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APoem called WARRIKIN FAYRE (Warrington Fair c1548)


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Some of you History buffs may be aware of this 16th century poem, I found it on American website.



There is an old ballad preserved ? we believe by Mr.

J. O. Haliwell, and communicated by William Bea-

mout, Esq. of Warrington ? describing, in the dialect

of the place and time, how Gilbert Scott sold his

mare Barry' at Warrikin {i.e., Warrington) Fair. It

is perhaps the oldest ballad extant in the Lancashire

dialect, and its date is fixed by the name " Rondle

Shay's " in the fifth verse ; for the name of Sir Thomas

Butler's bailiff in the 2d Edward VI. (1548) was

Randle Shay or Shaw.


Now, au yo good gcntlefoak, an yo won tarr>",

I'll tell yo how Gilbert Scott soud his mare Barry ;

He soud his mare Barry at Warrikin fair.

But when he'll be paid, he knaws no', I'll swear.


So when he coom whom, and toud his woife Grace,

Hoo stud up o' th' kippo, and swat him o'er th' face,

Hoo pick'd him o' th' hillock, and he fawd wi' a whack,

That he thowt would welly a brocken his back.


" O woife," quo' he, " if thou'll le'mme but rise,

I'll gi' thee aw" th' leet, wench, imme that lies ;"

"Tho udgit," quo' hoo, "but whecr does he dwell?"

" By lakin," quo' he, " that I conno' tell."


" I tuck him for t' be some gentlemen's son,

For he spent tuppence on me, when he had dun ;

An' he gen me a lunchin o' denty snig poy,

An' by th' hond did he shak' me most lovingly."


Then Grace hoo prompted hur neatly and tine,

An' to Warrikin went c' Wc'nsday bctime ;

An' theer, too, hoo staid for foive mark it days.

Till th' mon wi' th' marc were cum t' Kondle Shay's.


An' as hoo wer' resting one day in hur rowm,

Hoo spoy'd th' mon a-riding th' mare into th' town ;

Then bounce goos hur heart, an' hoo were so gloppcn,

That out o' th' winder hoo'd like for to loppcn.


Hoo stampt an' hoo stared, an' down stairs hoo run,

Wi' hur heart in hur hunt, an' hur want well gone ;

Her headgear flew off, and so did her snood ;

Hoo stampt and hoo stared, as if hoo'd bin wooed.


To Rundle?s hoo hide, an' hoo hove' up the latch,

Afore th' mon had tied th' mare gravely to th' crutch.

" My god mon," quo' hoo, " Gilbert greets you right merry,

And begs that you?ll send him th' money for Barry."



♦'Oh, money !" quo' he, "that connot I spare :"

" Be lakin," quo' hoo, " then I?ll ha' th' mare."

Hoo poo'd an' hoo thrumper'd him sham' to be seen,

"Thou hangman," quo' hoo, " I'll poo' out thy e'en.

" I'll mak' thee a sompan, I'll houd thee a groat ;

I'll auther ha' th' money, or poo' out thy throat : "

So between 'em they made sich a wearisom' din,

That to mak' 'em at peace, Rondle Shay did come in.

" Cum, fyc, naunty Grace ; cum, fye, an' ha' dun ;

You'st ha' th' mare, or th' money, whether yo' won."

So Grace geet th' money, an' whomwards hoo's gone ;

But hoo keeps it hursel' an' gies Gilbert Scott none.




A few words in this quaint ballad require a glossary.

It has evidently been preserved by oral tradition for a

time, and then incorrectly dictated by, or taken down

from, its singer.

The second line of the second verse

should read thus ? " Hoo tuck up th' kippo, an' swat

him o'er th' face ;" that is ? She took up the big stick

and struck him over the face.

The next line reads ?

She pushed or pitched him upon the hillock, and he

fell with a whack, or great force. " Welly " is well-

nigh, nearly.

The second line of the third verse, in English,

is ? I will give thee all the light, wench, in me

that lies. " Udgit" may mean a soft fool, or a clumsy

fellow ; or it may be a form of hedgehog. " By lakin "

is a corruption of " By'r lakin," itself a corruption of

" By our lady," a Roman Catholic expletive often to

be met with in old plays.

The third line of the fourth verse reads ?

and he gave me a luncheon of dainty snig

(i.e. eel) pie. We should be inclined to read the first

line of the fifth verse thus ? Then Grace she prompted

her {i.e. dressed, adorned herself) neatly and fine.



The third and fourth lines of this verse mean that she stayed

at Warrington five market-days, till the man with the

mare came and put up at Randle Shay's. " Gloppcn "

means startled, surprised ; " Loppcn," to have leaped.

In the seventh verse are two similar colloquialisms,

" her heart in her hand, and her wind (breath) well-

nigh gone." "Snood" is a hair- fillet or band.

" Woode " is mad, wild.

The two first lines of verse

eight read ? To Handle's she went, and she heaved up

the latch, before the man had tied the mare properly

or completely to the hay-rack. " Poo'd " is pulled ;

" thrumper'd," thumped, beat. " Sompan " is pro-

bably what we still mean by sumph, a foolish, stupid

fellow. "I'll hold thee a groat," ? I'll bet thee a

wager of a groat. Shaksperc has "to hold a penny,'

in the sense of to bet a trifle.

In the last verse

Randle Shay accosts Grace Scott familiarly as

" Naunty," or aunt, a common mode of salutation to

elderly women.

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