Duffin Johnny. (A Rifleman's Adventure.)

A poem by John Hartley

Th' mooin shone breet wi' silver leet,
An th' wind wor softly sighin;
Th' burds did sleep, an th' snails did creep,
An th' buzzards wor a flying;
Th' daisies donned ther neet caps on,
An th' buttercups wor weary,
When Jenny went to meet her John,
Her Rifleman, her dearie.

Her Johnny seemed as brave a lad
As iver held a rifle,
An if ther wor owt in him bad,
'Twor nobbut just a trifle.
He wore a suit o' sooity grey,
To show 'at he wor willin
To feight for th' Queen and country
When perfect in his drillin.

His heead wor raand, his back wor straight,
His legs wor long an steady,
His fist wor fully two pund weight,
His heart wor true an ready;
His upper lip wor graced at th' top
Wi' mustache strong an bristlin,
It railly wor a spicy crop;
Yo'd think to catch him whistlin.

His buzzum burned wi' thowts o' war,
He long'd for battles' clatter,
He grieved to think noa foeman dar
To cross that sup o' watter;
He owned one spot, - an nobbut one,
Within his heart wor tender,
An as his darlin had it fun,
He'd be her bold defender.

At neet he donn'd his uniform,
War trials to endure,
An helped his comrades brave, to storm
A heap ov horse manure!
They said it wor a citidel,
Fill'd wi' some hostile power,
They boldly made a breach, and well
They triumph'd in an hour.

They did'nt wade to th' knees i' blooid,
(That spoils one's britches sadly,)
But th' pond o' sypins did as gooid,
An scented 'em as badly;
Ther wor noa slain to hug away,
Noa heeads, noa arms wor wantin,
They lived to feight another day,
An spend ther neets i' rantin.

Brave Johnny's rooad wor up a loin
Where all wor dark an shaded,
Part grass, part stooans, part sludge an slime
But quickly on he waded;
An nah an then he cast his e'e
An luk'd behund his shoulder.
He worn't timid, noa net he!
He crack'd, "he knew few bolder."

But once he jumped, an sed "Oh dear!"
Becoss a beetle past him;
But still he wor unknown to fear,
He'd tell yo if yo asked him.
He could'nt help for whispering once,
"This loin's a varry long un,
A chap wod have but little chonce
Wi thieves, if here amang 'em."

An all at once he heeard a voice
Cry out, "Stand and deliver!
Your money or your life, mak choice,
Before your brains I shiver;"
He luk'd all raand, but failed to see
A sign of livin craytur,
Then tremlin dropt upon his knee,
Fear stamp'd on ivvery faytur.

"Gooid chap," he said, "mi rifle tak,
Mi belts, mi ammunition,
Aw've nowt but th' clooas 'at's o' mi back
Oh pity mi condition;
Aw wish aw'd had a lot o' brass,
Aw'd gie thi ivvery fardin;
Aw'm nobbut goin to meet a lass,
At Tate's berry garden."

"Aw wish shoo wor, aw dooant care where,
Its her fault aw've to suffer;"
Just then a whisper in his ear
Said, "Johnny, thar't a duffer,"
He luk'd, an' thear cloise to him stuck
Wor Jenny, burst wi' lafter;
"A'a, John," shoo says, "Aw've tried thi pluck,
Aw'st think o' this at after."

"An when tha tells what things tha'll do,
An booasts o' manly courage,
Aw'st tell thi then, as nah aw do,
Go hooam an get thi porrige."
"Why Jenny wor it thee," he sed,
"Aw fancied aw could spy thi,
Aw nobbut reckoned to be flaid,
Aw did it but to try thi."

"Just soa," shoo says, "but certain 'tis
Aw hear thi heart a beatin,
An tak this claat to wipe thi phiz,
Gooid gracious, ha tha'rt sweeatin.
Thar't brave noa daat, an tha can crow
Like booastin cock-a-doodle,
But nooan sich men for me, aw vow,
When wed, aw'll wed a 'noodle.'"

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