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- Songs of the Ridings - 5/11 -


But theer, I'll nurse my threapin' while it rains, An' while my rheumatiz is bad to bide; I mun step heamwards now, through t' yatts(12) an' lanes, Wheer t' owd lass waits for me by t' fireside.

1. Strangely 2 Timid 3 Basket 4. Kingcups, cowslips, globe-flowers. 5. Ladybirds 6 Smooth. 7. Day Labourers 8. Stock Yards 9. Simpletons 10. stiff 11. Shovel 12. Gates

Lord George

These verses were written soon after the Old Age Pensions Bill came into operation.

I'd walk frae here to Skipton, Ten mile o' clarty(1) lanes, If I might see him face to face An' thank him for his pains. He's ta'en me out o' t' Bastile,(2) He's gi'en me life that's free: Five shill'n a week for fuglin'(3) Death Is what Lord George gives me.

He gives me leet an' firin', An' flour to bak i' t' yoon.(4) I've tea to mesh for ivery meal An' sup all t' afternoon. I've nowt to do but thank him, An' mak' a cross wi' t' pen; Five shillin' a week for nobbut that! Gow! he's the jewel o' men.

I niver mell on pol'tics, But I do love a lord; He spends his savin's like a king, Wheer other fowks 'll hoard. I know a vast o' widdies That's seen their seventieth year; Lord George, he addles brass for all, Though lots on 't goes for beer.

If my owd man were livin', He'd say as I spak true; He couldn't thole them yallow Rads, But awlus voted blue. An' parson's wife, shoo telled me That we'll sooin go to t' poll; I hope shoo's reight; I'll vote for George, Wi' all my heart an' soul.

I don't know wheer he springs frae, Happen it's down Leeds way; But ivery neet an' mornin' For his lang life I pray. He's ta'en me out o' t' Bastile, He's gi'en me life that's free: Five shill'n a week for fuglin' Death Is what Lord George gives me.

1. Muddy. 2. Workhouse. 3. Cheating 4. Oven

The New Englishman

I've lived all my life i' Keighley, I'm a Yorkshire artisan; An' when I were just turned seventy I became an Englishman.

Nat'ralised German! nay, deng it! I'm British-born, same as thee! But I niver thowt mich to my country, While(1) my country thowt mich to me.

I were proud o' my lodge an' my union, An' proud o' my town an' my shire; But all t' consans o' t' nation, I left to t' parson an' t' squire.

Class-war were t' faith that I Iived for, I call'd all capit'lists sharks; An' "T' workin' man has no country," Were my Gospel accordin' to Marx.

When I'd lossen my job back i' t' eighties, An were laikin' for well-nigh two year, Who said that an out-o'-wark fettler Were costin' his country dear?

Owd England cared nowt about me, I could clem(2) wi' my barns an' my wife; Shoo were ower thrang wi' buildin' up t' empire To build up a brokken life.

"Ivery man for hissen," shoo said, "An' t' dule can catch what he can; Labour's cheap an' trade's worth more Nor t' life of a workin' man."

When t' country were chuff,(3) an' boasted That t' sun niver set on her flags, I thowt o' wer back-to-back houses, Wer childer i' spetches(4) an' rags,

When t' country drave by i' her carriage, Wi' flunkies afore an' behind, I left her to bettermy bodies, An' I gav her a taste o' my mind.

But when shoo were liggin' i' t' gutter, Wi' a milit'rist mob at her throit, "Hands off her!" I cried, "shoo's my mother:" An' I doffed my cap an' my coit.

I'd gien ower wark at seventy, But I gat agate once more; "I'll live for my country, not on her" Were my words on t' fettlers' floor.

Shoo's putten her trust i' us workers, We'll save her, niver fear; Feight for her, live for her, dee for her, Her childer that loves her dear.

Eight o' my grandsons has fallen, My youngest lad's crippled i' t' arm; But I'll give her choose-what(5) shoo axes, Afore I'll see her tak harm.

T' war is a curse an' a blessin', If fowks could understan'; It's brokken my home an' my childer, But it's made me an Englishman.

1. until 2. Starve 3. Arrogant 4. Patches 5. Whatever

THE BELLS OF KIRKBY OVERBLOW

Draw back my curtains, Mary, An' oppen t' windey wide; Ay, ay, I know I'm deein', While to-morn I'll hardlins bide. But yit afore all's ovver, An' I lig cowd as snow, I'll hear once more them owd church bells O' Kirkby Overblow.

Mony a neet an' mornin' I've heerd yon church bells peal; An' how I've threaped an' cursed 'em When I was strong an' weel! Gert, skelpin', chunterin' taistrils,(1) All janglin' in a row! Ay, mony a time I've cursed yon bells O' Kirkby Overblow.

When you hear yon church bells ringin', You can't enjoy your sin; T' bells clutches at your heart-strings I' t' ale-house ower your gin. At pitch-an'-toss you're laikin', Down theer i' t' wood below; An' then you damn them rowpy(2) bells O' Kirkby Overblow.

An' when I've set off poachin' At back-end o' the year, Wi' ferret, bag an' snickle,(3) Church bells have catched my ear. "Thou's takken t' road to Hell, lad, Wheer t' pit-fire's bumin' slow;" That's what yon bells kept shoutin' out At Kirkby Overblow.

But now I'm owd an' bed-fast, I ommost like their sound,


Songs of the Ridings - 5/11

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