Mary, oh, Mary, please come 'ome to me,
Expects to go crazy wi' list'nin' to thee;
If tha gets murdered then Ah s'all get 'ung,
An' s'all 'ave to purrup with thi natterin' tongue.
Been wearin' this vest an' these owd woollen pants
Since tha went away t' other week.
Could do wi' a bath, but can't get watter wahm,
Ah'm grubby an stinks like a seak;*
Then there's t' owd dog, well 'e ought to be weshed,
An' then there's this frahsy* owd cat;
All goin' lahsy, no doubt abaht that,
We've all on us started to scrat.
Ah never knew 'ow tha managed at all
To deal wi' this awk'ard owd cow;
Soon as she sees me she tosses 'er 'eead
An' starts to kick up a row;
Then she stands still, aye an' lets me gerron,
Ah gets a good milkin' can full,
Then she kicks aht, there's milk all ovver t' flooer,
An' then she bellers fer t' bull.
Ah went rahnd to t' 'en-'oil to see what were up,
To clean 'em an' streighten up pens;
Well t' door were all stuck, aye an' t' flooer plastered up,
There really were no room for t' 'ens.
They've gone into t' parlour, taken two cocks an' all,
But Ah can't blame 'em fer that.
Ah know tha won't like it 'em layin' their eggs,
There in thi best Sunday 'at.
Ah thowt it were time Ah got ploughin' ageean,
In th' rough against bottom lea;
Though t' blade were rusty it started alreight,
But Ah can't do it like thee.
First 'andle flew up, Ah've a lovely black eye,
Then t' owd plough went an' got stuck;
T' owd 'oss won't budge 'cos 'er's castin' a shoe,
An' both on us plastered in t' muck.
Ah never could understand choose 'ow much Ah tried
Exactly just 'ow it were done,
Dippin' them sheep into that stinkin' beck
An' slappin' their starns till the' run.
Ah made a mess on it 'ere where Ah tried,
On yon greasy bank where Ah slipped,
Fell into t' sheep-'oil an' nearly got drahned,
An' so it were me as got dipped.
*seak = greasy sludge from old woollen mills
*frahsy = untidy, musty
oil = hole, or wider application, a place or room as in coil-oil (coal-hole)
This is a traditional song
Mick learnt this song direct from the singing of Tommy Daniel of Batley in the 60s. The version that appears in Tommy's own typed booklet (See notes to Old Jim Slack's Grey Horse TYG12) gives the stanzas in a different order, 2, 3, 5, 4, 1, and has an extra stanza on the end:
I wish I could boil up this swilltub like thee,
Tha's 'andy at muckin' t' pigs aht;
'Ere I am a'most pestered to death,
Don't even know where to start;
There's ten in this litter all screamin' like mad,
Fratchin' an' fightin' to suck;
Th' owd sow's in t' swilltub, I can't get 'er aht,
An' I'm ovver th' ankles in muck.
In the Hudleston Collection is a version recorded from Tommy Daniel (See Songs of the Ridings Hudleston, 2001, p15) which commences with this sixth stanza and then has stanzas 4, 1, 3, a different stanza, and then 2 of Mick's version. The extra stanza after 3 is:
We 'ad the gander but we 'ad no geese,
So 'e 'ad to live bi 'is sen.
Ahr maid 'ud beckon 'im, an' when the' called
'E always answered to Ben.
'E's gone an' left us, can't blame 'im for that,
Even if 'e's gone astray.
Now that tha's gone 'e's a-courtin some geese
At t' farm nearly two miles away.
Also Mick's first stanza has a different first half in the Hudleston version where it is stanza 3:
Ah'm getting' all wheezy an' feelin' run dahn,
An' reight fillin' up with a cowd;
'Ere I am a'most frozen to death,
Feelin' that Ah'm gerrin' owd.
The Hudleston title is simply the first line of the chorus with which the song commences.
In Tommy Daniel's booklet under the title for this song there is the following explanation, 'I got this song from an old farm labourer during the war. It has a very simple tune, and was sung to the rhythm of an old turnip-chopping machine. Slow 3/4'.
It would appear that between typing the booklet and the recorded version there was some recreating going on, over and above normal aural processes of occasional alteration to syntax. In fact on the recording he claims the tune is his and that he had more or less rewritten it. All versions derive from the Daniel song and there are no known versions other than these.