Joan o' Grinfield [Note 198.1]
I'm a poor cotton weaver, as many a one knows,
I've nowt to eat I' th' house and I've worn out m' clothes
You'd hardly give sixpence for all I've got on, [Note 198.2]
My clogs are bursten, and stockings I've none.
You'd think it wur hard to be sent to the ward [Note 198.3]
For to clam(1) and do best that you can
Our church parson kept telling me long,
We should have better times if I'd hold my tongue.
I've holden my tongue till I can hardly draw breeoth,
I think in my heart they me t' clam me to death.
I know he lives weel by backbiting the deel
But he never picked o'er in his life
I tarried six weeks, thought every day was the last,
I shifted and shifted till now I'm quite fast;
I lived upon nettles while nettles were good,
And Waterloo porridge was t' best of my food.
I'm telling you true, I can find folks enow,
That are living no better than me.
Now old Bill o, Dans sent baliff(1)s one day
For a shop-score(1) I owed him which I could not pay;
But he was too late for old Bill o, Bent
Had sent tit(1) and cart and taen good for th' rent.
We'd no but a stoo' that was seats for two,
And on it keawred Margit and me. [Note 198.4]
The baliffs looked round as sly as a mouse,
When they saw all the things wur ta'en out o' th' house;
Says one to the other, All's gone thou may see.
Said I, Never fret, lads, you're welcome to me.
They made no more a do, but nibt thd stoo',
And we both went whack upon th' flags(1).
I geet hold of Margit for hoor stricken sick,
Hoo said hoo ne'er had such a bang sin hoor wick.
Then the baliffs scoured off with th' old stoo' o' their back,
They wouldn' 'a cared had they brocken her neck.
They'n mad at old Bent he'd ta'en good for rent,
They was ready to flee(1) us alive.
I said to our Margit as we lay on the floor,
"We ne'er shall be lower in this world I'm sure;
But if we alter, I'm sure we mun mend,
For I think in my heart we are both at far end,
For meat we have none nor looms to weave on,
Egad, they're as good lost as found."
Then I geet up my piece(1) and I took it 'em back,
I scarcely dare speak, master looked so black,
He said "You were o'er paid the last time you coom;"
I said if I was 'twere weaving bont loom.
In the mind that I'm in I'll ne'er pick o'er again,
For I woven myself to th' far end.
The I coom out of th' house & left him chew that,
When I thought at it again I was vexed till I sweat,
To think I mun worch to keep him and a' th' set
All the days of my life and still be in their debt;
So I'll give over trade and work with a spade, [Note 198.5]
Or go and break stones upo' th' road. [Note 198.6]
Our Margit declared if hoo'd clo'es to put on,
Hoo'd go up to London to see th' great mon;
And if things wur not altered when there she had been,
Hoo swears hoo would fight wi' blood up to the een.
Hoo's nowt agen th' king but hoo likes a fair thing,
And hoo says hoo can tell when hoo's hurt.