As Ah was gaen doon the street,
Whoa dusta think that Ah sud meet
But yan Ah’d kenned fur sebenty year!
“By gocks!” said I, “What! Mary here?”
“Ay, ay, and fain Ah is to see
That Death’s nut gitten hod o’ thee”
“Come, tell me, Mary, lass!” Ah said,
“Hoo ist thoo gaes wi’ sec a tread,
Wi’ sec a pooer o’ hilth i’ store,
Sae lish and rash at eighty-foor?”
“Ah’ll tell tha, barn,” said Mary than,
“Ah’ve leeved my life as Ah began:
In good auld dayses havver-bread
Wi milk fur ivvery meal was spread,
And fowks supped poddish gaily free,
And nivver fashed thersels wi’ tea.
What, barn, thoo kens that noo-a-days
White flour steel-milled is aw the craze,
Wi’ ivvery bit o’t natur’ gone
Clean oot that made for brain and bone;
But give me flour the stanes ha grund
Wi’ flesh and bwone I’ ivvery pund.
But aw this silly mak o’ stuff,
Pure white that’s nobbut starch reight thruff,
Wid-out the germ, wid-out the bran,
Nea swort o’ use for feedin’ man.
Than aw my life it’s corkert shoon
I’se worn, and fund them sic a boon—
Good honest clogs that nivver let
Yan’s feet be boddered wi’ the wet—
But, loavins, noo-a-days the clogs
Is well-nigh kessened to the dogs.
Instead o’ weel-nebbed wooden shoes,
It’s paper-leather wark they choose.
Puir things! theer tied to come to harm;
Theer feet is nivver dry nor warm.
We’ve coomed intil a bonny pass!
When Ah was but a sarvin lass
We span and than we knitted woo’!
And what? instead o’ kersey-mere,
It’s aw fandanglements they wear.
Puir bodies! it’s nae mortal wonder
They catch theer deeths and seun gang under.
Ah’ve walked to-day fra door to door
Three miles or mair at eight-four;
And wi’ my basket nut sae sma,
A’se back three miles or mair to go;
But, barn, it’s nut the havver-bread,
Nor poddish, nor good clogs to tread.
Nor is it that Ah moistly wear
Good flannel and good kersey-mere;
My secret is, Ah lenk right on
To Kursmas next fra Kursmas gone.
For why? Ah ken, an’ thoo kens too,
At Kursmas cooms ‘The Auld Fwoks Do,’
And what, t’wad be nea ‘Do’ at all
If Mary wasn’t i’ the hall,
And sea fra week to week Ah pray
‘Lword, let me leeve till t’ Auld Fwoks’ Day,’
And Ah believe He hears ma prayer,
And sea fwok meet auld Mary there;
He keeps ma lish, He sends ma cheer,
In this ma five and eightieth year.”
(English Lakes Visitor and Keswick Guardian, 29 December 1906, p. 4)