Tom Twisleton’s poems taster

Tom Twisleton’s poems taster

Plans are advancing for a new edition of the Craven dialect poems of my forbear Tom Twisleton (1845-1917) to be published spring 2013. Here is another taster of the poet’s work documenting family life in Settle and its surrounds in Victorian days.

Wharrivver hev ye been’ is the telling alternative title to his poem ‘Husband and Wife’. Here we have the battle of the sexes set out in dialogue on the husband’s return from the ale house to a vexed wife.

Husband: For thou talks sich a height, thou yowls an’ thou squeaks,

Yan mud hear thee a mile an’ a hauf when ta speaks

To compensate Tom’s poem The Bachelor sets out a sorry picture of the unmarried:

‘Naa thrifty wife, wi’ queen-like pride,

Sits thaar an’ plies her knittin’;

Thaar, by his dull an’ dark fireside,

He all forlorn is sittin’, a bachelor


The Song of the Old Maid likewise ends with a warning to young ladies:


Saa now, au ye lassies, ‘ats turn’d twenty-yan,

Don’t be saa consated i’ t’ choice of a man;

Don’t set yersels up wi’ a heigh scornful air,

But strike for a bargain what t’ buyer bids fair;

For youth is like summer – swift passin’ away,

An’ soon ye’ll be like to a cowd winter’s day,

Yer strength will be wasted, yer beauty decay’d,

An’ ye’ll find ye’ll be nowt but a stingy owd maid,

When ye are fifty and three.

In Lile Bobby Tom Twisleton captures the joys and challenges of having a baby in the house:

Who is it sometimes starts a weepin’,

As if some trouble he was deep in,

At neet when fooaks sud au be sleepin’? –

Lile Bobby.


But who oft rises in a mornin’,

As if au grief an’ trouble scornin’,

Wi’ smiles his bonny face adornin’? –

Lile Bobby


The Revd Dr John F Twisleton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *