Northumbrian Duets


’WILL YOU come with me, Maggie, to Stagshaw Bank Fair?’
‘Come with you where? Come with you where?
Do you fancy a lass has naught better to do
Than to go gallivanting, Ned Nixon, with you?'
’If you come with me, Maggie, I’ll buy you a ring.’
‘ You’ll do no such thing — you ll do no such thing.
Do you fancy I ‘d let my lad squander his pence
On tokens and trinkets and suchlike nonsense?'
’Come, Maggie, come, Maggie, we’re only once young!’
’Now hold your fool’s tongue — now hold your fool’s tongue!
If we ‘re only young once it behoves us to be
A common-sense couple and act can wily.'
‘Time enough, Maggie, for sense when we’re old.’
’Does copper turn gold? Does copper turn gold?
Or a guff turn wiseacre at threescore-and-ten?
Anyhow I’m for taking no chances with men.'
‘Then must I go lonesome to Stagshaw Bank Fair?’
’What do I care? What do I care?
But if you go lonesome I’d have you to know
It ‘s lonesome the rest of your life you will go.'


‘Now where may you be gadding to with such a dandy buttonhole
If my eyes do not deceive me, it ‘s a lovely picotee
And in your Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and bowler hat and all?'
I’m going to Saint Andrew’s church as surely you might see,
Watty Lee.'
‘Ay, maybe!
‘Though it’s well enough on Sundays for folk who’ve got naught else to do,
The church on week-day mornings is no place for you or me
Who’ve got our bread and cheese to earn — so what can you be after, Dick?’
‘I’m going to be married there as surely you might see,
Watty Lcef
’Ay, maybe!
’Then you don’t know where you ‘re going, Dick, for all your dandy buttonhole,
Any more than any other lad who sports a picotee
And dons his Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and bowler hat and all.'
’You’re surely hard of hearing or your wits are all at sea,
Watty Lee.’
‘Ay, maybe!'


‘AND where be you stravaging to at such an hour of night?'
‘To look on Allen Water in the full moonlight.'
’Go your wilful ways then, but you will learn too soon
That no good comes to any lass from looking on the moon.’
‘And where be you stravaging to at this unearthly hour?
’To hearken to the hoolet that hoots by Staward Tower.'
‘Round the Pele at midnight the brags and horneys prowl,
And no good comes to any lass from listening to the owl.
‘So don’t say I’ve not warned you, whatever may betide.’
‘And what should I be fearing with Robert at my side?'
What should you be fearing? Since the world began
No good has come to any lass from walking with a man.’