|A lovely dialect tribute to Thomas Bland.
Taken from LEGENDS AND HISTORICAL NOTES ON PLACES OF NORTH WESTMORELAND.
BY THOS. GIBSON, M.D.
BY ANTHONY WHITEHEAD, OF REAGILL, NEAR SHAP.
YE strangers that ramble down't Vale of Lyvennet, To see bonny Nature and breathe the fresh air, Fra the spring at Black Dub a't way down to the Eden There's seines interesting, romantic, and rare.
Westward fra the Dub 'boute a cannon-shot distance There's cromlecks an' cairns full of auld Celtic baynes ; A temple where't Druids sang prayers to the plannets, Set aw arround wi' a circle o' staynes.
An' in times leayter still, when the Romans reayde foray, An' meayde a new wroad as they crossed ouer the fell, May be seen to this day, near the black dub ye find it, An' if you dispute me ga see for yoursel'.
There's many quere places a't way doon the valley, An' Hamelets or toons where the Brittans did dwell ; There's traces o' some to be seen in t' Lang-deayle, But men, farther larn'd, their origin may tell.
Crosby Kirk, of auld standing, next claims oor attention, Wi' awe an' wi' reverence oor minds for to fill ; Flass House is a feature 'at ought to be mentioned, An' Addison's birthplace on Meaburn Hill.
But the main pleayce I wish to point out to your notice Is Reagill, where yance leev'd the fam'd Thomas Bland, An' auld antiquary, cramfull o' queer notions As any you'll find in the length o' the land.
He kent a' the history o' t' world's creation, Fra t' making of Adam to t' birth o' Tom Thumb ; He tell't us the earth's composition was gasses, An' fowak meayde of air seayme as a baloon.
He talk'd about metals being fused by eruption,
An' how they were melted like souder or tin ; He kent aw the strata of rock fra the surface Aw t' way doon to the boiling het fluid within.
He scabbl'd off shells fra the hard rock o' limestone, An' sed they'd been fishes, some thousand years sen ; He was crack'd, that's a cartainty, out of aw question, To think of imposing o' sensible men.
Then sec a collection of rubbish an' kelder, Auld things 'at he tell't us the Brittans yance meayde ; Bits o' spears, meayde o' flint, broken millstones and trinkums, Sec a cargo o' kelder, a decent ship-leayde.
Gang when you would, between sunrise an' setting, You'd find him in't garden, or else in his den, Where he spent aw his time wi' his mell an' his chisel, His paint-brush an' canvas or scetch-book an' pen.
He wad travel ten mile, wi' a sketch-bewke in nap-sack, To draw some auld shield 'at he might wish to see ; An' than fra the dots, cross lines, an' the shap on't, He wad spin oot a yarn of their lang pedigree ;
An' tell who's it was, whether duke, lord, or baron, An' how they behaved when they went a crusade ; Or, if 'twas a she 'at the shield had belanged tul, He could tell ye at yance if sh'd deed an auld maid.
He'd creatures of aw macks stuck up in his garden, Fra a Hippotamus to Whittington's cat ;
Lions, dogs, deevils, wild boars, an' teayme eagles, Beats Wombwell's Managery hollow an' flat.
There's Addison, Caesar, St. George, an' Hugh Miller, Poet Burns, an' lots mair, I forgitten their neayms ; An' busts o' girt men fra aw parts o' the world, An' some in the meun, I dare say, hed their heayms.
In the cauld days o' winter he set on a fire In a grate like a helmet, stuck in a w'hole ; A shield for his shovel, a sword for his poker, And an Indian tomahawk split the girt-cwoal.
He pay'd equal respect to a bewk-larn'd beggar,
A hawker, a squire, a duke, or a lord ; If they talk'd about science or tell't a good stowry He grappled it aw, without missing a word.
Tho' a wreck of the former, 'tis still interesting,
An' the owner will give you admission quite free ; Sea, if you be strangers, don't fear you'll be welcome, If you come up to Reagill, the Garden to see.
Posted by fitzcoraldo
12th November 2007ce
Edited 12th November 2007ce