The Bells Of Kirkby Overblow

A poem by Frederic William Moorman

Draw back my curtains, Mary,
An' oppen t' windey wide;
Ay, ay, I know I'm deein',
While to-morn I'll hardlins bide.
But yit afore all's ovver,
An' I lig cowd as snow,
I'll hear once more them owd church bells
O' Kirkby Overblow.

Mony a neet an' mornin'
I've heerd yon church bells peal;
An' how I've threaped an' cursed 'em
When I was strong an' weel!
Gert, skelpin', chunterin' taistrils,(1)
All janglin' in a row!
Ay, mony a time I've cursed yon bells
O' Kirkby Overblow.

When you hear yon church bells ringin',
You can't enjoy your sin;
T' bells clutches at your heart-strings
I' t' ale-house ower your gin.
At pitch-an'-toss you're laikin',
Down theer i' t' wood below;
An' then you damn them rowpy(2) bells
O' Kirkby Overblow.

An' when I've set off poachin'
At back-end o' the year,
Wi' ferret, bag an' snickle,(3)
Church bells have catched my ear.
"Thou's takken t' road to Hell, lad,
Wheer t' pit-fire's bumin' slow;"
That's what yon bells kept shoutin' out
At Kirkby Overblow.

But now I'm owd an' bed-fast,
I ommost like their sound,
Ringin' so clear i' t' star-leet
Across the frozzen ground.
I niver mell on(4) parsons,
There ain't a prayer I know;
But prayer an' sarmon's i' yon bells
O' Kirkby Overblow.

Six boards o' gooid stout ellum
Is what I'll want to-morn;
Then lay me low i' t' church-yard
Aneath t' owd crooked thorn.
I'll have no funeral sarvice
When I'm browt down below,
But let 'em touzle t' bells like mad
At Kirkby Overblow.

I don't know wheer I'm boun' for,
It hardlins can be Heaven;
I've sinned more sins nor most men
'Twixt one an' seven-seven.
But this I'll tak my oath on:
Wheeriver I mun go,
I'll hark to t' echoes o' yon bells
O' Kirkby Overblow.

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