A Dalesman's Litany

Frederic William Moorman

From Hull, Halifax, and Hell, good Lord deliver us.
     A Yorkshire Proverb.

It's hard when fowks can't find their wark
   Wheer they've bin bred an' born;
When I were young I awlus thowt
   I'd bide 'mong t' roots an' corn.
But I've bin forced to work i' towns,
   So here's my litany:
Frae Hull, an' Halifax, an' Hell,
   Gooid Lord, deliver me!

When I were courtin' Mary Ann,
   T' owd squire, he says one day:
"I've got no bield(1) for wedded fowks;
   Choose, wilt ta wed or stay?"
I couldn't gie up t' lass I loved,
   To t' town we had to flee:
Frae Hull, an' Halifax, an' Hell,
   Gooid Lord, deliver me!

I've wrowt i' Leeds an' Huthersfel',
   An' addled(2) honest brass;
I' Bradforth, Keighley, Rotherham,
   I've kept my barns an' lass.
I've travelled all three Ridin's round,
   And once I went to sea:
Frae forges, mills, an' coalin' boats,
   Gooid Lord, deliver me!

I've walked at neet through Sheffield loans,(3)
   'T were same as bein' i' Hell:
Furnaces thrast out tongues o' fire,
   An' roared like t' wind on t' fell.
I've sammed up coals i' Barnsley pits,
   Wi' muck up to my knee:
Frae Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham,
   Gooid Lord, deliver me!

I've seen grey fog creep ower Leeds Brig
   As thick as bastile(4) soup;
I've lived wheer fowks were stowed away
   Like rabbits in a coop.
I've watched snow float down Bradforth Beck
   As black as ebiny:
Frae Hunslet, Holbeck, Wibsey Slack,
   Gooid Lord, deliver me!

But now, when all wer childer's fligged,(5)
   To t' coontry we've coom back.
There's fotty mile o' heathery moor
   Twix' us an' t' coal-pit slack.
And when I sit ower t' fire at neet,
   I laugh an' shout wi' glee:
Frae Bradforth, Leeds, an Huthersfel',
Frae Hull, an' Halifax, an' Hell,
   T' gooid Lord's delivered me!

1. Shelter.  2. Earned,
3. Lanes  4. Workhouse  5. Fledged