TH’ OWD PEDLAR JOSEPH RAMSBOTTOM
Well, want yo pins or neelds today,
Or buttons, threed, or hooks an’ eyes?
Or want yo tape or petch-wark, pray,
Or stockins, good an’ chep,—your size?
What? not today! Well, thoose mun pass;
Bo is ther nowt yo met ha’ had?
Here, beigh a doll for th’ little lass,
Or marbles—come—for th’ little lad.
He’s flertin’ yon i th’ loane, aw see,
His taw’s too big by mony a bit;
This alley’ll shute him to a tee,
An’ noa be hau ve as yesy t’ hit!
Yo han no thrade. Well, then, good day!
Heaw hard th’ toimes are! Aw tell yo whot
Sin folks han bin too poor to pay,
This counthry side’s an autthert spot.
Aw’ve fun it so: it’s noan long sin
Ut folks ud sheawt shus wheer aw went,—
“Well, Bob, what hasto fresh?—come in!”
An’ lots o’ brass they awlus spent.
Bo some at th’ dur ull meet me neaw,
An’ some ull come to th’ top o’ th’ fowt;
Mi prattiest things they co’n em feaw,
Or quietly sen they’re wantin’ nowt.
Aw know their dhrift—aw see it o’:
They conno mak’ things t’ square an’ fit;
Oitch thries t’ noa let his neighbour know
Heaw fast he’s wastin’, bit by bit.
Bo folks mun sthrive to do ther part,
Tho’ Want an’ Sorrow in the breast
May nestlin’ gnaw, an’ at the heart
Still gnaw an’ suck, an’ never rest.
Neaw ev’ry cheek has lost its rose,
Its bwons are creepin’ eawt to th’ leet;
Wi starin’ een, an’ sharpent nose,
An’ sallow face,—it’s sad to see’t.
When ev’ry whoam is nak’d an’ bare,
Folks conno beigh, bo aw con tell,
Ut pedlar Bob comes in for th’ share,
O th’ hardships, neaw he conno sell.
Ther’s nob’dy want a ribbin neaw,
Ther’s nob’dy wants mi fancy rings;
They’re o’ too poor, aw weel know heaw
It is they dunno beigh my things.
For sunken cheeks, and starin’ een
Ud match bo ill a weel dhress’d yead;
An’ one ne’er thinks o’ dhress, yo seen,
When th’ stomach’s skroikin’ eawt for bread.
Folks are ill off, an’ ill they look,
An’ aw’m as ill as them, for sure,
Mi palsied wife, hoo sits i’ th’ nook,
Mi cripplet dowther plays o’ th’ floore.
Eawr Jack’s a sailor, off at th’ sae,
Eawr Nanny neaw just jobs abeawt,
Aw do a bit i’ th’ peddlin’ way,
When th’ rheumatiz ull let me eawt.
An’ mony a time we’re hardly set,
Sthrive heaw we win, do what we con;
It fairly makes one t’ fume an’ fret,
Sich wark to get a torin’ on.
Ther’s little jeigh i’ th’ poor mon’s part,
When thrials come i’ sich a shoal;
They choke the sweet springs of the heart,
The kindlier nature of the soul.
Neaw th’ winter’s past and spring is green,
Fleawr’s laugh at me an’ peighnt to th’ sky—
Aw conno laugh at them, yo seen,
My laugh ud be bo mockery.
Aw’m writhin’ under th’ weight o’ grief
Ut long has prest me close to th’ sod;
That dyeth may soon bring sweet relief
Is o’ mi yearnsful prayer to God.