Lancashire Legends, Traditions, Pageants, Sports, &c./Part 5/Lancashire Sayings
Kent and Keer
Have parted many a good man and his mere [mare].
[The river Kent, at low water, flows in several channels over the sands, to the middle of Morecambe Bay. The Keer enters upon the sands in a broad and rapid current, rendering the passage over it at times more dangerous than fording the Kent. Many have perished in fording both rivers when swollen, and in crossing the adjacent sands, without due regard to the state of the tide].
"All we, like sheep, have gone astray."
[In a letter of Henry Tilson, Bishop of Elphin, dated April 2, 1651, the prelate writes—"I trist to do God service in the exercise of my ministry amongst that moorish and late rebellious plundering people [at Cumberworth]. When I went first to Rochdale, you may remember what the old ostler at the baiting willed me to do. "Take with you (said he) a great box full o' tar, for you shall find a great company of scabbed sheep."]
As fierce as a dig. [A dig is a duck.]
As drunk as David's old sow.
Grinning like a Cheshire cat chewing gravel.
Never done like Pilling Moss.
As common as ploughs.
His e'en twinkled like a farthing rushlight.
Quite young and all alive,
Like an old maid of forty-five.
What everybody has to do, nobody does it.
Hoo howds up hur yed like a new bowt tit.
A steady person is said to be "like Colne clock—always at one;" i.e, always the same.
Birtle [or Bircle] folk are a deeal on 'em sib an' sib, rib an' rib,— o' oo a litter,—Fittons and Diggles, and Fittons and Diggles o'er again.
He'll sit a fire eawt ony time, tellin' his bits o' country tales.
Newyer's days keep'n comin reawn, like old Ratcher's cream-jug, 'ut never stopt till somebody wur laid under th' table.
Yo 're puttin yo'r yed in a dog-kennel neaw.
He 's ta'en his reed and geirs in, lang sin' [i.e., he's dead].
On a bed a mon lee, that favvert he 're wavin his last draw-deawn o' life.
A plum-pudding.—At eawr club-dinner it coom on th' table i' thunner an' leetnin [blazing brandy], an' had welly ha sweel't a chap's ee-brees off wi' lookin at it. That were th' sort for shiftin' ther ribs, an' makkin 'em tak' ther wynt thick.
Good ale.—Noan o' yor brew'd besoms this; bo' gradely stingo. A quart o' this o' th' top ov a beef-stake 'ud mak' a chap's ribs feel do'some [healthy], would nor it? Well, here 's luck! That 's what aw co' milk o' paradise, or natyer's pap. Yo' may seawk at it till yo're blynt, an' ne'er be satisfied.
Wur eawr Sally crause? Bo' aw no 'casion t 'ax that if hur tung wur no' fast. Her temper'll ne'er be meawlt [mouldy] wi' keepin'.
Two gradely red-hot Jacobins o' th' Gallythumpian breed, 'ut could smell a pa'son a field off, an' 'ud rayther see a quart o' ale upo' th' table any time nor goo an' harken him prache.
It favourit him to a wrinkle.
Owder and th' maddher.
Don' yo know what we ha' opo' th' throne o' Englan' just meet neaw? A mother an' her childer, mon! And a gradely dacent little woman, too, as ever bote off th' edge o' a moufin.
Iv that 's aw th' arran yo hav', aw deawt yo 've made a lost gate.
Aw ail mich o' naut yet, whan aw'm meyt whot [able to eat meals] an' sich like.
Folk connut expect to ha' youth at bwoth ends o' life, aw guess; an' we mun o' un us owd be, or young dee, as th' sayin' is.
It 's cowd enough theer to starve an otter to deeath i' winter-time.
Folk at 's a dur to keep oppen connut do't wi' th' wynt. [Folk that have a house to maintain cannot do it with the wind.]
Owdham rough yeds. Bowton trotters. Smo'bridge cossacks. Heywood "monkey-teawn."
Anti-vegetarian diet.—I loike summat at's deed ov a knife.
Country people say that town's folk have nothing wholesome about them. They're o' offal and boilin' pieces.
He 'll seawk lamp-oil through a 'bacco-pipe, iv onybody 'll give him a droight o' ale to wesh it deawn wi'.
Iv yo'rn up at th' Smo'bridge, yo'dd'n be fit to heyt yerth bobs and scaplins welly [small fragments]. Th' wynt's cleean up theer, an' ther's plenty on't, and we con help ersels to 't when we liken.
Aw 's ne'er get eawt o' this hoyl, till aw'm carried eawt feet foremost.
Keep yor heart eawt o' yor clogs.
It 's a fine thing is larning; it ta'es no reawm up, mon; an' then th' baillies connut fot it, thea sees.
Aw'm noan one o' th' best, yo know; naw, nor th' warst nothur, Jone. Happen not; but thee'rt too good to burn, as hea 't be [too good to burn, howsoever it be].
That clock begins o' givin short 'lowance, as soon as ever aw get agate o' talkin.
Aw 'd sooner see thee nor two fiddlers, ony time.
They [cheap-trippers] felt fain at they 'rn wick.
Tormentil grows oftenest abeawt th' edge o' th' singing layrock neest.
Solomon's seal—to cure black e'en wi'.
We 're o' somebor's childer.
The sign of the Roebuck and Grapes—"Sitho, sitho', Mary, at yon brass dog, heytin' brass marrables!"
Enoof is us good us o feeost.
Sit thee deawn, and thee 'll be less bi th' legs.
A quart ov ale wouldn' come amiss; and he wouldn't wynd aboon wonst afore he 'd see 'd th' bottom o' th' pot.
Lord John, th' Wheyver.—Aw think they'n ha' to fot Lord Jone back to wheyve his cut deawn. To my thinkin, he 'd no business t' ha laft his looms. But aw dare say he knows his job better nor aw do. He 'll be as fause as a boggart, or elze he 'd never ha' bin i' that shop as lang as he has—not he.
Th' best o' folk need'n bidin' wi' a bit, sometimes.
See yo, tae this cheer; it 's as chep sittin' as stonnin', for ought aw know.
Aw'll find you some gradely good stuff [oat cake]; an' it 's a deael howsomer [wholesomer] nor loaf, too, mind yo.
It 's some o' a cowd neet. Meh nose fair sweats again.
Thee 'rt noan one o' th' warst mak' o' folk, as rough as t' art.
"That 's just reet," as Ab' o' Pinders said when his woife bote her tung i' two.
Owd woman, yo desarv'n a cumfutabble sattle'ment i' th' top shop [heaven] when yo de'en.
By th' mass, iv aw're heer a bit moor, aw'd mae some rickin i' this cawve-cote [some noise like springing a watchman's rattle in this calf-house] too.
Whay, mon yo'dd'n fair sink into a deead sleep, an fair dee i' th' spell, iv one didn't wakkin yo up a bit neaw and then.
Aw'd goo as far as owther graiss grew, or waytur run, afore aw'd live amoon sich doins.
By Guy, he's hardly wit enof to keep fro' runnin' again waytur.
Thi' dd'n just getten a yure o' th' owd dog into 'em; an' they sit afore th' fire, as quiet, to look at, as two pot dolls.
Up [chimbley] wi' tho; soot's good for th' bally-wurch; an' it'll be a bit ov an' eawt for tho.
Yo 're a rook o' th' biggest nowmuns at ever trode ov a floor.
Aw never sprad my e'en upo' th' marrow trick to this i' my loife.
Are yo noan flayed o' throwing yor choles [jaws] off th' hinges?
Ther 's moor in his yed nor a smo'-tooth comb con fot eawt.
It's enough to ma'e onybody cry their shoon full.
A bad trade'll spoil a good mon sometimes, iv he'll stick weel to 't.
Keep yor peckurs up.
Tho' we live'n o' th' floor, same as layrocks,
We'n goo up, like layrocks, to sing.
Theaw geawses within two tumbles ov a leawse.
I oather anger't some he-witch, or the Dule threw his club o'er me 't mornin when I geet op; for misfortins coom on me as thick as leet.
Fworse is medsn for a mad dhog.
Gexin's [guessing] akin to lyin.
Proof o' th' puddin 's i' th' eatin.
Sich wark as this ma'es me t'scrat where aw dunno itch.
Thoose 'ut couno' tell a bitter-bump fro' a gillhooter [a bittern from an owl].
As sure as a tup's a sheep.
They'n th' bigg'st meawths i' yon country at ever aw seed clapt under a lip! Aw hove one on 'em his yure up, to see iv his meauth went o' reawnd; but he knockt me into the dhitch.
He 's one o' thoose at 'll lend onybody a shillin', iv the'n give him fourteenpence to stick to.
On receiving a present of game from a son.—It isn't so oft 'at th' kittlin brings th' owd cat a meawse, but it hes done this time.
Thae 'rt to white abeawt th' ear-roots to carry a gray toppin whoam, aw deawt.
Aw wouldn't lend te a dog to catch a ratton wi'.
[Some statesmen might do] to sceawr warps, or to wesh barrils eawt at th' back o' th' Bull's Yed; but are no moor fit to govern a nation nor Breawn at the Shore, or Owd Batterlash, at beat waytur far runnin!
Boarding 's t' best laving (i.e., putting the feast on the board is the best invitation).
Love's a philter, they sayn, to mak' th' dead wick [quick].
As uneasy as a keeper wi' varmint.
Better so than run off fleyed [affrighted] loike a heawnd cotched poaching.
A mow o' hay's as soft i' moi arms as moi owd wench.
Colliers v. Farm Labourers.—What t' farreps, mon, dost gaum [suppose] us chaps as tears t' guts eawt o' th' eairth arn nobbut a set o' gaumrils [dullards] an' neatrils [idiots], loike fellies as scrat holes for praties loike rations, an' niver crooks their backs but t' mow gress, or t' ma'e a doike? Thae be far.
To the question,—"What have you got there?" a common reply is—"Lay-o'ers [lay-overs, i.e., thumps] for meddlers."
To the query, "Where did you get it?" the answer is, "Where Kester [Christopher] bought his coat." To the further inquiry—"Where wur that?" the ready reply is, "Where 't wur to be hed."