The Pitman's Pay
|The Pitman's Pay
The Pitman’s Pay
Or, A night's Discharge to Care.
I sing not here of warriors bold,
Of battles lost or victories won,
Of cities sack'd or nations sold,
Or cruel deeds by tyrants done.
I sing the Pitman's plagues and cares,
Their labour hard and lowly lot,
Their homely joys and humble fares,
Their pay-night o'er a foaming pot.
Their week's work done, the coally craft,
These horny-handed sons of toil,
Require 'a right gude willie-waught',
The creaking wheels of life to oil.
See hewers, putters, drivers too,
With pleasure hail this happy day--
All clean wash'd up, their way pursue
To drink and crack, and get their pay.
The BUCK, the BLACK HORSE, and the KEYS,
Have witness'd many a comic scene,
Where's yel to cheer, and mirth to please,
And drollery that would cure the spleen.
With parchéd tongues, and geyzen'd throats
They reach the place where barleycorn
Soon down the dusty cavern floats,
From pewter-pot or homely horn.
The dust wash'd down, then comes the care
To find that all is rightly bill'd;
And each to get his hard-earn'd share,
From some one in division skill'd.
The money-matters thus decided,
They push the pot more briskly round:
With hearts elate and hobbies strided,
Their cares are all in nappy drown'd.
"Here, lass," says JACK, "help this agyen,
It's better yel than's i' the toun;
But then the road's se het it's tyen,
It fizz'd, aw think, as it went doun."
Thus many a foaming pot's requir'd
To quench the dry and dusky spark;
When ev'ry tongue, as if inspir'd
Wags on about their wives and wark--
The famous feats done in their youth,
At bowling, ball, and clubby-shaw--
Camp-meetings, Ranters, Gospel-truth,
Religion, politics, and law.
With such variety of matter,
Opinions, too, as various quite,
We need not wonder at the clatter,
When ev'ry tongue wags - wrong or right.
The gifted few in lungs and lare
At length, insensibly, divide'em;
And from a three-legg'd stool, or chair,
Each draws his favour'd few beside him.
Now let us ev'ry face survey,
Which seems as big with grave debate,
As if each word they had to say
Was pregnant with impending fate.
Mark those in that secluded place,
Set snug around the stool of oak,
Labouring at some knotty case,
Envelop'd in tobacco smoke.
These are the pious, faithful few,
Who pierce the dark decrees of fate:
They've read the Pilgrim's Progress through,
As well as Boston's Fourfold State.
They'll point you out the day and hour
When they experienc'd sin forgiven --
Convince you that they're safe, and sure
To die in peace, and go to heaven.
The moral road's too far about--
They like a surer, shorter cut,
Which frees the end from every doubt,
And saves them many a weary foot.
The first's commensurate with our years,
And must be travell'd day by day;
And to the 'new-born' few appears
A very dull and tedious way.
The other's length always depends
Upon the time when we begin it:--
Get but set out before life ends,
For all's set right when once we're in it.
They're now debating which is best:
The short-cut votes the other's double--
For this good reason, 'mongst the rest,
It really saves a world of trouble.
He that from goodness farthest strays,
Becomes a saint of first degree;
And RANTER JEREMIAH says,
"Let bad ones only come to me."
Old EARTHWORM soon obeys the call,
Conscious, perhaps, he wanted mending;
For some few flaws from Adam's fall,
Gloss'd o'er by cant and sheer pretending.
Still stick to him afield or home,
The Methodistic brush defying;
So that the Ranter's curry-comb
Is now the only means worth trying.
In habits form'd since sixty years,
The hopes of change won't weigh a feather:
Their power so o'er him domineers,
That they and life must end together.
See on their right a gambling few,
Whose every word and look display
A desperate, dark, designing crew,
Intent upon each other's pay.
They're racers, cockers, carders, keen
As ever o'er a tankard met,
Or ever bowl'd a match between
The POPPLIN WELL and MAWVIN'S YETT.
On cock-fight, dog-fight, cuddy-race,
Or pitch-and-toss, trippet-and-coit,
Or on a soap-tail'd grunter's chase,
They'll risk the last remaining doit.
They're now at cards and GIBBY GRIPE
Is peeping into HARRY'S hand;
And ev'ry puff blown from his pipe
His party easily understand.
Some for the odd-trick pushing hard--
Some that they lose it pale with fear--
Some betting on the turn-up-card--
Some drawing cuts for pints of beer.
Whilst others brawl about JACK'S brock,
That all the Chowden dogs can bang;
Or praise LANG WILSON'S 'piley cock',
Or DIXON'S feats upon the swang.
Here TOM, the pink of bowlers, gain'd
Himself a never-dying name,
By deeds wherein an ardour reign'd
Which neither age nor toil could tame.
For labour done, and o'er his doze,
Tom took his place upon the hill;
And at the very evening's close,
You faintly saw him bowling still.
All this display of pith and zeal
Was so completely habit-grown,
That many an hour from sleep he'd steal,
To bowl upon the hill alone.
The night wears late -- the wives drop in
To take a peep at what is doing;
For many would not care a pin
To lose at cards a fortnight's hewing.
Poor WILL had just his plagues dismiss'd,
And had 'Begone, dull care' begun,
With face as grave as Methodist,
And voice most sadly out of tune;
But soon as e'er he NELLY saw,
With brows a dreadful storm portending,
He dropt at once his under jaw,
As if his mortal race was ending;-
For had the grim Destroyer stood,
In all his ghastliness, before him,
It could not more have froze his blood,
Nor thrown a deadlier paleness o'er him.
His better half, all fire and tow,
Call'd him a slush--his comrades raff--
Swore that he could a brewing stow,
And after that sipe all the draff.
WILL gather'd up his scatter'd powers--
Drew up his fallen chops again--
Seiz'd NELL, and push'd her out of doors--
Then broke forth in this piteous strain:-
"O! NELL, thou's rung me mony a peal,
Nyen, but mysel could bide thy yammer;
Thy tongue runs like wor pully wheel,
And dirls my lug like wor smith's hammer.
Thou'll drive me daft, aw often dreed,
For now aw's nobbut varry silly,
Just like a geuss cut i' the heed,
Like JEMMY MUIN or PREACHER WILLY.
Aw thought wor NELL, when NELLY DALE,
The varry thing to myek me happy;
She curl'd maw hair, she tied maw tail,
And clapt and stroked maw little CAPPY.
But suin as e'er the knot was tied,
And we were yok'd for life, together--
When NELL had laugh'd, and Minny cried--
And aw was fairly i' the tether--
Then fierce as fire she seiz'd the breeks,
And roun' maw heed flew stuils and chairs;
Maw tail hung lowse, like candle weeks,
An awd pit ended CAPPY'S cares.
Just like wor maisters when we're bun,
If men and lads be varry scant,
They wheedle us wi' yel and fun,
And coax us into what they want.
But myek yor mark, then snuffs and sneers
Suin stop yor gob and lay yor braggin';
When yence yor feet are i' the geers,
Maw soul! they'll keep your painches waggin'.
Aw toil maw byens, till through maw clay
They peep to please maw dowly kyevel;
Aw's at the coal wall a' the day,
And neetly i' the waiter level.
Aw hammer on till efternuin,
Wi' weary byens and empty wyem;
Nay, varry oft the pit's just duin
Before aw weel get wannel'd hyem.
But this is a' of little use,
For what aw de is never reet:
She's like a 'larm-bell i' the house,
Ding-dongin' at me, day and neet.
If aw sud get ma wark ower suin,
She's flaid to deeth aw've left some byet;
And if aw's till the efternuin
Aw's drunk because aw is se lyet.
Feed us and cleed us weel, she may,
As she gets a'ways money plenty;
For every day, for mony a pay,
Aw've hew'd and putten twee-and-twenty.
'Tis true aw sometimes get a gill,
But then she a'ways hez her grog;
And if aw din't her bottle fill,
Aw's then a skin-flint, sneck-drawn dog.
She buys me, tee, the warst o' meat,
Bad bullock's liver, houghs and knees,
Teugh, stinkin' tripe, and awd cow's feet,
Shanks full o' mawks, and half-nowt cheese.
Of sic she feeds the bairns and me--
The tyesty bits she tyeks hersel',
In which ne share nor lot hev we,
Exceptin' sometimes i' the smell.
The crowdy is wor daily dish,
But varry different is their MINNY'S;
For she gets a' her heart can wish,
In strang-lyac'd tea and singin' hinnies.
Maw canny bairns luik pale and wan,
Their bits and brats are varry scant:
Their mother's feasts rob them o' scran -
For wilfu' waste makes woefu' want.
She peels the taties wiv her teeth,
And spreads the butter wiv her thoom:
She blaws the kyel wi' stinking breeth,
Where mawks and caterpillars soom!
She's just a movin' heap o' muck,
Where durts of a' description muster;
For dishclout serves her apron nuik
As weel as snotter-clout and duster!
She lays out punds in manadge things,
Like mony a thriftless, thoughtless bein';
Yet bairns and me, as if we'd wings,
Are a' in rags an' tatters fleein'.
Just mark wor dress-- a lapless coat,
Wi' byeth the elbows steeking through--
A hat that never cost a groat--
A neckless sark-- a clog and shoe.
She chalks up 'scores' at a' the shops
Wheriver we've a twel'month stayed;
And when we flit, the landlord stops
Maw sticks till a' the rent be paid.
Aw's ca'd a henpeck'd, pluckless calf,
For letting her the breeches weer;
And tell'd aw dinnet thresh her half,
Wi' mony a bitter jibe and jeer.
'Aw think', says DICK, 'aw wad her towen,
And verra suin her courage cuil:
Aw'd dook her in wor engine pown,
Then clap her on repentance' stuil.
If that should not her tantrums check,
Aw'd peel her to the varry sark;
Then 'noint her wi' a twig o' yeck,
And efter myek her eat the bark.'
Enough like this aw've heard thro' life;
For ev'ry body hez a plan
Te guide a rackle ram-stam wife,
Except the poor tormented man."
Will could not now his feelings stay,
The tear roll'd down his care-worn cheek:
He thrimmel'd out what he'd to pay,
And sobbing said, "My heart'll break!
Here NANNY, modest, mild, and shy,
Took NEDDY gently by the sleeve--
"Aw just luik'd in as aw went by--
Is it not, thinks te, time to leave?"
"Now, NAN, what myeks th' fash me here--
Gan hyem and get the bairns to bed:
Thou knaws thou promis'd me ma beer,
The verry neet before we wed."
"Hout, hinny, had thy blabbin' jaw,
Thou's full o' nought but fun and lees;
At sic a kittle time, ye knaw,
Yen tells ye ony-thing to please.
Besides, thou's had enough o' drink,
And mair wad ony myek thee bad:
Aw see thy een begin to blink--
Gan wi' me, like a canny lad."
"O, NAN, thou hez a witchin' way
O' myekin' me de what thou will;
Thou needs but speak, and aw obey;
Yet there's ne doubt aw's maister still.
But tyest the yel, and stop a bit--
Here tyek a seat upon ma knee;
For 'mang the hewers i' wor pit,
There's nyen hez sic a wife as me.
For if ma 'top' comes badly down,
Or owt else keeps me lang away,
She cheers me wi' the weel-knawn-soun'--
'Thou's had a lang and weary day.'
If aw be naggy, NANNY'S smile
Suin myeks me blithe as ony lark,
And fit to loup a yett or stile--
Ma varry byens forget to wark.
Maw NAN-- maw bairns-- maw happy hyem-
Set ower hard labour's bitter pill:
O, Providence! but spare me them,
The warld may then wag as it will.
She waits upon me hand and foot--
I want for nowght that she can gie me;
She fills maw pipe wi' paten' cut--
Leets it, and hands it kindly to me.
She tells me all her bits o' news,
Pick'd up the time aw've been away;
And frae maw mouth the cuttie pous
When sleep owercomes maw weary clay.
However poor or plain wor fare,
The better bits come a' to me:
The last o' coffee's NANNY'S share,
And mine the hindmost o' the tea.
And when the warld runs sair agyen us,
When wark is slack and money duin,
When want has a' but ower-tyen us,
She a'ways keeps maw heart abuin.
Se weel she ettles what aw get,
Se far she a'ways gars it gan,
That nyen can say we are i' debt,
Or want for owther claes or scran.
And though myest twenty years are past
Sin' NANNY left her mother's hyem,
Ower me and mine, frae frust te last,
Her care has a'ways been the syem.
Then drink about-- whe minds a jot?
Let's drown wor cares i' barleycorn:
Here, lass, come bring another pot,
The 'caller' dizn't call te-morn."
"Nay, hinny NED, ne langer stay -
We mun be hyem to little NEDDY -
He's just a twelvemonth awd to-day,
And will be cryin' for his Deddy.
Aw'll tyek thee hyem a pot o' beer,
A nice clean pipe, and backy te e: -
Thou knaws aw like te hae thee near--
Come, hinny, come! gan hyem wi' me."
Like music's soft and soothing powers
These honey'd sounds drop on his ear:
Or like the warm and fertile showers
That leave the face of nature clear.
Here was the power of woman shown,
When women use it properly:
He threw his pipe and reck'ning down--
"Aw will, aw will, gan hyem wi' thee."
At home arriv'd right cheerfully
She set him in his easy chair--
Clapt little NEDDY on his knee,
And bid him see his image there.
The mother pleas'd-- the father glad,
Swore NEDDY had twee bonny een:
"There ne'er was, NED, a finer lad;
And, then he's like thee as a bean.
Aw've luick'd for WILSON a' this day,
To cut the pig down 'fore it's dark;
But he'll be guzzlin' at the 'pay',
And windin' on about his wark.
What lengths aw've often heard him gan,
Sweerin' - and he's not fond o' fibbin--
He'll turn his back on ne'er a man,
For owther killin' pigs or libben'.
Still JACK'S an honest, canty cock,
As iver drain'd the juice o' barley;
Aw've knawn him sit myest roun' the clock,
Swattlin' and clatterin' on wi' CHARLEY.
Now, Deddy, let me ease yor airm;
Gie me the bairn, lay down yor pipe,
And get thy supper when it's warm--
It's just a bit o' gissy's tripe.
Then come to me, maw little lammy!
Come, thou apple o' my e'e!
Come, maw NEDDY, te thy Mammy--
Come, maw darlin'- come to me!"
Here! see a woman truly blest
Beyond the reach of pomp and pride!
Her infant happy at her breast--
Her husband happy by her side.
Then take a lesson, pamper'd wealth,
And learn how little it requires
To make us happy when we've health,
Content, nd moderate desires.
"Thy faither, NED, is far frae weel:
He luicks, poor body, varry bad;
A' ower he hez a cawdrife feel,
But thinks it's but a waff o' cawd.
Aw've just been ower wi' somethin' warm,
Te try to ease the weary cough,
Which baffles byeth the drugs and charm,
And threetens oft to tyek him off.
He says, 'O NAN, maw life thou's spar'd--
The good it's duin me's past believin':
The Lord will richly thee rewaird--
The care o' me will win thee heeven.'
Now as his bottle's nearly tume,
Mind think me on when at the town
To get the drop black-beer and rum,
As little else will now gan down.
We mebby may be awd worsels,
When poverty's cawd blast is blawin';
And want a frien' when nature fyels,
And life her last few threeds is drawin'.
Besides, the bits o' good we de
The verry happiest moments gi'e us;
And mun, aw think, still help a wee
At last, frae awfu' skaith to free us.
Let cant and rant then rave at will
Agyen good warks, aw here declare it,
We'll still the hungry belly fill,
Se lang as iver we can spare it."
Here, then, we'll leave this happy pair,
Their 'home affairs' to con and settle--
Their 'ways and means', with frugal care,
For marketing next day to ettle.
WE'LL now return, a peep to take
At what JOHN BARLEYCORN had done,
Attempt a faint outline to make
Of all his feats and all his fun.
The remnant left's a motley crew--
The din they make a perfect Babel--
Contending who the most can hew,
With thump for thump upon the table.
The unsnuff'd lights are now burnt low,
And dimly in their sockets sweeling;
Whilst pots and glasses at each blow,
Are quickly off the table reeling.
There's 'drouthy TOMMY' in the nook,
For suction, hard his elbow shaking;
And PHILIP up from Derwent Crook,
Remarks the very drollest making.
There's DICK that married BARBARA BLAND,
More famous far for drink than hewing;
And PEEL as drunk as he can stand,
Reeling and dancing like a new un.
He barely can his balance keep,
Yet still he's "Play up, fidler!" roaring;
But TOMMY having dropt asleep,
JACK foots away to TOMMY'S snoring.
Some wicked wag his scraper greas'd,
And stole his rosin, (ill betide him!)
But what his arm completely seiz'd,
Was just the empty pot beside him.
Here lay a stool, and there a chair,
With pots o'erturn'd, and glasses broken:
Half-chew'd quids strew'd here and there,
And pipes no longer fit for smoking.
And though the yel's resistless power
Had silenc'd many a noisy tongue,
Two vet'rans still, 'midst dust and stour,
Conn'd o'er the days when they were young.
"Eh, JACK, what years ha'e passed away
Sin we were trapper-lads tegither!
What endless toil, byeth neet and day,
Enrugh yen's varry pith te wither.
Aw put the bait-poke on at eight,
Wi' sark and hoggers, like maw brothers;
Ma faither thinkin' aw meet steit
Ha'e day about alang wi' others.
The neet afore aw went te wark
A warld o' wonders cross'd maw brain,
Through which they did se skelp and yark,
As if maw wits had run amain.
Aw thought the' time wad ne'er be gyen,
That callin'-course wad niver come;
And when the caller call'd at yen,
Aw'd getten nowther sleep nor slum.
Aw lap up nimmel as a flea -
Or lop, amang wor blankets spangin';
And i' the twinklin' of an e'e
Was fairly ower the bedstock bangin'.
Wor lads, poor things,were not se gleg,
It tuik some time te fettle them:
Se stiff, they scarce could move a peg,
And fitter far to stay at hyem.
It was ne doubt, a cooen seet
To see them hirplin' cross the floor
Wi' anklets shaw'd, and scather'd feet,
Wi' salve and ointment plaister'd o'er.
The duds thrawn on, the breakfast tyen,
They're ready for another start,
To slave for eighteen hours agyen,,
Eneugh to rive atwee the heart.
Wor low rope let, a-field we set,
The trappin' trade quite crouse to lairn;
Poor mother, pairtin' wi' her pet,
Cried, 'Hinnies, mind maw canny bairn.'
'Tis mair than forty years sin syne,
Yet this upon maw mem'ry hings,
We met awd NELL and CUDDY'S swine,
Twee varry far fra sonsy things.
This boded ill tiv iv'ry skin,
And fix'd us a' like barber's blocks;
Yet faither nobbut brack his shin,
And lost his bran-new backy-box.
The men were puttin' in their picks
When we gat there; and just about
The time we gat maw faither's six
Put in, the first were luickin' out.
Aw star'd at iv'ry thing aw saw,
For iv'ry thing was new te me;
And when wor turn te gan belaw
Was come, aw went on DEDDY'S knee.
They popp'd us iv a jiffy down,
Through smoke, and styth, and swelt'rin' heat;
And often spinnin' roun' and roun',
Just like a geuss upon a speet.
(We're gawn te get a geuss te morn,
There's nowse aw get aw like se weel,
After they're grown, wi' stubble corn,
As fat and plump as ony seal.
Aw like her stuff'd wi' onions best,
And roasted tiv a single roun',
A' nicely scrimpt frae back te breast--
Not brunt, but beautifully brown.
Of a' the kinds o' hollow meats
That greasy cuicks se oft are speetin',
There's nyen aw tyest that ever beats
A geuss, 'the yess o' trumps' o' eatin'.
She myeks a real royal dish,
On which a king meet myek a myel:
Aw wadn't for a better wish,
Were aw te morn a king mysel'.
The oddments, tee, beat boil or fry,
Provided qeussy be a good un--
Eat famous in a giblet pie,
Cribb'd roun' wi' coils o' savoury puddin'.)
But stop, where was aw, thinks te, JACK,
When aw began this wild-geuss chase?
lt surely was a good way back:
Let's try to recollect the place.
We'd pass'd the meetings, aw've ne doubt:
Indeed, aw think, we'd reach'd the bottom,
After they'd bumm'd us roun'about,
For a' the warld like a teetotum.
Wor nose within the barn-styen set,
We stevell'd te the cabin, where
The men and lads their cannels get,
The seat o' power and pitmen's lare.
The durdum now there's nowse can beat:
'Haud, DICKY, till aw get a chow!'
'Here, aw say, WILLY, gie's a leet!'
'DICK, damn ye, ha'd about a low!' —
'Come, hinny BARTY, len's a hand
On wi' maw corf!' 'Ye snotty dog,
Put in yor tram, and dinnet stand
There squeekin' like a half-ring'd hog!'
The lads are huntin' for their trams--
The hewers for their picks and clay--
The heedsman little DICKY damns
And blasts, for gettin' off the way.
In bye they bumm'd me in a crack,
And left me i' maw faither's board,
Where he was buffin' at a back
As hard as whinstone, by the Lord.
He bray'd away byeth lang and sair,
Before the stannin' corf was hew'd:
Was droppin' sweet frae iv'ry hair,
And hidden iv a reeky cloud.
For what he gat was varry sma'
Frae out the kirvens and the nickens;
The myest of which was left belaw,
The rest like crums for feedin' chickens.
When DICKY'S corf was fill'd wi' sic,
He let his low, and stuck't agyend--
Ax'd DEDDY to lay down his pick,
And help him to the heedwis end.
Suin efter he gat crept outbye,
And me set down ahint maw door,
JOE had the wark a' cut and dry,
And ettled reet for iv'ry hewer.
This was not a'ways eas'ly duin,
As oft they turn'd out kittle maiters,
Myest like an eclipse o' the muin
Te wor poor cabin calculators.
Aw think aw see poor PETER now
Bamboozlin' on for hours tegither;
Cursin' a['] roun' him black and blue,
And fit to fight wiv ony feather.
There could not be a richer treat
Than seein' PETER at a pinch;
For as he blurr'd his wooden sheet,
His temper left him inch by inch.
Off went his specks-- the sweet ran down
A fyece wi' botheratlon curst--
His wig gawn like a pointer roun',
Now quite awry, then backside furst.
The baitin', tee, was deev'lish gallin'
Rogues axin' if he'd have a clerk;
Or in his lug for iver bawlin',
'Man, will ye niver place the wark?'
Aw've seen him i' this muddled mess,
Click up his chalk and wooden buick,
Hisell, the picture o' distress,
Hidden ahint some awd wa' nuik--
Where like a conjurur he'd sit,
His black airt at some cantrips tryin',
Till he gat iv'ry pairt te fit,
Then sally forth the dogs defyin'.
The wark now plac'd, and pit hung on,
The heedsmen, whether duin or nut,
Mun iv'ry man and mother's son
Lay doon the pick and start te put.
Now then the bitter strife begins;
All pullin', hawlin', pushin', drivin',
'Mang blood and dirt and broken shins,
The waik uns wi' the strang uns strivin'.
Aw mind a tram byeth waik and slaw,
Just streen'd te rags te keep her gannin',
Frae hingin'-on till howdy maw,
Ye hardly knew if gawn or stannin'.
Just pinch'd to deeth, they're tarn and snarly,
A' yammerin' on frae morn till neet--
JACK off the way, blackgairdin' CHARLEY,
For at the corf nut lyin' reet.
While CHARLEY damns JACK'S hoolet e'en,
His hick'ry fyece and endless growl;
And sweers, if he agyen compleen,
He'll splet his nell-kneed, wall-ey'd soul.
A shower o' coals wi' vengence hurl'd,
Suin rattl'd roun' the lugs o' JACK;
Wi' threets he'd to the tother world
Dispatch him sprawlin' iv a crack.
JACK didn't like the journey then,
And tried to shun the deedly blast
By joukin' down-- nor shew'd agyen
His fyece till a' was ower and past.
The bits o' lads are badly used--
The heedsmen often run them blind--
They're kick'd and cuff'd, and beat and bruis'd,
And sometimes drop for want o' wind.
Sic, then, was the poor putter's fate,
Wi' now and then a stannin' fray,
Frae yokens, cawd pies, stowen bait,
Or cowp'd corves i' the barrow way.
Aw tuik for some time day about,
And when aw wrought, myed fippence sure;
Besides full mony a curse and clout
Aw gat for sleepin' at the door.
A better berth turn'd up at last--
The wages still but varry sma'--
For sixpence did not seem a vast
For carryen' LUKEY'S aix and saw.
But, then, at half-wark aw was duin,
And niver hardly gat maw thumps;
Yet he was hettle-- out of tuin--
And often gar'd me stur ma stumps.
Wi' grease-horn ower maw shouthers slung,
And pockets stuff'd wi' waxy clay,
Wi' half-shoon at maw bait-poke hung,
Just fit me for the barrow-way.
Aw neist tuik DUMMY by the lug,
The putters' purgatory here,
At which they daily toil and tug,
Blackgairdcd by some growlin' bear.
Whene'er aw DAN THE DEEVIL had--
Or some sic hell-hound-- for a marrow,
Maw life, aw's sure, was full as bad
As ony tyed's belaw a harrow.
The slav'ry borne by Blackymoors
They've lang been ringin' i' wor ears;
But let them tyek a luik at wors
And tell us which the warst appears.
If ony, then, of Blacky's race
Ha'e harder cairds than wors te play,
Wey then, poor dogs, ower hard's their case,
And truth's in what wor preachers say.
Thou knaws for weeks aw've gyen away
At twee o'clock o' Monday mornin',
And niver seen the leet o' day
Until the Sabbath day's returnin';
But then, thou knaws, JACK, we are free;
And though we work as nyek'd as them,
We're not sell'd inte slavery,
Far, far away frae friends and hyem!
Yet was aw at the point o' deein',
And meet maw life leeve ower agyen,
Aw wadn't, JACK, aw think, be 'greein',
Unless this pairt was out on't tyen.
For what's in sic a life worth hevin',
Still toilin', moilin', niver duin,
Where the bit good weighs not a shavin',
The load of bad a thousand ton.
But heavy puttin's now forgetten,
Sic as we had i' former days
Ower holey thill and dyels a' splettin' :-
Trams now a' run on metal ways.
This was wark for tryin' mettle--
Here iv'ry tuil his level fand:
Sic tussels nobbut pluck could settle,
For nowse less could the racket stand.
And had wor bits o' yammerin' yeps,
(That wowl about wor barrow-way)
Te slave and drudge like langsyne cheps,
They wadn't worsel out a day.
God bliss the man wi' peace and plenty
That forst invented metal plates!
Draw out his years to five times twenty,
Then slide him through the heevenly gates.
For if the human frame te spare
Frae toil and pain ayont conceivin',
Ha'e ought to de wi' gettin' there,
Aw think he mun gan strite to heeven.
Aw neist te half a tram was bun,
But gat a marrow gruff and sour.
A heedsman, then, they myed me, suin,
And efter that, a puttin'-hewer.
Another lang and slavish year
At last aw fairly struggled through:
Gat fettled up a set o' geer--
Was thowt a man, and bun te hew.
This myed me maister for mysel',
Wi' shorter wark and better pays;
And at maw awn hand didn't fyel
To suin get bits o' canny claes.
Here, agyen, had awd langsyners
Mony a weary, warkin' byen,
Now unknawn to coaly-Tyners,
A' bein' mell-and-wedge wark then.
Aw've bray'd for hours at woody coal,
Wi' airms myest droppin' frae the shouther;
But now they just pop in a hole,
And flap her doun at yence wi' pouther.
A 'back' or 'knowe' sometimes, 'tis true,
Set doon maw top wi' ease enough;
But oftener far we had to tew
On wi' a nasty scabby reuf.
Here's just a swatch of pitmen's life,
Frae bein' breek'd till fit to marry;
A scene o' ceaseless pain and strife,
Hatch'd by wor deadly foe, AWD HARRY:
For there's ne imp iv a' his hell
That could sic tortur hev invented:
It mun ha'e been AWD NICKY'S sel--
He likes to see us se tormented.
Then ye that sleep on beds o' doon
And niver JACK THE CALLER dreedin'--
Gan finely clad the hyell year roun',
And a'ways upon dainties feedin'--
Think on us, hinnies, if ye please,
An it were but te show yor pity;
For a' the toils and tears it gi'es,
Te warm the shins of Lunnun city.
The fiery 'blast' cuts short wor lives,
And steeps wor hyems in deep distress;
Myeks widows o' wor canny wives,
And a' wor bairns leaves faitherless.
The wait'ry 'wyest', mair dreedful still,
Alive oft barries huz belaw:
O dear! it myeks yen's blood run chill!
May we sic mis'ry niver knaw!
If ye could o'ny tyek a view,
And see the sweet frae off us poorin'--
The daily dangers we gan through,
The daily hardships we're endurin'--
Ye wad send doon, aw ha'e ne doubt,
Some cheps on what they call a 'mission',
Te try if they could ferret out
Somethin' to better wor condition.
They wad, wi' layin' tbeir brains asteep,
Suin hit upon some happy scheme,
(Which meet be duin, aw think, quite cheap,)
To myek us kirve and nick by steam.
Wor factories now gan a' by steamin',
Steam gars wor boats and packets sail;
And now, they say, they're busy schemin'
Te myek him run the Lunnun mail!
How nice and funny it wad be,
Te sit and see yen's jud myed riddy;
For then we'd ha'e nowt else te de
But get his geer sharp'd at the smiddy.
He grunds the corn te myek wor breed,
He boils wor soup (yence thought a dream):
Begock! aw's often flay'd te deed
They'll myek us eat and sleep by steam!
A' this he diz wi' parfet ease,
(The sting o' gallin' labour pouin'):
Then, hinny maisters, if ye please,
Just let him try his hand at hewin'.
Eh, man! aw's dry: hand here the pot:
Aw's just wi' talkin' fit to gyzen;
Nor will maw tongue move on a jot--
It's dry wark, varry, moralizin'.
Then reach thy hand, awd honest truth,
An' let me gied a hearty shakin',
An' may the friendship o' wor youth
Be ne'er in hirplin' age forsaken:
And may the bairns o' byeth wor hyems
Prove 'honest men and bonny lasses':
The former handin' doon wor nyems,
As patterns to the workin' classes:
The lasses choosin' sober men,
But seldom seen the warse o' nappy;
Blyth, kind, and good tiv ivry yen,
And myekin' a' about them happy.
It is nut geer that myeks the man,
Nor fine broad claith the clivor fellow:
A fuil's a fuil, howiver gran'--
The pouther'd pyet is often shallow.
For happiness is not confin'd
To folks in halls or cassels leevin';
And if wor lives be good, ye'll mind
There'll nyen ax how we gat to heeven.
We labour hard to myek ends meet,
Which baffles oft the gentry's schemin';
And though wor sleep be short, it's sweet,
Whilst they're on bums and bailies dreamin'.
There is a charm aw cannot nyem,
That's little knawn te quality:
Ye'll find it in the happy hyem
Of honest-hearted poverty.
Yor high-flown cheps oft fyel and brick,
But we hev a'ways yet been yable
Te keep the wheelband i' the nick
Though oft wi' but a bareish tyeble.
0 dear! but they lead wicked lives,
If a' be true that's i' the papers:
Oft kissin' yen another's wives,
And cuttin' other idle capers.
They run up debts they cannot pay--
Whiles pay off PAUL wi' robbin' PETER —
But, thank God, JACK, there's nyen can say
We iver wrang'd a leevin' creatur.
Aw dinnet mean te brag o' this--
It's but the way we a' should treed;
But where the great se often miss,
We may luick up when we succeed.
For, raither sic disgrace te share,
An' bring a stain upon wor freends,
We'd work, on breed-an'-waiter fare,
Till blood drops frae wor finger ends.
Besides, when a' is fadin' fast
That cheer'd the droopin' spirits here--
When we luick backwards at the past,
Te see how we'll at last appear--
'Twill form a breet and sunny place
On which the mind may rest wi' pleasur;
And then de mair te help wor case,
Than hoarded heaps o' yearthly treasur."
"Aw now began te corl maw hair,
(For corls and tails were then the go,)
Te clean maw een wi' greeter care,
And smarten up frae top te toe.
For then aw'd mettle i' maw heels,
A five-bar yett was nowt te me:
Could bang them a' at threesome reels,
And tip a hornpipe tiv a tee.
Aw ne'er was fond of figurin' off,
Yit sometimes, at a murry neet,
In spite of iv'ry feckless scoff,
Aw gav wor lasses' een a treat.
The crack o' whuslers i' maw day,
Maw gewgaw touch was te the life;
And at yen time, 'could nearly play
'God syev the King' upon the fife!
Maw shinin' coat o' glossy blue,
Lapell'd and lin'd wi' breet shalloon--
Maw posy jacket—, a' bran new,
Just figur'd like maw mother's goon--
Maw breeks o' bonny velveteen--
Maw stockin's clock'd a' up the leg--
Maw nice lang-quarter'd shoon se clean,
And buckles real tyuth-an'-egg--
Ga' me the shape and air o' yen
O' raither bettermer condition;
And gar'd the jades a' girn agyen--
A glance frae me was quite sufficien'.
Like ony chicken efter moot,
When its awd coat it fairly casses,
Aw swagger'd then; for maw new suit
Play'd harlikin amang the lasses.
Amang them, aw wad a'ways be:
Aw cutter'd (canny things!) about 'em,
And varry suin began te see
Life wad be varry wairch without 'em.
They help us up its rugged hills--
Soothe and support in toil and trouble--
Share wiv us a' its thousand ills,
And a' its pleasures fairly double.
Mony a 'cap' was cock'd te catch me--
Gleg was mony a wiley e'e;
Mony a mother wished to match me--
They a' could fit me tiv a tee.
Wor lasses then were blythe and bonny,
And blythe and bonny yet they are;
But then or now, aw ne'er saw ony
Could wi' maw bonny SALL compare.
At church o' Sundays smartly drest,
She often gav wor hearts a warmin',
For nowt could stand her length o' wyest--
And then the peak ahint, how charmin'!
Her twilted pettikit se fine,
Frae side to side a fathom stritchin',
A' stitch'd wi' mony a fancied line,
Wad stand itsel', and was bewitchin'.
Her high-heel'd shoon wi' buckles breet--
Her heed-geer a' iv ample order--
Her toppin' pinn'd and padded neat--
Her lappets and her three-ply border--
Just set maw heart a pitty-pat,
And put me iv a fearful swither;
But when her 'Robin Gray' she gat,
She carried heart and a' thegither.
Aw then could had ne langer out,
And SALL'S consent was blythely granted;
But yit aw wasn't free frae doubt,
As still there was the awd boy's wanted.
Aw thought about it lyet and suin,
Yet put it off frae day te day:
This time, and that, it sud be duin,
But at the push maw heart gav way.
It wasn't, mind, because aw'd rued,
But blateness at a knotty case:--
However, at the last aw screw'd
Maw courage te the stickin'-place.
It shall be duin this verry week,
And Setturday-- for this good reason--
Is far the fittest time te speak
On points that may-- or nut--- be pleasin':--
That labour's all oppressive load,
Which daily rasps us like a file,
Then ceases se te gall and goad--
He stays his iron airm awhile.
Besides, aw knaw the market gill,
Which JACK gets a'ways at the toon,
If what aw said sud prove a pill--
Wad gar it gan far better doon.
This neet, tee, sometimes pleasur brings,
That i' the rest ye lang may seek;
As then folks end unsettled things,
And wi' the clock wind up the week.
It is the on'y yen i' seeven,
When pitmen get a good neet's sleep,
The weary, worn-out frame relievin'--
There's then ne callen course to keep.
E'en Care his-sel' unyokes his plough,
Which ower the brow he's daily drivin',
And gie's his nags a breathin now,
Ne langer te deform us strivin'.
He is an awd, ill-throven thief--
0! hang him, hinnies, i' yor lyeces;
For wi' his blear-e'ed titty, Grief,
They rig-and-fur yor bonny fyeces.
The day cam roun'; yit, strange te tell,
Aw shilly-shally'd on till neet;
And just dropt in when mother NELL
Was gawn her hin'most pipe to leet.
'Why lad, what's set te here se leyt?
Draw in a seat and cruick thy hough;
The pipe's the on'y thing aw get
That helps me wi' the weary cough.'
Aw'd JACK was dozin' iv his chair--
His stockin's lyin' ower his knee--
His wig hung up wi' greetest care--
His neet-cap thrawn on all aglee.
Like all attentive, lovin' men
That are wi' talkin' spouses blest,
He'd listen'd till he snor'd agyen,
Which set poor NELLY'S tongue at rest.
'As thou cam' in, lad, aw was sayin'
Poor folks wad nut get fended suin--
They're now a tax on backy Iayin'--
Aw wonder when they will be duin.
It was but just the tother day
They rais'd the tea and sugar byeth:
Aw really see ne other way
And yit aw wad be raither lyeth),
Then just at yence give ower the three:--
Still the drop tea's maw main support;
And when aw's put aboot ye see,
There's on'y then the backy for't.
But that's not a'; for Mr Smith
Tell'd me the cannels a' were risin'!
Dear me, says aw, sir, what's that with?
It's by maw truly quite a byson.'
It is the plaguey war, I fear--
They can't, says he, the Yankies beat.
Bliss me, says aw, that's varry queer,
Do they now fight by candle leet?
What hez the Yankey bodies duin?
Or what de we for fightin' get?
They'll leave us neither dish nor spuin,
And ower heed and ears i' debt.'
A real back-bone Tory-- JACK,
When 'Yankee' struck his drowsy lug,
Roar'd out, 'We'll spend wor hin'most plack
To gi'e them iv'ry yen a slug.'
'For God's syek, hinny, hawd thy tongue--
Thou's a'ways reet, aw niver doubt it;
And if thou said the tap's the bung,
Aw wadn't fash maw thoom about it.
'For woman's words ha'e little weight
On hyem affairs, or 'bout the nation;
Yit oft we de what bothers quite
Wor lovin' lords o' the creation.
The waik gan a'ways te the wall--
It's reet ye ha'e the upper hand;
But how we ha'e ne say at all,
Hang me if aw can understand.
But never mind: we mun knock under--
There's nowt else for us while we're here;
Yet still aw cannot help but wonder,
When aw's threept out o' what's se clear.'
'Ne say! Eh! thou's a Tarter, NELL!
What's that but sayin' aw's i' the wrang?
Thou'll ha'e the cowpin' word thysel',
Or talk for iverlastin' twang.
Were it a thing 'bout whilk te brag,
Aw here meet boast, o' Wear or Tyne
There niver did a clapper wag
That had the smallest chance wi' thine.'
Lang as this matrimonial squall
Was kept by JACK and NELLY blawin',
He didn't scunner me at all,
Nowt mindin' then but NELLY'S jawin'.
Aw'd a' the time been wonderin' sair
If this palaver tell'd for me;
Or if the odds were less or mair,
That SALL at last maw rib wad be.
At what he said aw cou'd ha'e blair'd
Aboot the pinches then o' leevin';
Yit when aw iv'ry thing compar'd,
The arguments seem'd nearly even:
The times bein' bad, aw clearly fand
Wad likely myek him say me nay;
But gettin' SALLY off his hand,
Meet turn the skyell the tother way.
A gliff o' me and breeth te speak,
Brought out-- 'Hollo, lad! where's te been?
Aw've niver seen thee a' the week--
The seet o' thee's good for sair een.'
Aw hammer'd out some lyem excuse,
But nobbut in a humdrum way,
And humm'd and baw'd, te little use,
Aboot somethin' aw had te say.
Aw luik'd a' queer, and scratch'd maw heed,
As if the words war steekin' there,
Amang that little plaguey breed
That skelp about in youngster's hair.
At lang-last tummell'd out maw tyel,
That aw was gawn te change maw life--
Lik'd SALLY bctter than mysel',
And wish'd te hev her for a wife.
NELL now laid down her pipe, and said,
'Maw SALLY, hinny's, but a bairn,
And thou's ower young by far te wed--
Ye byeth ha'e mickle yit te learn.
Afore ye're fit to fight yor way
Through scant, and want, and misery,
Eneugh at sic a time te flay
Poor folks like uz frae bucklin' te.
'Think of a heap o' hungry bairns
Aboot an empty cubboard cryin',
Wi' mebby he, that hardly earns
Their daily bread, i' sickness lyin',
'Without a coin, or crust o' breed,
(And, mind, this dowly lot's been NELLY's,)
Or friend te lend, in times o' need
A helpin' hand to fill their bellies.
'The parish now, wi' miser's care,
Mun thrimmel out some sma' relief;
But oh! it's cawd, and just ne mair
Than keeps them i' this warld o' grief.
Think weel o' this, and wait awhile
Till things are iv a better plight;
For young folks oft theirsels beguile-
They think, when wed, a's smooth and streight.
A' things are just twee prices now,
And wark was niver knawn se slack,
And we've had sic a warsel through,
We cannot spare poor SALL a plack.'
'Hout, hinny! let's keep up wor hearts--
Ye'll see we'll myek a decent fend:
The warld gans a' by fits and starts--
When things are at the warst they'll mend.
Gi'e me but SALL, aw want ne mair,
The house aw'll fettle up mysel:
Aw'll work maw byens byeth lang and sair,
And at the pay she's hae the hyell.
Nay there's be nowt aw winnet de--
And SALL aw's sure will de the syem,
In joinin' heart and hand wi' me,
Te myek us byeth a happy hyem.
Come weal or woe, come fouth or scant,
We'll share the good and bad thegither,
And when wark's flush, for time o' want,
Lay by some cottrils i' the blether.
For we'll nut wyest, ower drams and drouth,
What aw've been wrought for myest te deeth,
Nor leeve like some, frae hand te mouth,
Wi' ne'er a doit before their teeth.'
The awd folks lik'd maw tyel, aw fand,
And SALL, aw's sure, thought it a topper;
But when aw said, if they stood need,
Aw'd share wi' them the hinmost copper--
Wi' hearts, poor things, it now was clear,
Ower full by far, owt much te say,
They wip'd away the fallin' tear,
And wish'd us mony a happy day.
The day was won, maw fears were duin,
The happiest man o' Wear or Tyne--
Wi' pleasur aw was ower the muin,
A' else was caff and sand te mine.
A cuckoo-mornin' give a lad,
He values nut his plagues a cherry;
A back or knowe myeks hewers glad,
A gaudy-day myeks a' hands merry.
But back or knowe, or gaudy day,
Or cuckoo-morn wi' a' their pleasur,
Nor that o' gossips round a tray
O' tea, weel lyeced, and spicy fizzer,
Had nowt te de wi' what aw felt,
When SALL was for maw kyeval drawn:
Nay, a' maw joy's nut te be telt,
Sic happiness aw'd niver knawn.
They say dry bargains stand for nowse,
Howiver honest the intent--
That a' the pairts suin joggle lowse,
Without some barleycorn cement.
A jug o' GEORDY'S maut and hop
Suin put us in a merry pin--
The corn that suited JACKEY's crop,
And fine for lowsenin' the skin.
He Iaugh'd and jok'd, and ran the rig;
Just like a cairder wi' the yess:
He kill'd a care at every swig,
And popp'd a pleasur iv its place.
Wor tongues becam' ne cripples now,
The words cam' skelpin' rank and file:
Bein' talkers a', we rattl'd through
Wor business in a famous style.
Nowt else was wantin' but the priest,
To call us, and to tie the knot--
Except the time, which cam' on neist,
And tuik us myest another pot
To get conn'd ower; for SALLY myed
Some sleight objections te the day,
As ower suin; but smudgin' said,
'Aw fancy ye mun hae yor way.'
The last thiuig canvass'd was the nyem,
Provided we a youngster had.
'It mun be JACKY,' said the dyem,
Nut doubtin' it wad be a lad.
Wor business duin, wor pitcher tuim,
JACK out his private bottle drew,
And wi' a bangin' glass o' rum,
We finish'd off, as it struck two.
Coax time te loiter, he will flee:
Spur him te speed, he's sure to creep;
But warse than this he treated me,
For oft aw thowt he'd dropt asleep.
Yet iv'ry day still weers away,
However slaw they seem to gan:
Se cam', at lang last, round the day
When we before the priest mun stan'.
But, bliss ye! weddins, now-a-days,
Are nowt te what we had them then:
We didn't slink through private ways,
For fear that ony body ken.
Wors weren't hugger-mugger things,
For fifty folks could scarce be hidden;
And scrapers, tee, on fiddle strings,
Amang the rest were a'ways bidden.
We muster'd strang, a gallant band,
As iver legs i' leather put;
A' shinin frae the tyelyer's hand,
And iv his varry newest cut.
We'd lots o' bonny lasses, tee,
A' flantin' i' the pink o' fashion,
A finer seet ye couldn't see--
We've now-a-days nowt half se dashin'.
Wi' spirits up and favours gay,
(For all in vogue were favours then,)
Te church the music led the way,
And brought us dancin' back agyen.
Half-cock'd and canty, hyem we gat,
Mang smoke, and dust, and rattlin' guns,
Hurrahs and cheers frae mony a hat,
And fiddlers a' at different tuins.
The bride-kyek neist, byeth sweet and short,
Was toss'd in platefulls ower the bride:
The lads and lasses scrammel'd for't,
With airms and mouths stritch'd far and wide.
Then helter-skelter in we bang,
The dinner waits, we snuff the smell;
And, a' sharp set, we weren't lang
In dashin' in amang the kyel.
But feasf and fun, and fuddled heeds,
The stockin'-thrawin', and the beddin',
Here nyen o' maw description needs--
Thou'll find them i' the Collier's Weddin'.
Aw cannot help remarkin' here
How varry different things are now:
We want that sonsy, hearty cheer,
That we on sic occasions knew.
There's been, aw think, ne luck, sin a'
Wor good awd ways were broken through:
This spreed o' lare sets high and law,
A nonskyep efter owt that's new.
Wor faithers now are a' thowt fuils,
And nowt they said or did is reet;
The bairns are wiser, since the skuils
Stuff'd them se full o' this new leet.
They gie them a' the pox frae kye--
Myek leet wi' nowther oil nor week--
And hae, folks say, been varry nigh
The muin, hung at a bag o' reek!
Far warse! aw heerd wor BOBBY read
The pyeper, where it tells aboot
Cheps that can tell what's i' yor heed,
Wi' keekin' at the nobs without.
Aw've had maw awn suspicion lang,
That wor affairs were gawn aglee;
But where's the wonder a' gans wrang,
When men presume sic things te de.
The varry weather's out o' joint--
We've thunner now instead o' snaw:-
The wind howls frae the winter-point,
When it sud summer-breezes blaw.
But how can we, aw'd like te ax,
Expect te hev it owt like sure,
Wi' wor new-fangled almanacks,
And total want o' faith in MOORE.
We'll bring a judgment o' the land,
As sure as iver we are leevin',
Like them of awd, that tuik in hand,
Te myek a way streight up te Heeven.
Weel! efter a' was dealt and duin,
As was, thou knaws, the custom then,
They myed me ride the stang, as suin
As aw show'd fyece at wark agyen.
The upshot was a gaudy day,
A grand blaw-out wi' GRUNDY'S yell,
A real moistenin o' the clay,
Wi', then, the best o' GYETSHEAD FELL.
Se time wagg'd on, till nine months' end,
Myed me luik out for little JACK;
But gat a gliff, thou may depend,
On hearin' BOB was at his back.
'Wuns', says aw, 'this rough beginnin'
Wi' double-chuckers, freightens me;
For as she's myed a start wi' twinnin',
She'll mebby neist time bring me three!'
Yit frae maw lads maw luck aw trace,
(And finer, sees te, ne'er were bred):
Aw gat at furst a shifter's place,
And then a deputy was myed.
For aw'd pick'd up some bits o' lare,
Wi' tendin' close the skuil at neets;
But mony a time the hours spent there
Sud ha'e been gi'en to sleep wi' reets.
Aw lik'd a ballant, or a buik,
Se much, it wad ha'e duin ye good--
T'iv seen me sittin i' the nuik,
Wi' HICKATHRIFT or ROBIN HOOD.
Wi' here an awd wife on a stuil,
And there an awd man on a chair;
Enjoyin' all a bellyfull
O' laughin' at maw stories rare.
Nay sic a dab was aw when young,
At readin', oft wi' pious raptur
The awd folks stared, as frae maw tongue
Dropt NEHEMIAH'S kittle chapter.
For this was then the test o' talents--
A feat that dulbarts cudn't de,
As nyen but varry cliver callants
Could learnin's lether mount se hee.
And then, at castin' counts aw grew
As 'cute and gleg as ony clerk--
Had a' the 'goulden rule' gyen through,
And myest was fit to place the wark.
Maw lads began te thrive like trouts--
Their mother, tee, was mendin' fast--
Her month was out, or thereaboots,
A time for christenin' rarely pass'd.
But christenin's now are suiner duin
By far, than what they used to be;
Folks were nut ax'd for efternuin,
Te get blawn out wi' blashey tea.
For nowt but solids then wad please--
Substantials that wad bide some cuttin'--
A ham and veal, a round and peas,
Some tormits and a leg o' mutton--
A dumplin' like a sma'-coal heap--
A puil o' spice-kyel i' the middle--
Wi' pies and puddin's, wide and deep,
Aboot myed up the savoury siddell.
Here there was plenty, gawin' and comin'--
Here we cou'd cut and come agyen;
And a' wesh'd doon, by men and women,
Wi' bumpers frae the awd grey-hen.
This was the kind o' belly-timmer,
For myekin' pitmen strang and tuiff,
But now they run them up far slimmer,
Wi' tea, and other weshy stuff.
Splash gan the spuins amang the kyell--
Di'el tyek the hinmost! on they drive--
Through and through the bowl they wyell--
For raisins, how they stritch and strive!
This ower, wi' sharp and shinin' geer
They now begin their narrow workin';
Whilst others, eager for the beer,
Are busy the grey hens uncorkin'.
Though still they're i' the hyell a' hewin',
Afore they close the glorious day,
They jenkin a' the pillars doon,
And efter tyek the stooks away.
They were nut hamper'd then wi' vends,
The torns were ready-- nyen need wait:
A customer ne suiner sends,
Than back retorns the loaded plate.
Mony a bout like this we had,
For SALL was reg'lar as a clock--
In iv'ry year, good times or bad,
Another addin' te the stock.
She brought me lots o' canny bairns,
She iv'ry whupwhile wanted BELLA;
Yet efter a', wi' SALLY CAIRNS
Aw've jogg'd through life a happy fellow.
We a'ways had te de wor torn,
And somethin' for a time of need;
A lyin'-in ne'er myed us mourn,
For wi' the mouth still cam the breed.
Wor bairns are now a' men and women,
And wearin' up the world te knaw;
While SALL and AW are byeth fast tuimmim'
The cup o' life, already law.
Wi' what we had we war content,
However homely was the fare:
We tuik wi' thanks what Heeven sent,
Nor murmur'd that it wasn't mair.
But we hev, JOANNY, had wor day,
And mun te time and age submit:
Then come the summons when it may,
We'll be prepared, I hope, for it.
And when life's last stook's tyen away,
And nowt but wyest and ruin near--
When creep comes ower wor wrought-out clay,
And all's laid in for ever here--
May we a' hyell be won agyen,
Ayont yon dark and druvy river--
Turn out a high main, bet by nyen,
And, without fyellin', gan for ever."
The sun just here peep'd o'er the hill,
Surprised-- and almost seem'd to say,
'What! are ye sitting guzzling still--
Are these your tricks when l'm away?'
The lark had left his loving spouse
Engaged in family affairs,
And with his notes, conceal'd by dews,
Cheer'd her amidst her nursing cares--
The industrious dame had just awoke,
And thrown her window-board ajar,
The earliest clouds of lazy smoke,
Then stealing from the chimney were--
When this laborious, honest pair,
Borne down and bent, by toil and time,
The shadows now of what they were
When they stood firm in manhood's prime,
Began to think it time to part,
Admonish'd by the rising sun,
As well as by the empty quart,
And WILLY'S story being done,
With-- "Hinny, tell us what's te pay"--
WILL waken'd up the drowsy dyem.
The chalks cast up, the reck'ning they
Get thrimmel'd out, and toddle hyem.