The Poor Cotton Weaver
This song was written in the
early years of the nineteenth century, when
weavers often worked on looms at home rather
than in factories. It was popular for decades.
|I'm a poor cotton weaver as many
I've nowt to eat i' th' house an' I've wore out my
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You'd hardly give sixpence for all I have on.
My clugsº they are brossenº an' stockins
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You'd think it wur hard to be sent into
To clemº an' do
th'best ot you con.
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|Our church parson kept tellin' us
We should have better times if we'd but hold our tongues.
I've houden my tongue till I can hardly draw breath.
I think i' my heart he means to clem me to death.
I know he lives weel by backbitin' the
But he never picked o'erº in
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|We tarried six week an' thought every
day were t'last.
We tarried an' shifted till now we're quite fast.
We lived on nettles while nettles were good,
An' Waterloo porridgeº were best of
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I'm tellin' you true, I can find
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That er livin' no better than me.
|Old Bill o' Dan's sent bailiffs
For a shop score I owed him that I couldn't pay,
But he wur too late, for old Bill o' Bent
Had sent titº an' cart and taenº goods
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We had nowt bur a stoo',º that
wur a seat for two;
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An' on it cowered Margit an' me.
|The bailiffs looked round as sly as a
When they saw awº things wur taen out o' t'house.
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Says one to the other: All's gone, thou may see.
Aw sed: Lads, never fret, you're welcome to me.
They made no more ado, but nipped up t'owd
An' we both went wack upo' t'flags.º
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|I geet howdº o' Margit,
for hoo'reº stricken
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Hoo sed hoo ne'er had such a bang sin hoo wur wick.º
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The bailiffs scoured off wi' owd stoo' on their backs.
They would not have cared had they brokken our necks.
They're mad at owd Bent cos he's
taen goods for rent,
An wur ready to flay us alive.
|I sed to our Margit as we lay upo' t'floor:
We shall never be lower in this world, I am sure.
But if we alter, I'm sure we munº mend,
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For I think i' my heart we are both at far end,
For meat we have none, nor looms to weave
Egad, they're as weelº lost
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|Then I geet up my piece,º an' I
took it 'em back.
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I scarcely dare speak, mester lookit so black.
He said: You wur o'erpaid last time you coom.
I said: If I wur, 'twas for weavin' boutº loom.
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In the mind as I'm in, I'll ne'er
pick o'er again,
For I've woven mysel to th'fur end.
|Then aw coom out o' t'warehouse,
an' left him to chew that.
When aw thought again, aw wur vext till aw sweat.
To think we mun work to keep him an' aw th'set,º
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All the days o' my life, an' then die in their debt!
But I'll give o'er this trade, an' work
with a spade,
Or go an' break stones upo' th'road.º
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|Our Margit declares if hoo'd cloas
to put on,
Hoo d go up to Lundun an' see the young Queen,
An if things didn't alter when hoo had been,
Hoo swears hoo would fight, blood up to th'een.º
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Hoo's nought agen t'queen, but hoo
likes a fair thing,
An' hoo says hoo can tell when hoo's