doon;
An' though I think misen incog,
That way I's boun.

Time whets his scythe and shakes his glass,
And though I know all flesh be grass,
Like monny mair I play the ass,
Don't seem to know;
But here wad sometime langer pass,
Befoor I go.

Ye bonnie lasses, livin' flooers,
Of cottage mean, or gilded booers,
Possessed of attractive pooers,
Ye all mun gang
Like frogs in meadows fed by shooers,
Ere owt be lang.

Though we to stately plants be grown,
He easily can mow us doon;
It may be late, or may be soon,
His scythe we feel;
Or is it fittin' to be known?
Therefore fareweel.

1. Leaped. 2. Stood. 3. Food.

Sheffield Cutler's Song (1887)

Abel Bywater

Coom all you cutlin' heroes, where'ersome'er you be,
All you what works at flat-backs,(1) coom listen unto me;
A basketful for a shillin',
To mak 'em we are willin',
Or swap 'em for red herrin's, aar bellies to be fillin',
Or swap 'em for red herrin's, aar bellies to be fillin'.

A baskitful o' flat-backs, I'm sure we'll mak, or more,
To ger(2) reight into t' gallery, wheer we can rant an' roar,
Throw flat-backs, stones an' sticks,
Red herrin's, bones an' bricks,
If they don't play "Nancy's fancy," or onny tune we fix,
We'll do the best at e'er we can to break some o' their necks.

Hey! Jont, lad, where art ta waddlin' to?
Does ta work at flat-backs yit, as tha's been used to do?
Ha! coom, an' tha' s go wi' me,
An' a sample I will gie thee,
It's one at I've just forged upon Geoffry's bran-new stiddy.(3)
Look at it well, it does excel all t' flat-backs i' aar smithy.

Let's send for a pitcher o' ale, lad, for I'm gerrin' varry droy,
I'm ommost chok'd wi' smithy sleck,(4) the wind it is so hoigh.
Gie Rafe an' Jer a drop,
They sen(5) they cannot stop,
They're i' sich a moighty hurry to get to t' penny hop,
They're i' sich a moighty hurry to get to t' penny hop.

Here's Steem at lives at Heeley, he'll soon be here, I knaw,
He's larnt a new maccaroni step, the best you iver saw;
He has it so complete,
He troies up ivery street,
An' ommost breaks all t' pavors(6) wi' swattin'(7) daan his feet.
An' Anak troies to beat him, wheniver they doon(8) meet.

We'll raise a tail by Sunda, Steem; I knaw who's one to sell,
We'll tee a hammer heead at t' end to mak it balance well.
It's a reight new Lunnon tail,
We'll wear it kale for kale,(9)
Aar Anak browt it wi' him, that neet he coom by t' mail.
We'll drink success unto it--hey! Tout, lad, teem(10) aat t' ale.

1 Knives. 2 Get. 3. Anvil. 4. Dust. 5. Say. 6. Paving Stones.
7. Hammering. 8. Do. 9. Turn and about. 10. Pour.

Address to Poverty


Scoolin' maid o' iron broo,
Thy sarvant will address thee noo,
For thoo invites the freedom
By drivin' off my former friends,
To leak to their awn private ends,
Just when I chanc'd to need 'em.

I've had thy company ower lang,
Ill-lookin' wean,(1) thoo must be wrang,
Thus to cut short my jerkin.
I ken thee weel, I knaw thy ways,
Thoo's awlus kept back cash an' claes,
An' foorc'd me to hard workin'.

To gain o' thee a yal(2) day's march
I straave; bud thoo's sae varra arch.
For all I still straave faster,
Thoo's tripp'd my heels an' meade me stop,
By some slain corn, or failin' crop,
Or ivery foul disaster.

If I my maand may freely speak,
I really dunnot like thy leak,
Whativer shap thoo's slipp'd on;
Thoo's awd an' ugly, deeaf an' blinnd,
A fiend afoore, a freight behinnd,
An' foul as Mother Shipton.

Folks say, an' it is nowt bud truth,
Thoo has been wi' me frae my youth,
An' gien me monny a thumper;
Bud noo thoo cooms wi' all thy weight,
Fast fallin' frae a fearful height,
A doonreet Milton plumper.

Sud plenty frae her copious horn,
Teem(1) oot to me good crops o' corn,
An' prosper weel my cattle,
An' send a single thoosand pund,
'T wad bring all things completely roond,
An' I wad gie thee battle.

Noo, Poverty, ya thing I beg,
Like a poor man withoot a leg,
Sea, prethee, don't deceive me;
I knaw it's i' thy power to grant
The laatle favour at I want
At thoo wad gang an' leave me.

1. Child. 2. Whole.

The Collingham Ghost


I'll tell ye aboot the Collingham ghost,
An' a rare awd ghost was he;
For he could laugh, an' he could talk,
An' run, an' jump, an' flee.

He went aboot hither an' thither,
An' freeten'd some out o' their wits,
He freeten'd the parson as weel as the clerk,
An' lots beside them into fits.

The poor awd man wha teak the toll
At Collingham bar for monny a year,
He dursn't coom out to oppen his yat(2)
For fear the ghost sud be near.

He teak to his bed an' there he laid,
For monny a neet an' day;
His yat was awlus wide oppen thrown,
An' nean iver stopp'd to pay.

Awd Jerry wha kept the public hoose,
An' sell'd good yal to all,
Curs'd the ghost wi' hearty good will,
For neabody stopp'd to call.

It made sike a noise all roond aboot,
That folks com far to see;
Some said it was a dreadful thing,
An' sum said 't was a lee.

Gamkeepers com wi' dogs an' guns,
Thinkin' 't was some comical beast;
An' they wad eyther kill him or catch him,
Or drive him awa at least.

Sea into Lady wood right they went
Ya beautiful meenleet neet;
A lot o' great men an' a lot o' rough dogs,
Enew(3) a poor ghost to eat.

They waited lang, the ghost didn't come,
They began to laugh an' rail,
"If he coom oat of his den," says yan,
"We'll clap a bit o' saut of his tail."

"Nay, he knows better than turn oot,
When we are here to watch him,
He'd git a bullet through his lug,
Or Mungo there wad catch him."

When close to their heads wi' a terrible clatter
The ghost went whirrin' up,
An' owerr the woods he laughed an' shouted,
"Bobo, bobo! who whoop, who whoop!"

The gamkeepers all tummled doon,
Their hair thrast off their hat,
They gaped an' grean'd(4) an' roll'd aboot,
An' their hearts went pit-a-pat.

Their feaces were white as onny clout,
An' they said niver a word,
T'hey couldn't tell what the ghost was like,
Whether 'twas a beast or a bird.

They stay'd nea langer i' t' wood that neet,
Poor men were niver dafter,
They ran awa hame as fast as they could,
An' their dogs ran yelping after.

The parson then, a larned man,
Said he wad conjure the ghost;
He was sure it was nea wandrin' beast,
But a spirit that was lost.

All languages this parson knew
That onny man can chat in,
The Ebrew, Greek, an' Irish too,
As weel as Dutch an' Latin.

O! he could talk an' read an' preach,
Few men knew mair or better,
An' nearly all the bukes he read
Were printed in black letter.

He read a neet, he read a day,
fo mak him fit for his wark,
An' when he thowt he was quite up,
He sent for the awd clerk.

The clerk was quickly by his side,
He took but little fettlin',
An' awa they went wi' right good will
To gie the ghost a settlin'.

Aye off they set wi' all their might,
Nor stopp'd at thin or thick,
The parson wi' his sark(5) an' buke,
The clerk wi' a thick stick.

At last by t' side o' t' bank they stopp'd,
Where Wharfe runs murmurin' clear,
A beautiful river breet an' fine,
As onny in wide Yorkshire.

The parson then began to read,
An' read full loud an' lang,
The rabbits they ran in an' oot,
An' wonder'd what was wrang.

The ghost was listnin' in a hole,
An' oat he bang'd at last,
The fluttrin' o' his mighty wings,
Was like a whirlwind blast.

He laughed 'an shooted as he flew,
Until the wild woods rang;
His who-who-whoop was niver heard
Sea load an' clear an' strang.

The parson he fell backwards ower
Into a bush o' whins,
An' lost his buke, an' rave(6) his sark,(7)
An' prick'd his hands an' shins.

The clerk he tried to run awa,
But tumml'd ower his stick,
An' there he made a nasty smell
While he did yell an' fick.(8)

An' lots o' pranks this ghost he play'd
That here I darn't tell,
For if I did, folks wad declare
I was as ill as hissel.

For eighteen months an' mair he stay'd,
An' just did as he thowt ;
For lord nor duke, parson nor clerk,
He fear'd, nor cared nowt.

Efter that time he went awa,
Just when it pleas'd hissel;
But what he was, or whar he com fra,
Nea mortal man can tell.

1. Pour. 2. Gate. 3. Enough. 4. Groaned.
5. Surplice. 6. Tore. 7. Surplice. 8. Kick.

The Yorkshire Horse Dealers


Bain(1) to Clapham town-end lived an owd Yorkshire tike,
Who i' dealing i' horseflesh had ne'er met his like;
'T were his pride that i' all the hard bargains he'd hit,
He'd bit a girt monny, but niver bin bit.

This owd Tommy Towers (by that name he were known)
Had an owd carrion tit(2) that were sheer skin an' bone;
To have killed him for t' curs wad have bin quite as well,
But 't were Tommy's opinion he'd dee on himsel!

Well! yan Abey Muggins, a neighborin cheat,
Thowt to diddle owd Tommy wad be a girt treat;
He'd a horse, too, 't were war(3) than owd Tommy's, ye see,
For t' neet afore that he'd thowt proper to dee !

Thinks Abey, t' owd codger 'll niver smoke t' trick,
I'll swop wi' him my poor deead horse for his wick,(4)
An' if Tommy I nobbut can happen to trap,
'T will be a fine feather i' Abraham cap!

So to Tommy he goes, an' the question he pops:
"Betwin thy horse and mine, prithee, Tommy, what swops?
What wilt gie me to boot? for mine's t' better horse still?"
"Nowt," says Tommy, "I'll swop even hands, an' ye will!"

Abey preached a lang time about summat to boot,
Insistin' that his were the liveliest brute;
But Tommy stuck fast where he first had begun,
Till Abey shook hands, an' said, Well, Tommy I done!

"O! Tommy," said Abey, "I's sorry for thee,
I thowt thou'd hae hadden mair white i' thy ee;
Good luck's wi' thy bargain, for my horse is deead."
"Hey!" says Tommy, "my lad, so is mine, an' it's fleead(5)!"

So Tommy got t' better o' t' bargain a vast,
An' cam' off wi' a Yorkshireman's triumph at last;
For thof 'twixt deead horses there's not mich to choose,
Yet Tommy were richer by t' hide an' fower shooes.

1 Near. 2 Nag. 3 Worse. 4. Quick, living 5. Flayed.

The Lucky Dream

John Castillo (1792-1845)

Ya Kessmas neet, or then aboot,
When measons all were frozzen oot,
I went to see a country friend,
An hospitable hoor to spend.
For gains, I cut across o' t' moor,
Whoor t' snaw sea furiously did stoor.(1)
The hoose I gain'd an' enter'd in,
An' were as welcome as a king.
The storm agean t' windey patter'd,
An' hail-steans doon t' chimley clatter'd.
All hands were in, an' seem'd content,
An' nean did frost or snaw lament.
T' lasses all were at their sewing,
Their cheeks wiv health an' beauty glowing.
Aroond the hearth, in cheerful chat,
Twea or three friendly neighbours sat,
Their travels telling, whoor they'd been,
An' what they had beath heeard an' seen.
Till yan did us all mich amuse,
An' thus a story introduce.
"I recollect lang saan,"(2) says he,
"A story that were tell'd to me,
At seems sea strange i' this oor day
That true or false I cannot say.
A man liv'd i' this neighbourhood,
Nea doot of reputation good,
An' lang taame strave wi' stiddy care,
To keep his hoosehod i' repair.
At length he had a curious dream,
For three neets runnin' 't were the seame,
At(3) if on Lunnon Brig he stood,
He'd hear some news would dea him good,
He labour'd hard, beath neet an' day,
Tryin' to draave those thowts away;
Yet daily grew mair discontent
Till he at last to Lunnon went.
Being quite a stranger to that toon,

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