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.

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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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