The Salamanca Corpus: a collection of Songs (1827)


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On crossing the Tyne i’ them sma’ sculler boats,

Or ony thing else on the water that floats.

At ony rate, the Chain Brig is a far safer plan,

And would save monny lives—contradict it whe can!

Besides, ye knaw, Geordy, it’s easier and better

For the canny folks ‘at leves on the banks o’ the water,

To walk straight afore them ‘stead o’ gaun doon the street,

And when they’re iv a hurry running doon a’ they meet;

Forbye being kept myest an hour in suspense,

By cairts, that sometimes myek a plague of a fence,

Then the folks are a’ stopt, suppose they be iv a hurry.

Now, ye blithe lads o’ Shields, let it be a’ your glory,

To get this Chain Brig rear’d on high in the air,

Then we’ll ne’er ha’e to soom amang steam boats ne mair:

Smash their greet clumsy wheels! aw like nyen o’ their wark,

They once cowpt me owerboard, an’ aw was wet to the sark;

But catch me gaun onny mair near them again—

If aw de, say aw divent belang Collingwood Main!


By Henry Robson.*

THE Baff week is o’er—no repining—

Pay-Saturday’s swift on the wing;

At length the blithe morning comes shining,

When kelter makes colliers sing.

‘Tis Spring and the weather is cheary,

The birds whistle sweet on the spray;

Now coal working lads, trim and airy.

To Newcassel town hie away.

* Henry Robson, the author of this and the two following pieces, is a native of Benwell, near Newcastle. In the place of hit birth he enjoyed frequent opportunities, during his early years, of witnessing the manners, customs, and language of the Colliers, he so well describes in the “Pay Week.” — Besides these, he has written several other pieces of Poetry, humorous, satirical, and descriptive, possessing a considerable degree of merit. He was brought up to the printing business in Newcastle, where he has resided many years.

Those married jog on with their hinnies,

Their canny bairns go by their side;

The daughters keep teazing their minnies

For new cloaths to keep up their pride:

They plead—Easter Sunday does fear them,

For then, if they’ve nothing that’s new,

The Crow, spiteful bird! will besmear them;

Oh then! what a sight for to view!

The young men, full blithesome and jolly,

March forward, all decently clad;

Some lilting up, “Cut-and-dry, Dolly,”

Some singing, “The bonny Pit Lad:”

The pranks that were play’d at last binding

Engage some in humourous chat;

Some halt by the way-side on finding

Primroses to place in their hat,

Bob Cranky, Jack Hogg, and Dick Marley,

Bill Hewitt, Luke Carr, and Tom Brown,

In one jolly squad set off early

From Benwell to Newcassel town:

Such hewers as they (none need doubt it)

Ne’er handled a shovel or pick;

In high or low seam they could suit it,

In regions next door to Old Nick.

Some went to buy hats and new jackets,

And others to see a bit fun;

And some wanted leather and tackets

To cobble their canny pit shoon:

Save the ribbon Dick’s dear had requested,

(Aware he had plenty of chink)

There was no other care him infested,

Unless ‘twere his care for good drink.

[In the morning the dry man advances

To purl-shop to toss off a jill,

Ne’er dreading the ills and mischances

Attending on those who sit still:

The drink, Reason’s monitor quelling,

Inflames both the brain and the eyes;

The enchantment commenc’d, there’s no telling

When care-drowning tipplers will rise.

O Malt! we acknowledge thy powers,

What good and what ill dost thou brew!

Our good friend in moderate hours—

Our enemy when we get fu’:

Could thy vot’ries avoid the fell furies

So often awaken’d by thee,

We should seldom need Judges or Juries

To send folk to Tyburn tree!]

At length in Newcastle they centre—

In Hardy’s,* a house much renown’d,

The jovial company enter,

Where stores of good liquor abounds

As quick as the servants could fill it,

(Till emptied were quarts half a score)

With heart-burning thirst down they swill it,

And thump on the table for more.

While thus in fine cue they are seated,

Young cock-fighting Ned from the Fell †

Peep’d in—his “How d’ye?” repeated,

And hop’d they were all very well;

He swore he was pleased to see them—

One rose up to make him sit down,

And join in good fellowship wi’ them,

For him they would spend their last crown.

* Sign of the Black Boy, Groat Market,

† Gateshead Fell.

The liquor beginning to warm them,

In friendship the closer they knit,

And tell and hear jokes—and, to charm them,

Comes Robin, from Denton-Bourn pit;

An odd witty, comical fellow,

At either a jest or a tale,

Especially when he was mellow

With drinking stout Newcassel ale.

With bousing, and laughing, and smoking,

The time slippeth swiftly away;

And while they are ranting and joking,

The church-clock proclaims it mid-day.

And now for black-puddings, long measure,

They go to Tib Trollibag’s stand,

And away bear the glossy rich treasure,

With joy, like curl’d bugles in hand.

And now a choice house they agreed on,

Not far from the head of the Quay;

Where they their black puddings might feed on,

And spend the remains of the day;

Where pipers and fiddlers resorted,

To pick up the straggling pence,

And where the pit lads often sported

There money at fiddle and dance.

Blind Willie* the fidler sat scraping,

In corner just as they went in:

Some Willington callants were shaking

Their feet to his musical din:

Jack vow’d he would have some fine cap’ring,

As soon as their dinner was o’er,

With the lassie that wore the white apron,

Now reeling about on the floor.

* William Purvis, a blind fiddler so called.

[Their hungry stomachs being eased,

And gullets well clear’d with a glass.

Jack rose from the table and seized

The hand of the frolicsome lass.

“Maw hinny!” says he, “pray excuse me—

To ask thee to dance aw make free:

“She reply’d, “I’d be loth to refuse thee!

Now fiddler play—“Jigging for me.”

The damsel displays all her graces,

The collier exerts all his power,

They caper in circling paces,

And set at each end of the floor:

He jumps, and his heels knack and rattle,

At turns of the music so sweet,

He makes such a thundering brattle,

The floor seems afraid of his feet

This couple being seated, rose Bob up,

He wish’d to make one in a jig;

But a Willington lad set his gob up,—

O’er him there should none “run the rig.”

For now ‘twas his turn for a caper,

And he would dance first as he’d rose;

Bob’s passion beginning to vapour,

He twisted his opponent’s nose.

The Willington lads, for their Franky,

Jump’d up to revenge the foul deed;

And those in behalf of Bob Cranky

Sprung forward—for now there was need.

Bob canted the form, with a kevel,

As he was exerting his strength;

But he got on the lug such a nevel,

That down he came, all his long length.

Tom Brown, from behind the long table,

Impatient to join in the fight,

Made a spring, some rude foe to disable,

For he was a man of some might:

Misfortune, alas! was attending,

An accident fill’d him with fear;

An old rusty nail his flesh rending,

Oblig’d him to slink in the rear.

When sober, a mild man was Marley,

More apt to join friends than make foes;

But rais’d by the juice of the barley,

He put in some sobbling blows.

And cock-fighting Ned was their Hector,

A courageous fellow, and stout;

He stood their bold friend and protector,

And thump’d the opponents about.

All hand-over-head, topsy turvy,

They struck with fists, elbows, and feet;

A Willington callant, called Gurvy,

Was top-tails tost over the seat:

Luke Carr had one eye clos’d entire,

And what is a serio-farce,

Poor Robin was cast on the fire,

His breeks torn and burnt off his a—e.

Oh, Robin! what argued thy speeches?

Disaster now makes thee quite mum;

Thy wit could not save the good breeches

That mencefully cover’d thy bum:

To some slop-shop now thou may go trudging,

And lug out some squandering coins;

For now ‘tis too late to be grudging,—

Thou cannot go home with bare groins.

How the warfaring companies parted,

The Muse chuseth not to proclaim;

But, ‘tis thought, that, being rather down-hearted,

They quietly went—“toddling hame.”

Now ye Collier callants, so clever,

Residing ‘tween Tyne and the Wear,

Beware, when you fuddle together,

Of making too free with strong beer.


By the Same.—Written in 1807.

IN Britain’s blest island there runs a fine river,

Far fan’d for the ore ft conveys from the mine:

Northumbrians pride, and that district doth sever

From Durham’s rising hills, and ‘tis called—theTyne

Flow on, lovely Tyne, undisturb’d be thy motion,

Thy sons hold the threats of proud France in disdain;

As long as thy waters shall mix with the ocean,

The fleets of Old England will govern the main.

Other rivers for fame have by Poets been noted

In many a soft-sounding musical line;

But for sailors and coals never one was yet quoted,

Could vie with the choicest of rivers—the Tyne.

Flow on, lovely Tyne, &c.

When Collingwood conquer’d our foes so completely,

And gain’d a fine laurel, his brow to entwine;

In order to manage the matter quite neatly,

Mann’d his vessel with tars from the banks of the Tyne.

Flow on, lovely Tyne, &c

Thou dearest of rivers, oft times have I wander’d

Thy margin along when oppressed with grief,

And thought of thy stream, as it onward meander’d;

The murmuring melody gave me relief

Flow on, lovely Tyne, &c.
From the fragrant wild flowers which blow on thy border,

The playful Zephyrus oft steals an embrace,

And curling thy surface, in beauteous order,

The willows bend forward to kiss thy clear face.

Flow on, lovely Tyne, &c.
One favour I crave—O kind Fortune befriend me!

When downhill I totter, in Nature’s decline—

A competent income—if this thou wilt send me,

I’ll dwindle out life on the banks of the Tyne.

Flow on, lovely Tyne, &c.

By the Same.—Written early in May, 1809.

NOW the gay feather’d train, in each bush,

Court their mates, and love’s melody sing—

The blackbird, the linnet, and thrush,

Make the echoing vallies to ring.

The bird with the crimson-dy’d breast,

From the hamlet has made his remove;

To join his love-song with the rest,

And woo his fond mate in the grove.

The lark, high in aether afloat,

Each morn, as he ushers the day,

Attunes his wild-warbling throat,

And sings his melodious lay.

Yon bank lately cover’d with snow,

Now smiles in the spring’s bloomy pride;

And the sweet-scented primroses grow

Near the streamlet's sweet gurgling tide.

To the banks of the Tyne we’ll away,

And view th’ enrapturing scene;

While Flora, the goddess of May,

With her flow’rets bespangles the green.



By the Same.

Tune—“Ranting roaring Willie.”

GOOD people, if you’ll pay attention,

I’ll tell you a comical jest;

The theme I’m about now to mention

Alludes to one Malthus, a priest—

A proud, hypocritical preacher,

Who feeds on tithe-pigs and good wine;

But him I shall prove a false teacher—

Oh, all things have but a time.

Some time ago, through all the nation

He publish’d a scandalous book—

An Essay about “Population;”

But widely his text he mistook.

From marriage his plan’s to restrain all

Poor people who are in their prime,

Lest the Earth prove too small to contain all—

Such notions can last but a time.

But the Clergy who’re plac’d in snug station,

The nobles, and such like fine folks,

May continue their multiplication—

What think you, my friends, of such jokes?

What think you of Malthus the Parson,

Who slights each injunction divine,

And laughs while he carries the farce on;—

But all things have but a time.

When the poor folk of hunger are dying,

He deems it no sin in the great,

To with-hold all their hands from supplying

The wretched with victuals to eat!

Such doctrine—sure a great evil—

Becomes not a Christian Divine;

‘Tis more like the speech of the Devil;—

But all things have but a time.

Now, my friends, you will readily see

Malthus’ argument’s not worth a curse;

For to starve the industrious bee,

Is no better than—killing the goose.

That he does not believe in the Bible,

His book is a very true sign;

On Sacred Writ ‘tis a libel,—

Such trash can last but for a time.

Place the drones on one part of our isle,

The industrious class on the other;

There the former may simper and smile,

And bow and scrape each to his brother:

They can neither plough, throw the shuttle,

Nor build with stone and lime;

They’ll then get but little to guttle,

And may grow wiser in time.

Ye blithe British lads and ye lasses,

Ne’er heed this daft, whimsical Priest;

Get sweathearts in spite of such asses—

The Bible Plan sure is the best:

Then away go in couples together,

And marry while you’re in your prime,

And strive to agree with each other,

For life only lasts a short time!


By the Same.—Written February,

I, WHEN a child, for trinket ware

Would often cry to mam and daddie:

With other trifles, from the fair,

Dad brought me once a Peter Waggy.

Fine dolls, and many things forby,

A gilded coach and little naggie;

But oh, the darling of my eye,

Was little dancing Peter Waggy!

Love of such trifles time destroys—

At length each well-grown lass and laddie

Seeks to be pleas’d with other toys,

Some other sort of Peter Waggy.

A lover came to me at last,

In courting me he ne’er grew faggy;

Now he and I are buckled fast—

He is my darling Peter Waggy.

We’ve got a boy of beauty rare,

A credit to his mam and daddie;

When I go to Newcastle fair,

I’ll buy my child a Peter Waggy.



By the Same.—Written February, 1826.

IN Cramlington we’ve bonnie lasses enow,

With cheeks red as roses, and eyes black or blue;

But Bessy of Blyth I love better than onie—

My heart is still there with my own dear honey.
My uncle says, “Robin, why sure you are mad,

To slight Suky Swan—she’s worth money, my lad!”

“Dear uncle,” says I, “I’ll ne’er marry for money,

“And none will I have but my own dear honey.”

Her face I compare to the blush of the morn,

Her breath to the scent of the fresh blossom’d thorn;

For virtue and sense she’s not equall’d by monie—

Few, few can compare with my own dear honey.

As in this world of care there is nought we approve,

Compar’d to the faithful good wife that we love;

To sweeten life’s sorrow, the gall mix with honey,

I’ll wed my dear Bess, and a fig for their money.


By the Same.

DEAR ANNA, though thy parents move thee

To withdraw thy smiles from me,

I can never cease to love thee,

Though no more thy face I see.

The sense of thy parental duty

Urgeth thee from me to part;

Conquer’d by thy peerless beauty,

Soon, ah! soon I’ll break my heart!

As through this world of woe I wander,

Cross’d in love, and worn with care;

Oft I’ll think on lovely Anna,

Who’s the “fairest of the fair.”



By the Same.

TO the Kelvin Grove we’ll go, bonnie laddie, O,

Where the sweetest flowers grow, bonnie laddie, O;

With my true love by my side,

Of a’ the flowers the pride,

I’d wander the warld wide, bonnie laddie, O.

When the throstle hails the morn, bonnie laddie, O,

We’ll wander by the burn, bonnie laddie, O;

And we’ll rest in the alcove,

In bonnie Kelvin Grove,

Where first I told my love to my laddie, O.
When thou leav’st thy native home, bonnie laddie, O,

With thee I mean to roam, bonnie laddie, O;

I’ll watch thee in the fight,

And guard thee day and night,

That no mishap alight—on my laddie, O.
In the fatal battle-field, bonnie laddie, O,

Shouldst thou thy spirit yield, bonnie laddie, O—

When thy een are clos'd in death,

I’ll sigh my latest breath,

And one grave shall hold us baith, bonnie laddie, O.
But kind should Fortune prove, bonnie laddie, O,

And spare us baith to love, bonnie laddie, O:

By the stream again we'll rove,

In bonnie Kelvin Grove,

And fra hame nae mair remove, dearest laddie, O.



By the Same.—Written in 1824.

O Watson! O Watson! what are you about?

What have you been doing to cause such a rout?

‘Tis said you’ve been giving the Clergy a clout;

Which nobody does deny.

* Peter Watson, of Chester-le-Street, Shoemaker.—This person for some time laudably exerted himself to oppose the claims of the Government Clergy to what are called Easter dues or offerings; and by a powerful appeal to the public, succeeded in convincing many that such claims were equally oppressive and unjust, and founded neither in the law nor the gospel —The late worthy Vicar of Newcastle, Mr John Smith, actuated with the generous feelings of a Man and a Christian, and with due deference to public opinion, restrained the Clergy in his jurisdiction from collecting these Exactions during the latter years of his life. To him, therefore, and to Peter Watson, in particular, who aroused the public attention to the subject, the inhabitants of Newcastle are indebted for being relieved from this odious, unjust, and oppressive Clerical Tax.
O stop! Watson, stop! O whither?—say whither

Directs thy bold genius?—‘twould seem you choose rather

To hammer the Parsons, instead of bend leather;

At starting you were not shy.

What tho’ the good Clergy for long time have got,

At Easter, fat pullets to put in their pot,

And ta’en from the people full many a groat;

Yet why into this should you pry?

Of matters relating to Church or to State,

‘Tis surely not fit you should trouble your pate;

Yet still you keep thumping, with spirit elate,

As if you would maul the whole fry.

I’d have you respect more the Lord's own Anointed,

Who over your conscience to rule are appointed,

And to whom pigs and pullets are sent to be jointed,

And other good things forby.

Repent, then, and quick pay your Easter Dues,

And to guileless Parsons give no more abuse,

Or spiritual comfort to you they’ll refuse,

And this may cause you to sigh!

For things are so chang’d since you rang them a peal,

That the Clerk seems afraid thro’ our parish to speel;

For he’s look’d on no better than one come to steal;

Which nobody can deny.

The Clerk of St. John’s, that he might have good luck,

Employ’d a brave Noodle, whose nick-name is Pluck,

To collect Easter-pence; but the people had struck—

Few, few were brought to comply.

Now the Parsons to you attach all the blame,

O Watson, for saying they had no just claim;

Thus you’ve brought on yourself their holy disdain;

Yet you’ll fill a niche in the Temple of Fame,

Which nobody will deny.

On their Removal from the Sandhill to the New Fish Market, on the 2nd. of January, 1826.


Tune—“Sleeping Maggie.”

THE merry day hes gettin past,

And we are aw myest broken hearted;

Ye’ve surely deun for us at last—

Fra Sandhill, noo, ye hev us parted.

Oh! hinnies, Corporation!

A! marcy! Corporation!

Ye hev deun a shemful deed,

To force us fra’ wor canny station.

It’s nee use bein’ in a rage,

For aw wor pride noo fairly sunk is—

Ye’ve cram’d us in a Dandy Cage,

Like yellow-yowlies, bears, and monkies.

Oh! hinnies, &c.
The cau’d East wind blaws i’ wor teeth—

With iron bars we are surrounded;

It’s better, far, to suffer deeth,

Than thus to hev wor feelings wounded.

Oh! hinnies, &c.
Wor haddocks, turbot, cod, and ling,

Are lost tiv a’ wor friends’ inspection;

Genteelish folk frev us tyek wing,

For fear of catching some infection.

Oh! hinnies, &c.

O, kind Sir Matt.—ye bonny Star,

Gan to the King, an' show this ditty—

Tell him what canny folks we are,

And make him free us fra this Kitty.

Oh! hinnies, &c.
If ye succeed, agyen we'll sing—

Sweet Madge, wor Queen, will ever bless ye;

And poor au’d Jemmy tee, wor King,

With a’ us fish-wives will caress ye.

Oh! hinnies, &c.


Tune—“Scots, come o’er the Border.”

MARCH! march to the Dandy Fish Market!

See what our Corporation’s done for you,

By pillars and paling so nobly surrounded,

And your stone tables all standing before you.
Where’s there a river so fam’d in the nation?

Where’s the bold tars that so well grace their station?

Coals, fish, and grindstones—we’ll through the world bark it—

And now we ha’e gotten a bonny Fish Market.

March! march, &c.
Oh! did the fish ken they’d be cage’d like a birdie,

(Euphy, the Queen, singing “Maw canny Geordie,”)

They’d pop out their heads then, should ye only watch them,

And call on the fishermen sharply to catch them.

March! march, &c.
Yet all isn’t right, tho’—in time you may hear it;

One week is past, and but one cart’s come near it:

The loons above stairs preconcerted the order,

And hinder poor bodies to hawk round the border.

March! march, &c.

Gan to the coast—where the fisherman’s weeding—

Gan to the fells—where the cuddies are feeding—

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