Skip to main content
THE PITMAN'S PAY,
AND OTHER POEMS.
AND OTHER POEMS.
BY THOMAS WILSON.
WILLIAM DOUGLAS, HIGH STREET.
CHARNLEY, NEWCASTLE ; AND SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO.,
NEWCASTLE owes every thing to her coal-mines.
Coal is the staple article of her trade — the source
of her wealth and the foundation of her greatness.
The coal trade has paved the way for the splendid
creations and improvements of a Grainger, and
for the astonishing mechanism of a STEPHENSON —
the one having turned our " canny town" into a
"city of palaces," and the other having "moved
the world" (at least its population) by the rapidity
of his " travellers."
Besides, the coal trade has not only been the
means of producing a highly useful and hardy race
of seamen, for the protection and defence of our
native land, but of conveying cheerfulness and com-
fort to millions. What is more comfortable than an
Englishman's fireside, or more cheerful than the
brilliant gas-light which enlightens and enlivens the
thoroughfares of our towns ?
Coal is also a principal agent in steain-navigation,
which is now fast spreading over all the waters of
4 f 0*dtv
the civilized world, and accomplishing by sea what
locomotion is effecting by land ; and it may, cer-
tainly, be asserted, without boasting, that no coal
surpasses that of Newcastle for the use of steam-
The benefits and blessings likely to accrue to
mankind from the application of steam to travelling
by sea and land, are incalculable : it promises as
great an impulse to civilization as steam-power has
already given to the manufactures and trade of the
If, then, we derive such important advantages
from the produce of our coal-mines, a short descrip-
tion, surely, of the customs and manners, in this
populous and important district, of the producers,
will not be uninteresting. Such a sketch I have
attempted in the " Pitman's Pay." How far I
have succeeded, the reader will judge. My wish
has been to draw a faithful picture ; and, after
allowing for a little poetic license, I hope it will be
pronounced to be pretty correct.
It must be borne in mind, however, that mine is
a tale of some five-and-forty years ago — a period
since which many and important changes have taken
place in the pitman's labour, tending to limit the
duration as well as lessen the severity of his toil.
Nothing on this subject, to my knowledge,'; has
appeared, since the publication of CHICKEN'S
"Collier's Wedding,"^ upwards of a century
ago ; and, since then, the pitman's character has
undergone considerable amelioration. The progres-
sive intellectual improvement of all classes of society
has had its due effect upon him. He is no longer
the same ignorant, degraded being that his fore-
fathers were — a victim to the worst prejudices and
passions of our nature.t
This important change may be attributed to the
following causes :— First, the establishment of Sun-
day Schools for the purpose of teaching the children
to read ; secondly, the general diffusion of useful
* A new edition of this poem, with emendations and corrections,
was undertaken by Mr. William Cail, and printed by Messrs.
T. & J. Hodgson," in 1829. It is accompanied by many interest'
ing facts of the author and his family, as well as several notes expla-
natory of the text, and is neatly got up, but, unfortunately, has never
come fully before the public.
f In illustration of the outrageous and lawless conduct of this
class of men, about the time specified, the following fact may be
stated. Whenever they considered themselves aggrieved, they
" struck ;" or, in the language of that day, a " steek" took place.
These "steeks" generally originated on the Wear; and, by way of
enforcing their demands, the malecontents immediately " laid in" all
the pits in the district. The mode of proceeding in such cases was
this : — The men with whom the strike commenced, visited all the
neighbouring collieries; and, on their arrival at each pit, they hung
on a corf, filled with stones, at the same time hanging on the clog.
The weight of the corf moved the gin ; and as the former descended,
the latter gained velocity, until the clog, flying out in the air, knocked
away the supports of the gin, and laid it on its side, thus rendering it
totally unfit for use, and thereby putting a stop to all work for some
time to come. This was the mode then generally resorted to, for
compelling redress of grievances — a practice that would not be even
thought of in the present day.
vi N PREFACE.
knowledge in cheap publications ; and thirdly, the
introduction of Savings' Banks ; the two former
having been more especially powerful in this moral
reformation — and the latter having not been without
its good effects in producing care and economy
among this invaluable class of men.
To show how much has been effected by the
Sunday Schools, not only in the amelioration of the
manners, but in the general appearance of the pit-
men, I need only state, that, forty years ago, it was
no unusual thing to see whole families of young
men spending the Sunday in gambling and idleness.
Now, on the contrary, such a thing is rarely to be
seen ; for in passing the doors of neat cottages, we
frequently find the inmates reading; or, if absent, they
will be either at the Methodist chapel or a prayer-
meeting ; and instead of appearing in the very
meanest clothing, and not unfrequently in rags, we
now see them, not only clean and well dressed, but
very civil and very orderly.
I cannot suffer this opportunity to pass, without
noticing the praiseworthy conduct of the teachers in
the Sunday Schools They are, generally, men
who are occupied in hard labour during the other
days of the week, yet who cheerfully give up a great
part of the only leisure clay they have, to educate
the children of their neighbours. This does them
infinite credit as men and as Christians ; and the
fact of many of them having been Sunday scholars
themselves, says more for the utility of such schools
than anything I can advance. I sincerely hope the
teachers will continue their useful labours ; for
although much has been accomplished, there is still
much to be done.
In sketching the character of a pitman, nothing
brings it out so fully as the " pay-night," provided
the " yel" be good ; but the likeness must be fixed
before the original becomes a caricature through the
potency of " John Barleycorn." Here, all affairs,
both foreign and domestic, are fully discussed ; and
although there may be a want of candour and impar-
tiality in the debates, they are never deficient in
ardour and freedom of speech. The transactions of
the past fortnight supply the speakers plentifully
with matter for conversation. The number of corves
" laid" or "set out" — the difficulty of getting down
their "top," or the " woodiness" of the " kirving" —
the corves being too big, and the prices too small —
the merits of this man as a " hewer," and of that as
a " putter" — are all topics which occupy the serious
attention of the disputants ; who, however, at the
heel of the evening, often diverge into matter as
miscellaneous as the contents of a newspaper.
In the " olden time," the early years of a pitman's
life — that is, from the time of his taking his " seat"
behind the "door," until he took up the "picks" to
" hew" — or, in other words, from his being a " trap-
per" at six years of age, until he became a " hewer"
at about twenty — were nearly all spent " belaw,"
with frequently only very short intervals for rest.
This renders it necessary to have frequent reference
to the proceedings under-ground, and to describe
them in the technical language of the place, which
will, I fear, render that part of my description less
interesting to the general reader ; but the " lads
belaw," and those immediately connected with the
" diamond" trade, will in this respect feel no diffi-
culty, as I flatter myself they at least will acknow-
ledge my details to be pretty accurate.
The youthful portion of a pitman's life, in those
days, was passed in the most galling slavery —
eighteen or nineteen hours a day, for weeks together,
being spent in almost insupportable drudgery. The
putters of the present day would not be able to com-
prehend how such incessant toil could be endured.
It is fortunate for the latter, that the " new light"
which produced "metal wheels" and "plates" made
its appearance before their time, and that they are
not compelled, like their predecessors, to earn their
bread in the way most approved by the " wisdom of
their ancestors." This wisdom, of which we hear
so much, may be usefully applied to some things,
even of the present day, but " putting" is certainly
not of the number ; nor do I think colliery matters
generally would be at all improved, by forsaking the
evidence of our senses, and taking our ancestors for
The application of gunpowder has also been a
great improvement in the labour of "hewing."
Formerly, after a man had got ready his " top" or
" jud," as they call it, he would often have to drive
the " wedges" for an hour or two before he could
" get her down." But now, instead of so distressing
an exertion, a little powder blows the whole down
at once. Tt is strange that powder was not applied
sooner to coal: it had long before been used for
blasting stone. These two improvements in "put-
ting" and " hewing," have made a complete revolu-
tion in underground affairs, and made that labour
tolerable which was formerly almost beyond human
At the age of twenty, when a "pitman" became
a "hewer," his labour, though still severe, was
very much shortened. Instead of being sixteen or
eighteen hours, his drudgery was reduced to eight
or ten. He then got time to look around him in
daylight, and form such connections as made the
" weal or woe" of his future life. In short, he soon
got married — the most important step he had yet
taken ; for what can be more important to any man,
but more especially to a poor pitman, than the choice
he makes of a wife ? On this essentially depends
his own comfort, as well as that of his family. The
wife's character may be known by the children's
appearance. If frugal, industrious, and orderly,
both he and they will be found clean, cheerful, and
happy : if, on the contrary, he has had the misfortune
to unite himself with an extravagant, worthless
woman, he will, in all probability, be drunken and
careless, his children ragged and dirty, with poverty
and misery for their common lot.
After this, the birth of the first-born child or
children was most important ; for on this event often
depended not only the amelioration of the pitman's
own condition, but the means of supporting his family.
If the offspring proved girls, * they were considered
burdensome, being unable to contribute to their own
maintenance, until far advanced in age ; but if boys,
they obtained employment at the age of six or seven,
* Previous to the period I am describing, it was customary to send
girls down the coal-pits ; but that disgraceful practice ceased in this
neighbourhood nearly sixty years ago. The custom was more preva-
lent on the Wear than on the Tyne. Here, again, has the "march
of intellect," which, in the opinion of many, will ultimately bring a
" creep" upon society, superseded the " wisdom of our ancestors,"
and rescued the " pitman's daughter" from the debasing slavery ol
descending into a coal-pit. It will be in the recollection of several
yet living, that, at a very tender age, female children were put to
such drudgery, and exposed to all the vice and indecency of which it
was the parent. What kind of wives and mothers, girls brought up
in such a school would make, may be easily imagined.
as " trappers," and in the course of a few years se-
cured to the father a situation of comparative ease.
This arose from the great demand that always
existed for boys as " drivers" and " putters."
At the " bindings," nothing was more common
than a man, who had a tram or two of lads, getting
himself placed on the list of " shifters" or " off-
handed men" — a benefit duly appreciated and eagerly
sought after by every pitman who earned his living
at the "coal- wall."
Among the many other changes that time has
produced in the domestic habits of tbis useful class
of people, none are more conspicuous than those we
see in their weddings and christenings. Formerly,
forty or fifty people attended the bride and bride-
groom to church, with "bride favours" at their
breasts, accompanied by all the fiddlers in the vil-
lage. Every musket and pistol was also laid under
contribution, to salute the happy pair, both on their
setting out and their return, when bride-cake in
abundance was thrown over their heads. All this
parade and publicity are now almost entirely done
away ; and this most important act in a man's life
is gone about so quietiy, that the neighbourhood is
often ignorant of its occurrence. Something similar
has taken place in christenings. Formerly, the
pitman's child was taken to the church in the fore-
noon, accompanied by a large party of friends, who
returned (after " getting up the steam" a little at
the public house nearest the church-gates) to a hot
and substantial dinner, followed by both tea and
supper : — now, this ceremony is generally deferred
until the afternoon, and is attended by the sponsors
only, who return to — " a cup of tea."
Such are a few of the changes which time has pro-
duced in the habits of a most laborious and valuable
class of men, whose toils and cares I have attempted
The longer pieces contained in the present volume,
appeared in various periodicals at the time they
were written, but have not before been published in
a collected form. The " Pitman's Pay" was first
inserted in Mitchell's Magazine for the years 1826,
1828, and 1830, and was immediately afterwards
republished by Mr. GEORGE WATSON, of Gates-
head ; but the reprint was an incorrect edition, and
has been out of print for some time.
The " Stanzas on the Intended New Line of
Road," appeared first in the Tyne Mercury of 1824,
and were afterwards neatly published, with notes,
by Mr. JOHN SYKES, of Newcastle.
" The Oiling of Dicky's Wig" appeared first in
the Tyne Mercury of 1826. Mr. Mitchell struck
off a few copies of each of these pieces, but they
have Ions: since been exhausted.
Notes, where found necessary, have now been
given, and where those of Mr. Sykes have been
adopted, they have his name annexed to them.
Several additions have been made to each of the
above pieces, and the whole have been corrected
Several of the smaller pieces first appeared in the
I take this opportunity of returning my thanks to
Mr. JOHN Bell, of Gateshead, and Mr. THOMAS
Belt,, of Newcastle, for much valuable information
in connection with Gateshead Fell.
Fell House, June, 1843.
A-field (to set), to set off to the pit.
Agyen'd, against it.
Aren't, are not.
Atwee, in two.
Aw'd, / had.
Aw'll, / will.
Aw've, / have.
Back or knotve, partings in the
Bait-poko, a bag in which a pit.
1ml carries his provisions.
Bang, surpass, excel.
Bangin', moving quickly.
Bangin', large andfulL
Bam-styen, roof of the mine at
the entrance of the workings.
Beastie, diminutive of beast.
Begock, a term of exclamation.
Bettermer, rather better.
Bicker, to hasten.
Biel, a place of shelter.
Bilk, to cheat.
Bits and brats, food and raiment.
Blabbin'-jaw, inoffensive talk.
Blashy, thin, poor.
Blast o' backey, a pipe of tobacco.
Blaw-out, a set in at drinking.
Blether, bladder, purse.
Bob or Bobby, Robert.
Bogie, a low carriage with four
Bogle, a ghost.
Booze, to drink lavishly.
Bord, the space allotted generally
to one man to work in, in a
Bother, to trouble.
Bout, a recurring event.
Brake, a kind of regulator.
Bran new, quite new.
Branks, an instrument formerly
kept in the Mayor's Chamber,
Newcastle, for the punishment of
" chiding and scolding women."
B reeks, breeches.
Brick, to break.
Brock, a badger.
Buik or buick, book.
Bummer, a carriage that sounds
from a distance on the road.
Bummin', a whirring noise arising
from quick motion.
Buss, to dress.
Byen- grubbers, bone searchers.
Byet, work not finished.
Byre, a cowhouse.
Byson, a shame, scandal.
Cabbish, to cabbage.
Callant, a young boy.
Caller, fresh, cool. A person who
goes round at a certain hour in
the night, to let the pitmen know
it is time to go to work.
Callin', publishing the banns.
Callin'- course, the time at which
pitmen are called to go to work.
Canny, good, kind, mild, affec-
Cantrip, '/ charm or incantation.
Canty, lively, cheerful.
Cassen, cast off'.
Cawd or caud, cold.
Cawdpies, any accident happening
to the tram or carriage.
Cawdrife, a shivering sensation.
Cbare, a narrow lane or alley.
Chow, a quid of tobacco.
Chuck, a hearty fellow.
Chubby - cheek'd, rosy, plump -
Clap on, to put on.
Clapp'd, to set upon.
Clapt, to set upon, to pat.
Clay, a substance used by pitmen
as a substitute for candlesticks.
C'leed, to clothe.
Click, to snatch hastily.
Clootie, an old name for the Devil,
derived from Chile, the half of
the hoof of any cloven-footed
Cloots, strikes with the hands.
Clout, a cuff, a blow.
Clubby-skaw, a youthful game
played by two parties with a
globular piece of wood, and a
stick curved at one end to corre-
spond with the ball.
Coaly, the coal trade.
Coasters, coasting vessels.
Cobby, hearty, lively.
Coffin-kist, a hearse.
Comfortable, a covered boat.
Corf, a basket for bringing coals
out of the pit.
Corl, to curl.
Cottrils, cash, money.
Cowpin, the last word.
Crack, </<e chief, the most celebrated,
Crack, in a short space of time.
Creep, a state of the mine produced
by an insufficiency of coal left to
support the roof, and which often
forces the top and bottom of the
mine together, and renders the
pit unfit for further use.
Crouse, brisk, lively.
Crowdy, oatmeal and hot water
Cruick thy hougb, sit down.
Cuckoo mornin', a holiday on
hearing the cuckoo for the first
Cuddy, donkey, Cuthbert.
Cuddy band, the bray of asses.
Cull, a stupid fellow.
Cut-porse, see note 3\,page 107-
Cuttie, a short tobacco pipe.
Dab, a clever fellow at reading.
Daft, stupid, thoughtless.
Dandy, the very thing.
Darg, a day's work.
Demented, frantic, distracted.
Diddle, to trick.
Didn't, did not.
Dimond (black diamond), coal.
Dinnet, do not.
Dinn't, do not.
Dirdurn, noise, confusion.
Dirl, to vibrate.
Dish'd and duin up, completely
Divots, turf or sods.
Dizn't, does not.
Dominie, a schoolmaster.
Doot or doobt, doubt.
Eas'd, coaxed, deprived.
Double-chuckers, tic ins
Dozzen'd, spiritless, withered.
Driver, a boy who has charge of
a horse in the pit.
Druvy, dirty, muddy.
Duds, working clothes.
Dulbert, a dull, stupid fellow.
Dummy, a tram.
Eb, a word of exclamation.
Ettle, to contrive.
Ettled, arranged or contrived.
Fa.' en, fallen.
Fash, to trouble, to tease.
Faw, an itinerant tinker, a travel-
ling besom-maker, mugger, Sc.
Feckless, we ak, feeble.
Fend, a livelihood.
Fended, being able to earn a sub-
Fettle, order, to gel ready.
Fitter, the vendor or loader.
Fittin', fitting, the selling or load-
ing of coals.
Fiz, to make a hissing noise.
Flareup, a squabble.
Flay, a fright, to frighten.
Flee, to fly.
Flunky, a livery servant.
Fogie, a person advanced in life,
an infirm man.
Fouth, abundance, plenty.
Freighten, frigh I en.
Funny, sportive, amusing.
Gabblin', talking, chattering.
Galore, plenty, abundance.
Gawin or gaun, going.
Gaudy- day, a holiday.
Geer (set o' geer), pitmen's work-
Geer, knives and forks, wealth.
Gannin' te pot, going to decay or Geordy, George.
ruin. Geyzen'd, parched with thirst.
Gar, to make. Gie, give.
Gar'd, made. Gied, give it.
Giggin', travelling bg gig.
Gimcranks, gimcracks, a light or
novel sort of vehicle.
Gissy, a pig.
Gleg, quick, clever.
Glower, to stare.
Glynrin', looking slilg.
Gob, the mouth.
Gowd-i'-gowpens, gold by handsful.
Grab, to seize.
Grey ben, stone bottle.
Grog, spirits mixed with water.
Hae'd, have it.
Haffit, the side of the head.
Half a tram, one of two that
manage a tram.
Hammer, to labour.
Half marrow, one of two bogs who Heedgeer, cap, head dress.
manage a tram, of about equal Heedsman, headsman, or the elder.
age. Heedwis-end, headway, passages
Half-nowt, half-price. that lead to the crane or shaft.
Half- work, when the day's work is Heeven, heaven.
half over. Hersel', herself.
Half-shoon, old shoes with the toes Het, hot.
cut off. Hettle, hasty.
Hallion, a term of reproach. Hev, have.
Hewer, a person who works coals.
Hewing, the pitman's occupation
of working the coal, with a tool
called a pick.
Hick'ry, ill tempered.
High main, the best seam of coal
on the Tyne.
Hingin' on, hanging on, the time
the pit begins to draw coals.
Hinnies, the plural ofhinny.
Hinny. a favourite term of endear-
ment, a corruption of honey.
Hirpled, walking lamely.
His-sel', hissell, himself.
Hobby, any favourite subject.
Hoggers, stockings with the feet
Holey, full of holes.
Hoolet een, owlet eyes.
Horry-scorry, violent hurry.
Hout, an exclamation of disappro-
bation or dissent.
Howdy, a midwife.
Howdy-maw, the conclusion of the
day's labour, the last corf.
How way, come away.
Hugger-mugger, shabby, private.
Humm'd and haw'd, hesitated.
Hutch, a chest for the town's trea-
I 'stead, instead.
Iv, ive, in.
Jaw, to chatter, noisy speech. Jenkin,drivi?ig a " board" within
Jawin', chattering. a pillar of coal.
Jay-legg'd, small or feeble in the Jiffy, an instant.
tegs- Joggle, to shake.
Jouk, to stoop down lo avoid a
Keek, to peep, to look slily .
Kirve, to undermine the coal.
Kirvens and nickens, the prepa-
ratory operations for bringing
down the jud or top, and which
produce only small coal.
Kit, a cobbler's stool and tools.
Kith, acquaintance, kindred.
Jud, a piece of coal ready for
taking down, either by wedges
Kittle, ticklish or difficult.
Kitty, a lock-up, a house of correc-
Laid-in, when a pit ceases working,
Laim, to learn.
Lakewake,</te watching of a corpse
previous to interment.
Lang-heeded, long-headed, clever.
Lang-last, at length.
Lang-syners, peoplewho lived long
Lapell'd, lapetted on the breast of
Leather-plaiter, a kind af sorry
Leet-ship, a ship not loaded.
Lippen, /c depend up<m.
Lop, a flea.
Lord Size, the judge at the assizes.
Lots o' brass, large sums of money.
Loup, to leap, to jump.
Lours, looks gloom Hi/.
Love-begot, illegitimate child.
Low, light or flame.
Low-rope, a piece of rope lighted
at one end.
Lyoc'd tea, tea mixed with spirits.
Lyeces, slay laces.
Lyin'-in, the birth of a child, a
Manadge, see note 11, j>. 20.
Marrow, a partner, a companion.
Mawvin's yett, Melvin's gate.
Mebby, may he, perhaps.
Meetin's, midway down the pit, or
where the full and empty corves
or baskets pass each other : places
Mense, to grace, to decorate.
Mind, remind, remember.
Moungin', grumbling, complain-
Muck, dirt, filth.
Muds, small nails used by cobblers.
Muzzy, half stupid with drink.
Naggy, touchy, irritable.
Narrow-working, headway in a
Nell or Nelly, Ellen.
Neuk or nuick, chimney nook.
Nick, to cut the coal at each end,
preparatory to taking the jud
Myest, most, almost.
Nicker, to neigh, to laugh.
Nick- sticks, a mode of reckoning
which ladies well understand.
Noint, to anoint.
Nouskyep, a longing or hankering
O', of. Oppea, open.
Off the way, off the boards on Out-bye, at the shaft or bottom of
which the tram ought to run. the pit.
Oil, (to " oil his old wig,") to make Ower, over.
tipsy. Owertyen, overtaken.
On't, of it. Owercastin', overcasting.
Ony, any, only. Owt, anything.
Painches waggin', a lot at phrase Pairtin', parting,
implying severe <>r incessant Pairts, parts,
labour. Palaver, talk, conversation.
Pant, a public fountain.
Farley vou, a Frenchman.
Paten' cut, tobacco prepared for
P.D., a young lad in a keel.
Pea jacket, the outer holiday dress
of a keelman.
Peg, a step.
Peg, to move quickly.
Pick, a tool used by pitmen in
Pitty pat, pita-pat.
Place the wark, to arrange each
man's labour for the day.
Plack, a small coin.
Play peep, to offer the least oppo-
Post-hyest, post haste.
Pous, pulls or takes away.
Fowl'd off, made drunk.
Put, to bring the coals from the
tvorkings to the crane or shaft
■upon a tram.
Putter, a boy who works the tram.
Puttin' hewer, a young man bound
either to put or hew.
Quid, a chew of tobacco.
Rackle, violent, headstrong.
Raff, idle, dissolute.
Rag-backy, the tobacco leaf cut
into small threads.
Rax, to stretch.
Ridin' the staug, see note 10,
Rig-and-fur, ridge and furrow.
Robin Gray, a bonnet.
Roun', round, around.
Rozin'd, comfortably tipsy.
Runnin' fitter, a, fitter's deputy.
Sail or Sally, Sarah.
Sappy drinking, protracted and
Scather'd feet, feet injured from
water and small coals, in the
Scraper, a fiddler, a fiddle-stick.
Scribe, a writer.
Scunner, to notice, to observe.
Setturday, Sa tun/ay.
Shake-cap, a well-known game.
Shaw'd, injured by friction.
Shifter, a kind of superintendent.
Shine, a row, a disturbance.
Singin'-hinny, cake with currants
and butter in it, and baked ovei
the fire on a girdle.
Sipe, to drain or extract.
Sir Maffa, Sir Matthew.
Sit, to stick.
Skelp, to move rapidly, to slap or
strike with the open hand.
Skelp and yark, to move rapidly.
Skin-flint, a keen, sharp fellow.
Skipper, the captain of n keel or
Slug, a bullet or ball.
Slush, a person greedy of drink,
Smarten, to dress more gaily,
Smiddy, a blacksmith's shop.
Smudge, to laugh.
Snaffle, to obtain anything by
Sneck - drawn, narrow - minded,
Snotter- clout, pocket handkerchief.
Snotty dog, a blubbering lad.
'Sociation, association .
Sonsy, lucky, pleasant, agreeable.
Spangin', jumping, leaping.
Speer, to seek, to inquire.
Spelk, a small splinter, a slender
Spencer, a kind oj upper jacket.
Spicy-fizzer, a currant cake.
Spice kyel, broth tuith raisins.
Sported, to wear or display, as to
" sport " a new coat or hat.
Spreed, to spread.
Squad, a troop, a number.
Staincheybank, Stagsha wbank .
Stans, reckons, counts.
Start, a commencement.
Steed, stead, instead.
Steit, as well as.
Stevil, to stagger, to grope your
Stingo, strong old ale,
Stob, a stump, a post.
Stook, the remains of the pillar of
coal after it has been jenkined.
Stour, dust floating in the air.
Stravaigin', strolling about.
Straw (in the), an accouchement.
Suckshen or suction, ale or beer.
Swatch, a pattern or sample.
Sweel, to melt, to waste away.
Sweer, to swear.
Swig, to drink heartily, drinking.
Swither, to fear, to tremble, a ner-
Tantrums, high airs.
Tarn, fierce, crabbed.
Ta.tr, fit, suitable, potato.
Teaser, care or annoyance.
Te, to, thee.
Tee, T, to a nicety.
Tew, to struggle, toil.
Theaker, a (hatcher.
Thill, the surface upon which
Thowt, a thought, a trifle.
Threep'd, protested, argue,/.
Thrimmel, to draw money reluc-
tantly from the pocket.
Tift, a fit of anger, ill. humour.
Timmer, provision, fare.
the Toddle, to walk slowly, to ivalk as
Top, a pit term for coal, when
quite prepared for removal by
wedges or potvder.
Topper, anything superior.
Toppin' pinn'd and padded neat,
the arrangement of the hair in
the olden time.
Torn-act, turn-act, or statute.
Tother, the other.
Towen, to tame.
Toyte, to totter like old age.
Tram, a small carriage upon which
a corf or basket is placed ; or it
sometimes means two boys who
have the charge of this carriage,
the one drawing and the other
Trapper, a boy who has the charge
of a door in the mine, for pre-
serving the circulation of the air.
Trappin' trade, the business of a
Traps, apparatus, implements.
Treacle-wow, treacle beer.
Trig, a stick upwards, of a foot in
length, across which a boioler
strides when he throws the bowl
Trippet and coit, a game well
known in the north.
Tuimmin', ebbing, emptying.
Twang, " for everlasting twang,"
an emphatic mode of expressing
Twinnin', giving birth to twins.
Tyek't, take it.
Tyup, the last basket or corf sent
up out of the pit at the end of
the year. The name is got from
a tup's horn accompanying it.
This same horn is sent up
throughout the year ivith every
twentieth corf, or the last in
every score. " Bussin' the
Tyup" is covering the coals with or holidays which take place
lighted candles, which the lads generally after this event,
bey, borrow, or steal, for the Tyuth-an-egg or Tutenague, a
occasion. It is an expression white metallic compound,
of their joy at the gaudy days
Vends, a limited sale of coal, as
arranged by the " trade."
Waddent, would vui.
Wa filer, a person in liquor /calking
Waff o' cawd, a slight cold.
Wag, to chatter.
Wagg'd, passed on.
Wannel, the gaitof aweary person.
Wark, to ivork, to ache.
Wasn't, was not.
Weans, children, Utile ones.
\\ earin', growing.
Wee, little, small.
Weren't, were not.
Wey, why, well.
Whe'll, who will.
Whup-while, at short periods, fre-
Wid, with it.
Will or Willy, William.
Willie-waught, a full draught of
ale or other strong liquor.
Windin', talking largely and
Winnet, will not.
Worsel, to wrestle.
Wot, to guess, to know.
Wowl, to cry or howl.
Wressel, to wrestle.
Wrought out, worn out
Wyeil, lo pick out, choose, or select.
Wyeno, the stomach.
Wyest, waist, waste.
Yable, able. Yevice, once.
Yad, a worn-out horse. Yep, a P e -
Yammer, a continual repetition of Yess, ace
vexatious expressions. Yott, gate.
Yark, tobeat soundly, to go quickly, Yit, yet.
to thump. Yokens, when two trams or car-
Yearthly, earthly. riages meet, going in different
Yeck, oak. directions.
Yeckey, echo. Yont, beyond.
Yel or yell, ale. Yor, your.
The Pitman's Pay, Part 1 1
, Part II .... 21
, Part III 41
Stanzas on the Intended New Line of Road from
Potticar Lane to Leyburn Hole 65-
The Oiling of Dicky's Wig 77
Opening of the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway 101
The Captains and the Quayside, some thirty years
A Keelman's Tribute to a Friend 114
A Dirge on the Death of Coaly 116
Joyce's Patent Stove 118
The Humble Petition of the Sand Banks in the
The Alderman's Lament 122
The Pea Jacket 125
The Move men e 127
A Glance at Polly Technic 129
Lines on John Smith, commonly called John the
The Author's Arm Chair 133
The Author's Favourite Dog 134
On Parting with a Favourite Mare 137
A Character 139
Charley the Newsmonger 140
On seeing a Mouse run across the Road in January 141
Petition of an Apple Tree threatened with being
removed from its native place 143
Answer to the foregoing 145
The Tippling Dominie 146
The Washing Day 149
David Profit, the Landlord of the Ship, on Gates-
head Low Fell 153
Carter's Well — A New Song 154
The Industrious and Peaceable Pair 155
The Village Howdy 157
The Happy Home 159
8, . . 13, for dread, read dreed.
8, . . 15, for head, read heed.
8, .. 16, for Mum, read Mum.
9, . . 10, for kavel, read kyevel.
24, . . 20, for enough, read eneugh.
30, .. 15. for kittle, read hettle; and for tune, read tuin.
31, . . l,for why, muZ wey.
35, . . 15, for tougue, read tongue.
37, . . 7, for wark, read work.
63, . . 9, for before they, read before the day they.
70, . . 9, for te, rearf tee.
71, .. 21, for oil his wig, read oil his old wig.
80, .. 21, for te, read tee.
85, . . 2, for stranger, read strangger.
89, . . 21, for oil his wig, read oil his old wig.
94, . . 17, for Gardner, read Gardiner.
96, ,. 24, for gimcranks, read gimcracks.
106, . . 8, for down, read doon.
157, .. 10, for day, read days.
158, . . 5, for end here, read here end.
167, .. 6, for Gardner, read Gardiner.
THE PITMAN'S PAY,
THE PITMAN'S PAY.
The subject of the poem — the Pat Night commences by long swigs
of barleycorn — the wages are settled — a fresh pot is called — others
follow, until the yel is declared excellent — little parties are then
formed — the " gifted few" discuss with great gravity the various
knotty points in religion, and at length determine that the shortest
way is the best — others, the gambling few, are busy at cards and
other games, intent only on each other's pay — a description of the
games then in use, with a sketch of some of the leaders in each —
the night wears late, and the wives drop in — Will is petrified by
Nelly's entrance — she sets upon him like a tiger, abusing him
and his companions — Will turns her out — is afraid she will drive
him daft — gives some account of his courtship and marriage, and
how all his prospects of happiness were scattered to the winds — he
describes his endless drudgery to support her extravagance — her
ceaseless clamour — her complaints if he take himsell'a gill, whilst her
own bottle must be well filled every pay-week — the miserable food she
provides for him and the bairns, enjoying the " tyesty bits hersel" —
their clothing equally bad — her dirty and disgusting conduct, and the
thriftless management of his affairs — he is called henpecked, and be-
comes the laughing-stock of his neighbours, who advise a course of
treatment for her — everybody has his plan for managing a bad wife,
except the "poor tormented man" — Will thinks his heart will
break — pays his shot and retires — Nanny looks in — asks Neddy
if it be not time to leave — he jokes her on her promise before wed-
ding to let him have his beer — she replies, and tells him that any
THE HITMAN S PAY.
thing is said to please at such a " kittle time" — she thinks he has
had enough, and coaxes him away — he prevails on her to stop and
taste the yel praises her many excellent qualities — his happy
home — her kind treatment and great economy — she again urges
him, good-naturedly, to go home — tells him that little Neddy will
be crying for his Deddy, and promises to take him home a clean
pipe and a pot of beer — they leave — arrive at their happy home,
where she sets him in his easy chair with Neddy on his knee —
both unito in praising Neddy — she blames Wilson, the pig-killer,
for not coming in time to cut down the pig — thinks he will be
amusing his comrades with some of his unaccountable stories —
the supper is now ready, which is a piece of " gissey's tripe'' — the
happiness of such a pair is beyond the reach of " pomp and pride" —
such may take a lesson from it — she tells Ned she has been at his
lather's with something warm to ease his cough — the old man says
the care of him will win her heaven — she desires Ned to remind ber
to get him some black beer and rum at the town — thinks they may
happen to want a friend themselves, should poverty in old age
overtake them — but, if not, such kindness to others must tell in
their favour at last — they determine to pursue the same course to
the end, if they have the means.
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 pitmen's plagues and cares,
Their labour hard and lowly lot,
Their homely joys and humble fares,
Their pay-night 1 o'er a foaming pot.
Their week's work done, the coaly craft,
These horny-handed sons of toil,
Require a " right gude willie-waught,"
The creaking wheels of life to oil.
THE PITMAN S PAY.
See hewers, putters, drivers too,
With pleasure hail this happy day —
All, clean trashed up, their way pursue
To drink, and crack, and get their pay.
The Buck, the Black Horse, and the Key*.
Have witness'd many a comic scene,
Where's yel to cheer, and mirth to please,
And drollery that would cure the spleen.
With parched 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, 8
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 in the 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 dusty spark ;
When ev'ry tongue, as if inspir'd,
Wags on about their wives and wark —
THE PITMAN S PAY.
The famous feats done in their youth,
At howling, hall, 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, insensihly, 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.
All 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 '11 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 PITMAN S PAY.
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 'a 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 3 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.
THE PITMAN S PAY.
In habits form'd since sixty years,
The hope 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 '11 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 5 brock,
That all the Chowden dogs can bang ;
Or praise Lang Wilson's " piley cock,"
Or Dixon's 6 feats upon the swang. 7
THE PITMAN S PAY.
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 dropp'd 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.
THE PITMAN S PAY.
His better-half, all fire and tow,
Call'd him a slush — his comrades raft' —
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 niony 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 '11 drive me daft, aw often dread ;
" For now aw's nobbut varry silly,
" Just like a geuss cut i' the head,
" Like Jemmy Muir or Preacher Willy. 8
"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 cannel weeks,
"An awd pit ended Cappy's cares.
THE PITMAN S PAY. !
" Just like wor niaisters 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 niyek 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 keep yor painches waggin'.
" Aw toil maw byens, till through maw clay
" They peep, to please maw dowly kavel :
" 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 niver reet :
" She 's like a 'larm-bell i' the house,
" Ding-dongin' at me, day and neet.
" If aw sud get maw wark ower suin,
" She's flaid te deeth aw've left some byet. 9
" And if aw's till the efternuin,
" Aw's drunk because aw is se lyet.
" Feed us and deed us weel, she may,
" As she gets a' ways money plenty ;
" For ev'ry day, for mony a pay,
" Aw 've hew'd and putten twee-and-twenty.
10 THE PITMAN S PAV.
" 'Tis true aw sometimes get a gill,
" But then she aVays 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 cows' feet,
" Shanks full o' mawks, and half-nowt cheese. 10
" Off sic she feeds the bairns and me —
" The tyesty bits she tyeks kersei',
" 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-lyced tea and singin' hinnies.
" Maw canny bairns luik pale and wan,
" Their bits and brats are varry scant :
" The mother's feasts rob them o' scran,
" For wilfu' wyest myeks woefu' want.
" She peels the taties wiv her teeth,
" And spreeds the butter wiv her thoom :
" She blaws the kyel wi stinkin' 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 !
THE PITMAN'S PAY. 11
" She lays out punds in manadge 11 things,
" Like niony a thriftless, thoughtless bein' ;
" Yet bairns and me, as if we 'd wings,
" Are a' in rags and tatters fleein'.
" Just mark wor dress — a lapless coat
" Wi' byeth the elbows steekin' through —
" A hat that niver cost a groat —
" A neckless sark — a clog and shoe.
" She chalks up ' scores' at a' the shops,
" Wheriver we 've a twel'month stay'd ;
" And when we flit, the landlord stops
" Maw sticks, till a' the rent be paid.
" Aw's call'd a henpeck'd, pluckless calf,
" For lettin' her the breeches weer ;
" And tell'd aw dinnet thresh her half,
" Wi' mony a bitter gibe and jeer."
" Aw think," says Dick, " aw wad her towen,
" And varry suin her courage cuil :
" Aw'd dook her in wor engine pown, 12
" Then clap her on repentance' stuil.
" If that sud nut her tantrums check,
" Aw'd peel her te the varry sark ;
" Then 'noint her wiv a twig o' yeck,
" And efter myek her eat the bark."
" Eneugh like this aw've heerd thro' life ;
" For ev'ry body hez a plan
" Te guide a rackle ram-stam wife,
" Except the poor tormented man."
12 THE PITMAN'S PAY.
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, " Maw heart '11 breek."
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 te leave ?"
" Now, Nan, what myeks thee fash me here-
" Gan hyem and get the bairns te bed :
" Thou knaws thou promis'd me maw beer,
" The varry 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 te please.
" Besides, thou's had eneugh o' drink,
" And mair wad ony myek thee bad :
" Aw see thy een begin te blink —
" Gan wi' me, like a canny lad."
" O, Nan, thou hez a witchin' way
" 0' 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 maw knee ;
" For 'mang the hewers i' wor pit,
" There's nyen hez sic a wife as me.
THE PITMAN S PAY. 13
" For if maw ' 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 te loup a yett or stile —
" Maw varry byens forget te 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 nowt that she can gie me :
" She fills maw pipe wi' paten' cut —
" Leets it, and hands it kindly te 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' te 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'waye keeps maw heart abuin.
14 THE PITMAN S PAY.
" 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 my est twenty years are past
" Sin' Nanny left her mother's hyem,
" Ower me and mine, frae furst 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 te 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 backey tee :
" 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 dropt 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."
THE PITMAN'S PAY. 15
At home arrived, 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 13 a' this day,
" Te cut the pig down 'fore it's dark ;
" But he '11 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 '11 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 its 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 mo !"
I tj THE PITMAN'S PAV.
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, and 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 te ease the weary cough,
" Which baffles byeth the drugs and charm, 14
" And threetens oft te tyek him off.
" He says, ' O, Nan, maw life thou's spar'd —
" ' The good its duin me 's past believin' :
" ' The Lord will richly thee rewaird —
" ' Thy care o' me will win thee heeven.'
" Now, as his bottle's nearly tume,
" Mind think me on when at the toun
" Te get the drop black-beer and rum,
" As little else will now gan doun.
" We mebby may be awd worsels,
" When poverty's cawd blast is blawin',
" And want a frien' when natur fyels,
" And life her last few threeds is drawin'.
THE PITMANS PAY. 17
" Besides, the bits o good we de
" The varry happiest moments gi'e us ;
" And mun, aw think, still help a wee
" At last frae awfu' skaith te free us.
" Let cant and rant then rave at will
" Agyen good warks, aw here declare it,
-• ^Ye' 11 still the hungry belly fill,
" Se lang as iver we can spare it."
Here, then, we' 11 leave this happy pair,
Their " home affairs" to con and settle —
Their " ways and means," with frugal care.
For marketing next day to ettle.
1 The pitman receives his wages once a fortnight; and the Friday
night, which generally ends his labour for that week, is the time
appointed for that purpose, and is called the " pay night." One week
is called the "pay week," and the other the " baff week."
2 That is, to know if the sum opposite his name in the bill agrees
with his own account of his work for the fortnight. Eight or a dozen
18 THE PITMAN'S PAY.
men's earnings are put into one bill, us they call it, ami paid by the
viewer or overman to some one person who attends for that purpose,
and who has sufficient " lare" to enable him to divide it at the public
house whore the others meet him.
3 A Ranter preacher, in the habit of holding forth on Gateshead
i This was the bowling ground on Gateshead Fell fifty years ago,
and certainly a more unsuitable line for such a purpose was never
chosen. The distance from " Mawvin's Yett" to the " Popplin' Well"
will not much exceed a mile, and consists of two very steep hills — the
one called Roger's Hill — and the other the Meeting- House Bank,
from its being near the old Methodist chapel. The bowlers com-
menced at " Mawvin's Yett," betwixt the Derwent Crook Pit and the
farm-house now occupied by Mr. John Pattison, and proceeded over
Roger's Hill, past Carter's Well, the old Methodist chapel, and ended
at the " Popplin' Well," famous then, as well as now, for excellent
washing water. This well is situated two or three hundred yards east
of the top of the Meeting-House Bank, about the same distance south
of Sheiiff Hill Cottage, and nearly twenty yards west of the High
Plantation, and an equal distance to the east of the present lane lead-
ing to the south.
5 John Crone, a warm-hearted, honest fellow, who took great delight
in all the sports and pastimes of his day. He lost his life by falling
from the corf whilst ascending the shaft of the Centre Pit in Ravens-
worth Colliery, the 17th of April, 1824. The melancholy event was
occasioned by the rope slipping over the top edge of the rim of the
gin, and jolting him and John Robson out of the corf. Of course
their death was the immediate consequence.
6 Tom Dixon was a famous bowler on Gateshead Fell ; and if
health permitted, was never absent from a bowling-match of any note ;
and even in his old age so strong was this " ruling passion," that he
was frequently seen bowling by himself in the summer evenings.
THE PITMAN'S PAY. 19
Nay, it is reported, that on bringing home a coffin for one of his
children, having to pass some young men bowling, he could not resist
taking a single " thraw," and absolutely set down the coffin for that
purpose. The following notice of him appeared in the Tyne Mercury
of January 8th, 1828:—" Died, at the 'Black Raw,' adjoining Gates-
head Low Fell, on the 3rd inst., Thomas Dixon, aged 85. His wife
and her brother died a few years ago at the same place — the former
nearly 90, and the latter 92. Dixon was a very eccentric character,
and cuts a figure in the ' Pitman's Pay,' published in the Newcastle
Magazine. His great delight was in bowling, in which he invariably
spent the greater part of his vacant hours, as long as age would
permit. But now, in the language of his favourite amusement, he
will never ' stride another trig' — his last ' thraw' has been ' thrawn,'
without any cbauce whatever of being ' called back ;' and as no man
had more friends to ' show him the reet way,' we sincerely hope that
in the ' match' of life which is now over, he will be found at last among
those who ' win.' "
7 That part of Roger's Hill running north and south, close past the
west side of the old Sheriff Hill engine, a flat betwixt two slopes, and
a noted place for bowling before the common was enclosed. The
ground here being of a spongy nature, swang, I suppose, is a corrup-
tion of swamp.
8 Two idiots, well known on Gateshead Fell upwards of forty years
9 Leaving " some byet," means he has not completed his day's work,
or hewed the number of corves " placed" him by the overman. It is
no uncommon thing for pitmen, if two or three of them return from
work together, and have to pass a public-house, to sit drinking until
late in the day, and arrive at home " muzzy."
io "Half-novvt" has long been the price of cheese, bawled in our
ears by the female dealers in this article who have stalls in the streets.
T suppose it means half-price, or half the quantity for nothing ;
20 THE PITMAN'S PA*.
although a neighbour of mine insists upon it that' it means fifty per
cent, less than nothing!
11 "A 'Box' or 'Club' instituted by inferior shopkeepers, generally
linen-drapers, for supplying goods to poor or improvident people, who
agree to pay for them by instalments." — BrockeWs Glossary.
13 " Lately, at Bedlington, the place of his birth, John Wilson, in the
8(ith year of his age. He lived the greatest part of his life on Gates-
head Fell, and earned his living principally in the coal-pits. He was
th3 village-butcher there for many years, and considered himself at
the head of his profession in all pig-matters. He was usually called
' Lang Jack,' to distinguish him from 'Little Jack,' another person
of the same name. He cuts a figure in the ' Pitman's Pay.' " — Gates-
head Observer, January 27, 1838.
14 Quackery is not confined to drugs. The ignorant are often im-
posed upon by what designing knaves call "charms;" and when the
former fail, recourse is had to the latter.
END OF PART FIRST.
THE PITMAN'S PAY.
A sketch of the latter part of a pay-night, with the drolleries pro-
duced by barleycorn — the commencement of a pitman's career as
"trapper," showing how much the mind of a boy is excited, and
his curiosity roused, on his first descent into a place he has heard
sa much about — a digression on roast-goose and giblet-pie — the
confusion and hubbub at the bottom of the pit previous to the men
and lads being dispersed through the various workings, with the
preparations for " hingin' on" — Peter at a dead set, or the difficulty
of "placin' the wark" — the pit " hings on" — the " heedsmen"
commence " putting," when the efforts of the " waik" to keep pace
with the "Strang" are often distressing to see — two brothers, Jack
and Charley, being "waik," fight through the whole day — the
cruel treatment of the lads by the " heedsmen," with the various
occurrences which produce strife and stoppage through the day
the trapper, after some time earning fivepence a-day, now becomes
the attendant of the overman or deputy, and increases his wages to
sixpence, by carrying the axe and handsaw — properly equipped,
he next becomes a " putter" — the misery of " putting" in the olden
time, with reflections upon it — nearly as bad as West Indian
slavery — tho great improvement made in this, then the most slavish
part of a pitman's life, by the introduction of cast metal wheels and
plates for the tram-ways — is now bound for a " half marrow," and
the next year gets a set of " geer," and begins to " hew" — the im-
provement in hewing, by tile application of gunpowder, which in
former times was only used to blast stone — remarks on the hardships
22 THE PITMAN S PAY.
of a pitman's life, with a bint that the Devil must have heen the
author of it— a wish expressed that the "great" would consider the
pitmen's case —the appalling miseries they are subject to from fire and
water — and a hope entertained that some amelioration might be
effected, by the application of steam, now the grand operator in almost
every department of labour — conclusion— the pleasure of having
lived honest lives — the immorality of the higher classes — and the
consolation at the end on reviewing a well-spent life.
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 1 in the nook,
For suction hard his elbow shaking ;
And PniLiP, 2 up from Derwent Crook,
Remarks the very drollest making.
There 's Dick 3 that married Barbara Bland,
More famous far for drink than hewing ;
And Peel, 4 as drunk as he can stand,
Reeling and dancing like a new un.
THE PITMAN'S PAY. 23
He barely can his balance keep,
Yet still he 's " Play up, fiddler !" 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,
" Eneugh yen's varry pith te wither.
" Aw put the bait-poke on at eight,
" Wi' sark and hoggers, like maw brothers ;
" Maw 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.
24 THE PITMAN S PAY.
•' Aw thowt the time wad ne'er be gyen,
" That calliri -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 te stay at hyem.
" It was, ne doubt, a cooen seet,
" Te see them hirplin' cross the floor,
• WT 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,
" Te slave for eighteen hours agyen,
" Enough to rive atwee the heart.
" Wor low rope let, a-field we set,
" The trappiri trade quite crouse te 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, 6
" Twee varry far fra sonsy things.
the pitman's pay. 25
" This boded ill tiv iv'ry skin,
" And fix'd us a' like barber's blocks ;
" Yet faither nobbut brack his shin,
" And lost bis 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 luikin' 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 sj>innin' roun' and roun',
" Just like a geuss upon a speet.
" We're gaun te get a geuss te morn,
" There's nowse aw get aw like se weel,
"Efter 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 iver beats
" A geuss, the yess o' trumps o' eatin'.
26 THE PITMAN S PAY.
" She myeks a real royal dish,
a 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 geussy 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 ?
" It surely was a good way back :
" Let's try te recollect the place.
" We 'd pass'd the meetin's, aw 've ne doubt :
" Indeed, aw think we 'd reach'd the bottom,
" Efter 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, had aboot 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 PITMAN S PAY. 27
" 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 te lay down his pick,
" And help him te 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.
2S THE pitman's pay.
" Aw think aw see poor Peter now
"Bamboozlin' on for hours tegither,
" Cursin' a roun' him black and blue,
" And fit te 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.
" Oft' went his specks — the sweet ran down
" A fyece wi' botheration 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 hev 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,
" Hissell, the pictur o' distress,
" Hidden ahint some awd wa nuik 6 —
" Where like a cunjurur 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 placed, 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.
THE PITMAN'S PAY. 29
' : 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 Avaik 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 te deeth, they 're tarn and snarly,
" A' yammerin' on frae morn till neet —
" Jack off the way, blackgairdin' Charley,
kt 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 '11 splet his nell-kneed, wall-eyed soul.
" A shower o' coals wi' vengeance hurl'd,
"•Suin rattl'd roun' the lugs o' Jack,
" Wi' threets he 'd te the tother world
" Dispatch him sprawlin' iv a crack.
" Jack didn't like the journey then,
" And tried te shun the deedly blast
" Ity joukin' down — nor show'd agyeu
" His fyece till a' was ower and past.
" The bits o' lads are badly us'd —
" 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.
30 THE PITMAN S PAV.
" Sic, then., was the poor putter's fate,
" Wi' now and then a stannin' fray,
11 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, rayed fippence sure ;
" Besides full mony a curse and cloot
" 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 carry in Lukey's aix and saw.
" But, then, at half-wark aw was duin,
" And niver hardly gat maw thumps ;
" Yet he was kittle — out o' tune —
" And often gar'd me stur maw 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 putter's purgatory here,
" At which they daily toil and tug,
" Blackgairded 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 PITMANS PAY. 3 J
;< The slav'ry borne by Blackyinoors
; ' They 've lang been ringin' i' wor ears ;
" But let them tyek a luik at wors,
" And tell us which the warst appears.
" If on J, then, o' Blacky's race
" Ha'e harder cairds than wors te play,
' Why, 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 frinds 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',
;c 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. 7
32 the pitman's pay.
" This was the wark for tryin' mettle —
" Here ivry tuil his level fand :
" Sic tussels nobbut pluck could settle,
l ' For nowse less could the racket staud.
" And had wor bits o' yammerin' yeps,
" That wowl about wor barrow- way,
1-1 Te slave and drudge like langsyne cheps,
" They wadn't worsel out a day.
" God bliss the man wi' peace and plenty,
" That furst invented metal plates !
" Draw out his years te 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 te de wi' gettin' there,
" Aw think he mun gan strite te 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
" Te suin get bits o' canny claes. 8
THE PITMAN S PAY. 38
" Here, agyen, had awd langsynera
" Mony a weary, warkin' byen,
" Now unknawn te coaly-Tyners,
" A' bein' mell-and- wedge wark then. 9
" Aw've bray'd for hours at woody 10 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' 11 sometimes, 'tis true,
" Set doon maw top wi' ease eneugh ;
" But oftener far we had te tew
" On wi' a nasty, scabby reuf. 12
" Here's just a swatch of pitmen's life,
" Frae bein' breek'd till fit te marry :
"A scene. o' ceaseless pain and strife,
" Hatch'd by wor deedly 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 te see us se tormented.
" Then ye that sleep on beds o' doon,
" An' 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 o' Lunnun city.
84 THE PITMAN S PAY.
" 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', 13 mair dreedful still,
" Alive oft barries lmz belaw :
" O dear ! it myeks yen's blood run chill !
" May we sic mis'ry niver knaw !
" Te be cut off frae kith and kin,
" The leet o' day te see ne mair,
" And left frae help and hope shut in,
" Te pine and parish in despair !
" If ye could on'y 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 te better wor condition.
" They wad, wi' layin' their brains asteep,
" Suin hit upon some happy scheme,
" (Which meet be duin, aw think, quite cheap,)
" Te 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 ! M
THE PITMAN S PAY. 35
" 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 sniiddy.
" He grunds the corn te myek Avor 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 stiog o' gallin' labour pouin') :
"Then, hinny maisters, if ye please,
" Just let Mm try his hand at hewin'.
" Eh, man ! aw 's dry : hand here the pot :
" Aw 's just wi' talkin' fit te gyzen ;
" Nor will maw tougue 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 frindship 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 te the workin' classes :
" The lasses choosin' sober men,
" But seldom seen the warse o' nappy :
" Blyth, kind, and good tiv i\Ty yen,
" And myekin' a' about them happy.
36 THE PITMAN S PAY.
" It is nut geer that mycks the man,
" Nor fine broad claith the cliver fellow :
" A full's a fail, howiver gran' —
" The pouther'd pyte is often shallow.
" For happiness is not confin'd
" Te folks in halls or cassels leevin' ;
* " And if wor lives be good, ye'll mind
" There '11 nyen ax how we gat te heeven.
" "We labour hard te 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 barish tyeble.
" O 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.
the pitman's pay. 37
" Aw dinnet mean te brag o' this —
" It 's but the way we a' should treed ;
" But where the greet 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 wark, 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 '11 at last appear —
" 'Twill form a breet and sunny place
" On which the mind may rest wi' pleasur ;
" An' then de mair te help wor case,
" Than hoarded heaps o' yearthly treasur."
1 Tommv Coulson, a stone-mason, and performer on the violin,
who lived at Cow Close, and attended on all occasions of merry-
making. He was, like many others of the same craft, a " drouthy
crony," and seldom left the scene of his labours as long as a " plack"
remained in his pocket. If he attended a merry night at a public
house on the Saturday evening, he was sure to be found there on the
38 THE PITMAN S PAY.
Monday morning, and perhaps longer. There are several anecdotes
told of him, arising out of his love of " suction." Amongst others is
the following : — He had either been balloted for the Militia, or entered
as a substitute, in one of his drunken frolics. The regiment had
been some time at a distance; and Tommy, having a wish to see his
wife Mally, obtained, on some pretext or other, a furlough, and wrote
Mally that abcut such a time she might expect him. The time
appointed passed over, but Tommy never appeared. Day after day
she expected to see Tommy, but no Tommy came. At length she
received a message, saying that he was at a public, house, at about
half a mile distance, and that if she wanted to see her husband, she
must come soon to him, as his furlough was now up, and he had not
time to come to her.
2 Philip Short was a pitman, and died an old man, in Gateshead
poor-house, in the summer of 1834. He was a regular " droll;'* and
when Barleycorn had operated a little upon him, he was the source
of much amusement to the company.
3 Dick Taylor, a pitman, was only famous as having married
Barbara Eland, the daughter of old Nell Bland, the only real
witch we had on the Low Fell. Nell was one of the party that was
watch' ng the corpse of Tom Forster the first time ho died, and had
her arm broken by being tumbled heels over head downstairs at his
resurrection; for, be it known, contrary to established usage, poor
Tom died twice. After he made his exit the first time, and was laid
out a decent corpse, the neighbours, as is customary on such occasions,
were sitting up in the same room with the body, and holding what they
call a " Lake Wake ;" when, to their utter astonishment, they per-
ceived the corpse gradually raising its head, until it sat upright. In
a moment the room was cleared, and the whole company, that had
been the instant before enjoying themselves in cracking jokes and
telling stories, were tumbling one over the other down-stairs; and
more, it is said, than poor Nell, came off with broken bones. Tom
lived many years after this, and, when he really died, was an old
THE PITMAN S PAY. 39
4 Jack Peel was a pitman, and also a " theater," a business of
some note when the cottages on the Fell were all covered with " divots,"
but now extinct, since the common was enclosed. He was a hard-
working man, and carried on his " theakiug" operations after his
day's work in the pit was finished. As he made a good deal of money,
he could afford to indulge in an extra glass.
5 Pitmen consider it unlucky to meet a woman or a pig on their way
to work : of course they are on the look-out through the day for some
untoward event, when that has been the case. That it always happens
so, is more than T can vouch for, but there is no rule without exceptions.
6 Such cases were not uncommon formerly, and this is true to the
letter; but since the schoolmaster came abroad, they have no doubt
been less frequent.
7 Previous to this, bringing out the coals to the crane or shaft, or
what is called " putting," was the most distressing slavery. It was
generally performed by boys, in nine cases out of ten too weak for the
purpose— if even the materials had been better tban they were, over
which the trams then passed. What, then, must it have been, when
a beech board was a godsend ? And, more frequently, they had to
drag their load over a fir deal or the bare " thill," the former too often
split from constant wear, and the latter too soft to bear the load passing
over it. Now, the whole way is laid with metal plates, even up to
the face of the workings, so that a man or lad may run the tram before
him both out and in, the plates being so formed as to keep the tram
in a right direction. This important improvement made quite a revo-
lution in "putting," and enabled one to effect with comparative ease
what formerly required the most intense labour of two — a headsman
and a lad .
8 When a young man commences hewing, it is no uncommon thing
for him to take his earnings into his own management, giving his
parents a certain weekly sum for his board ; or, if the parties cannot
agree on this point, he takes lodgings at some neighbour's, where he
40 THE PITMAN'S PAY.
finds his own victuals, and pays so much a week for lodging and
attendance. This is called "picklin' in his awn poke neuck." It
does not unfrequently happen that he pitches his tent where the
daughter of the house ultimately becomes his wife. This is often the
real attraction that draws him from home, though a very different one
may be pretended.
9 This alludes to the present practice of shooting down the "jud"
or " top" with powder, instead of bringing it down with '• wedges,"
as formerly. In drifting in stone, powder was always used, but in
coal only in late years. In hewing, this is as great an improvement
and saving of labour, as metal plates are in putting.
10 Tough, and difficult to separate.
ii Partings in the coal, which set the "jud" down with little trouble,
after the "kirving" and "nicking" are completed — sometimes even
12 " Scabby roof," is where the coal does not part freely from the
stone at the top.
1 3 By the Heaton catastrophe of the 3rd of May, 1815, 7-5 persons
(41 men, and 34 boys,) lost their lives, together with the whole stock
of horses which were in the pit at the time. For the details, see
Syhes's Local Records.
14 This has already been effected.
END OF PART SECOND.
THE PITMAN'S PAY.
Our hero, now a inan, begins to take some pains to attract the atten-
tion of the lasses — his great agility — his dancing and musical
acquirements — a description of his dress, with its powerful effect
upon the fair sex — how much the girls contribute to our happiness —
the many eyes that were upon him, and the means taken by Sall
to "catch" him — a description of her dress, and how she completed
her conquest — her consent obtained, with the difficulties attending
getting that of her parents — Saturday night fixed for the attempt,
with the many reasons for this being the fittest time for carrying a
knotty point — his dropping in about bed-time — Nell at her last
pipe, and Jack, dozing in his chair — his reception by the old lady,
with her complaints on the badness of the times, and her conver-
sation with Mr. Smith on the cause of things being so dear — Jack
awake — his determination to exterminate the Yankees — a serious
altercation on this subject between his wife and him — our hero's
uncertainty whether this squall, with the high prices of tea, sugar,
and "backy," would assist or obstruct him in the point he wished
to carry — Jack's salutation and Will's reply, with the great diffi.
culty he had in telling him his errand — Nell thinks Ihem both
too young, and gives various reasons why they should waitawhite' —
his reply, and their consent — his great joy at his success, and the
clinching the bargain by a jug of Geordy's "best" — everything
now canvassed and fixed, from the " calling to church" fo the name
Al THE PITMAN'S PAY.
of the first bairn, with each a glass of rum from Jack's privati
bottle at parting — reflections on time, with some remarks on wed-
dings at that period — regret expressed that all our old customs,
founded on the " wisdom of our ancestors," should be done away,
and fear that our present new-fangled notions will ultimately prove
our ruin — " riding the stang" after marriage, with its object — a
" good drink" — Sally, to his great surprise, brings him twins —
considered very lucky, from his being made a " shifter" soon, and
a " deputy" after — his description of his learning, and how he got
it — the christening of Jacky and Bobby — particulars of that im-
portant day, with a comparison between the substantials given on
such occasions then, to the flimsy materials now — frequency of
christenings — lots of bairns, with always enough to give them —
thankfulness for this — the bairns getting up, and old age creeping
on, with a hope when death comes Sall and He maj be found
ready — the rising sun and the empty quart admonish the alehouse
party to go— the reckoning called, and they depart.
Aw now began te corl maw hair,
" (For corls and tails 1 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 PITMAN'S PAY. 43
" The crack o' whuslers i' maw day,
" Maw gewgaw touch was te the life ;
" And at yen time, 'could nearly play
" ' God sye\ r the King' upon the fife !
' Maw shinin' coat o' glossy blue,
" Lapell'd, and lined 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-quartered shoon se clean,
" And buckles real tyuth-an'-egg 2 —
" 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 pleasure fairly double.
U THE PITMAN S PAY.
" Mony a ' cap' was cock'd te catch me :
" Gleg was mony a wily e'e :
" Mony a mother wish'd te match me —
" They a' could fit me tiv a tee.
" Wor lasses then were blythe and bonny,
" And blythe and bonny yit 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 te side a fathom stritchin',
" A' stitch'd wi' mony a fancied line,
" Wad stan' 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' 3 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.
the pitman's pay. 45
•• Aw thowt about it lyet and suin,
" Yit 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 : —
" Howiver, at the last aw screw'd
" Maw courage te the stickin'-place.
" It shall be duin this varry 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 ironairm 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 callin' course te keep. 4
4(> THE PITMAN S PAY.
" E'en Care his-sel' unyokes liis plough,
" Whicli owcr the Wow lie's daily drivin',
"And gie's his nags a breathin' now,
" Ne langer te deform us strivin'.
" He is an awd, ill-throven thief —
" O ! hang him, ninnies, i' yor lyeces ;
" For wiv his blear-e'ed titty, Grief,
" They rig-and-fur yor bonny fyeces
" The day cam roun' ; yit, strange tc tell,
" Aw shilly-shally'd on till neet ;
" And just dropt in when mother Nell
" Was gawn her hin'most pipe te leet.
« 'Why, lad, what's set te here so lyet —
" ' Draw in a seat, and cruick thy hough-
" 'The pipe's the on'y thing aw get
" 'That helps me wi' the weary cough.'
" Awd 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 snored 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 layin' —
" ' Aw wonder when they will be duin.
hie pitman's pay. 47
" ' 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 fort.
" ' 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 plaguy war, I fear —
" ' They can't, says he, the Yankees beat.
" ' Bliss me, says aw, that's varry queer,
" ' De they now fight by cannel-leet.
" ' What hez the Yankee 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 backbone Tory — Jack,
" When ' Yankee' struck his drowsy lug,
" Hoard out, ' We'll spend wor bin' most plack,
" ' Te gie them iv'ry yen a slug.'
" ' For God's syek, hinny, baud thy tongue —
" ' Thou's a'ways reet, aw niver doubt it ;
" ' And if thou said the tap's the bung,
" ' Aw wndii't fash maw thoom about it :
IS THE PITMAN'S PAY.
" c For woman's words ha'e little weight
'• ' On hyem affairs, or 'bout the nation ;
" ' Yit oft wc 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 niver 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 Tartar, 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 which 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.
THE PITMAN S PAY. 49
" At what he said, aw could hae blair'd
" Aboot the pinches then o' leevin' ;
" Yit when aw iv'ry thing compar'd,
" The arguments seeni'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 iv a humdrum way ;
" And humm'd and haw'd, te little use,
" Aboot isomethin' aw had te say.
" Aw luik'd a' queer, and scratch'd maw heed,
" As if the words war steekin' there,
" Amang that little plaguy breed
" That skelp aboot in youngster's hair.
" At lang-last tummell'd out maw tyel,
" That aw was gawn te change maw life —
" Liked Sally better than mysel',
" And wish'd te hev her for a wife.
" Nell now laid doon 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 lairn,
50 THE PITMAN'S PAY.
" ' Afore ye 're fit te fight yor way
" ' Through scant, and want, and misery,
" ' Eneugh at sic a time te flay
" ' Poor folks like uz frae buckliu' te.
" ' Think of a heap o' hungry bairns
" ' Aboot an empty cupboard cryin',
" ' Wi' mebby he, that hardly earns
" ' Their daily breed, i' seekness 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 te 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.'
" ' Hoot, 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 :
THE PITMAN'S PAY. 51
" ' Gi'e me but Sall, aw want ne niair,
" ' The house aw' 11 fettle up inysel :
" ' Aw'll work maw byens byeth lang and sair,
" ' And at the pay she's ha'e 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, thowt 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 niuin,
" A' else was caff and sand te mine.
52 the pitman's PAY.
" A cuckoo-mornm' give a lad,
" He values nut his plagues a cherry :
" A back or knowe myeks hewers glad,
" A gaudy-day 5 myeks a' hands merry.
" Thou's often help'd te buss the tyup,
" And muu knaw a' the joy we fand
" When labour's yearly darg was up,
" And lots o' gaudy-days at hand.
" 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, 6 and spicy fizzer,
" Had nowt te de wi' what aw felt,
" "When Sall was for maw kyevel 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 7 maut and hop
" Suin put us iv a merry pin —
" The corn that suited Jacky's crop,
" And fine for lowsenin' the skin.
" He laugh'd and jok'd, and ran the rig,
" Just like a cairder wi' the yess :
" He kill'd a care at iv'ry swig,
" And popp'd a pleasur iv its place.
THE PITMAN'S PAY. 53
" Wor tongues becam' ne copies now,
" The words cam' skelpin' rank and file :
" Bein' talkers a', we rattled through
" Wor business iv a famous style.'
" Nowt else was wantin' but the priest
" To call 8 us, and te tie the knot —
•' Except the time, which cam' on neist,
" And tuik us myest another pot
" Te get conn'd ower ; for Sally myed
" Some sleight objection te the day,
" As ower suin ; but smudgin' said,
' Aw fancy ye mun hae yor way.'
' The last thing canvass'd was the nyem,
" Provided we a youngster had.
" ' It mun be Jacky,' said the dyem,
Nut dootin' 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 te creep ;
" But warse than this he treated me,
; ' For oft aw thowt he'd dropt asleep.
" Yit iv'ry day still weers away,
" However slaw they seem te gan :
" Se cam', at lang last, round the day
' When we before the priest mun stan .
54 tiie pitman's pay.
" But, bliss yc ! 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, hyena 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 platefuls ower the bride :
" The lads and lasses scrammel'd for't,
" Wi' airms and mouths stritch'd far and wide.
THE PITMANS PAY. 55
" 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 feast 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 Weddiri '.
" 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 arc 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.
56 THE P1TMANS PAY.
" 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 could we, awd like te ax,
" Expect te hev it owt like sure,
" Wi' wor new-fangled almanacks, 9
" 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, 10 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' Gyetshed 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.
the pitman's pay. 57
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 te 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' Hickathript 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 moont se hee.
58 THE PITMANS PAY.
" And then, at castin' 'counts aw grew
" As 'cute and gleg as ony clerk —
" Had a' the ' goulden rule' gyen through,
" And rnyest was fit te place the wark. 11
" Maw lads began te thrive like trouts —
" Their mother, tee, was mendin' fast —
" Her month was out, or thereaboots,
" A time for christenin' 12 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' blashy tea.
" For nowt but solids then wad please —
" Substantiate that wad bide some cutting
" 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 could 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.
THE PITMAN S PAY. 59
" Splash gan the spuins amaug the kyell —
" De'il tyek the hinmost ! on they drive —
" Through and through the bowl they wyell —
" For raisins, how they striteh and strive '
" This ower, wi' sharp and shinin' gear
" 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 13 doon,
" And efter tyek the stooks 14 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; 15
" Yit efter a', wi' Sally Cairns
" Aw've jogg'd through life a happy fellow.
" We away- had te de wor torn.
And somethin' for a time o' need ;
\ lyin'-in ne'er myed u.* mourn,
'• For wi' the mouth still cam the breed.
00 THE PITMAN'S PAY.
" Wor bairns are now a' men an' women,
" And wearin' up the warld te knaw ;
" While Sall and aw are byeth fast tuimmin'
" The cup o' life, already law.
" Wi' what we liad we war content,
" Howiver hyemly was the fare :
" We tuik wi' thanks what Heeven sent,
" Nor murmur d that it wasn't mair.
1,1 But we hev, Joanny, had wor day,
" And mun te time an' age submit.:
" Then come the summons when it may,
" We'll be prepared, aw hope, for it.
" And when life's last stook's tyen away,
" And nowt but icy est and ruin near —
" When creep comes ower wor wronght-out clay,
•' And all's laid-in for iver here —
" May we a' hyell be won agyen,
" Ayont yon dark and druvy river —
" Torn out a high main, bet by nyen,
" And, without fyellin', gan for iver."
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 I'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 PITMAN'S PAY. 61
The industrious dauie 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.
1 It was then the custom for young men to wear their hair at the
temples in curls, turning it round a thin piece of lead, inclosed in paper.
These leads were only taken out at the end of the week, when the
head was to be washed. Tails were common almost to persons of all
ages, differing in length and thickness according to the fancy of the
(52 THE PITMAN'S PAY.
2 Tutenague, a white metallic compound.
3 The most fashionable bonnet of that day.
i A person named the " caller" goes round every morning, to tell
the pitmen it is time to rise. The time appointed for this is called
" callin' course." Should it happen that there is no caller, then one
of the family has this charge, and is said to have " the callin' course
s There are certain times ol the year when the young men and lads
refuse to work, and insist on a " Gaudy Day :" for instance, the first
morning they hear the cuckoo, and when the turnips and peas are at
maturity. They call these periods "A Cuckoo Mornin'," " ATormit
[Turnip] Mornin'," and " A Pea Mornin'." At such times they
frequently adjourn to a neighbouring public house, where they enjoy
themselves during a great part of the day.
6 Lyeced (or laced) tea, is tea mixed with spirits. " Spicy Fizzer"
is a cake almost black with currants, baked upon a girdle.
7 Geordy Grundy, who kept the sign of the Black Horse, one
of the first houses on the Low Fell for " cock- figh tin'," "cuddy
racin'," and all other pitmen's amusements on the " pay nights."
8 To be " called" at church, is to have the banns published.
9 The first number of the British Almanack was published by the
"Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge" in 1828, and was a
wonderful improvement on Moore and others. It was not only the
means of bringing forth others on a similar plan, but of greatly im
proving many of the old ones.
10 " Ridin' the stang," in this case, is not meant as a mark of dis-
grace, as it is in many others : on the contrary, it is rather an honour.
The bridegroom is mounted on a board or pole, and carried to the
THE PITMAN S PAY. (>3
public house upon the shoulders of two men, where he is expected to
give the pit's crew a " blaw out." The last married man is always
chosen Mayor, and undergoes the same operation. Both these events
produce " gaudy days."
11 " Placin' the wark," is out of a certain number of scores of
corves, to arrange how many each man is to hew, and how many each
tram is to " put."
12 It was thought discreditable, fifty years ago, not to christen your
children on or before they were a month old : now, people are not so
13 " Pillars" are those parts of the coal left to support the roof when
a pit is wrought the first time over.
11 " Stooks" are what is left for the same purpose, whilst the greater
part of the " pillars" are removed. Frequently the " stooks" also are
taken away — in which case no coal whatever is left.
is Bella Laing, the village " howdy," of whose death the follow-
ing notice appeared in the Tyne Mercury of January 1, 1833 : " At
Gateshead Kell, on Saturday lasl, Isabella Laing, in her 91st year.
She practised as a midwife for many years in that place, and must
have been present when many of its inhabitants, now living, made
their ' first appearance on this transitory stage,' as her practice was
very extensive. She has passed respectably through life, and will
be remembered for years to come, as the fortunate howdy of Gates-
THE INTENDED NEW LINE OF ROAD
POTTICAR-LANE TO LEYBURN-HOLE.
INTENDED NEW LINE OF ROAD,
One evening in June, when the lasses were raking,
A squad of queer chaps met to talk o'er the news,
To canvass the prices of 'taties and hacon,
The rearing of pigs, and how many each hews. 1
Amongst other matters, they talked of the hall 2
About to be raised on the Sour Milk Hill,
And the new line of road, which is wormwood and gall
To the Wrekenton bodies, who wince at the pill.
There had long been a talk that the old hilly line 3
Would, one day or other, be quite laid aside ;
But where they would take it, no one could divine,
For even the rich folks could not this decide.
At first the best line was thought up the Back Lane, 4
Being just quite as hilly as good roads should be ;
As sudden transitions from hills to a plain,
Might ill with the poor horses' habits agree.
For the very wise heads up at Wrekentoii town 5
Had labour' d to settle these few simple points,
That the horses' delight is an up and a down,
A hill clears their wind and relaxes their joints.
One party preferr'd this, because it was cheaper ;
A second the line by the fields would pursue ;
A third would take Bensham, being longer and steeper,'
Still keeping the up-and-down system in view.
There were Old Liners, Back Laners, Birtley Fellers,
And Chain-Bridgers canny Newcastle to shun ; 6
Whilstthe "cheap Johns" would pass over Pipewellgate'scellaiH.
Or climb o'er the hills, from old Gateshead to run. 7
But the line through the fields all the others surpasses,
As has been resolv'd by the wiser trustees ;
So that nothing remains but the horses and asses
To get reconciled to this valley of ease.
This brings me at length to the thread of my story,
Which is to describe the line through the Low Fell ;
And as Dicky told it I'll lay it before ye,
For none at a story could Dicky excel : —
" Aw say, lads, ha'e ye heerd what they're gannin' te de
" Wi' the tornpike frae canny Newcassel te Lunnen?
"They'll shift it, they say, if the greet folks can 'gree,
" Where the coaches and mails will flee 'steed o' runnin'.
" 'Boot Potticar Lonniu they leave the awd road, 8
" Where hill upon hill rises iver se high,
" Up which the poor animals now drag their load,
" For a' the warld like claverin' up te the sky.
"Then they Nicholson's 9 pass, and the pown at Brick Dean,
"Where the mother her love-begot babby did droon, 1 "
w - And where it's white ghost hez been frequently seen
" By half-fuddled folks comin lyet frae the toon.
"Suin they reech Whinny House, and the sign o' the Buck,
"Where aw've oft been se blin' as te nut knaw me mother ;
' And then by the Meetin', 11 and Boggin's Dike Neuk, 12
" Where ganders, lang syne, used to bilk yen another.
•Then rcet ower the Fell, and by Cairter's famed Well, 1 '
" Where the waiter, like wine, ye see a'ways ruunin',
" And is better by far than the poor blashy yel
" Folks get i' Newcassel or even i' Lunnen.
" Then away on te Chowden, and by the Black Raw,"
" Where a batch of awd bodies is quietly leevin',
" Where the houses ha'e stood sin wor awd mother's fa .
" And folks gan as awd as the hills up te Ileeven.
" They neist reach Wilkin's Well, ayont Chowden Ha',
" Where wor Bet gets her drop o' tea- waiter, 15
" Which she says diz so weel her black tea-pot draw.
" Whether tea's in't or nut's little maitcr.
• Ilarley Green then they pass, and Harrison's shop.
" Where they bang a' for capital shoein' ;
And if a shoe's wanted, ye hardly need stop —
" Iv a jiffy they clap on a new un.
" Then on te Law Eighten, and doon te the Yett 1G
" Where wi' thieves mony yen's had te wresi i
" And where the coach-horses ye see smokin' het,
"Scrafflin' up the Lang Bank te Newcassel. 17
" But then they'll ne mair lia'e te wabble and wheeze
"Up heart-breekin' hills a' foamin and faggin',
For on the new line an awd cuddy, wiv ease,
" Will draw the mail-coach or even a waggon.
" Ye'll see how they'll nicker and torn up their tails.
" (At their favourite hills giein' niony a keek,)
" As they run ower the Fell wi' the coaches and mails,
" Wi' ne'er a toru'd hair, and fresh as a leek.
" How the sect will inrich, te, the travellers' een lb
" For niony miles roun', i' their whurligigs bummin' ;
" And a' the hill-toppers, ower field, wood, and dean,
" Will easily see what's gannin' and comin'.
" There's wor maistei-'s new nibor cock'd up o' the hill, 19
" The clouds clean belaw and the stars just abuin,
" Where his pipe he may smoke, or wag hands, if he will,
" Wiv his sonsy awd nibor, the man i' the muin.
" Wor awd coaly Tyne doon frae Stella te Shiels
" He can easily see a' the way as its runnin',
" And the bonny black di'monds gawn doon i' the keels,
" Te comfort and warm the starv'd bodies i' Lunnen.
" Wiv his glass he can spy a' the leet ships i' shoals
" Myest as suin as they leave Lunnen river,
u As weel as them leavin' the Bar wi' their coals,
"For the diff'rent ports where they're gawn te deliver.
" Yit this is but a trifle te what he'll see suin,
" When the mail through wor Law Fell is fleein' :
" He'll see, as he's inoistenin' his clay up abuin,
" For mony miles oft", the gaird's horn, without leein'.
INZAS. ', I
" On the other hand, luik up te Ravensworth toors 20
" Which gran'mother says are as awd as the inuin,
" And ye'll see the dark gloom that now ower them lours,
" Mun vanish the moment McAdam gets duin.
"For the furst time the mail-coach will glent o' them t/w>t,
" As weel as the gimcranks they'll see a' ways runnin',
" Wi' Dukes, and wi' Lords, and wi Parli'ment men,
" Comin' doon frae and gawn up te Lunnen.
" They'll see mountebanks, rope-dancers, jugglers, and quacks,
" Outlandishmen, tee, wi' their bear and their fiddle,
" And showmen wi' nice penny-shows o' their backs,
"Gawn the fuils and the flats i' Newcassel te diddle.
" Then wor capital air flays deeth frae wor borders, 21
" And physic's quite useless the doctor suin lairns ;
" For it cures a' complaints, even narvish disorders,
" And myeks us quite faimish for rearin' young bairns. 22
" What's the use o' their wells, wi their rotten-egg smells,
" Where greet folks oft gan te mend lungs and liver ?
" Let them come te wor Fells, where they'll suin, sound as bells,
" And good as bran new uns, leeve on myest for iver."
The story thus ended, they gave him three cheers,
With every success to the road this direction,
And a promise the first time the guard's horn he hears, 23
They'd certainly oil his wig to perfection.
Then, my Lord, 24 give 's your hand, and say you'll agree,
Nor longer our canny commissioners bother :
Only think for yourself, and I know you'll soon see
The road through the fields bangs by far any other.
1 The number of corves each hewer semis up in a day.
2 "Sheriff Hill House, which has since been built by Matthew
1'himmer, Esq., of Newcastle." — Sykes.
3 The new branch of the turnpike road from Tyne Bridge to Dur-
ham, in order to avoid the Long Bank, was commenced December
the 6th, 1824.
* " Prior to the year 1745, the great post-road came down the Back
Lane (now Mirk Place), and entered Gateshead by the Half Moon
Lane, or Miller's Chare." — Sykes.
5 " This village, which bounds the parish of Gateshead on the south,
has recently risen into some popularity, by the establishment of a
hiring for servants, which takes place on the second Monday in April,
and the first Monday in November, in each year. The first hiring
was held on the 15th of April, 1822. On the 27th of May, 1824,
when the Rev. John Collinson, A.M., Hector of Gateshead, the
Four- and -Twenty, and a number of other gentlemen, perambulated
the boundaries of Gateshead parish (which had not been performed
for 32 years before), refreshments were provided for them at this village,
where the company joined the ladies in the festive dance." — Sykes.
In connection with the perambulation, a number of copper medals,
or " boundary tokens," were distributed, of which the following is a
representation : —
6 Advocates for the different lines of alteration.
' A most lamentable proof of the " wanderings of the human intel-
lect," and one more instance of the absurdities men run into, when
they choose to abandon reason and common sense. The following
resolutions were picked up in Gateshead, on one of the days appointed
for a meeting of the Commissioners of the Durham Road, and were,
it is supposed, meant to be moved by an Old Liner, and to operate
as an extinguisher of the new project. 1 1 is conjectured they had
been lost previous to the meeting, as they were never brought forward.
They are curious merely as showing what strange opinions on road-
making were afloat at this time, notwithstanding McAdam's new
light on that subject.
" Resolved, — That both horses and asses travel with more speed,
and greater ease, up a hill, than upon level ground.
'• Resolved, — That the steeper the hill, the more suitable it is for
the line of a public road.
" Resolved, — That the chord of an arc is longer than the arc itself,
and that, therefore, a road passing over a steep hill must be much
shorter than the one running along the flat at its base.
" Resolved, lastly, — That the present line of road, from Newcastle
to Chester-le-Street, is the best possible, from its passing over one of
the highest hills in the vicinity, being nearly eighty fathoms above
the level of the river Tyne."
8 " Potticar Lonnen (Lane) branches to the west from the main street
of Gateshead, a little above the Sunderland road end." — Sykes.
a The cottage a few yards south of the toll-bar, which was always
considered half-way to Newcastle from the Low Fell, and called
"The Half- Way House."
w This is a piece of local tradition, very current in the neighbour-
hood ; and its truth so firmly believed, that very few pass this place
late at night,
" Who glower not round wi' prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch them unawares."
H "Here it is only necessary to say, that instead of going by the
Meeting, the road passes over its site, as the Meeting-House is now
pulled down for that purpose." — Sykes.
18 A noted place for gamblers some forty years ago. The pit-lads
were then in the habit of meeting here every Sunday morning, when
the weather was fine, and spending the day in shake-cap, marbles,
trippet-and-coit, and other games. But this has happily been dis-
continued for many years. We are much indebted for this reform
in our morals to the Methodists and Sunday Schools.
13 A famous spring, taking its rise in an old pit, and issuing from
a hill-side on the Low Fell. It affords the inhabitants a healthy,
sober beverage, free from the pernicious effects produced by the rot-
gut stuff, often drunk under the name of ale. Of course I except
home-brewed and fine old cightpenny.
11 A few very old houses, whose inmates have been generally long-
lived and respectable members of the Methodist Connexion.
J 5 Wilkin's Well, which produces excellent water for making tea,
and on that account is brought from a great distance.
16 Close to Leyburn Hole, a very lonely glen at the foot of the
Long Bank, formerly much infested by thieves, who used to rush out
upon the unwary traveller, and commit all kinds of depredations.
Tradition even goes so far as to say murders have been committed
here. However, since the present houses were built, all crimes of
this nature have ceased.
17 About half-a mile north of the Long Bank, is a public house
(at present kept by Isabella Stephenson) which has long been
known by the name of " Red Robin's." On its sign-board is a
picture of the house, with the following lines underneath, as an
invitation to travellers : —
" Red Robin lives here,
" Sells good ale and beer :
" Pass ye east or pass ye west,
" If ye pass here ye pass the best."
Robin Rogerson was the first " Red Robin." His son Philip
bore the same title. Margaret Stephenson, the daughter of
Philip, continued the house after her father's death, under the name
of "Red Peggy;" and her daughter, Isabella Stephenson, the
present conductress of the establishment, is best known as " Red
Bella." It is said that this sobriquet-vra,s conferred upon the father
of this red race in consequence of the great value he set upon a
favourite red cock (a game cock) ; but he must have been indebted for
his title to something besides the cock, otherwise he might with more
propriety have been called " Cock Robin" than " Red Robin."
Philip was so fond of his favourite colour, that he once appeared at
Lamesley church completely dressed in red, even to the very hat and
shoes; and his successors have shown so steady an adherence to the
hereditary partiality of the family, as to have prefixed to their names
the distinguishing title of " red."
18 " The country, when viewed from the top of Gateshead Pell,
exhibits the highest scene of cultivation that ever I beheld." —
Smollett's Humphrey Clinker.
19 From Mr. Pll'mmer's residence you have one of the finest and
most extensive views in the north of England. It takes in the whole
line of the Tyne, and the beautiful vale of Ravensworth, and has a
commanding prospect of the ocean to the north and east.
20 « xhis very ancient castle, the seat of Lord Ravensworth, was
pulled down; and in the year 1808, a new one was commenced
building, on a beautiful Gothic plan, by Nash. Two of the old
towers are retained in the new building." — -Sykes.
21 As a proof of the salubrity of the air on Gateshead Fell, it is
only necessary to adduce the following instances of remarkable
longevity : —
" January 1 3th, 1750, died at White House, on Gateshead Fell, aged
105, Mr. Edward Colvil, father to the Countess of Tankerville.
" Octoher 20th, 1778, died at Gateshead Low Fell, Margaret Fen-
wick, aged 111. She enioyerl an almost uninterrupted state of good
health until within a few days of her death, and retained her faculties
to the last. A few years before her death, she entertained, on new
year's day, at her own house, 107 of her descendants, consisting of
her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She was also
actuated with a peculiar humour at every return of her birthday —
which was, to add to her stock a new pewter spoon — so that, at her
death, she had as many spoons as she was years of age.
"June, 1796, died, at the Blue Quarries, on Gateshead Fell,
Dorothy Atkinson, aged 109. She possessed her faculties until
" January 12th, 1816, died at the Windy Nook, on Gateshead Fell,
Mary Henderson, aged 100 years." ~-Sykes.
At the present day there are many living instances of protracted
22 The following notice of Sarah Dickenson's death, the daughter
of Sarah Fenwick, appeared in the Gateshead Observer, Sept. 4th,
1841 : — At Villa-place, Newcastle, on the 19th ult., Sarah Dicken-
son, aged 88. She was born on Gateshead Low Fell, where she
lived till within a very few years of her death. Her mother (Sarah
Fenwick) and herself were "doctresses" there for nearly one hun-
dred years ; and during that time they nursed upwards of one hundred
children, principally from Newcastle. They frequently nursed both
the mothers and their children. Sarah Fenwick died upwards of 90
years of age; and her daughter, Dorothy Wilson, died about two
years ago in Gateshead, at a very advanced age also. They were all
respectable in their several situations of life ; and Mrs. Fenwick and
her daughter Sarah rendered great benefits to a poor, laborious
population, for many miles around them.
23 The mail to London passed along the line, the first time, in the
evening of the 17th of June, 1826.
M The Right Honourable Lord Rave nsworth, who, It seems, was
at one time inimical to the projected improvement.
THE OILING OF DICKY'S WIG.
THE OILING OF DICKY'S WIG.
How way Dicky, how 'way hinny,
There's the tootin' o' the horn :'
If it cost a gowklin ginney,
Thou's be soak'cl wi' barley corn.
We'll hev a royal booze te-day ;
And iv'ry true Law-Feller
Will moisten weel his drouthy clay,
Frae Willy Almond's 2 cellar.
And if there's ony left that sees
When Willy's tap runs thinnish,
Let them be powl'd off at the Keys,
Or at the Black Horse 3 finish.
For where's the man desarves the nyem,
Winnet push aboot the jorum,
And, fairly mill'd, gan dancin' hvem
The reel o' Tul'ygorum.
Come, then, me boy, thy wig prepare,
Te get its promis'd oilin' ;
Till, roun' and roun', its lanky hair
Like Watty's tail is coilin' !
80 THE OILING OF DICKY's WIG.
This day puts mottle i' wor heels,
Sets iv'ry pipe a singin' :
Wor varry hills yeckey the peels,
Ower a' the Law Fell ringin.
And had we wor pit-heaps te-day,
And a* the cuddies te them,
And a' the Faws, wi' Fluckeb Hay,
That went stravaigin wi' them 4 —
They'd gi'en a " gaudy day" te care
Te see this change surprisin',
Wor calf-yard, yence thowt poor and bare,
Te wealth and honour risin'.
Wor cuddy-band, o' by-gyen days,
Te Law Fell lugs se cheerin',
Wad on this day, in weel-set brays,
Ha'e gi'en their pipes a clearin'.
They wad ha'e fared o' thistle tops,
The varry sweetest growin',
For hay but seldom bliss'd their chops,
Unless it had been stowen.
Their maisters te, as dry as chips,
And a' ways fit te gizen,
Wad ha'e run gallons through their lips,
Their drouth was se surprisin'.
Wor canny hooses duffit-theek'd* —
Wor canny wives within 'em —
Wor canny bairns se chubby-cheek'd
(And sweet and clean ye'll fin' 'em) —
THE OILING OP DICKY's WIG. 81
Are a' deck'd out i' Sunday trim,
Te mense this greet occasion,
Which o' the wheel-o'-fortun's rim,
Gi'es us se prood a station.
By this time we had reech'd the Buck,
The grave o' serious thinkin',
Where we fand mony a hearty chuck,
Set in for sappy drinkin'.
The skuils are shut — the gabblin' fry
A' skelp aboot at pleasur —
Their maisters, kizzen'd up wi' dry,
Are now at liquid measur.
The blacksmith's hammer, yark for yark,
We hear ne Linger bangin' :
He's busy puttin' out a spark —
A job he finds a lang un.
The tyelyers cabbish nyen te-day —
A' tiv a man desisrnin'
Te strengthen weel their outer clay
Wi' Willy's inner linin*.
And here come, tee, the lads o' wax,
Rattlin' like empty blethers :
They've left their kits, resolved te rax
Te-day their upper-leathers.
The joiners, a' pined in wi' drouth,
Shrunk up te spelks, and dozzen'd,
Ha'e sworn o' yel te ha'e their fouth,
And be completely rosin'd.
82 THE OILING OP DICKY S WIG.
Amang them .some yens aw could nyera,
For tipple just the taty,
That oft their chalk-lines leave at hyem,
Te scratch a few wi' Katy. 7
But nyen the myessen cheps can bang,
For suckshen a' ways glymin' :
A brewin' dizn't haud them lang —
A barrel's but a primin. 8
The landlords' cocks o' Gyetshed Fell
Will this day be kept runnin ;
And as we sit and swig wor yel,
We'll cheer the cheps frae Lunnen.
Then drink, me boy, for weel we knaw
Thy jaw wags nyen without it ;
And tyek the road, and tell us a'
The outs and ins aboot it.
The call was instantly obey'd,
And Dicky set a waggin'
A tongue that barleycorn, it's said,
Prevents frae iver laggin'.
" Eh, lads, but it's a bonny way,
" But what myest pleas'd wor Nanny,
" Was seein' fogies, awd and grey,
" Paid just for keepin't canny.
" It's easy, airy, broad, and dry,
" The paradise o' horses :
" They bliss ye now as they gan by —
" Before, ye had their curses.
THE OILING OP DICKY'S WIG. 83
" The gaird comes fleein' like the wind —
" His blasts like thunner blawin' :
" The horses cock their lugs te find
"They're duin wi' lang-bank drawin'. 9
" It's form'd on Mackey's 10 newest cut,
" And myed te suit a' humours :
" A road for horse — a road for foot —
" And yen for a' the bummers.
" Its famish views ower hill and dale,
" And up wor bonny river,
" Where a' the keels and whurries sail,
" Will matchless be for iver.
" Here wafflers need nut mind their steps —
" It's a' the way se level,
" The varry thing for muzzy cheps,
" As lyet frae toon they stevil.
" Of a' the roads it beers the bell,
" (But whe owt else expected ?)
" Brings out the beauties o' the Fell,
" Se mony years neglected.
" It borders close on Paradise —
" Nut Adam's early college ;
" For tho' we've trees and fruit as nice,
" We want the tree o' knowledge.
" The jay-legg'd bodies frae the toon,
" Ha'e lang keek'd through their glasses
" At us, but could see nowt a' roun'
" But bastard bairns 11 and asses.
84 THE OILING OF DICKY'S WIG.
" The rogues knew weel they war their awn,
" (But this durst nut be hinted),
" And war, for fear their tricks gat blawn,
" Upon wor common stinted.
" It stans for nowt, then, i' their creed,
" That brag o' birth and kelter,
" The nyek'd te deed, the hungry feed,
" And gi'e the hooseless shelter.
" Sic was the compensation whilk
" We'd frae these thowtless noddies,
" For findin' air and asses' milk
" Te mend their crazv bodies.
" 'Tis true they might ha'e travell'd lang
" T'iv seen a flunkey's tassel ;
" Yit we had things they cudn't bang
" In a' their fine Newcassel.
" They bragg'd o' banks byeth awd and good,
" And bankers a' se cliver,
" But wors ha'e stood sin Noah's flood,
" And will stan' good for iver. 12
" A banker's nut amang wor ills —
"No — gruntin' ungenteely;
" For whether lang or short wor bills,
" The notes come a' ways freely.
"Theirs often myek a forgin' tyel,
" Though stampt and finely written ;
" Whiles wors, awd Natur stamps hersel,
" Ayont a' coonterfittin'.
THE OILING OF DICKY'S WIG. 85
" Theirs pass awhile, then pass away,
" Which myeks wor case the stranger ;
" For wors pass current till the day
" When time shall be ne laujrer.
" Upon their Vicar's Pant they dwell —
" A varry muddy maiter,
" Compared wi' canny Cairter's Well, 13
" Se famed for drinkin' waiter.
" But if they jaw till grey they grow,
" It a' their pithless lingo,
" Tis but comparin' treacle-wow
" Wi' Willy Almond's stingo.
" And he mun be a sackless dog,
" Far warse than ony dandy,
" That dizn't drink it iv his grog,
" By way of syevin' brandy.
" I' sense they liken 'd huz te culls —
" I' manners tiv a boby ;
" Yit oft we've had wor dancin' skuils,
" And sometimes ' Punch and Toby.'
" We've oft had, tee, the moontebanks,
" On pay-neets : — Lord, how funny
" The Murry-Andrew was ! — his pranks
'■ Suin eas'd us o' wor money.
" It's thrimmel'd frae the pocket neuk ;
" And then wi' jaw se cunnin',
" He wheedled huz te try wor luck,
" For fine things new frae Lunnen.
86 THE OILING OP DICKY'S WIG.
" And tho' unlarn'd, and bare wor claes,
" As far as history teaches,
" We niver i' wor darkest days
" Hung up awd wives for witches. 14
" We ve led the Fashions, if we can
" Believe what's oft reported,
" That awd Will Common 15 was the man
" That furst a spencer sported.
" Here's just by Natur what we war,
" When frae her hand she flang us ;
" And now aw'll tell ye what we are,
" Sin greet folks cam amang us.
" We've lang wor raeetin'-hooses 16 had,
" For a' kinds o' believin' ;
" Now we've a chorch 17 te mend the bad,
" And help them up te Heeven.
And that wor steeple stands abuin,
St. Nicholas', whe can doot it,
" That knaws the chep upon the muin
" Is forced te gan aboot it ?
" Here all wor bairns may kirsten'd be —
" Wor lads and lasses married ;
" And when at last we droop and dee,
" Here we may a' be barried.
" We now raise grapes upon wor Fell,
" Ae weel as pines and peaches,
" That Ravensworth cannut excel
" Se far as flavour reeches.
THE OILING OF DICKY 's WIG. 87
" We've peacocks, tee, wi' bonny tails,
" Aboot wor barn-doors feedin',
" As weel as sheep that crop wor vales,
" The crack o' fancy-breedin'.
tw Wor varry varment, bliss yor heart,
" If other proof war wantin',
" Wor greetness shows, without the airt
" That some folks hev o' vantin.'
" For we breed mice within wor bouns,
" White as the fyece of muinny,
" Which lazy loons aboot the toons
" Let culls keek at for money.
" But what delights wor drouthy set,
" For fear drink should be wanted,
" The Magistrates, last time they met,
" Te four mair, license granted.
" Se now sud they nut board the Ship,
" Nor charge weel at the Cannon,
" Let them nut past the Engine slip,
" Beside wor College 18 stanuin'.
" But there get up sufficient steam,
" To reech the Sov'reign cheerly,
" Where they may quaff the royal stream,
" As lang as they see clearly.
" Here oft wor drouthy lads will meet,
" And sit till they be fuddled ;
" And then the Well's the place at neet,
" For lasses gettin' cuddled.
88 THE OILING OF DICKY'S WIG.
" Yit still some odds and ends we need,
" To put us a' iv fettle :
" Wor wives wad like a bit het breed,
" Just when they boil their kettle.
" We want a chep te trim wor locks,
" And help us wi' wor shavin' ;
" Also a pair o' parish-stocks,
" For a' the misbehavin'.
" We want the gas when muinny's gyen,
" Folks far away te leeten :
" A parish clock, that iv'ry yen
" May mark how fast time's fleetin'.
" We want a scribe, to myek wor wills
" Afore we end life's jorney,
" Te syev us frae the warst of ills —
" The lawyer and attorney.
" He sud knaw some few points o' law —
" How notices are written
" For muzzlin' dogs, byeth greet and sma',
" As weel as tenants quittin'.
"He sud read iv'ry kind o' hand,
" And write a' kinds o' letters —
" Cast-up wor bits o' taty land,
" And touch-up lazy debtors. 19
" Just yen word mair, te wor greet men,
" Whese fame wad shine far brighter,
" If they wad, when at roads agyen,
" Myek them a wee thowt streighter.
" Aw dinnet mean by this te fling
" O' them the least reflection :
" It's on'y stamp' d an earthly thing,
" By this small imperfection.
" Then let's, my lads, afore we gan,
" A bumper freely gi'e them —
" Wi' three times three frae iv'ry man
" For health and lang life te them.
" And may a' good gan wi' them a',
" As lang as they are leevin',
" And when they're duin wi' roads belaw,
" May they fin' that te Heeven."
Here Dicky's tongue wad de ne mair,
His wig was oil'd completely ;
And iv'ry drouthy crony there
Was dish'd and duin up neatly.
1 "The story thus ended, they gave him three cheers,
" With every success to the road this direction,
" And a promise the first time the guard's horn he hears,
" They'd certainly oil his wig to perfection."
See " Stanzas," page 71.
2 The landlord of the Buck public house.
s Two public bouses on tbe Low Fell.
* Previous to tbo division of the Common, the Low Fell was literally
covered with pit and quarry heaps, and barely afforded a scanty pit-
tance to tinkers' and muggers' cuddies. Since then, however, they
have all disappeared, and now scarcely a trace remains to mark their
existence. " Willy Trommel" (Turnbtjll), who was a kind of
halter-for-halter chap at fairs, bad sometimes a few sheep upon it, or
a curious coloured yad ; for when the natural colour did not please
him, he has been known to paint him : and once, it is said, he actually
had a blue pony !
Flucker Hay, too, was located on the Common for many
years. He was an itinerant tinker : — of course a man of metal.
He had been once thought a fit subject for the army, as it was cur-
rently reported that he had cut off one of his thumbs to effect his dis-
charge from the service. That he had lost a thumb was certain, but
whether the right or left is not so clear; but the probability is, that
it was the former. Flucker's rambles with his budget were seldom
at such a distance as to pi event his return in the evenings to his
domestic circle. But his endeavours were not entirely confined to what
he earned by honest labour ; for when trade was slack, and there
were neither " pots, pans, nor candlesticks to mend," he was obliged
to look uncommonly gleg after the out-door moveables of his neigh-
bours, upon which he did not hesitate to commit awful depredations,
when time and circumstances suited. Experience, however, soon
taught them to keep such articles within doors; and when this branch
of revenue was cut off, he was obliged to look around him for fresh
resources to replenish an exhausted exchequer.
The Common being divided into very small allotments, every pro-
prietor took unusual pains to turn his share to the best advantage ;
and so far have they succeeded, although at an immense expense,
that the land that was formerly of little or no value, is now worth
about one hundred pounds an acre ; and since the commencement of
the new line of road as high as 4s. per square yard has been given
for building-sites, in its immediate vicinity.
The Act for dividing the Common was passed in the year ] 809 ;
and John Bell, John Fryer, and Matthew Wheatley were
named Commissioners. John Fryer refusing to act, Joseph
Granger, of Durham, was appointed in his place. They rode the
boundaries of the Common on the 28th August, 1809; and soon after,
200 claims of Right of Common were received ; out of which, after
considerable litigation, 155 were allowed to the parties following : —
129 to owners of ancient burgages in Gateshead ;
17 to Freemen ; and
9 to owners of adjoining freehold estates.
The Act directs the Commissioners, after setting out the public
and private roads, quarries, wells, and watering-places, to set apart a
plot of ground, not exceeding one acre, as a churchyard or cemetery ;
as also one-sixteenth part of the residue to the Bishop of Durham and
his successors ; one other sixteenth part to the Boroughhoklers and
Freemen of Gateshead; and then to divide all the residue (saving
and excepting a part thereof, staked out for the purpose of making
two waggon-ways,) amongst the several persons having Right of
Common on the said Fell, in proportion to the annual value thereof.
At this time there were 430 cottages on the High and Low Fell, many
of them of the most miserable description ; but almost the whole had
gardens attached to them, taken from the Common. Thirty years
ago, the place was a common receptacle for all kinds of vagrants,
called " Faws;" for here they could rent a cottage for a mere trifle,
and the Fell afforded them a cheap and ready outlet for their cattle.
The owners of horses and cows stinted on the Common, and the
proprietors of cottages and gardens, paid the following sums per an-
num, called out-rents : —
For each horse, 5s. Od.
cow, 3s. 6d.
cottage, 2s. Od.
garden or garth, 2s. Od.
These sums were divided betwixt the Lord of the Manor (Cdth-
bekt Ellison, Esq.,) and the Borough of Gateshead. The gentle-
men acting for the Borough were called Grassmen, and, with Mr.
Ellison's Steward, were in the frequent habit of making a survey,
to ascertain what encroachments had been made since their last visit,
as it was no unusual thing for them to find several garths not only
considerably increased in size from the Common, but many new ones
enclosed, as well as cottages built in various places. Then the poor
people who had made these encroachments were threatened with
their being pulled down, but this seldom or ever took place. The
owners were only made to pay the usual out-rents for them.
The Commissioners were empowered by the Act to order as many
of these cottages to be pulled down as were prejudicial to the division,
and the materials removed — and those that were not so, to be sold,
and the monies arising from such sales to be applied to the pui poses
of the division. In the months of June and July, 181 1, they ordered
90 cottages or other buildings to be removed, (51 on the Low Fell
and 39 on the High Fell,) and offered the remaining 340 for sale to
the parties claiming to be interested therein. Only one person re •
fused to purchase at the price affixed by the Commissioners — and
this property was soon afterwards sold by auction. The allotments
were staked out in 1812.
Joseph Granger died on the 13th of June, 1815; and at a meet-
ing of the Boroughholders and Freemen, held on the 21st of July,
1815, Thomas Bell, of Newcastle, was appointed his successor.
On the 12th of January, 181G, John Bell, another of the Commis-
sioners, died ; and William Todd, of Stokefield Hall, was appointed
to succeed him.
The Commissioners made their award on the 26th of December,
1822, the same being signed by William Todd, Thomas Bell, and
Matthew Wheatlev. The draft of this award filled upwards of
30 quires of paper, and the engrossed copy 198 skins of parchment,
closely written. The plans are on five large skins of vellum.
Gateshead Fell is declared, by this award, to contain 631a. Or. 21p.,
exclusive of all public and private roads, ways, paths, passages, or
conveniences, common quarries, and watering places or wells, set out
in pursuance of the direction of the said Act.
The allotments contained 595a. 1r. 19p.; and the cottages and
garths, sold by the Commissioners, 35a. 3r. 2p.; making together
631a. Or. 21 p. The expenses of the award were £8,006 5s. 4d.,
and were raised as follows, viz. : —
Received for the sale of cottages, &c £4,706 14 5
Rates on the owners of allotments 3,299 10 11
£8,006 5 4
The manorial rights were expressly reserved to the Lord of the
Manor; and his lessee was not to be liable to mate any satisfaction
for damage occasioned by the working of the coal-mines during the
term of twenty years after the passing of the Act.
5 The sward pared off the Common.
6 When old George Patterson kept this house, some forty years
ago, it was frequently the scene of much mirth and fun. A select
few from Newcastle and the neighbourhood used occasionally to meet
here, in the little backroom, to drive away care, and discuss the topics
of the day. They termed themselves "Eccentrics," and a more
appropriate name for some of them could not have been hit upon.
Time, however, that spares nothing, has scattered them far and wide.
A remnant, it is true, still linger near the place; but with the greater
part all communication has long since ceased. Some of them are
dead, and some in distant lands.
' The landlady of the Buck, Willy's better half
8 Though this may not be literally true, we have had some indivi-
duals of this craft that have continued drinking for several weeks
9 The hill over which the old line passed.
io Mr. M'Adam, who had the making of the New Line, which is
formed into three parts— the carriage-road, the horse road, and the
11 More illegitimate children from Newcastle were reared on the
Fell than in any of the villages in the vicinity of that town.
12 " Lang Bank, Sodhouse Bank, Saltwoll Bank, and Harley Green
Bank." These are all " awd Banks," and have been drawn upon,
" lang and sair," for ages past ; and although they have had frequent
" runs" upon them, they have always come out of such trials un-
13 This spring rises out of the workings of an old coal-pit close by,
and the supply of water originally was very small; but when the
Sheriff Hill Colliery commenced, upwards of eighty years ago, a
drift was made into these workings, to obtain water for the use of the
colliery-engine ; and since then it has been very abundant.
u Here Dick has missed an excellent opportunity of placing on
record our great superiority to the Newcastle folks in the treatment
of witches; for although we bred them, we did not hang them. Our
witches were allowed full liberty to go where they pleased — in what
shape they pleased — and in what way was most agreeable to them-
selves ; either to scud over our hills in the shape of a hare, or whisk
through the air on a broomstick ; whereas (as stated in Gardner's
England's Grievance, at page 114), in the years 1649 and 1650, the
Magistrates of Newcastle sent to Scotland for a witch-finder, who
practised the humane art of discovering witches by thrusting pins into
their bodies. By this test fifteen poor innocent women were con-
demned by a Newcastle jury of burgesses, and executed for the crime
of witchcraft. The name of the wretch is not given, but he was en-
gaged by Thomas Shevil and Cuthbert Nicholson, sergeants
of Newcastle, and was " to have twenty shillings a-piece for all he
could condemn as witches, and free passage thither and back again."
A notable scheme, truly, for finding witches. This fellow was at
length seized, tried, and executed in Scotland, for these abominable
murders, and at the gallows confessed he had been the death of above
two hundred and twenty women in England and Scotland, for the
gain of twenty shillings a piece. Such was the boasted wisdom of
our ancestors !
The highly-gifted race of " witches" seems rapidly tending towards
extinction. There are here and there yet to be seen the remains of
their weak and degenerate descendants, but in such a feeble and
feckless state as hardly to deserve the name. I have known one of
these poor creatures, many years ago, whose power never extended
further than raising a wind to blow off the roof of her neighbour's
cottage, or shake his standing corn. I am aware that she was accused
of more serious mischiefs ; but how far these ill natured accusations
were true, is very difficult to say, for I could never discern anything
about Mabel that would warrant them, for she was neither deformed
nor ugly (two indispensable requisites towards forming a legitimate
witch), nor did I ever recognize her frisking about in any other shape
than her own. In some other respects, however, she was rather a sin-
gular woman. She had a memory that retained the date of every
event that had taken place for some miles round the place where she
lived. She could give you the day and hour of all the births and
deaths in the neighbourhood during her time. She knew exactly
who " came again," as she called it, after suffering violent deaths,
either in the coal-pits or elsewhere — what shape they were in, (for
they did not always appear in their own) — and what they said when
they could be prevailed upon to speak — what it v. as that brought
them back — and how long it was before the priest, or some such com-
petent person, got them laid at rest in their graves. All the haunted
houses or places she had off by rote, and could have given you the
names of all the " uncanny folk," or such as had " bad een," and had
amused themselves by plaguing their credulous neighbours.
Poor Mabel has been dead more than thirty years. She was in
the habit of amusing her young auditors with the birth and parentage
of " Dick the Deevil," who frequently rode over the Black Fell
to his work, upon the " Porto Bello Brag," a kind of wicked sprite
that was well known in that part of the neighbourhood. The de-
scription of the " Pelton Brag," given by Sir Cuthbert Sharp
in his " Bishoprick Garland," induces me to believe that it must have
been the same roguish sprite that played such tricks at Porto Bello.
As the places are only a very few miles distant, it is possible that he
might extend the sphere of his antics to the latter place, when he was
not particularly busy at home. If they were not the same, they were
evidently, from the similarity of their habits, from one common stock.
It delighted in mischief; and whoever mounted it (for it always ap-
peared in the shape of an ass), were sure to be thrown into some bog
or whin-bush at parting; when the creature, as if enjoying the mis-
chief, would run off, "nickerin' and laughin'," as Dick would sav.
He had put the assmanship of many to the test, but none were able
to sit him, whenever he had arrived at a suitable place for depositing
his load — not even Dick, who was become a favourite, and who, in
the end, v\as the only one who had spirit enough to cross him.
Dick, however, from long practice, had a pretty good idea where-
abouts he would be laid ; and from being on his guard, very seldom
received any injury. The case was often very different with others,
who had not his precaution, or were not such favourites as Dick,
who was generally accommodated with a soft fall. All this, it must
be admitted, is very tame and spiritless, compared with the wonderful
accounts handed down to us from the olden times, of the awful power
and activity of witches. They seemed then to have been able to
annihilate both time and space. We talk now, and boast of our
rapidity of motion by gas or steam, but what comparison will the
quickest of our modern movements hear, to that of a witch mounted
on a broomstick ? Besides, there is no time lost in the preparatory
process. Instead of puffing and blowing boilers and bags full of
steam or gas, the witch lays her leg over a broomstick, and darts
through the air like lightning. Look, too, at the beautiful simplicity
of her apparatus, compared with the complex gimcranks of the other.
15 Will, no doubt, wore a lapless coat over another, for several
years previous to this article of dress getting the name of " spencer,"
and becoming fashionable amongst the higher classes of society. But
whether the invention was stolen from Will, or there were two in-
ventors of this useful garment, will be difficult to determine at this
distance of time. Will being of a perambulating' disposition, and
making no secret of his invention, would be much exposed to the
depredations of such as live upon the merit and ingenuity of others ;
yet it must be admitted that he was a very shy hand at work, and was
always sorely afflicted with drouth, so that he would often go great
lengths in the way of sacrifice for a " drop of drink/' when his finances
NOTES. ' 97
were low. It is therefore not improbable that he may have sold his
right for a pot of beer, when both he and his exchequer were dry.
16 The Wesleyan Chapel in this place was erected by William
Bell. He and his wife Jane made their money here as bakers.
They had only one child, who died young. This, it was thought,
gave them a religious turn, and brought them in connexion with
Wesley in the early part of his career, at which time this erection
was made. At their death, they left it to the Wesleyan Connexion,
who have performed service in it to this day. During their lives they
entertained gratuitously all the preachers sent hither on duty, both
itinerant and local. William Bell died on the 1st of January, and
Jane his wife on the 10th of February, 1784. An excellent Sunday-
school, which was established in January, 1789, is attached to this
chapel, and is one of the earliest of these highly-useful institutions.
Above one hundred children are taught here by the hard-working,
industrious men connected with the chapel. Their labours for many
years have been unremitting, and productive of immense good to the
population of this neighbourhood.
17 This church was consecrated by the Hon. Edward Legge,
D.D., Bishop of Oxford, on the 30th of August, 1825. There were
1,200 people present. 1,000 tickets of admission were distributed,
and many were admitted without them.
18 This is a cottage standing a little south of Carter's Well, be-
twixt the London road and the " Engine" public house The late
Mr. Samuel Barrass taught a scliool here for nearly thirty years,
in which the young men of Gateshead Fell, during that period, were
19 The late Mr. Barrass was consulted on all these points. He
made the wills of such of his neighbours as hal anything to be-
queath — read the correspondence of such as could neither read nor
write — and concocted the replies. Like most of those who write letters
for others, he was frequently told, after reading the letter received,
and asking what he was to say in reply, " Why, you see what they
say, and you must know bettor than us what tho answer should be."
He was frequently consulted ou knotty legal points, and was always
called in when the measurement of piece-work in the quarries, or of
any portions of land, was wanted. The following notice of Mr.
Barrass appeared in the Tyne Mercury at the time of his death : —
"At Gateshead Fell, on Tuesday, August 3, 1830, Mr. Samuel
Barrass, in his 80th year, after a long and painful illness. The
greater part of his long life was spent in the arduous but useful em-
ployment of teaching, in which he was very successful. As a self-
taught man, his scientific and literary attainments were highly respect-
able. His society was much courted by those who knew him ; for
to his general information was added a fund of humour and anecdote,
which rendered him a pleasing and instructive companion. He was
the senior member of the Schoolmasters' Association of this town,
with which he had been connected for upwards of 40 years."
THE OPENING OF THE NEWCASTLE AND
June 18th, 1838.
Lass ! lay me out maw Sunday claes,
Te-morn's te be the day o' days,
The railroad's gaun te oppen ;
And aw'll be there amang the rest,
Buss'd as aw was iv a' maw best,
At the last Westgate Hoppin'. 1
The maister-men will a' be there,
Wi' him that a' ways fills the chair,
Aw think they call him Pltjmmer. ; a
And a' the cheps that fand the brass,
That browt this greet event te pass,
Then in much better humour.
For oft they've been i' plaguy tifts,
And put the D'rectors te their shifts,
Te please, but yit te foil'em.
They strok'd them canny wi' the hair,
Skipp'd a' the spots consider'd sair,
Exceptin' just te oil 'em. 3
102 ON THE OPENING OF THE
The Corporations on the line,
As weel on Eden as on Tyne,
Will mense this greet occasion.
In sendin' Mayors and Aldermen : —
But then the hats and goons are gyen,
That mark'd them men o' station.
Ye'll see them now like other folks,
In things like bedgoons, peas, or cloaks, 1
The fashion's queer formations ;
But mony things as weel as claes
Are sadly alter d nowadays,
Aboot wor Corporations.
Aw've just heerd a' this i' the toon,
Where nowt else now, aw think, gans doon,
But this greet undertaking
Which will bring grist te mony a mill,
And cheaper far wor bellies fill
Wi' taties and wi' bacon.
And there'll be fine fresh eggs, they say,
Which i' the west they bigger lay
Then what we get frae Swinney's ;
Wi' blethers full o' Mistress White, 5
And butter, saut and fresh, full weight,
The things for singin' hinnies.
But there's ne knawin' a' the good
We'll get frae cheap and better food —
And pleasant trips i' summer,
Te Staincheybank and Hexham fairs,
Where there's galore o' temptin' wares,
Te myek the pocket tyummer.
NEWCASTLE AND CARLISLE RAILWAY. ] 03
Aw'll tell thou mair when aw come back,
For then we'll hev a sappy crack,
'Boot a' aw've heerd and seen
Upon this vage te foreign pairts,
Where few but cadgers wi' their cairts
Till now hey iver been.
Now, hinny, here aw's back agyen ;
Thou'll think, aw's flaid, maw time aw've tyen,
Aw've been se lang i' comin' ;
But when twee sic awd standards meet,
The pain o' pairtin's varry greet,
Thou knaws, maw bonny woman.
We left the Heugh 6 i' gallant style,
And shot away for awd Carlisle,
Snug seated i' the Queen, 1
Amang the swarms wor canny toon,
And Gyetshed, planted up and doon,
Te see se rare a scene.
Te tell thou a' aw've noticed there,
O' dashin' blades and ladies fair,
And lots o' bonny lasses,
Wi' gentlemen of iv'ry grade,
And sons o' toil of iv'ry trade,
Maw power o' tongue surpasses.
Wi' murth and fun the country rung,
The lairks and Unties roun' us sung ;
And when the day was sunny,
The scenery rich and richer grew,
Until we seem'd just glidin' through
A land o' milk and honey.
104 ON TIIK OPENING OF THE
We suin reech'd Gilsland's famish wells,
Which, when a lung or liver fyels,
Or other ailin' maiters
Myek sick folk flee frae doctors' pills,
Te souk health frae the heather hills,
Or draw it frae the waiters.
It 'minded me o' Bobby's sang,
Ahoot the Dutchman bool'd alang
Upon a gimcrank leg,
That let him nowther stop nor stay,
But whisk'd him on byeth neet an' day,
As hard as it could peg.
Could but the folks of awd lang syne
Luik out upon this bonny line,
And see what we are deein',
They could, aw think, compare' t wi' nowse
But Clootie's gang, a' brocken lowse,
And frae his clutches fleein'.
Some gan te mend a crazy frame :
Te mend their fortunes, others aim,
By tryin' te recruit 'em
Amang the monied maidens fair,
That gan te pick up husbands there,
Wi' a' their een aboot 'em.
'Twas hereaboots, in days o' yore,
Awd Lizzy 8 leev'd, whe could restore
Goods owther stray' d or stowen —
Could tell the wearyin' lasses when
They might expect te get good-men,
Though hope was a' but flowen.
NEWCASTLE AND CARLISLE RAILWAY. 105
They say there's yen that fills her place,
That niver fyels, whate'er the caye,
Te equal honest Lizzy ;
And sin' the trains began te run,
Her trade's se brisk, that, lyet and suin,
They keep her a'ways bizzy.
When we war just ayont the Gut,
Aw let maw pipe o' paten' cut,
That nowt might be a wantin',
Te brim the cup o' pleasur full,
And ony stragglin' teaser 10 lull,
'Mansr scenes se fine and flantin'.
But, hinny, aw forgat te smoke !
Thou'll mebby think this but a joke,
But it's the honest truth ;
For oft se bizzy war maw een,
Wi' wood and waiter, hill and dean,
The pipe fell frae maw mouth.
Aw've oft been tell'd o' wings o' Love,
And stared te hear how fast they move,
On sartin warm occasions,
When lads wi' lasses run away
Post-hyest te Gretna — neet and day
Pursued by their relations.
But when these wings are wrowt by steam,
Pursuit is then an idle dream,
And hope o' captur vain :
They'd better far just stay at hyem,
As chance o' catchin's then the syem,
Purch'd on an efter train.
106 ON THE OPENING OF THE
Then quite secure frae furious frinds,
Their flight te Gretna safely ends
At Hymen's far-fam'd smiddy,
Where suin the union's myed complete,
The metals bein' at weldin' heat,
And Vulcan a' ways ready.
Aw tuik a luik about the toon ;
And efter danderin' up an' down,
Te see what folks war deein',
Aw fand they had tyen up a trade
Where we've the foremost fiddle play'd,
E'er sin' it had a bein'.
They've here a deal te lairn, aw see,
And sud tyek lessons frae wor Quay,
On sick mysterious maiters
As shippin' coals 11 — where iv'ry pairt
Is taught by maisters o' the airt,
In a' their craft furst-raters.
It was a pleasant seet te see
Wor canny toon, and Carlisle tee,
Byeth yit se hale and hearty,
In spite of a' the Border frays
In which they fowt i' former days,
The bravest o' their party.
And now the travellers, wi' their trains,
Will thraw young blood into the veins
O' Carlisle's " inurry city ;"
And Grainger may, some efternuin,
Slip ower and touch her up, when duin
Here wi' her canny titty.
THE CAPTAINS AND THE QUAYSIDE, ETC. 107
What lots o' brass it inun ha'e tyen,
And labour frae lang-heeded men,
Te join this ancient pair —
Te rnyek them, as it war, shake hands,
And knit them close iv iron bands,
Te separate ne mair.
Aw hope they'll a be spared te see
The fruits o' this most noble tree,
This cream o' man's creations,
Enrich and bliss wor happy hyems ;
And when they're deed, hand doon their nyems
Te coontless generations.
THE CAPTAINS AND THE QUAYSIDE,
SOME THIRTY YEARS AGO.
Sin' Tommy Thompson's 12 vage <e Shiel's
Iv Jemmy Joneson's whurry,
And Coxon's steeds, as fat as seals,
Popp'd folks doon iv a hurry,
What strange things hev we leev'd to see,
On byeth the road and river ;
And there's ne knawin' what neist they'll de,
Folks now are a' se cliver.
108 THE CAPTAINS AND THE QUAYSIDE,
Wor jockeyship, as weel as hacks, 13
War then iv a' their glory ;
And Captains' feats upon their backs
Shine yit i' Quayside story.
It wad ha'e se enrich'd yor een,
T' hev seen wor Sailors ridin' :
Their course a' reckonin' baffled clean,
A horse was 'yont their guidin'.
The Faithers o' the fittin' trade,
The Quayside a' ways pacin',
Prefarr'd the Sailor on his jade,
Tiv ony jockey-racin'.
For efter weeks o' nor-west winds
Ha'e spitefully been blawin',
And Bankers growlin' at their frinds,
Their 'coonts for ower-drawin' —
The " Runnin' Fitters" stannin' still —
Their Maisters bizzy statin'
Where then-aboots the leet ships will
Be for a fair wind waitin' —
The Quay, just like some dowly place,
Wi' troubled spurrits haunted,
Unless a luckless ratten-chase 14
(Though not just what is wanted)
Dispel the sullen gloom awhile,
Which want o' coasters 'casions,
And myeks the care-worn Fitter smile,
In spite o' worn-out patience —
SOME THIRTY YEARS AGO. 109
The seet o' Captains beatin' up
Upon their leather-plaiters,
That luik upon byeth spur and whup
As varry hairmless maiters —
The yen airm gannin' like a flail,
The tother bizzy steerin',
(But, whether by the heed or tail,
The course was oft a queer un) —
Puts life intiv wor canny Quay,
And croods it like a hoppin' —
The Fitter bizzy as a bee,
Wiv a' his torn-buiks oppen —
The Captains runnin' up and doon,
Amang the Fitters fishin'
For ready torns — the Brokers roon'
Bent on the bit commission.
The Bankers now can sport a smile,
And luik byeth crouse and cobby :
Nay, they've been knawn, just for a while,
Te ha'e been even gobby.
Ahint their lugs, the Customs' sparks
Ye see ne langer steekin'
Their idle pens — for Clearin' Clerks
F shoals are now heart-breekin'.
The skuil that lairnt wor " tars" te ride,
At last decline was showin' :
The " Torn Act" 1 '' laid its palmy pride,
And wrowt its utter ruin.
110 THE CAPTAINS AND THE QUAYSIDE,
The office then for ships at neets
Was myed the post o' wirmin',
In which a Bishop 16 tuik his seat
Te snub a' kinds o' sinnin'.
For, just like a' the jockey crew,
Wor tars te win war tricky:
Oft yen another black and blue —
Weel corsed — sent tiv Awd Nicky.
A flare-up iv'ry now and then,
Tho winnin' post presented :
Wor tars for torns like crazy men —
Wor Bishop just demented.
Yen Sunday — thorty years sin' syne —
The sin, O dear, how cryin' !
These graceless rogues kick'd up a shine,
The Bishop's power defy in' ! 17
They cors'd and swore, and storm'd the chair,
Where meek-eyed Peace was seated,
And had the Reverend Bench been there,
They'd been ne better treated.
The Bishop, though a patient man,
And slawly mov'd tiv anger,
Could, when the " Sherry Moor" began,
Restrain his wrath ne langer.
A catalogue o' corses cam,
Rowl'd out like peals o' thunner ;
But though he did most pithly damn,
His damns they didn't scunner.
SOME THIRTY YEARS AGO. Ill
They didn't come just i' the form
In "Tristram Shandy" given;
For whe minds order, when a storm
Is ower the temper driven ?
The missiles flee — the Captains rage —
The Bishop quits his quarters,
For fear that he might add a page
Te Fox's Buik o' Martyrs.
The office 18 neist went doon te Shiel's,
And robh'd us o' wor ridin' :
Wor Captains then threw at their heels,
What yence they'd sic a pride iu.
The hacks are duin — the " gigs" succeed,
The Captains now te carry :
We've " comfortables" tee, i'steed
O' Jemmy Joneson's whurry.
"Steam" now cam' puffin' into play,
And put an end te rowin' ;
When Price 1 " said, iv his schemin' way,
" Let's try the chep at towin'."
He puff'd and blew, and splash' d aboot,
Awd Coaly Tyne alarmin',
Te find a whalo, where on'y troot
Had up till then been swarmin'.
The 'stonish'd folks a' starin' stan',
Can't credit what they're seein',
A curious gimcrank, myed by man.
Work like a leevin' bein' !
112 THE CAPTAINS AND THE QUAYSIDE,
The Keelnien lie upon their oars —
Survey it : — still they dinnet
See how it works : — at last yen roars,
" The Deevil mun be in it."
But deevil here, or deevil there,
This maister-piece o' schemin'
Suin myed e'en " comfortables" rare,
And now a's duin by steamiu'.
Reid 20 then improv'd wor trip te Shiel's,
And Tynemouth i' the season :
A kind o' hearse on bogie wheels —
A paten' press for scpueezin' :
He clapp'd and call'd it " omnibus,"
Because it six could cany,
When pack'd like awd hay iv a truss,
Or corp they're gaun te barry.
Wi' bodies wedged, and dove-tail'd knees,
And sadly sometimes heated,
Folks crab-like gan, and ill at ease,
A' bein' side-ways seated.
The Gigmen swore, and clench'd their fists,
When at their porter swiggin',
That sic unseetly coffin-kists
Sud niver run doon giggin'.
And sartinly they didn't fyell
Some time the storm te weather : —
At last, Steam 21 tuik the road his-sel,
And floor'd them a' tegither.
SOME THIRTY YEARS AGO. 113
The struggle now lies just atweeu
Steam by the land and waiter ;
But vict'ry — folks wi' sharper een
Say now's a settled ruaiter.
Sud Tommy Thompson now luik out,
He'd ax for Joneson's whurry,
And what the de'il folks war aboot,
In sic a horry-scorry.
" They war," he'd say, " a settled race,
" And sometimes varry murry ;
" But now it's quite another place,
" Sin' Jemmy Joneson's whurry.
" Folks then had time, away frae hyem,
" When ony crony meetin',
" Te stand and ax for bairns and dyem,
" And gi'e their nebs a weetin'.
" But now they nowther stop nor stay,
" Te ax a frind, ' Hoo de ye V
" Or moisten, wi' a drop, their clay,
" Wi' ' Maw best sarvice te ye.'
" For when a passenger yence hears
" The whussell sharp and shrilly,
" He's myest at Shiel's afore his ears
'•' Loss sense o' soonds se thrilly."
The Bran'lin' Junction diz the syeni,
If Sun'erland ye visit :
Ye' re iv a jiffy out and hyem,
Se varry suin Steam diz it.
114 a keemman's tribute to a friend.
What folks will de tc mend this speed,
It's nut se easy seein' ;
Unless they tyek't inte their heed
Te try their hands at fleein'.
This constant runnin' up and doon,
This iverlastin' motion,
That horries all frae toon te toon,
And ower the boondless ocean,
Mun myek Steam scatter, far and wide,
The seeds o' useful knowledge,
Wi' Penny Postage'- 2 on his side,
Mair pow'rful than a college.
A KEELMAN'S TRIBUTE TO A FRIEND.
The heed that held a' Quayside lare,
Was maister, tee, of all airts there,
Frae Love-lane up te Grundin'-chare,
Was Faddy's.- 3
The mysteries o' the fittin' trade,
And broker's craft, as weel, it's said,
But leetly on the shoothers laid,
A KEELMAN S TRIBUTE TO A FRIEND. 115
The keelman's dues tiv iv'ry rack,
What they sud hev for coals browt back,
And lyin' tides, just tiv a plack,
'Boot winds and tides — the main and sea,
And where a fleet o' ships sud be,
That's laug been luik'd for o' the quay,
The shoals and sand-banks o' the Tyne,
Kept there, it seems, by " reet divine,"
Where steam-boats sit, war knawn quite fine,
The brawls aboot a lyin' tide —
Or snaffled torns (far warse te bide) —
"War easy maiters te decide,
Aw tell the', plainly, te thy teeth,
Thou did thy warst te huz, grim Deeth,
When thou cam here te stop the breeth
But now he's gyen for iver mair,
And as wor guide, we'll miss him sair,
For there is nyen we warse could spare,
He started life a keel P. D.,
Spent fifty years upon the quay ;
And now, may bliss the portion be
A DIRGE ON THE DEATH OF COALY.
Mourn, pitmen all, on Tyne and Wear !
Put on your crape, and drop a tear
On Coaly's much-lamented bier —
At last he's deed ;
And byens and charcoal now, aw hear,
Reign iv his steed.
He hez had mony a tryin' boot,
But, like his maisters i' the goot,
He suin agyen gat hirpled out,
Te cheer his frinds ;
And then, as fresh as ony troot,
Their trouble ends.
And but for this black, deedly blaw,
That laid yor benefactor law,
When him ye niver healthier saw,
It plain appears
He might hev leev'd, there's nyen can knaw
How mony years.
And then te fall by sic a hand !
A fellow 21 wiv a conjurin' wand,
Back'd by a motley black-airt band,
Fitjbr the stocks,
A phantom raised te starve the land —
A Jack i' the Box !
A DIRGE ON THE DEATH OF COALY. 117
But now ye'll niver see him mair,
In spite of a' yor norsin' care
Te keep him healthy, brisk, and spare,
Nut ower weel —
Te miss the goot, and hit the fair
And even keel.
Mourn, iv'ry man and mother's son,
Frae new breet byutes tiv awd half-shoon !
There's nowt te keep yor hearts abuin —
Yor Coaly's gyen : 25
Ye now mun dance te Joyce's tuin,
Charcoal and byen.
Mourn, a' the fitters o' the Quay !
And a' the swarms o' Brokers, tee,
That tell the Captains mony a lee,
Te myek them fix !
Yor glass is run — an end we'll see
Of a' yor tricks
Ye a' may wander te the woods,
Clad in hard labour's hyemly duds,
In weel-greas'd shoon stuck full o' muds,
Charcoal te born ;
Or else, te gain yor livelihoods,
We've lang been plagued wi' the new leet,
"Which Tories foam aboot and freet,
But what is it te this new heat,
This blackin' ball,
That's push'd awd Coaly frev his seat,
And ruined all ?
lis Joyce's patent stove.
In sackloth, then, and ashes, mourn —
Charcoal in coorse — ower Coaly's urn,
For lie can niver mair return,
Te cheer yor heart lis,
And bring ye back, frae Lethe's burn,
Yor canny berths.
JOYCE'S PATENT STOVE.
" It is quite evident, that litis charcoal must diffuse in the apartment as much
carbonic acid during its combustion as an equal weight of any other charcoal ;
that it must vitiate the air in the same degree ; and that the same accidents may
be produced by it as by other causes. It is equally evident, that it can produce
no more heat than the same quantity of common charcoal, as it contains no more
combustible matter." — Report of Gay Lussac to the Institute of France.
Hurrah for awd Coaly agyen !
He's hale and as hearty as iver :
The chep wi' the charcoal and byen,
Now fin's him a true fyel-me-niver.
He tuik his traps ower te France,
But Mounseer was far ower cunnin' :
He saw through the cheat at a glance,
Which gull'd a' the noddies i' Lunnen.
He talk'd of a fine healthy heat,
Myed out of a piece o' brunt stob ;
But on'y lie doon wid at neet,
I' the morn ye'll be caud i' the gob.
Joyce's patent stove 119
His pipe was put out iv a whiff —
He couldn't stand Parleyvou's shrug,
But slunk away, nioungin', as if
A louse had dropt intiv his lug.
Thus Coaly his foe fairly floor'd,
(The blackest he iver had seen,)
And his frinds te 1heir quiet restor'd,
When they thowt Deeth was closin' his eeu.
He's agyen i' the hands of his frinds,
"Where he's often far'd badly enough :
They dose him wi' drugs they call vends,
Or gorge him wiv oppen-trade stuff.
He's sometimes as fat as a seal.
At others as lean as a craw :
Te-day he's as brisk as an eel —
Te-morn he's a' doon i' the jaw.
He's now nobbit luikin' so-so —
He's pursy, and puff'd out wi' fat :
The goot's just beginnin' te show,
And he'll suin be as lean as a hit.
THE HUMBLE PETITION OF THE SAND
BANKS IN THE TYNE,
SEPTEMBER 17, 1832.
TO THE MAYOR AND CORPORATION OF NEWCASTLE.
Wor petition gans te show, Mr. Mayor,
That a vile reformin' crew, Mr. Mayor,
Want te rob us o' wor reets,
And the steamers o' their seats,
I' the sunny summer neets, Mr. Mayor.
The scullermen besides, Mr. Mayor,
Will loss their lyin' tides, Mr. Mayor,
I' tyekiu' out the folks,
That dinnet like the jokes
Their steekin oft provokes, Mr. Mayor.
Sic Radicals but mean, Mr. Mayor,
Te thraw sand i' yor een, Mr. Mayor,
I' myekin' ye believe,
While laughin" i' their sleeve,
That yor ruin we'll achieve, Mr. Mayor
Ha'e we nut for ages stood, Mr. Mayor,
The force o' mony a flood, Mr. Mayor,
Protected by yor power,
Up te this precious hour,
As joint-stocks safe and sure, Mr. Mayor?
THE PETITION OP THE SAND-BANKS. 121
But sic fellows mun be crack'd, Mr. Mayor,
That wad se madly act, Mr. Mayor :
Hez nut wor sages said,
That " wi' huz grew up yor trade,"
That's gowd i' gowpens made, Mr. Mayor ?
There's wisdom stamp'd by time, Mr. Mayor,
Which te follow now's a crime, Mr. Mayor,
In these degenerate days,
When, just like cassen claes,
Are treat wor " good awd ways," Mr. Mayor.
Yor Conservators, tee, Mr. Mayor,
Frae Hedwin te the sea, Mr. Mayor :
Then surely we sud share
The Corporation's care
O' things that awdish are, Mr. Mayor.
There's nowt that aw can nyem, Mr. Mayor,
Wad be a greeter shem, Mr. Mayor,
Then te let this levellin' clan,
As bad as Irish Dan,
Effect their hellish plan, Mr. Mayor.
Wor "union" wi' the Tyne, Mr. Mayor,
Is held by laws divine, Mr. Mayor :
Then aren't we as free
As Toon or Trinity —
Wor reets as " vested," tee, Mr. Mayor ?
Just moont yor specks an' read, Mr Mayor,
What a curse is o' their heed, Mr. Mayor,
That shift the marks o' land —
And the syem, ne doobt, o' sand,
That in yor river stand, Mr. Mayor.
122 THE ALDERMAN S LAMENT.
Then muster iv'ry trade, Mr. Mayor,
And " mystery," te yor aid, Mr. Mayor,
Te stem the sweepin' tide
Whereon these deevils ride,
Resolv'd te lower wor pride, Mr. Mayor,
For sud they yence succeed, Mr. Mayor,
Yor doom will he decreed, Mr. Mayor :
The charter o' yor toon,
The mace, the sword, and goon,
Will te the winds he strewn, Mr. Mayor.
Tell them a' te len' a hand, Mr. Mayor,
Nor shilly-shallyin' stand, Mr. Mayor ;
For when wor glass is run,
Yor awn will he hegun,
And emptied varry suin, Mr. Mayor.
Then on wor marrow-bones, Mr. Mayor,
And i' the humblest tones, Mr. Mayor,
If ye' 11 this torrent stay,
We'll for ye pithly pray,
For iver and a day, Mr. Mayor.
THE ALDERMAN'S LAMENT.
Fareweel, fareweel, wor good awd ways,
And a' wor jobbin' maiters !
We've fa' en at last on evil days
For canny corporators.
THE ALDERMAN'S LAMENT. 123
On leases lang, and ballast-quays,
In Corporation glory,
We've flourish' d like the " green bay trees,"
Se fam'J iv Eastren story.
But iv'ry lease, whate'er its date,
Mun end ; but, O ! how cruel,
That wor's mun share the common fate,
Wi' ne chance o' renewal !
We've lang foreseen, wi' heavy hearts,
This awful mischief brewin',
An' that wor enemies' vile arts
Wad brin<? aboot wor ruin.
Then, hinnies, i' the Hoose abuin,
List te wor dowly ditty :
O ! come te wor assistance suin —
Lords, luik on huz wi' pity.
Ye've a' ways been wor prop and stay,
A kind o' fyel-me-niver :
Then let them nut, we humbly pray,
Put out wor pipes for iver.
For, mind, we've a" ways back'd ye through,
In times o' squally weather,
And if ye dinnet help us now,
We'll a' be swamp' d thegither.
And if we fall, away gans all —
Chorch, King, and Constitution !
A wreck, belaw a murky pall
Of reckless rivolution.
124 THE ALDERMAN'S LAMENT.
The Hoose belaw, ower weel we knaw,
Ou it the least te lippen :
They're black sheep nearly yen and a',
Like Ord and Cuddy Rippon.
Ax a' the barkin', leein' loons,
'Boot reet and wrang oft gobbin',
If strippin' Aldermen of goons
Is nut akin te robbin' ?
It's nut se much for self we plead,
Wor nests bein' gaily feather'd :
Wor country's fate it is we dreed,
If this storm is nut weather' d ;
For though we've nut inrich'd the toon,
Wi' Corporation rental,
We've a' ways, in wor hat and goon,
Been thowt quite ornamental.
And then the " feast," whe'll garnish it
Wi' flashes wise and witty ?
On idle jades in judgment sit,
And weekly clear wor kitty ?
Whe'll then the Judge, wi' posies neat,
Attend se fine and flantin' ?
" Lord 'Size wad be a sorry seet,
Wi' them and huz awantin
And what wad syev its vested reets,
Or sand banks i' the river,
If yence the toon its " northern leets"
And props sud loss for iver ?
THE PEA-JACKET. 1 25
Then, hinnies, keep us where we are
For life — woi jobs just suit us ;
And Chorch, and Bench, and Civic Chair,
Wad a' be bare without us.
And let us doze wor days away,
In ease and fouth o' feedin' :
At last in tortle-soup wor clay
Presarve te times succeedin'.
But if we mun be driven forth,
Deprived o' rank and station,
What then we'll loss, cast up the worth,
And grant us " compensation."
Wey, Mally, maw hinny ! what thinks te aw've seen ?
(And aw niver saw nowt half se dashin') :
Aw've seen i' the toon, if aw may trust maw een,
Maw Pea 20 just the pink o' the fashion !
Frae the cut, and the claith, and the horn-buttons, tee,
Aw said te mawsel', aw was sarten
The fellow had snaffled maw best Sunday Pea,
Thou a'ways said aw was se smart in.
If he'd had breeches on, a' lowse at the knee,
And a chow iv his cheek o' rag backy,
Thou'd sworn, as he swagger'd doon Newcassel Quay,
That he was thy awn canny Jacky.
12 (J THE l'EA-JACKET.
AVor skij>per cam up, and aw tell'd him maw tyel,
The Pea i' maw heed a' ways runnin' :
" Wey, man," says he, " surely thou isn't thysel',
" Nut te knaw what's heen gawn on i' Lunnen.
" The awd Corporations, the Doctors a' say,
" That meet at the Hoose call'd St. Stephen,
" Are at their last gasp, and by next New Year's Day
" There winnet be yen o' them leevin'.
" It lang hez been said they war gannin' te pot,
" But wor awn set it a' doon for leein',
" Till the Mayor and the Aldermen a' tuik the rot,
" And are now just like rotten sheep deein'.
" Aw've just been up street — the toon's iv a low,
" And aw's frighten' d some mischief is brewin',
" As a deed Corporation's not worth an awd chow,
" An' aw wadn't say much for the new un.
" For the cocked hat and goon, that govern'd the toon,
" I' the days of awd Alderman Blackett,
" The Aldermen myekin' are gawn te lay doon,
" An put on a keelman's Pea Jacket !"
Feb. 14, 1836.
Where canny Newcassel will gan te at last,
Is far ayont maw understandin' ;
But if it gan on as it's duin for years past,
It'll suin aboot Hexham be landin'.
For toon within toon, and street efter street,
Grainger pops up — without iver heedin'
How they're to be fill'd ; unless some new leet
Shows him folks will like rabbits be breedin'.
But this railroad-pace of increasin' wor race,
Wad be torn'd topsy-torvy by steamin' :
The folks, now-a-days, hev ne dwellin' place —
Of hoose or of hyem niver dreamin'.
This, howiver, ne doot, is Grainger's luik-out —
The greet Court-and-Market-Exchanger ;
And wors iv'ry inch o' the grund te dispute,
When the props o' wor toon are in danger.
The Markets are gyen, exceptin' just yen
Which the Cooncil kept out of his clutches ;
And the Courts he'll grab suin, if they let him alyen ;
But the day he'll repent he them touches.
For the crabby awd dealers in ling, cod, and brats,
And the vurgins that tempt us wi' nice maiden skyet,
Will niver, aw hope, be the gudgeons or flats,
Tefloonder aboot i' this huge movement-net.
128 THE MOVEMENT.
He'll neist try tho Quay — the Custom Hoose, tee —
The Brig — and wor awd coaly River ;
But in spite o' the warst that a' Grainger can de,
They're wofawn — and we'll keep them for iver.
They're cronies we've lang been accustom'd te see ;
For some o' them battled afore, lang and sair ;
And though we're grown grey i' the cause o' the Quay,
We hev pluck eneugh left for a few tussels mair.
They're fixtors, some awd-fashioned bodies may say,
But where can we now for sec rarities surch ;
For a man walkin' off wiv a Play Hoose te-day,
May te-morn slip away wi' St. Nicholas' Chorch.
Let the Trinity folks o' their moorin's tyek care —
Let them double their watch — or, as sure as a gun,
They'll wyeken some morn, leavin' Trinity Chare,
And driftin' tiv Elswick — afore a' be duin.
The Radical movement is now all the go,
But little like wors, as ye'll easily guess,
When aw tell ye that Grainger can move, te and fro,
A chorch or a chapel, like figurs at chess.
The Cooncil, then, led by wor brave British Tar, 27
Mun battle the watch for wor canny awd toon ;
And byeth tar and feather the hallion that dar'
Te hoist his-sel' up by haulin' huz doon.
January 29, 1839.
A GLANCE AT POLLY TECHNIC. 28
Aw've travelled East as weel as West,
At Carlisle and the Sea aw've been ;
And i' maw time, aw think the niyest
Of a' the marvels here aw've seen.
At Grainger's warks aw've wonder'd sair,
Aw've stared at a' the feats o' Steam ;
But at the 'Sociation 29 mair —
'Till now, of a' that's grand the cream.
But this is all a baggy tyel ;
For now the seet just torns maw brain,
Sin' Polly Technic cam hersel',
Wiv a' her wonders in her train.
She's gyen an' ransack'd iv'ry pairt,
For rarities of iv'ry kind,
As weel of Natur as of Airt —
The pith o' mony a maister-mind.
Aw glower' d aboot the Pictur Place —
Aw ax'd for Judy 30 o' the "Hutch;"
But Judy's fycce aw cudn't trace —
The want o' Judy vex'd me much.
She was the Corporation key —
Kept a' within the "Hutch" secure:
Though crook'd, se crabb'd and fierce was she,
Nyen durst play peep agyen her power.
130 A GLANCE AT POLLY TECUNIC
Her temper then was nearly gycn,
(Though at the best aw've seen a sweeter) ;
Yit as aw sowt her, aw land yen
That seem'd a crustier-luikin' creatur.
The awd chep wi the lantren mun
Ha'e leev'd amang some Border clan,
Where byeth his lantren and the sun,
It tuik te find an honest man.
There's Belted Will, the Border chief,
If he wad speak, could thraw some leet
On where se rankly j>rowled the thief,
That honest men war bad te meet.
The Chinese pipe and razor seem
Te 'mind us o' the opium fray,
Browt on us by the puzzenin' scheme —
Then hear what Faw Fum hez te say : —
" War te the razor, if ye will
" Nut frae yor smugglin' system cease,
" Or keep away yor poppy pill,
"And then we'll smoke the pipe o' peace."
And here's maw horny, letter'd frien',
The corner-styen of a' wor lare :
It is the finest thing aw've seen —
O, dear ! aw's glad te see it there.
Some fuils may giggle at the nyem
O' byeth the Hornbuick and Tom Thumb ;
But where is it, if nut frae them,
That a' yor Polly Technics come?
A GLANCE AT POLLY TECHNIC. 131
The " branks," a kind o' brake, is here,
Wor faithers, when a' else was vain,
Oompell'd the noisy jades te weer,
Whene'er their clappers ran amain.
Eh ! " nick-sticks ? nick-sticks ?" what are they ?
O ! now aw hae'd : — they're used at hyem ;
And when kept decently in play,
The branks was but an empty nyem.
The "cut-porse" 31 points te by-gyen times,
When truth was niver sowt in wells —
When Justice punish'd captains' crimes
Without the fash o' weights and skyells.
The Hutch, where Corporation men
Had follow'd lang their cut-porse wark,
Luik'd varry like a conjuror's den,
Wi' nick-nacks cramm'd, like Noah's ark.
A hag 32 kept here a constant watch,
Te gaird the heed magician's 33 seat :
Twe seers, 34 wiv een that nowt could match,
War set te see that a' went reet.
And here's wor hatless Minstrel, 33 tee,
That roam'd aboot wor canny city,
And charm'd the guzzlers o' the quay
Wi' mony a simple, hyem-spun ditty.
Aw think aw hear him fiddlin' still,
And on Suit Maffa sweetly strummin',
Which hclp'd away wi' mony a gill,
'Mang fuddlin' men and queerish women.
132 LINES ON JOHN SMITH.
But aw nam end maw simple tyel —
It's now ower lang, aw sadly fear :
Te Polly praise, there's nyen can fyel —
Wor bairns will praise her mony a year.
LINES ON JOHN SMITH,
COMMONLY CALLED "JOHN THE BARBER,'
Who died on Gateshead Fell, August 17, 1827, aged 96.
Poor John, thy pole's no more display'd,
Thy wig-blocks now are quite decay'd,
Thy razors all to rust are doom'd,
Thy hone defaced, thy oil consumed,
Thy worn-out strop hangs idly by,
Thy brush a stump, thy lather dry,
Thy tongs lie cold upon the shelf,
Thy comb as toothless as thyself —
All emblems of thy earthly house,
Now stamp'd by Death unfit for use.
But there's a promise that ensures
A renovation of thy powers,
Beyond that awful, unknown river,
Where thou' It be set to last for ever.
THE AUTHOR'S ARM-CHAIR.
Thou now hast been my steady friend
For nearly five and thirty years ;
And ready thy support to lend,
Amidst the world's ungrateful sneers.
Unlike those seats of greater note,
Mine was not won 'midst scenes of strife :
I must admit that it was bought —
But then it was a seat for life.
Thy moral worth's above all praise —
Thou dost not 'twixt opinions halt :
Thy feet ne'er swerve from duty's ways —
Thou'rt upright even to a fault.
Full many an hour, right happily,
We've spent o'er books with knowledge stored
Full many a cup I've quaff 'd in thee,
When seated at the social board.
And when the bottle's potent powers
Had sent our wigs some half-way round.
And wing'd with mirth the fleeting hours.
A backhold still in thee I found.
Thy joints are creaking now with age —
Mine get more rigid daily, too :
A few more seasons on this stage,
Must bring us to our last adieu.
134 THE AUTHORS FAVOURITE DOG, PINCHER.
And when the curtain falls at last,
Should any one our story tell,
May this the sentence be that's pass'd —
" They both their parts have acted well.'
THE AUTHOR'S FAVOURITE DOG, PINCHER,
Peace, honest Pincher ! to thy manes :
Relieved from all thy worldly pains,
Thy muzzle's vile and galling chains,
And if dog-virtues, after this,
Have any claim to future bliss,
A rich reward thou cannot miss,
For never was a nobler brute —
More patriotic — resolute —
When danger drew his courage out,
From damage oft, by noise and foam,
He kept his trust, from those that roam :
For gallant in defence of home,
the author's favourite dgg, pincher. 135
When wandering dealers, with their wares,
Horn-buttons, specks, and small affairs,
Approach' d — then roused were all the cares
A lion to repel attack,
A lamb with children on his back ;
And duty's line the daily track
When winds of winter whistle round,
And darkness reigns — in sleep profound
Secure we were — kept safe and sound
He was no silly, senseless goose,
That eats and sleeps to little use :
The seal and safeguard of the house,
Then why, Death, didst thou send so soon
Thy mandate — and, thy work to crown,
Thy ugly scythe, that levell'd down
Poor Pincher ?
Why not some senseless cur assail,
With bladder dangling at his tail,
And spare me this distressing wail
For Pincher ?
To take such off in Nature's bloom,
Is merely making others room :
But real worth, I grudgo the tomb,
136 THE AUTHORS FAVOURITE DOG, PINCHER.
The solemn psalm has oft been sung,
And holy earth has oft been flung
O'er heads, where tongues less honest hung
In thy expressive, short, Dutch face,
Which did the powers of speech embrace,
I easily could thy meaning trace,
Thy tit-bit to secure, no more
Thou' It meet me at the parlour-door,
With looks that said, " A little for
" Poor Pincher."
Beneath the pear-tree's peaceful shade,
Secure from sexton's pick or spade,
In everlasting rest is laid
Then fare-thee-well, my faithful friend !
A Ions: farewell ! for here must end
Our friendship, and the lines I've penn'd
ON PARTING WITH A FAVOURITE MARE.
O Doll ! had I the muse of Burns,
Who Maillie's loss so sweetly mourns,
I'd pour thy praises forth ;
And all thy matchless goodness trace,
In verse as easy as thy pace,
And suited to thy worth.
We've dander d on for years together,
Through all varieties of weather,
To market, church, and business ;
And only once thou'st misbehaved,
When on thy knees was humbly craved
My pardon and forgiveness.
No windmill, with its fluttering sail,
When driven briskly by the gale,
E'er made thee rear and caper :
No creature is from vice more free,
Thy master's will is law to thee,
Disdaining senseless vapour.
There's none can value such a mare,
But those who deal in rhyming ware,
Whose motto 's " Luck in leisure."
Thy back is just the poet's seat,
Thy steps are all poetic feet,
And beat in tuneful measure.
138 ON PARTING WITH A FAVOURITE MARE.
Thou dost thy present master please ;
And on thy back, with perfect ease,
He rhymes and rides at pleasure.
And howsoe'er zigzag he roam,
Thou never tak'st him past his home :
Indeed thou art a treasure !
Thus show thyself a beast of sense,
And claim, without the least offence,
Thy title to good breeding.
Before thy master never drink,
Nor of his neighbour's pasture think,
However good the feeding.
And should the produce of the grape
Induce him e'er his course to shape
Out of the usual track,
Let neither hand nor heel betray
Thee, to forsake the homeward way,
Nor cast him from thy back.
And when thy day of use is past,
May'st thou thy recompense at last
Obtain : — for thy good manners
Demand, at least, a pleasant nook :
I mean a pasture near a brook,
Secure from ruthless tanners.
There may'st thou toyte about, till age
Unfits thee for this mortal stage,
And life is nearly over.
Then may that surface which thee fed,
With snowdrops deck thy dying bed,
Form'd of the softest clover.
See Scrub, of carping, grasping fame,
Now stretch'd upon his funeral bier:
A perfect synonynie his name,
For all that's mean and little here.
He passed through life without respect,
Quite unregretted took his flight :
Left nought behind which can protect
His memory from oblivion's night.
Dogmatic, snappish, keen, and sour,
A hint could blow him into strife.
Self, ruled him with a sovereign power,
Through all his long, protracted life.
The child, by hunger press'd, you'd see
Pass him, whene'er by want forced out
Too well he knew a barren tree
Was not the place to look for fruit.
He took his toast, but always dry —
From various herbs his tea was brew'd :
He had a cotton-rag laid by,
For many years, to make his shroud.
Poor, narrow soul, his race is run :
What has he for his mis'ry got ?
A piece of earth which all would shun —
Six feet by three : the common lot.
CHARLEY THE NEWSMONGER. 37
Alas ! poor Charley's gone for ever,
And cross' d for aye that unknown river,
Which cannot us much longer sever
Relentless Death has snapp'd the thread
Of life, and laid amongst the dead
The fertile, wonder-working head
When at the Keys on market-nights,
What marvellous poetic nights
Astonish' d oft the list'ning wights,
For none could so a tale adorn,
When seated by a reaming horn
Of spirit- stirring barleycorn,
No one could match him at a joke,
Nor so enjoy, 'midst clouds of smoke,
The time-worn frame with ale to soak,
A drunken rumpus in the street,
Where muzzy chaps with watchmen meet,
Or ghost wrapt in its winding-sheet,
ON SEEING A MOUSE IN JANUARY. 141
On such like themes he ne'er was slack
To give the company all his crack :
Nay, just a walking newsman's pack,
At short-weight meat he oft would rail,
But still much more at long-priced ale :
Combined, they drew a woeful wail
Come, then, ye friends of social cheer,
Attend with me his mournful bier,
And drop a last and parting tear,
For we've lost him, who had the art
T' amuse us o'er a friendly quart :
We've lost, besides, an honest heart,
ON SEEING A MOUSE RUN ACROSS THE
ROAD IN JANUARY.
Stay, little, tim'rous beastie, stay,
Nor bicker wi' sic speed away ;
For I, like some relentless fae,
Seek not thy life,
To scatter want, distress, and wae,
'Mang weans and wife.
142 ON SEEING A MOUSE IN JANUARY.
At this bleak season o' the year,
When snaws are deep and frost severe,
Does hunger force thee out, to speer
Thy scanty fare ?
Or is 't the folks at hame to cheer,
That's now thy care ?
It may be in some cosie biel,
They're waitin' for their stinted meal,
Which aiblins ye'll be forced to steal
Frae barn or byre ;
And, i' the act, Death's tortures feel,
Frae cats or wire.
When Fahrenheit 's sixteen degrees
Belaw the point where fluids freeze,
Ye should na hae sic tow te tease,
Sae far frae hame,
Where may be sits, but ill at ease,
Your sullen dame.
If sic be your untoward fate,
I wot ye'll nae be lag nor blate,
For nature's laws just operate
On mice like men :
Besides it's now becomin' late —
The clock's struck ten.
Come, then, ye daft and thriftless crew,
And in this mousely mirror, view
Yourselves display' d in colours true,
With a' your pride :
With boasted human reason, too,
Your steps to guide.
PETITION OF AN APPLE-TREE. 143
O, man ! to many ills a prey —
With tott'ring steps and haffits grey,
To close in want life's chequer'd day,
Is sad indeed ;
For age alone soon wears away
The brittle thread.
Then learn, ere hirplin' age appears,
When friendship oft a cauldness wears,
Which fills the aged een wi' tears,
The heart wi' grief,
To live so, that the closing years
Mayn't need relief.
PETITION OF AN APPLE-TREE,
THREATENED WITH BEING REMOVED FROM ITS
Dear Madam, plead and pray for me :
O spare, O spare your apple-tree !
If friendship of a lengthen'd date,
Nor faithful services, avail
To save me from my threaten'd fate,
Then listen to my artless tale ;
And never my destruction see,
But spare, O spare your apple-tree !
144 PETITION OF AN APPLE-TREE.
Your children all have round me play'd,
As happy as the day was long ;
And oft, with longing eyes, survey' d
The tempting prize my leaves among.
Then why should I an outcast be,
And they robb'd of their apple-tree ?
Nay, I have borne them on my arms,
And help'd them up to pluck my fruit ;
For those below, urged by my charms
To scramble after at the root.
Then still let them quite happy be,
In~cliinbing up their favourite tree.
I've been their shade from summer's heat,
Their shelter till the shower pass'd by;
And oft afforded them a treat,
In what they loved — an apple-pie.
Then let their great delight still be
In pies, with fruit produced by me.
I have been long to " letters" dear,
And learning's ladder help'd to climb :
" A, apple-pie," saves many a tear,
And much invaluable time.
You'll surely then not part with me,
Your apple, and your knowledge tree.
And if you feel for honest worth,
That by you stood when others fled,
You surely cannot drive me forth,
With fifty winters on my head.
O, then, let strict fidelity,
And age, protect your apple-tree.
ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING. 145
Consider, too, the tender ties
Which root me to my native place ;
For I my home as dearly prize,
As any of your nobler race.
Then spare, O spare your cruelty,
Nor homeless leave your apple-tree.
And should my fate be doubtful still,
There yet remains another plea :
O, spare me for the sake of Will,
Who slily pulls the fruit from me.
Then let me live, that you may see
Him fit to climb your apple-tree.
August 16, 1829.
ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING.
Thy plea all-powerful must prevail,
The spoiler's hand shall now be stay'd ;
For supplications seldom fail,
When feeling comes to reason's aid.
Then stay and flourish where thou art,
And all the sweets of homo enjoy :
Still please the eye and glad the heart
Of many an apple-eating boy.
146 THE TIPPLING DOMINIE.
Long may thy foliage, too, supply
An infant-school 38 for sparrows' young,
Where they may learn to feed and fly,
As well as chirp their mother tongue.
And still enjoy the balmy kiss
Of summer-breezes in thy bloom,
After the hand that traces this
Has long lain powerless in the tomb.
And when decay creeps o'er thy frame —
(Now shrunk and shivering in the blast)-
In nakedness, and but the name
Of what thou in thy glory wast —
May some kind hand, at nature's close,
Drop o'er thy fall, a parting tear ;
And so of thy remains dispose,
As best may make thy worth appear.
THE TIPPLING DOMINIE.
Come, all ye lovers of good ale,
Whose powers of fuddling never fail,
And join me in the bitter wail
For Herring's death :
His direst foe (how sad a tale !)
Has stopp'd his breath.
THE TIPPLING DOMINIE. 147
He warr'd with water all his days —
A blashy cheat, in toper's phrase :
Why need it then our wonder raise,
That lr; is found,
E'en with a staff to guide his ways,
Poor fellow, drown'd ? 3a
He led a thoughtless, half-starv'd life,
In keeping up this watery strife,
Deprived of all a loving wife
Can husband give :
Tit-bits ne'er touch'd his haftless knife —
Sore pinch'd to live.
Report asserts (but she's a blab),
His wardrobe, got up quite habnab,
Was second-hand : his coat a drab,
With laps restored :
A piece of carpet, and a crab,
His bed and board.
Some pasteboard o'er a firkin head,
In his abode, was used instead
Of table ; whereupon was spread
His scanty fare :
His only seat (so it was said),
A three-legg'd chair.
A highwayman, on plunder bent,
Would find his time but badly spent
O'er Tommy — whose habiliment
Coin never kept.
For getting up the steam, all went
Before he slept.
148 THE TIPPLING DOMINIE.
Such was the man destined to rule
For thirty years a village-school.
Yet was he by no means a fool ;
Though quite unfit
To either on a chair or stool
As Dominie sit.
" Dry measure" was his constant pest :
He liked the "long" and "liquid" best;
But yet more perfect than the rest
He'd " ale" and " beer.
To spy a dray 10 of drink, how blest
Did he appear !
All weathers witness' d Tommy's drought :
With ev'ry sot he'd had a bout :
And ev'ry house had turn'd him out,
His rule of " practice" did not suit,
When half-seas o'er.
Then all ye drunken Dominies, view
What tippling brings its victims to ;
And let it not be said of you,
When 'tis too late,
Such as poor Tommy's steps pursue,
Must share his fate.
Of a' the plagues a poor man meets,
Alang life's weary way,
There's nyen aniang them a' that beats
A rainy weshin' day.
And let that day come when it may,
It a' ways is maw care,
Before aw break maw fast, te pray
It may be fine and fair.
For it's thump ! thump ! souse ! souse !
Scrub ! scrub away !
There's nowt but glumpin' i' the hoose,
Upon a weshin' day.
For sud the morn, when Sall torns out,
Be rainy, dark, or dull,
She cloots the bits o' bairns aboot,
And packs them off te skuil.
In iv'ry day throughout the week,
The goodman hez his say,
But this ; when if he chance te speak,
It's " Get out o' maw way !"
For it's thump, thump, &c.
Her stephez starn defiance in't,
She luiks a' fire and tow :
A single word, like spark frae flint,
Wad set her iv a low.
L50 THE WASHING-DAY.
The varry claes upon her hack,
Se pinn'd and tuck'd up are,
As if they'd say, te bairns and Jack,
" Come near me if ye dar."
For it's thump, thump, &c.
The cat's the pictur o' distress —
The kittlens dar nut play :
Poor Pincher niver shows his fyece
Upon this dreary day.
The burd sits mopin' o' the balk,
Like somethin' iv a flay :
The pig's as hungry as a hawk :
The hens lay all away.
For it's thump, thump, &c.
The hearth is a' wi' cinders strewn,
The floor wi' durty duds :
The hoose is a' torn'd upside doon
When Sall is i' the suds.
But when the fray's a' ower and duin,
And a's hung up te dry,
A cup, and blast o' backy, suin
Blaws a' bad temper by.
Then the thump ! thump ! souse ! souse !
Scrub ! scrub away !
Myek ne mair glumpin' i' the hoose —
Until neist weshin' day.
In this sad scene of pain and strife,
Who forms the social charm of life,
As mother, sister, sweetheart, wife ?
Dear woman !
Who guards us with a watchful eye,
When we in crib or cradle lie,
And soothes us with a lullaby ?
Kind woman !
Who teaches us to lisp and talk,
Our little infant legs to walk,
Our hands to grasp the lily's stalk ?
Dear woman !
When infancy to pain's a prey,
From ills which throng its early day,
Who wipes the pearly drops away ?
Tis woman !
Who forms the peaceful hamlet's pride,
Who makes our moments swiftly glide,
And crowns at length our joys as bride ?
Sweet woman !
The sparkling eye, whose lovely ray
Dotli round the manly bosom play,
And slily wiles tlie heart away,
When o'er the juice of barleycorn,
We thoughtless sit till early morn,
Who anxious waits our late return ?
Kind woman !
When on a bed of sickness laid,
And all life's brightest prospects fade,
Who renders us such soothing aid
As woman ?
Who, in a thousand various ways,
Our fondest, warmest love repays,
And throws a sunshine o'er our days ?
'Tis woman !
And when we sink, through length of years,
Who as our feeling nurse appears,
And life's remaining moments cheers,
Like woman ?
And when the wearied spirit 's fled,
AVho shuts our eyes, and binds our head,
And fits us for our narrow bed ?
Dear woman '
The mournful stone with letters fair,
Which tells our mould' ring dust lies there,
Is oft the fond and lovely care
Thus, through the everchanging scene,
The cradle and the grave between,
We've joys more pure, and ills less keen,
THE LANDLORD OF THE SHIP, ON GATESHEAD
O, David ! how I love thy name,
And heartily wish mine was the same.
It's worth a Jew's eye, both to thee
And all thy future progeny.
For what 's a burthen, oft, to others,
(I mean pi-olific wives and mothers,)
And proves a plague to Moors and Moffats,
To thee's a source of "little profits."
And gains though light, if care you take,
A heavy purse, it 's said, will make.
Thus must the man be blest through life,
With such a profitable wife ;
Whose business, too, must always thrive
As long as "profit" is alive ;
For though his customers may fail,
And wipe off all their scores in jail —
A thunder-storm may spoil his ale —
His "ship" from port may never sail —
Nay, let his tap run as it will,
There'll be a "living profit" still,
As long as David tends his shop
In spite of want of malt or hop.
CARTER'S WELL :— A NEW SONG.
Tone : — " Mrs. Johnson."
Wor faithers o' " the olden time,"
The praises sung in sparklin rhyme,
Of rosy wine, and nectar prime,
For gods and men the dandy ;
But they'd ha'e tell'd a diff'rent tyel,
Had they knawn owt o' Cairter's AVell,
The Helicon o' Gyetshed Fell,
Or sec a thing as brandy.
But they'd ha'e tell'd, &c.
Ne other spring wiv it can vie :
It is a tap that ne'er runs dry —
A cellar where a rich supply
Suits iv'ry rank and station.
And if awd age myeks tipple fine,
Wors mun, aw think, be quite divine,
For it's a batch of Adam's wine,
We gat at the Creation.
And if awd age, &c.
And iver since, we've swigg'd away :
Frae flowin' cans, day efter day,
We've cheer'd and soak'd wor drouihy clay,
Wi' Cairter's iverlastin'.
But mony think a drop or two,
Of brandy, rum, or mountain-dew,
Wad help a deal te get us through,
When core's the mind ow'rcastin'.
And if awd age, &c.
THE INDUSTRIOUS AND PEACEABLE PAIR. 155
Let sic te Hetiierington's repair,
And sit an' sip their mixtur' there ;
And if for toddy they declare
" At eight the kettle's boilin'."
But gi'e me Cairter's caller spring,
For mixtur' just the varry thing :
We then Care ower the shoother fling,
And gi'e wor wigs an oilin'.
And if awd age, &c.
And then, for news, there's nowt can beat
The Well where all the lasses meet,
An' gi'e their tongues a pleasant treat,
On village-speculations : —
The coortin' that's te " callin' " led —
The couples that are suin te wed —
When the last bride will get her bed —
And sec-like gleg occasions.
And if awd age, &c.
THE INDUSTRIOUS AND PEACEABLE PAIR. 41
On the edge of the Fell, in a snug little cot,
Lived an honest and peaceable pair :
To make us our coffins was Thomas's lot,
While Bella attended our fair.
156 THE INDUSTRIOUS AND PEACEABLE PAIR.
They each at the limit of life took their place,
Their aid and advice to dispense ;
For she hail'd us here with a smile on her face,
And he amidst tears took us hence.
Of practice they both had a competent share,
For the village is pop'lous and large ;
And none ever did with more credit and care
Their several duties discharge.
In a mantle of silk, in the morning of life,
To attend us to church she was proud ;
Whilst he at the close of our sorrows and strife,
Attended us there in our shroud.
Death often replenished an exhausted purse ;
And, when the Destroyer was still,*
A birth would have answer'd as well as this curse,
And brought equal grist to their mill.
But now in his grave poor Tommy lies cold,
His cares and his troubles all o'er ;
For Death, his best friend and employer of old,
Has left us his loss to deplore.
Thus goodness or virtue as nothing appears,
To appease this implacable foe ;
Nor even a friendship cemented by years,
Can avert his most unerring blow.
His protracted life was with usefulness crown' d —
His example may others improve ;
And may he at last with the blessed be found,
In the heavenly mansions above.
THE VILLAGE-HOWDY. 157
And may his old mate, when the little remains
Of her mortal existence are o'er,
After forty years sharing his pleasures and pains,
Join him, never to part any more.
Poor Bella, the last of the " industrious pair,"
Whose story already appears,
Has finish'd a life of industry and care,
Spun out over ninety-one years.
She welcomed us here in the dawn of our day,
Prepared us for cradle display :
Bestow'd on each feature unqualified praise,
But the nose was the father's, she'd say.
Her custom was always to cut up the cheese,
To hand round the cake and the gin ;
Remarking afresh, on the " stranger," to these,
Who afterwards kindly dropped in.
The fingers, the nails, the eyes, and the hair,
Undergo the minutest inspection ;
And Nature, if this were the Jirst, all declare,
Has stamp' d it a piece of perfection.
158 TITE HAPPY HOME.
She deck'd ns for church on the christening day,
Cut the bread-and-cheese meant to be stow'd
In the first lucky pocket she met on her way
To the church, from their humble abode,
But the line of her usefulness did not end here —
Other duties she had to fulfil :
Her prescriptions were good, though in Latin not penn'd,
And she managed the lancet with skill.
To those " in the straw" frequent visits she paid —
To those on her sick-list the same :
Popp'd in upon such as would soon want her aid,
Not forgetting the last-married dame.
She was none of the thriftless, that trifle away,
What much future ill may assuage,
But saved what she could during life's summer-day,
For the wants of the winter of age.
Thus briefly I've sketch'd the outline of her life,
Unsullied by meanness or pride —
An affectionate mother, an excellent wife,
And a howdy famed both far and wide.
THE HAPPY HOME.
Ambition, take thy dazzling crown,
And pursy Pride thy civic gown,
I only ask this humble boon,
A happy home.
Rank, wealth, or power, I value not :
I much prefer a lowly lot,
A competence, a country cot,
And happy home.
Let me meet happy faces there,
A fav'rite book and easy chair,
In that retreat from toil and care,
A happy home.
The giddy crew, who spend their days
And nights in Dissipation's maze,
Can never know my theme of praise,
A happy home.
What cheers the traveller on his way,
What lightens labour's weary day,
And stays the plagues that turn us grey ?
A happy home.
A place of refuge — port of peace —
Where all the world's vexations cease,
And comforts with our years increase,
Is happy home.
160 THE HAPPY HOME.
It 'a past imagination's power,
To paint each charming ev'ning hour,
Which those enjoy, whose lives secure
A happy home.
And when life fails, as fail it must,
What smoothes, when its last spark is just
Extinct, our passage to the dust ?
A happy home.
1 Some thirty years ago, when the Westgate and Ballast Hill Hop-
pings were in all their glory, and more numerously attended than
they are now, several of our fagging Quaysiders did not think it
beneath them to snatch a few hours' relaxation from the toil of busi-
ness, at these places of " fun and frolic." But at present the sports
at these " merry-makings" want that spirit which distinguished them
a quarter of a century ago.
2 Mr. Plcmmer's exertions, as Chairman of the Company, are
worthy of all praise — no consideration of lime or convenience having
been allowed for one moment to interfere with the discharge of his
very troublesome and arduous duty. The memory of the late Mr.
Losh, at the same time, demands a passing tribute at our hands.
To the talent, perseverance, and popularity of Mr. Losh, Mr. Plom-
mer's predecessor as Chairman, the triumph of the undertaking over
its early and most serious difficulties is to be chiefly attributed.
3 II often required no small degree of tact and forbearance to parry
the ugly questions asked, and the explanations required, by some of
the shareholders, of the Chairman and other Directors, at the meetings
of the Company, as they were not always put in the simplest forms,
nor in the mildest manner.
4 The cocked hats and gowns that distinguished Aldermen from
other men, previous to the Municipal Reform in September, 1835,
were now laid aside, and their " worships" then appeared in all the
fantastical fashions of the day, as regarded both cut and cloth.
• The Kedheugh.
7 The Victoria train.
8 Elizabeth Douglas. Honest Lizzy lived near Brampton,
and carried on the craft of fortune-telling — recovering things stolen
or strayed — and restoring cattle that laboured under diseases inflicted
by witchcraft. She was the oracle of the vicinity for many miles
round, and sent many a forlorn maiden away with a light heart; for,
after bamboozling and mystifying the inquirer with a variety of ques-
tions, so as almost to make her say what she wanted to be told, she
delighted her with the initials of the name of the swain of her choice —
not forgetting, however, whilst shuffling the cards, to shuffle the
money from the girl's pocket into her own. She was once applied to
for assistance in the case of some cattle that were " dwining away"
under the power of witchcraft. She was rather puzzled how to act
in this matter; but, after applying her fertile mind to it for some
time, she came to the sage conclusion that slitting their tails, and
putting pieces of rown-tree into the opening, would free them from
the power that was destroying them. This, of course, was tried ; but
the owners of the cattle declared that it had no effect upon the disease,
and that they might as well have "laid salt on their tails." Lizzy,
no doubt, often missed her mark on these occasions ; but she some-
times made a lucky hit, which kept her fame afloat with the dupes
that consulted her. She has been dead upwards of twenty years ; but
her daughter, it is said, has succeeded to the business, and inherits
the rare qualities of her far-famed parent.
9 Team Gut.
10 Care, or annoyance.
11 If long practice lead to proficiency in any business, the fitters on
Newcastle Quay may be fairly entitled to claim the first rank amongst
those who profess the " black art" of shipping coals.
13 ''January 9th, 1816, died, at his house, near the Windmill-hills,
Gateshead, Mr. Thomas Thompson, merchant, in the 43d year of
his age. His death was caused by cold and fatigue in his exertions
to save his property (timber) from the ravages of the destructive flood
in the preceding month. From an humble origin, he raised himself,
by his talents and merit, to a respectable- rank in society. His loss
was severely felt in the extensive circle of his friends, as well as in
the public festivals of the town, to the mirth of which his exquisitely
humorous songs in the »we Newcastle dialect, contributed a large
portion. Besides being the author of " Canny Newcastle," " Jemmy
Johnson's Whurry," "New Keel Row," and other descriptive local
songs, Mr. Thompson wrote several pieces of considerable merit." —
Sykoses Local Records, vol. ii., p, 98.
It is much to be regretted that neither the author nor his friends
ever published his various pieces in a collected form. His songs
were excellent specimens of the Newcastle dialect, happily expressed,
and pregnant with wit and humour.
13 The sailors riding for their " turns," was perhaps one of the
most laughable scenes that can well be imagined. The poor hacks
had a sorry time of it, when they bad such customers on their backs;
and when a large fleet arrived, it was not unusual to see these mise-
rable animals appear on the quay two or three times from Shields
during the day. Both the rider and his steed were often real pictures
of distress; so much so, that when some one was astonishing Bold
Akchy with an account of the transmigration of souls after death, he
replied, " That's very queer; but I don't care what shape I appear in
next, provided it is not that of a Shields hack."
u In the absence of ships to give better employment to the fitters
and their clerks, it is sometimes surprising to see the listless apathy,
hanging over all, suddenly changed into the most intense anxiety to
ascertain the. cause of some unusual excitement. The windows are
thrown up, and the indoor plodders are all agog, to know the reason
of all this running to and fro. The idlers are seen running from all
parts of the quay to the scene of action, which is generally a few
balks of timber ; and the creature that has produced all this hubbub,
a poor harmless rat, which often suffers in the fray ; for nothing short
of heing in at the death gives its pursuers satisfaction.
15 " The royal assent was given on the 18th inst. to the Bill /or re-
gulating the loading of ships with coals in the port of Newcastle-
upon Tyne. It takes place on the first day of next month." — Tyne
Mercury, May 29, 1810.
16 James Bishop and John Liddell were the two clerks in tho
night office at this period.
17 The following paragraph appeared in the Tyne Mercury, June
12, 1810: — " The night office lately established here, for taking on
ships to load coals, presented a very singular sceue of confusion on
Sunday night. With a tender and pious regard for the souls of those
sacrilegious men called Coal Fitters, who were in the habit of
walking the quay all the Lord's Day, neglecting all religious duties,
intent, like the barbers of former times, on nothing but the gain of
filthv lucre, in pursuit of which they were often tempted by the Devil
to break all the commandments in the decalogue, the framers of the
late Coal Bill enacted, that in future no business should be done until
12 o'clock on Sunday night, and that then ships should be taken on
by two men appointed by the Commissioners of the Act to attend
this office. It is now therefore decreed, as of old, that ' in six days'
the fitters ' shall do all that they have to do, but on the seventh day
shall rest from their labours.' In conformity with these wholesome
regulations, this office was opened on Sunday night at 12 o'clock.
Through the day, an immense number of vessels came into Shields,
which made the number of applicants at the office in the course of
the night very numerous. About 11 o'clock, the crowd of captains
became very great; which soon occasioned, when the office opened,
much wrangling about the turns; and as they are in general men
who have not the ' fear of God before their eyes,' they began abusing
the attendants; and though one of them was actually a Bishop, they
absolutely, in defiance of all order and decency, uttered the most
horrid imprecations in his sacred presence ; and in the end, to such
a height did their impious rage proceed, that they broke his mitre
(alias his desk) over his head ; and, from all appearance, the Pope
himself, had he been present, would have been treated with as little
Ceremony. This Reverend Prelate, seeing his authority thus scoaned
and set at nought, though ' slow to anger,' could not forbear making
use of the power lodged in his hand for the support of his authority
against sueh blasphemous intruders. He therefore excommunicated
and anathematized the whole crew of offenders; and though not in
such detail (for he had not time) as the form set forth in Tristram
Shandy, it was fully as comprehensive, and must have had an equal
effect, being delivered in the most impressive style. We have not
heard that any of the agents of the Vice Society have taken any steps
in this business ; but certainly neither they nor the Reverend Bench
will suffer such a daring outrage upon religion and social order to
18 This took place on the 7th of July, 1817, as appears by the fol-
lowing entry in the night-office accounts at the time: — "July 7,
1817. — To cart-hire from Newcastle to Shields, shifting the night-
office, 8s. Gd."
18 Mr. Joseph Price, of Gateshead, received the compliment
of a dinner, and a handsome silver tankard, from a party of manu-
facturers, wharfingers, &c, in 1818, as a mark of their approbation
of his services " in first applying steam-boats to the towing of vessels."
20 Mr. Reid's omnibuses commenced running on the 12th of
21 The Newcastle and Shields Railway was opened on the J 8th of
22 The Penny Postage came into operation on the 10th of January,
23 James Faddy was brought up at the keels from a boy, and had
always been very shrewd and observing ; so that, when he grew up,
he was well " fitted" out with practical knowledge for taking a place
in a fitter's office, where he spent the whole of his days. He was the
oracle of the Quayside. There was no man better acquainted with
the usages of the river than he was. If lying tides, or the dues to
some of the reaches, were the subjects of dispute, Faddy was the man
appealed to. The following notice of his death appeared in the
Gateshead Observer of March 31st, 1838: — " Died, in Houard street,
New-road, Newcastle, on the 26th inst., in the 6Cth year of his age,
Mr. James Faddy, agent to the owners of Seghill colliery. His
extensive knowledge in all the freemasonry of the fitting trade,
acquired during a practice of fifty years, rendered his services of
great value in a colliery office."
24 Joyce, the inventor of the Patent Stove.
15 In this kill-coal scheme, charcoal and bone act a conspicuous
part. Joyce says, in the specification of his patent, dated the 16th
of December, 1838, " My improved fuel is a peculiar preparation of
charcoal, chemically treated for the purpose of purifying it."
26 At the time those emblems of civic dignity, Aldermen's gowns,
went out of fashion, a new species of attire, to wit, " Pea Jackets,"
came up. The lines on the pea-jacket embody the feelings of an
honest keelinan, expressed to his wife on witnessing the metamor-
phosis which the " male creatures" had undergone.
27 George Straker, Esq.
23 " A Glance at Polly Technic," being a collection of the most
splendid productions of Nature and Art ever exhibited in Newcastie.
This interesting display was opened to the public, 6th April, 1 S40,
under the name of the " Polytechnic Exhibition," for the benefit of
the North of England Society for the Promotion of the Fine Arts,
and the Mechanics' Institutes of Newcastle and Gateshead, and gave
59 The eighth meeting of the British Association for the Advance-
ment of Science, was held in Newcastle in the year 1838. It com-
menced on Monday, the 20th of August, and closed on Saturday,
30 The female guardian of the Hutch.
31 See Gardner's " England's Grievance," page 92, for a description
of the notable scheme of finding out, by a cut purse, what fine a cap-
tain should pay, who had been convicted of throwing ballast into the
river, by the false swearing of others.
32 Once upon a time, this Argus met an Alderman bringing away
an inkstand from the Hutch, to write something at the table on
'Change, and immediately opposed his progress so effectually as to
force him to give up the contest in despair.
33 The Chamber Clerk.
34 The Chamberlains.
35 Blind Willy.
36 The critical reader may carp at the conversion of " manes" into
a word of one syllable; but although such a liberty, in ordinary
cases, might be too great a stretch of the rhymer's license, surely, in
an elegy on a canine companion, he may be permitted to use " dog
1 Charles Ritchie was a stone-mason, and lived on Gateshead
Fell nearly all his life. He was a kind-hearted man, and was in the
habit of amusing his neighbours o'er a pot of beer, at the tail of the
week, with the news he had gathered since the last time they met —
more especially with what he had picked up in the town, at the Bee
Hive on the Sandhill, or the Three Bulls' Heads in the Castle-
garth, two houses famed for good beer, then called " Fine Fi'penny."
39 This old tree is the annual resort of the young sparrows in the
neighbourhood, as soon as they are able to leave their nests; and
here they seem to obtain that instruction and support from their
parents, which is necessary for their future welfare.
39 He was found drowned a little above Newcastle bridge, with his
stick in his hand.
To get a glass with the drayman.
41 Bella Laing and Tommy — for I am pretty sure that Bella,
when they were mentioned together, always had the precedence —
lived the greatest part of their long lives on Gateshead Low Fell.
Bella was the village " howdy ;" and her practice was not only very
general amongst its population, but often extended far beyond its
confines. Her usefulness, however, did not end here; for besides
being, as it were, the Alpha of life, she often rendered very essential
service to her fair friends, in particular delicate situations, through
the middle and interesting stages of their existence. Tommy was a
joiner by trade — made coffins and kept a hearse — of course, was the
Omega of life, whose care was to see us carried to our long homes in
a coffin of his own making. The two calliugs wrought well together;
for if a birth turned out a death, the order for the coffin came of
course to Tommy ; and as Bella was frequently asked to funerals,
it afforded her an opportunity of extending her business amongst the
ladies. They thus carried on a thriving trade for many years, of
which life and death were the staple articles, and ultimately acquired,
through industry and frugality, considerable property in houses.
The square which goes by the name of Laing's-corner, was built by
them, and left to their children, as well as a large garth in which the
Public Rooms and other buildings have been lately erected.
W. DOUGLAS, OBSERVER OFFICE, GATESHEAD.
University of California
SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY
405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388
Return this material to the library
from which it was borrowed.
OCT 8 1999
REC'D YRL dOV 5 '99
L 007 387 625 2
UC SOUTHERN REGIONAL LIBRARY FACILITY
AA 000 345 703