Eh dear! What weary toimes are these,
When scores o’ honest workin folk
Reawnd th’ Poor Law office dur one sees,
Loike cadgers, we a cadging poke;
It's bad to see't, bo wus a dyeal,
When one a sel helps to make up th' lot;
We’n nowt to do, we darno stayl,
Nor con we beighl an empty pot.
Aw hate this pooing oakum wark,
An breakin stones for t’ get relief;
To be a pauper – pity’s mark –
Ull break an honest heart wi grief.
We’re mixt wi th’ stondin paupers, too,
Ut winnow ark when wark’s t’ be had,
A scurvy, fawnin, whoinin crew –
It’s hard to clem, bo that’s as bad.
An for myself aw wouldne do’t.
Aw’d starve until aw sunk to th’ floor;
Bo th’ little childer bring me to ‘t,
And would do th’ best i’th’ lond ow’m sure.
If folks han childer starving theer,
An still keep eawt, they’re noan so good;
Aw’ve mony a toime felt rather queer,
Bo then aw knew they must ha food.
When wark fell off aw did my best
To keep myself and family clear;
My wants aw’ve never forrud prest,
For pity is a thing aw fear.
My little savins soon were done,
Un then aw sowd my twoth’ry things –
My books and bookcase o’ are gone,
My mother’s pitcher, too, fun wings.
A bacco box wi two queer lids,
My fuschia plants and pots, my brids
An cages, too, aw’m forced to sell;
My feyther’s rockin cheer’s gone,
My mother’s corner cubbert, too:
An th’ eight-days clock has followed, mon –
What con a hungry body do?
Aw’ve gan my little garden up,
Wi mony a pratty flower and root,
Aw’ve sowd my gronny’s silver cup,
Aw’ve sowd my uncle Robin’s flute;
Aw’ve sowd my tables, sowd my beds,
My bedstocks, blankets, sheets as weel;
Each neet o’ straw we rest eawr yeads,
An we an God known what we feel.
Aw’ve sowd until aw’ve nowt to sell,
An heaw we’n clem’d’s past o’ belief;
What next for t’ do aw couldno tell,
It wur degrading t’ ax relief.
Ther wur no wark, for th’ mill wur stopt,
My childer couldno dee, you known;
Aw’m neaw a pauper cose aw’ve dropt
To this low state o’ breakin stone.
Bo wonst aw knew a diff’rent day,
When every heawr ud comfort brng;
Aw earned my bread, aw paid my way,
Aw wouldno stoop to lord or king.
Aw felt my independence then,
My sad dependence neaw, aw know;
Aw ne’er shall taste those jeighs ogen –
Aw’m sinkin wi my weight o’ woe.