Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
Northern Farmer
 
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron (1809–92)
 
 
Old Style
 
 
WHEER ’asta beän saw long and meä liggin’ ’ere aloän?
Noorse? thourt nowt o’ a noorse: whoy, Doctor’s abeän an’ agoän:
Says that I moänt ’a naw moor aäle: but I beänt a fool:
Git ma my aäle, fur I beänt a-gawin’ to breäk my rule.
 
Doctors, they knaws nowt, fur a says what’s nawways true:        5
Naw soort o’ koind o’ use to saäy the things that a do.
I ’ve ’ed my point o’ aäle ivry noight sin’ I beän ’ere.
An’ I ’ve ’ed my quart ivry market-noight for foorty year.
 
Parson ’s a beän loikewoise, an’ a sittin’ ’ere o’ my bed.
“The amoighty ’s a taäkin o’ you 1 to ’issén, my friend,” a said,        10
An’ a towd ma my sins, an ’s toithe were due, an’ I gied it in hond:
I done my duty boy ’um, as I ’a done boy the lond.
 
Larn’d a ma’ beä. I reckons I ’annot sa mooch to larn.
But a cast oop, thot a did, ’bout Bessy Marris’s barne.
Thaw a knaws I hallus voäted wi’ Squoire an’ choorch an’ staäte,        15
An’ i’ the woost o’ toimes I wur niver agin the raäte.
 
An’ I hallus coom’d to ’s chooch afoor moy Sally wur deäd,
An’ ’eärd ’um a bummin’ awaäy loike a buzzard-clock 2 ower my ’eäd,
An’ I niver knaw’d whot a meän’d but I thowt a ’ad summut to saäy,
An’ I thowt a said whot a owt to ’a said an’ I coom’d away.        20
 
Bessy Marris’s barne! tha knaws she laäid it to meä.
Mowt a beän, mayhap, for she wur a bad un, sheä.
’Siver, I kep ’um, I kep ’um, my lass, tha mun understond;
I done moy duty boy ’um as I ’a done boy the lond.
 
But Parson a cooms an’ a goäs, an’ a says it eäsy an’ freeä,        25
“The almoighty’s a taäkin o’ you to ’issén, my friend,” says ’eä.
I weänt saäy men be loiars, thaw summun said it in ’aäste:
But ’e reäds wonn sarmin a weeäk, an’ I ’a stubb’d Thurnaby waäste.
 
D’ ya moind the waäste, my lass? naw, naw, tha was not born then;
Theer wur a boggle in it, I often ’eärd ’um mysen;        30
Moäst loike a butter-bump, 3 fur I ’eärd ’um about an’ about,
But I stubb’d ’um oop wi’ the lot, an’ raäv’d an’ rembled ’um out.
 
Keäper’s it wur; fo’ they fun ’um theer a-laäid of ’is faäce
Down i’ the woild enemies 4 afoor I coom’d to the plaäce.
Noäks or Thimbleby—toäner 5 ’ed shot ’um as deäd as a naäil.        35
Noäks wur ’ang’d for it oop at ’soize—but git ma my aäle.
 
Dubbut looök at the waäste: theer warn’t not feeäd for a cow;
Nowt at all but bracken an’ fuzz, an’ looök at it now—
Warnt worth nowt a haäcre, an’ now theer’s lots o’ feeäd,
Fourscoor 6 yows upon it an’ some on it down i’ seeäd. 7        40
 
Nobbut a bit on it ’s left, an’ I meän’d to ’a stubb’d it at fall,
Done it ta-year I meän’d, an’ runn’d plow thruff it an’ all,
If godamoighty an’ parson ’ud nobbut let ma aloän,
Meä, wi’ haäte hoonderd haäcre o’ Squoire’s, an’ lond o’ my oän.
 
Do godamoighty knaw what a ’s doin’ a-taäkin’ o’ meä?        45
I beänt wonn as saws ’ere a beän an’ yonder a peä;
An’ Squoire ’ull be sa mad an’ all—a’ dear a’ dear!
And I ’a managed for Squoire coom Michael-mas thutty year.
 
A mowt ’a taäen owd Joänes, as ’ant not a ’aäpoth o’ sense,
Or a mowt ’a taäen young Robins—a niver mended a fence:        50
But godamoighty a moost taäke meä an’ taäpoth ma now
Wi’ aäf the cows to cauve an’ Thurnaby hoälms to plow!
 
Looök ’ow quoloty smoiles when they seeäs ma a passin’ boy,
Says to thessén, naw doubt, “what a man a beä sewer-loy!”
Fur they knaws what I beän to Squoire sin fust a coom’d to the ’All;        55
I done moy duty by Squoire an’ I done moy duty boy hall.
 
Squoire ’si’ Lunnon, an’ summun I reckons ’ull ’a to wroite,
For whoä’s to howd the lond ater meä thot muddles ma quoit;
Sartin-sewer I beä, thot a weänt niver give it to Joänes,
Naw, nor a moänt to Robins—a niver rembles the stoäns.        60
 
But summun ’ull come ater meä mayhap wi’ ’is kittle o’ steäm
Huzzin’ an’ maäzin’ the blessed feälds wi’ the Divil’s oän teäm.
Sin’ I mun doy I mun doy, thaw loife they says is sweet,
But sin’ I mun doy I mun doy, for I couldn abeär to see it.
 
What atta stannin’ theer fur, an’ doesn bring ma the aäle?        65
Doctor’s a’ toättler, lass, an a ’s hallus i’ the owd taäle;
I weaänt breäk rules fur Doctor, a knaws naw moor nor a floy;
Git ma my aäle I tell tha, an’ if I mun doy I mun doy.
 
Note 1. After Callimachus

 [back]
Note 2. ou as in hour. [back]
Note 3. Cockchafer. [back]
Note 4. Bittern. [back]
Note 5. Anemones. [back]
Note 6. After Callimachus

 [back]
Note 7. One or other. [back]
 

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