Dialect Verse: “It’s Nobbut Me”

“It’s Nobbut Me” is one of the most popular poems that’s ever been written in the Lakeland Dialect. It’s from the 1860s/70s and is by John Richardson of St Johns in the Vale. As he used to write with accents on letters, I’ve had to amend some of the spellings.


Yah winter neet, I mind it weel,
Oor lads ‘ed been at t’ fell,
A’, bein’ tire’t, went seun to bed,
An’ I sat by mesel.
I hard a jike on t’ window pane,
An’ deftly went to see;
But when I ax’t, “Who’s jikin theer?”
Say’s t’ chap, “It’s nobbut me!”

“Who’s me?” says I, “What want ye here?
Oor fwok ur aw i’ bed;”
I dunnet want your fwok at aw,
It’s THEE I want,” he sed.
“What cant’e want wi me,” says I;
“An’ who, the deuce, cannt be?
Just tell me who it is, an’ than…”
Says he, “It’s nobbut me.”

“I want a sweetheart, an’ I thowt,
Thoo mebby wad an’ aw;
I’d been a bit down t’ d’yal to-neet,
An’ thowt ‘at I wad caw;
What, cannt’e like me, dus t’e think,
I think I wad like thee…”
“I dunnet know who ‘t is,” says I,
Say’s he, “It’s nobbut me.”

We pestit on a canny while,
I thowt his voice I kent;
An’ then I St’yall quite whisht away,
An’ oot o’ t’ door I went.
I cre’yapt an’ got him by t’ cwoat laps,
‘T’was dark, he cuddent see;
He startit roond an’ sed, “Who’s that?”
Says I, “It’s nobbut me!”

An’ menny a time he com ag’yann,
An’ menny a time I went,
An’ sed, “Who’s that ‘at’s jiken theer?”
When gaily weel I kent:
An’ mainly what t’ s’yamm answer com,
Fra back o’ t’ laylick tree;
He sed: “I think thoo knows who’t is,
Thoo knows it’s nobbut me.”

It’s twenty year an’ mair sen than,
An’ ups an’ doons we’ve hed;
An’ six fine bairns hev blest us b’yath,
Sen Jim an’ me war wed.
An’ menny a time I’ve known ‘im steal,
When I’d yan on mi knee,
To mak me start, an’ than would laugh—
“Ha ha! It’s nobbut me.”

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