Captain and Mrs H-

 

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For lang my mind hes hed na rest,

For lang I’ve tried an’ done my best

To spin a decent yarn :

But allus when a start I’d med,

I lost an end or brack my thread,

An’ spoilt my haal consarn.

 

But yan neet, gangin’ up fra Settle,

My knowledge-box gat into fettle,

Struck wi’ a sudden nooation,

To try an’ pen a few short staves,

An’ send ’em off across the waves

Of the Altantic Ocean.

 

I feel reight fain, ye may depend,

For oft I’d tried a line to send

To Jack, the jolly sailor :

But oft I’d studied, oft I’d thowt,

An’ oft I’d tax’d my wits for nowt,

It allus proved a failure.

 

An’ now I’m mounted yance again,

I’ll give my caperin’ steed the rein,

An’ strike off into t’ gallop.

I’m just i’ tune to write a sang,

The rhymes come rattlin’ in, slap bang,

As fast as they can wallop.

 

Of news I doubt I’ve varra lile ;

For in a dull an’ eeasy style

The world around me jogs :

Just here an’ thaar a change is med,

A barn is born, a pahr gits wed,

An’ odd uns cock their clogs.

 

I hope, dear Jack, an’ Bridget too,

That things au gang on weel wi’ you,

I’ yower new situation.

Er friends an’ neighbours true an’ kind

As those ye left saa far behind,

When ye left t’ British nation ?

 

By this, naa doubt, yer son can walk,

By this, naa doubt, he tries to talk,

An’ cau his ‘ mam ’ and ‘ dad ’ :

Whal ye an’ Bridget baath admire,

An’ think naa couple need desire

To hev a finer lad.

 

Oft to my mind do I recall

That merry time, when at t’ Town Hall

Ye med a few weeks’ stay :

Then mony a taal I heeard ye tell

Of what ye’d heeard an’ seen yersel,

I’ kingdoms far away.

 

For, chaps like ye who live i’ ships,

An’ constantly are takkin’ trips

Across the ocean’s foam,

Hev opportunities to see

Strange things, an’ lands whar sich as me

May nivver chance to roam.

 

Wi’ laads o’ wealth fra spot to spot,

North-eeast, south-west, it is yer lot

To ploo the mighty deep :

While here, upon this rough hill-side,

Year efter year, content I bide

To mind the kye an’ sheep.

 

Yet still at times I feel inclined

To gang away, an’ leeave behind

Owd Britain’s favour’d Isle,

I’ some far-distant land to range,

An’ strive, ’mid scenes an’ faaces strange,

To win Dame Fortun’s smile.

 

Oft i’ the slumbers of the night,

I’ dreeams my fancy taks its flight

Far fra my native sod ;

On sunny, fruitful plains I stray,

Or through thick forests foorce my way,

Whar man hes seldom trod.

 

An’ even now my mind’s on fire,

Fill’d wi’ a langin’, strange desire

Some foreign land to see.

If like a swallow I could fly,

Or like an eeagle mount on high,

I’d come an’ visit ye.

 

But what a rate I’m drivin’ at !

For weel I knah that owt like that

Is past au human skill :

Saa I’ll e’een let it be my plan,

To be as happy as I can,

I’t plaace I’m doom’d to fill.

 

Roll round the world ye rovin’ blades !

Ye busy shopmen mind yer trades,

An’ scraap up hoords o’ treasure !

For me – by day I’ll mind my wark,

An’ kiss my lass when it grows dark,

Which is my girtest pleasure.

 

I’ praise of scenes an’ landscapes fine,

I’ praise of bowls o’ sparklin’ wine,

Some poets tune their lays :

But here my muse, on outstretch’d wing,

Soars up aloft, an’ bids me sing

The bonny lasses’ praise.

 

Strang tea caus forth an owd wife’s praise,

Strang drink may stimulate an’ raise

The heart wi’ sorrow laden ;

But that which I delight to sip

Is dew fra off the rosy lip

Of some sweet, smilin’ maiden !

 

For fear ye’ll think me quite insane,

I think I’ll drop this random strain,

An’ hasten to a close.

I hope ye’ll send a line sometime,

An’ if ye cannot write i’ rhyme,

Just put it down i’ prose.

 

My lamp, which laately shaan sa breet,

No shows a dim expirin’ leet,

An’ twelve rings out fra t’ clock.

Dear Jack an’ Bridget baath farewell !

Yer friend sincere I style myself,

 Lang Tom fra Winskill Rock.