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The Little Doffer


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The Little Doffer by Edwin Waugh



The Little Doffer


(Doffer - boy who takes the bobbins off winding machines when the bobbins are full.)



A merry little doffer lad
Coom down to Shapper’s mill,
To see if he could get a shop;
He said his name wur “Bill.”

“Bill what, my lad?” th’ o’erlooker said;
“Arto co’de nought beside?”
“Oh, yigh,” said th’ lad; “they co’n me things –
Sometimes, - ‘at’s bad to bide!”

“But what’ thi faither’s name, my lad?
Thou’ll surely tell me that!”
Said th’ lad, “Some co’n him ‘Apple Dad,’ –
His gradely name’s ‘Owd Hat.’

“My uncle Joe’s co’de ‘Flopper Chops!’
An’ sometimes ‘Owd Betide!’
They co’n him thoose at th’ weighvin'-shops;
An’ I know nought beside.”

Said th’ o’erlooker, “I know owd Joe, –
He weighvs for Billy Grime;
But, what dun they co’ thee, my lad,
When they co’n at dinner-time?”

Th’ lad grinned, an’ said, “They never han
To co’ me then, – no fear!”
Said th’ o’erlooker, “How’s that, my lad?”
Said th’ lad, “I’M AL’AYS THEER!”

My lad, thou looks a lively cowt;
Keen as a cross-cut saw;
Short yure, sharp teeth, a twinklin’ e’e,
An’ a little hungry maw!

But, wheer hasto bin wortchin’ at?
What’s brought tho down our way?”
Said th’ lad, “I wortched for Tommy Platt;
He’s gan me th’ bag, to-day.”

Thou’s brought thi character, I guess?”
Says th’ lad, “yo’re wrang, I doubt:”
Says th’ o’erlooker to th’ lad, “How’s this?”
Says th’ lad, “I’M BETTER BOWT!”

Said th’ o’erlooker, “I never see
Sich a whelp sin I wur born!
But, I’ll try what I can make o’ thee:
Come to thi wark to-morn!”





Doffer - boy who takes the bobbins off winding machines when the bobbins are full.

Shop - job, or works

Bide - abide, put up with

Weighvin - weaving

Yure - hair

e'e - should be 'ee' meaning 'eye'

Wortchin - working

Gan me th' bag - given me the sack

Charcter - character reference

I doubt - curiously this means 'I don't doubt', or 'I presume'

Bost - without

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you very much for the words to this song. I know it very well from an album called "Deep Lancashire" which came out in (I think) the late 60's but I have never actually understood all of the lyrics. Deep Lancashire was re-released on cd a few years ago. Guess who bought a copy?

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