Here I am as you may see, Ah'm Yorkshire ti backbone,
Ah rise each day sae blithe and gay at half-past-five in morn.
Ah feeds the pigs and milks the coos as happy as can be,
Then off Ah gans ti ploo, me lads, and me heart's sae gay and free.
Then a country life for me, me lads, an' a country life for me,
Ah'm workin' away in the fields all day an' a country life for me.
Some folks they laugh and jeer at us to see us eat fat bacon,
They would not taste oor Sunda' treat but that's where they're mistaken.
Oor pies an' puddin's smeeakin' 'ot, we eats 'em at oor ease,
Then gi' me a pint of 'ome-brewed yal an' a lump o' bread an' cheese.
At Marti'mas time we 'es sike fun among the servant gels,
We treats 'em all to monkeys-up-sticks an' we buys 'em fal-the-rals.*
Ah think Ah've bin with all the gels, there's one Ah love the best,
An' for a wife Ah should prefer this gel to all the rest.
There’s some will call me Johnny Bruggs when into town Ah come,
But when the’ start playin' up games Ah'm as wise as them bi gums,
An' if the' try it on wi' me an' think they've getten a mug,
When Ah thinks the' get ower far Ah gi's 'em a thump i't' lug.
* 'Monkeys-up-sticks' are brightly painted children’s toys made by travellers who hawked their wares at fairs. They consist of two sticks between which a simple marionette monkey is attached by string, such that when the sticks are pressed together the monkey is caused to girate and swing its limbs.
* 'Falderals' were simply fancy trinkets sold at fairs.
This is a traditional song about Yorkshire, collected in Yorkshire.
Apart from the second stanza I have not come across this song elsewhere. I don’t think it is much older than 1900, but it is every bit in the style of All Jolly Fellows that follow the Plough which is mid-nineteenth century. In his youth Jack Howlett worked on Wolds farms and, like many of his contemporaries when modern machinery made many of them redundant, he joined Hull City Parks Department where he eventually became Head Gardener.
Stanza 2 is very close to stanza 2 of Buttercup Joe (Roud 1635) (See Purslow’s The Wanton Seed, p22). This song was recorded on a Zonophone 78 in 1928 by the Sussex singer, Albert Richardson.
The original recording of this song is deposited in the British Library Sound Archive at C1009/3 C54 [access copy 1CDR0009325 BD31] and this recording was digitized by the British Library Sound Archive as part of the Traditional Music in England project sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Further details can be obtained at:-www.bl.uk/collections/sound-archive/traditional_music.html along with details of many other recordings made by Steve Gardham and others from other parts of the UK.
This song was first published in Gardham, An East Riding Songster, Lincolnshire and Humberside Arts, 1982, p13.