Friday, December 28, 2007

A Samuel Laycock New Year

It’s New Year at the Fylde and Wyre Antiquarian, so what better way to celebrate than with a bit of Lanky Twang? And when it comes to the great masters of the genre, there’s probably none better than Samuel Laycock. Despite being remembered for his Lancashire dialect poetry, Laycock was actually born on the 17th of January 1826, at Marsden in Yorkshire. He started writing poetry in the 1850s but it wasn’t until the ‘Cotton Famine’ that his work, inspired by that other luminary of Lancashire dialect Edwin Waugh, attracted serious attention.

In 1867, due to concerns over his health, Laycock moved to Fleetwood and took up the position of curator at the Whitworth Institute (later the Fielden Library and, incidentally, the building in the background of the Fylde and Wyre Antiquarian logo at the top of this page. That’s the one…behind the two likely looking characters and their soda-van). One year later he headed for Blackpool (and in particular, number 48, Foxhall Road). Here he worked as a photographer until his failing eyesight got the better of him.

He became an elected member of the Blackpool Free Library Committee just six weeks before he died of pneumonia, aged 67, on the 15th of December 1893.

The portrait of him shown below (or so we’ve been informed) can be found at the Grundy Art Gallery, although, true to form, it’s not actually on display.

The following poem might well be over a century old, but we reckon it just about sums up our own personal feelings towards this particular New Year…and no doubt it’ll strike a chord with most of our readers as well…Happy 2008:

Goodbye Owd Year…by Samuel Laycock

Good-bye, Owd Year, tha'rt goin' soon, aw reckon:
Well, one thing's sure, tha's been no friend o'mine;
Soa go thi ways to thoose tha's treated better;
Thoose tha's supplied wi honour, wealth an' wine.
Aw've watched thi marlocks ever sin' tha coom here;
An', that bein' so, aw couldn't help but see
Tha's had thi friends, an' these tha's nursed and petted,
While tryin' t' throw cowd wayter on to me.

Be off! An leov thi reawm for somb'dy better;
An' tak' thi pampered favourites wi thi to';
Clear eawt ole th' hangers-on theaw has abeawt thee,
An' give us th' chance o' tryin' summat new.
What! Me ungrateful? Here, neaw, just one minute;
Doest meon to tell me 'at aw owe thee owt?
Neaw here's a plain, straight-forrud question for thee;
Come, shew me what tha's oather sent or browt.

Well, let that pass, aw bear no malice, mind thee;
Tha'rt clearin' eawt, an' one thing's very sure,
'At when we hear th' church bells ring eawt at midneet,
Tha'll tak' thi hook, an' trouble me no moor.
Still, one thing rayther plagues me, neaw aw think on't;
Heaw wilta get fro' Blackpool, 'Eighty-Nine?
We've noa trains leov as late as twelve o'clock; but,
P'raps tha meons to walk, as th' neet's so fine.

At onyrate, sit deawn, an' warm thi shanks weel;
Tha's getten twenty minutes yet to stop.
Sarah, bring up another cob o' coal, lass,
An' bring this pilgrim here a sope o' pop.
Wheer are thi friends to-neet, those pets tha's favoured?
They're dinin' off a goose at th' Queen's Hotel.
There isn't one to shake thi hond at partin';
Au've ole thse kindly acts to do misel'.

Neaw, sup that pop, an' eat this bit o' parkin;
Tha's far to goa, an' noan mitch brass to spend.
Shove him a moufin in his pocket, Sarah;
He'll need it ere he gets to th' journey's end.
Aw'm noan a very bad sort, after ole, mon;
A chap may love his enemies, tha sees.
Aw think he'll find that moufin rayther dry, lass;
Tha'd better let him have a bit o' cheese.

Neaw wheer does t' find tha's met wi' th' nicest treatment?
At th' sea-side cot? Or 'mongst thi wealthy friends?
Well, never mind; but get thi coat an' hat on;
Two minutes moor, an then eawr campin' ends!
Neaw what's to do? Come, come, tha'rt cryin', arto?
Aw've touched thi feelin's, have aw? Well, o reet!
Tha met ha feawnd thi friend cawt twelve months sooner;
But time's neaw up! Well, 'Eighty-Nine, good-neet.


JahTeh said...

"He came to Fleetwood for his health" hahahhahahhahahahhaha

Brian Hughes said...

Good clean air in Fleetwood, Witchy. Back in those days doctors always recommended moving to the Fylde Coast for anyone suffering from bronchial disorders. The ninety mile an hour winds and the stench of fish heads would be enough to clear anybody's tubes.

Ann O'Dyne said...

ah 'the stench of fish heads' .. explains the line I liked:
"Tha's far to goa, an' noan mitch brass to spend.

Brian Hughes said...


Those fish heads make good glue. And we all know what happens to a person's speech capacity (not to mention their vision -- jelly baby men and pink elephants aren't the half of it) if there's too much Evo-stick in the air.