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A Cold Dooas.

John Hartley 1839 (Halifax) – 1915

One neet aw went hooam, what time aw can't tell,
But it must ha been lat, for awd th' street to mysel.
Furst one clock, then t'other, kept ringin aght chimes,
Aw wor gaumless, a chap will get gaumless sometimes.
Thinks aw - tha'll drop in for't to-neet lad, tha will!
But aw oppen'd th' haase door an aw heeard all wor still;
Soa aw ventured o' tip toe to creep up to bed,
Thinkin th' less aw disturbed her an th' less wod be sed.
When awd just getten ready to bob under th' clooas,
Aw bethowt me aw hadn't barred th' gate an lockt th' doors;
Soa daan stairs aw crept ommost holdin mi breeath,
An ivverything raand mi wor silent as deeath.
When aw stept aght oth door summat must ha been wrang,
For it shut ov itsen wi a terrible bang;
It wor lucky aw cleared it withaat gettin hurt,
But still, aw wor lockt aght o' door i' mi shirt.
Thinks aw its noa use to be feared ov a din,
Awst be foorced to rouse Betty to let me get in.
An to mend matters snow wor beginnin to fall,
An a linen shirt makes but a poor overall.
Aw knockt at first pratly, for fear ov a row,
But her snooarin aw heeard plain enuff daan below.
Mi flesh wor i' gooise-lumps, mi feet wor like ice,
To be frozzen to deeath, thinks aw, willn't be nice;
Soa as knockin wor useless aw started to bray,
Till at last one oth pannels began to give way.
All th' neighbors ther heeads aght oth windows did pop,
But aw couldn't wake Betty, shoo slept like a top.
At last a poleeceman coom raand wi his lamp,
An he spied mi an thowt mi some murderin scamp;
Aw tried to explain, but he wodn't give heed,
For he wanted a job like all th' rest ov his breed.
He tuk me to th' lock-up, an thear made a charge,
At aw wor a lunatic rooamin at large.
In a cell aw wor put, whear aw fan other three,
'Twor a small cell for four, but a big sell for me;
An shiv'rin an shudd'rin an pairt druffen sick,
That neet seem'd to me twice as long as a wick.
Next mornin they dragg'd me to th' cooart-haase to tell
What it meant, an to give an accaant o' misel;
An they fined me five shillin, but ha could aw pay,
When mi brass wor ith pockets oth clooas far away?
Then they sent Betty word, an shoo coom, for it seems
Shoo wor up i' gooid time, for shoo'd had ugly dreeams;
An shoo browt me mi clooas, an shoo set me all streight,
But her pity wor nobbut, "It just sarves thee reight."
Sin then yo've noa nooation what awve to endure,
For aw gate sich a cold 'at noa phisic can cure;
An if aw complain Betty says i' quicksticks,
"Tha sees what tha gets wi thi wrang-headed tricks."
Soa aw grin an aw bide it as weel as aw can,
But awve altered mi tactics, an nah it's mi plan
If mi mates ivver tempt me an get me to rooam,
Aw sup pop when awm aght an sup whisky at hooam.
An Betty declares it's been all for mi gooid,
For awd long wanted summat to cooil mi young blooid;
But this lesson it towt me awl freely confess, -
To mak sewer th' gate's made fast befoor aw undress.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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John Hartley

John Hartley was an English poet who worked in the Yorkshire dialect. He wrote a great deal of prose and poetry – often of a sentimental nature – dealing with the poverty of the district. He was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Hartly wrote and edited the Original Illuminated Clock Almanack from 1866 to his death. Most of Hartley's works are written in dialect. Hartley wrote a number of books featuring the character "Sammywell Grimes", who has a number of adventures and suffers unfortunate mishaps. more…

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