Welcome, Bonny Brid
by Samuel Laycock
From ‘The Collected Writings of Samuel Laycock’, second edition, issued 1908.
Published in Oldham by W. E. Clegg, in London by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. Ltd., and in Manchester by John Heywood Ltd. and Abel Heywood & Son. Also in ‘Lancashire Miscellany’, edited by James Bennett, published by Hirst, Kidd & Rennie, Oldham, 1960.
Samuel Laycock (1826 – 1893), was a power-loom weaver, cloth-looker and later Librarian at the Stalybridge Mechanic’s Institution. He was actually a Yorkshire man, born at Marsden, but moved to Stalybridge when he was eleven years old and wrote in the Lancashire dialect. One of his most famous poems is ‘Bowton’s Yard’. He is considered one of the great Lancashire dialect poets.
The following poem was written when one of his children was born during the Cotton Famine, caused when imports of raw cotton practically dried up during the American Civil War, producing huge hardship for most Lancafhire cotton industry workers. At the time he wrote the poem, one dark December day, probably in 1863, Sam had neither work nor wage. It is a curiosity that Sam’s baby was actually a girl! There is a charming follow-up to this poem, written when the 'Bonny Brid' got married some twenty-three years later, and you can read it here.
See additional notes on 'God Bless These Poor Wimmen That's Childer'.
Now, enjoy the poem. Footnotes are to help those who haven’t had the benefit of a proper education, or you can go to the Glossary.
Welcome, Bonny Brid
Tha’rt welcome, little bonny brid ,
But shouldn’t ha’ come just when tha did;
Toimes are bad.
We’re short o’ pobbies for eawr Joe,
But that, of course, tha didn’t know,
Did ta, lad?
Aw’ve often yeard mi feyther tell,
'At when aw coom i’th’ world misel’
Trade wur slack;
And neaw it’s hard wark pooin’ throo-
But aw munno fear thee,- iv aw do
Tha’ll go back.
Cheer up! These toimes ‘ll awter soon;
Aw’m beawn to beigh another spoon-
One for thee;-
An’, as tha’s sich a pratty face
Aw’ll let thi have eawr Charley’s place
On mi knee.
God bless thi, love! aw’m fain tha’rt come,
Just try and mak’ thisel awhoam:
Here’s thi nest;
Tha’rt loike thi mother to a tee,
But tha’s thi feyther’s nose, aw see,
Well, aw’m blest!
Come, come, tha needn’t look so shy,
Aw am no’ blamin’ thee, not I;
An’ tak’ this haupney for thisel’,
There’s lots of sugar-sticks to sell
Deawn i’th’ teawn.
Aw know when first aw coom to th’ leet ,
Aw’re fond o’ owt 'at tasted sweet;
Tha’ll be th’ same.
But come, tha’s never towd thi dad
What he’s to co thi yet, mi lad,
What’s thi name?
Hush! hush! tha mustn’t cry this way,
But get this sope o’ cinder tay
While it’s warm;
Mi mother used to give it me,
When aw wur sich a lad as thee,
In her arm.
Oh, what a temper!-dear-a-me
Heaw tha skrikes!
Here’s a bit o’ sugar, sithee;
Howd thi noise, an’ then aw’ll gie thee
Owt tha likes.
We’ve nobbut getten coarsish fare,
But, eawt o’ this tha’ll get thi share,
Aw hope tha’ll never want a meal,
But allus fill thi bally weel
While tha’rt here.
Thi feyther’s noan been wed so lung,
An’ yet tha sees he’s middlin’ thrung
Wi’ yo’ o.
Besides thi little brother Ted,
We’ve one upsteers, asleep i’ bed,
Wi’ eawr Joe.
But tho’ we’ve childer two or three,
We’ll mak’ a bit o’ reawm for thee,
Bless thee, lad!
Thar’t th’ prattiest brid we have i’th’ nest,
So hutch up closer to mi breast;
Aw’m thi dad.’
Below is a recitation of the poem. You may need to allow 'ActiveX' control to listen. I hope you enjoy it.
Brid = bird
Pobbies = a dish made with bread and milk, suitable for children and the sick
Beawn = going, as in ‘homeward bound’
Fain = glad, pleased
Awhoam = at home
Haupney = halfpenny, a small coin
Leet = light, i.e. when I was born
Sope o’ cinder tay = sip of cinder tea. Cinder tay helped digestion. I understand it was made by immersing a red-hot cinder in a cup of water.
Skrikes = cries
Sithee = see thee, i.e. ‘look’
Owt = anything (nowt = nothing)
Nobbbut = only
Allus fill thi bally weel = always fill your tummy well
Thrung = thronged, i.e. busy
I love this poem and have set it to a lullaby tune. Write your own, or let me know and I’ll send you a copy of mine.
Return to Index of Lancashire Dialect Poems