Opening of the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway

The source text is annotated with the footnotes that appear at the end of the book. They are identified here as numbers within braces, thus {9}. These footnotes are inserted in the text given below to simplify the understanding of the text.

LASS! lay me out maw Sunday clase,
To-morn's to be the day o' days,
Tho railroad's gaun to oppen; [Note 643.1]
And awl' be there amang the rest,
Buss'd(1) as aw was iv a' maw best, [Note 643.2]
At the last Westgate Hoppin(1) {1}

{1} Many years ago, when the Westgate and Ballast Hill Hoppings were in all their glory, and more numerously attended than they have been since, several of our fagging Quaysiders did not think it beneath them to snatch a few hours' relaxation from the toil of business, at these places of 'fun and frolic.' But at present the sports at these 'merry-makings' want that spirit which formerly distinguished them a quarter of a century ago.

The maister-men will a' be there,
Wi' him that a'ways fills the chair,
Aw think thereon him PLUMMER ; {2}
And a' the cheps that fand the brass(1),
That browt this greet event to pass,
Then in much better humour.

{2} Mr. Plummer's exertions, as Chairman of the Company, were worthy of all praise-no consideration of time or convenience having been allowed for one moment to interfere with the discharge of his very troublesome and arduous duty. The memory of the Late Mr. Losh, at the same time, demands a passing tribute at our hands. To the talent, perseverance, and popularity of Mr. Losh, Mr. PLUMMER's predecessor as Chairman, the triumph of the undertaking over its early and most serious difficulties is to be chiefly attributed.

For oft they've been i' plaguy tifts,
And put the D'rectors to their shifts(1), [Note 643.3]
To please, but yit to foil 'em
They strok'd them canny wi' the hair,
Skipp'd a' the spots consider'd sair,
Exceptin' just to oil 'em. - {3}

{3} It often required no small degree of tact and forbearance to parry the ugly questions asked, and the explanations required, by some of the shareholders, of the Chairman and other Directors, at the meetings of the Company, as they were not always put in the simplest forms, nor in the mildest manner.

The Corporations¹ on the line,
As weel on Edon (sic) as on Tyne, [Note 643.4]
Will mense this greet occasion,
In sendin' Mayors and Aldermen :-
But then the hats and goons are gyen,
That mark'd them men o' station.

Ye'll see them now like other folk
In things like bedgoons, peas(1) , or cloaks {4}; [Note 643.5]
The fashion's queer formations;
But mony things as weel as claes
Are sadly alter'd nowadays,
Aboot wor Corporations.

{4} The cocked hats and gowns that distinguished Aldermen from other men, previous to the Municipal Reform in September, 1835, were now laid aside, and their 'worships' then appeared in all the fantastical fashions of the day, as regarded both cut and cloth. [Note 643.6]

Aw've just heerd a' this i' the toon,
Where nowt else now, aw think, gans doon
But this greet undertakin';
Which will bring grist to mony a mill,
And cheaper far wor bellies fill
Wi' taties and wi' bacon.

And there'll be fine fresh eggs, they say,
Which I' the west they bigger lay
Then what we get frae SWINNEY'S [Note 643.7]
Wi' blethers full o' Mistress White {5}
And butter, saut and fresh, full weight
The thing for singin' hinnies,

{5} Lard.

But there's ne knawin a' the good
We'll got frae cheap and better food-
And pleasant trips i' summer,
Te Staincheybank and Hexham fairs,
Where there's galore o temptin' wares,
To myek the pocket tryummer.

Aw'll tell thou mair when aw come back,
For then we'll hey a sappy crack(2),
'Boot a' aw've heerd and seen
Upon this vage to foreign pairts,
Wher few but cadgers(2)wi' their cairts
Till now hev iver been.


Now, hinny, here aw's back agyen ; 
Thou'll think, aw's flaid, maw time aw've tyen, [Note 643.8]
Aw've been so lang i' comin' ;
But when twee sic awd standards meet,
Tho pain o' pairtin's varry greet,
Thou knaves, maw bonny woman.

We left the Hough in gallant style, {6}
And shot away for awd Carlisle
Snug seated i' the Queen {7}
Amang the swarms wor canny² toon,
And Gyetshed, planted up and doon,
To see so rare a scene.

{6} The Redheugh
{7}The Victoria train.

To toll thou a' aw've noticed there,
O' dashin' blades and ladies fair,
And lots o' bonny lasses,
Wi gentlemen of iv'ry grade,
And sons o' toil of iv'ry trade,
Maw power o' tongue surpasses.

Wi' murth and fun the country rung,
The lairks and linties roun' us sung ;
And when the day was sunny,
The scenery rich and richer grew,
Until we seem'd just glidin' through
A land o' milk and honey. [Note 643.9]

We suin reech'd Gilsland's famish wells,
Which, when a lung or liver fyels,
Or other ailin' maiters
Myek sick folk flee frae doctors' pill;
Te souk health tract the heather hills,
Or draw it frae the waiters [Note 643.10]

It 'minded me o' BOBBY'S sang
Aboot the Dutchman bool'd along
Upon a gimcrank leg,
That let him nowther stop nor stay,
But whisk'd him on byeth neet an' day,
As hard as it could peg. [Note 643.11]

Could but the folks of awd lang syne
Luik out upon this bonny line,
And see what we are deein,
They could, aw think, compare't wi' nowse
But CLOOTIE'S gang, a' brocken lowse[Note 643.12]
And free his clutches fleein'.

Some gan te mend a crazy(1) frame :
Te mend their fortunes, others aim,
By tryin' te recruit 'em
Amang the monied maidens fair,
That gun to pick up husbands there,
Wi' a' their een aboot 'em. [Note 643.13]

'Twas hereaboots, in days o' yore,
Awd LIZZY {8} leev'd, whe could restore
Goods owther stray'd or stowen -
Could tell the wearyin' lasses when
They might expect to get good-men,
Though hope was a' but flowen.

{8} ELIZABETH DOUGLAS. Honest LIZZY lived near Brampton, and carried on the craft of fortune-telling - recovering things stolen or strayed - and restoring cattle that laboured under diseases inflicted by witchcraft. She was the oracle of the vicinity for many miles round, and sent many a forlorn maiden away with a light head; for, after bamboozling and mystifying the inquirer with a variety of questions, so as almost to make her say what she wanted to be told, she delighted her with the initials of the name of the swain of her choice - not forgetting, however, whilst shuffling the cards, to shuffle the money from the girl's pocket into her own. She was once applied to for assistance in the case of some cattle that were " dwining awar under the power of witchcraft. She was rather puzzled how to act in this matter; but, after applying her fertile mind to it for some time, she came to the sage conclusion that slitting their tails, and putting pieces of rown-tree into the opening, would free them from the power that was destroying them. This, of course, was tried ; but the owners of the cattle declared that it had no effect upon the disease, and that they might as well have "laid salt on their tails." Lizzy no doubt, often missed her mark on these occasions; but she some-times made a lucky hit, which kept her fame afloat with the dupes that consulted her. She has been dead upwards of twenty years; but her daughter, it is said, has succeeded to the business, and inherits the rare qualities of her far-famed parent.

They say there's yen that fills her place,
That niver fyels, whate'er the case,
To equal honest LIZZY ;
And sin' the trains began to run,
Her trade's so brisk, that, lyet and suin,
They keep her a'ways bizzy.

When we war just ayont the Gut(1), {9}
Aw let maw pipe o' paten' cut,
That nowt might be a wantin',
Te brim the cup o pleasur full,
And ony stragglin' teaser{10} lull,
'Mang scenes se fine and flantin'.

{9} Team Gut [Note 643.14]
{10} Care or annoyance

But, hinny, aw forgat to smoke !
Thou'll mebby think this but a joke,
But it's the honest truth ;
For oft se bizzy war maw een,
Wi wood and waiter, hill and dean,
The pipe fell frae maw mouth.

Aw've oft been tell'd o' wings o' Love,
And stared to hear how fast they move,
On sartin warm occasions,
When lads wi' lasses run away
Post-hyest to Gretna - neet and day
Pursued by their relations.

But when these wings are wrowt by steam,
Pursuit is then an idle dream,
And hope o' captur vain :
They'd better far just stay at hyem,
As chance o catchin's then the syem,
Purch'd on an efter train.

Then quite secure frae furious frinds,
Their flight to Gretna safely ends
At HYMEN'S far-fam'd smiddy
Where suin the union's myed complete,
The metals bein at weldin' heat,
And VULCAN a'ways ready.

Aw tuik a luik aboot the toon ;
And efter danderin' up an' down,
To see what folks war deein',
Aw fend they had tyen up a trade
Where we've the foremost fiddle play'd,
E'er sin' it had a bein'.

They've here a deal to lairn, aw see,
And sud tyek lessons frae wor Quay,
On sick mysterious makers
As shippin' coals{11}-where iv'ry pairt
Is taught by misters o' the airt,
In a' their craft furst-raters.

{11} If long practice leads to proficiency in any business, the fitter(1) on Newcastle quay may be fairly entitiled to claim first rank amongst those who profess the "black art" of shipping coals.

It was a pleasant seet to see
Wor canny toon, and Carlisle tee,
Byeth yit se hale and hearty,
In spite of a' the Border frays
In which they fowt i former days,
The bravest o their party.

And now the travellers, wi' their trains,
Will thraw young blood into the veins
O' Carlisle's "murry city ;"
And GRAINGER(1) may, some efternuin,
Slip ower and touch her up, when duin
Here wi her canny(1) titty(1).

What lots o brass¹ it mun ha'e tyen,
And labour frae lang-heeded men,
Te join this ancient pair-
To myek thorn, as it war, shake hands,
And knit them close iv iron bands,
Te separate ne mair

Aw hope they'll a' be spared to see
The fruits o' this most noble tree,
This cream o man's creations,
Enrich and bliss wor happy hyems ;
And when they're deed, hand doon their nyems
Te coontless generations.