The Fair

Yan morn i’ May, when blossoms gay 

On ivvry hand were springin’ ; 

When t’ cuckoo’s note through t’ air did float, 

An’ lile birds sweet were singin’ ; 

When ivvry bud, i’ field an’ wood, 

Wi’ busy bees was swarmin’ ; 

When t’ freshenin’ breeze blew soft through t’ trees, 

An’ au was gay an’ charmin’ : — 

 

Scaarce hed the sun his wark begun,

An’ mark’d the fields wi’ shadows ; 

Scarce hed his rays dispell’d the haze 

An’ mist fra off the meadows ; 

When lasses, drest i’ au their best, 

Wi’ mony a hat an’ feather, 

An’ lads i’ scoors, fra out o’ t’ moors, 

Au jogg’d to t’ fair togither. 

 

On sportin’ bent, on fun intent, 

Towards the spot they’re clinkin’ ; 

Some lasses chat of dress or hat, 

Some on their chaps are thinkin’. 

The streets are wide, fra end to side, 

Wi’ silks an’ laace are blazin’ ; 

An’ fooaks wi’ stands, on ivvry hand, 

Their different wares are praisin’. 

 

A stall wi’ spice, an’ fruit so nice, 

Is standin’ at the corner ; 

There’s orange, figs, an’ penny whigs, 

An’ nuts fra Barcelona. 

The best of ginger-beer’s sold here, 

An’ corks do crack an’ rattle ; 

“ This way! ” they cry; “ Come buy, come buy ! 

A penny for a bottle ! ” 

 

A lad stands thaar, of money baar,

Some mis-spent penny ruein’ ;

Wi’ wistful eyes, some penny pies 

He helplessly is viewin’. 

Another stands wi’ baath his hands 

An’ mouth au dahb’d wi’ toffy ; 

Whal them wi’ sense gah spend their pence 

I’ butter’d rolls an’ coffee. 

 

An’, farther back, there stands a quack, 

His drugs and physic vendin’ ; 

He cries his wares, wi’ knahing airs, 

An’ gabble nivver endin’. 

Full well he knows the cure an’ cause 

Of fevers, fits, an’ ague ; 

The cramp, the gout, pains in an’ out, 

Rheumatics, an’ lumbago. 

 

An auctioneer, wi’ voice austere, 

Upon a stage is bawlin’ ; 

His teaspoons rare, an’ Sheffield ware 

He loudly is extollin’. 

He’s cast steel sahs hung up i’ rahs, 

An’ spectacles an’ caases ; 

He’s purses neat an’ razors breet, 

To scraap owd men their faaces. 

 

An’ plain i’ seet, down t’ side o’ t’ street, 

A shootin’-booth stands ready ; 

Thaar, if ye will, gah try your skill, 

But mind yer hand be steady. 

Thaar ye may stay an’ shoot au t’ day, 

If money ye hev got, sir ; 

Then march up bold, tak firmly hold, 

“ A penny for a shot, sir ! ”

 

An’, farther down, i’ t’ midst o’ t’ town, 

A wild beeast show is standin’ ; 

A chap does come, wi’ pipes an’ drum, 

An’ jumps up on to t’ landin’. 

He cries, “ We've coons, an’ wild baboons, 

An’ other kinds o’ monkeys ; 

We’ve t’ giraffe tall, an’ t’ wild cat small, 

An’ two Egyptian donkeys. 

 

“ We've cockatoos an’ kangaroos, 

An’ beeasts o’ ivvry natur ; 

We’ve tall elk-deer, an’ t’ polar bëar, 

An’ t’ wide-mouth’d alligator ; 

We’ve t’ porcupine, wi’ quills sa fine,

An’ parrots famed for speech, man ; 

Hollo ! I say ; roll up this way ! 

It’s only twopence each, man ! ”

 

Beneeath yon sign they’re sellin’ wine, 

An’ ale likewise, an’ sperrits ; 

An’ in they gang, a jolly thrang, 

To taast an’ try their merits. 

They rant an’ sing whal t’ plaace does ring, 

They er’ sa blithe an’ frisky ; 

Then they regale wi’ pints o’ ale, 

Or sups o’ gin or whisky. 

 

 

Wi’ squalls an’ squeeaks a fiddle speaks, 

An’ feet begin to patter ; 

They’re up i’ pairs, for reels or squares, 

An’ t’ varra roum does clatter. 

Thaar to and fro, an’ round they go, 

As lang as they think fittin’ ; 

Then on a bench, their thirst to quench, 

Wi’ glass i’ hand they’re sittin’. 

 

Thaar deck’d out fine, wi’ crinoline, 

The lasses they are flirtin’ ; 

They pass you by, wi’ dress held high, 

To show they’re fancy skirtin’. 

An’ if ye chance at them to glance, 

They, wi’ a queen-like air, sir, 

Will stretch away, as if to say, 

“ Come near me, if you dare, sir ! ” 

 

A couple kind, to love inclin’d, 

Down t’ fields are nicely walkin’ ; 

If ye git near an’ chance to hear, 

On weddin’ they are talkin’. 

How slow they walk ; how low they talk ! 

An’ how she smiles an’ blushes ! 

Nor thinks amiss to tak a kiss 

Behint some hahthorn bushes. 

 

Now day is gone, an’ neet comes on, 

For t’ sun i’ t’ west is sinkin’ ; 

Some tipplin’ sots, wi’ pipes an’ pots, 

In t’ tap-rooms still are drinkin’. 

An’ for a lark, when it grows dark,

Some lads are thrang sweetheartin’ ; 

Whal owder fooaks, naan fond o’ jooaks, 

For haam are fast departin’. 

 

An’ mony a yan, baath lad and man, 

His spendthrift folly curses,

When foorc’d next day to gang away 

Wi’ clean’d-out empty purses. 

Their money’s done ; i’ foolish fun, 

Wi’ caarless hand, they spent it ; 

Then haam they slink, weel fill’d wi’ drink, 

At leisure to repent it. 

 

An’ now, I say, ye lads sa gay, 

An’ lasses neat an’ tidy, 

Whare’er ye be, whate’er ye see, 

Let prudence allus guide ye.

Day efter day its laws obey, 

An’ follow its directions, 

An’ spend this year that it will bëar 

Another year’s reflections.