Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, OWD ROA (OLD ROVER), by ALFRED TENNYSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

OWD ROA (OLD ROVER), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Naay, noa mander o' use to be callin' 'im roa, roa, roa
Last Line: Fur we moant 'ev naw moor fires -- and soa, little dick, good-night.
Alternate Author Name(s): Tennyson, Lord Alfred; Tennyson, 1st Baron; Tennyson Of Aldworth And Farringford, Baron

NAAY, noa mander o' use to be callin' 'im Roa, Roa, Roa,
Fur the dog's stoan-deaf, an' 'e 's blind, 'e can naither
stan' nor goa.

But I means fur to maake 'is owd aage as 'appy as iver I can,
Fur I owas owd Roaver moor nor I iver owad mottal man.

Thou 's rode of 'is back when a babby, afoor thou was gotten too owd,
Fur 'e 'd fetch an' carry like owt, 'e was allus as good as gowd.

Eh, but 'e 'd fight wi' a will when 'e fowt; 'e could howd 'is oan,
An' Roa was the dog as knaw'd when an' wheere to bury his boane.

An' 'e kep his head hoop like a king, an' 'e 'd niver not
down wi' 'is taail,
Fur 'e 'd niver done nowt to be shaamed on, when we was i'
Howlaby Daale.

An' 'e sarved me sa well when 'e lived, that, Dick, when 'e
cooms to be dead,
I thinks as I'd like fur to hev soom soort of a sarvice read.

Fur 'e 's moor good sense na the Parliament man 'at stans fur us 'ere,
An' I'd voat fur 'im, my oan sen, if 'e could but stan' for the Shere.

'Faaithful an' True' -- them words be i' Scriptur -- an'
Faaithful an' True
Ull be fun' upo' four short legs ten times fur one upo' two.

An' maaybe they'll walk upo' two, but I knaws they runs upo' four, --
Bedtime, Dicky! but waait till tha 'ears it be strikin' the hour.

Fur I wants to tell tha o' Roa when we lived i' Howlaby Daale,
Ten year sin' -- Naay -- naay! tha mun nobbut hev' one glass of aale.

Straange an' owd-farran'd the 'ouse, an' belt long afoor my daay,
Wi' haafe o' the chimleys a-twizzen'd an' twined like a band o' haay.

The fellers as maakes them picturs, 'ud coom at the fall o' the year,
An' sattle their ends upo' stools to pictur the door-poorch theere,

An' the Heagle 'as hed two heads stannin' theere o' the brokken stick;
An' they niver 'ed seed sich ivin' as graw'd hall ower the brick;

An' theere i' the 'ouse one night -- but it's down, an' all on it now
Goan into mangles an' tonups, an' raaved slick thruf by the plow --

Theere, when the 'ouse wur a house, one night I wur sittin' aloan,
Wi' Roaver athurt my feeat, an' sleeapin' still as a stoan,

Of a Christmas Eave, an' as cowd as this, an' the midders as white,
An' the fences all on 'em bolster'd oop wi' the windle that night;

An' the cat wur a - sleeapin' alongside Roaver, but I wur awaake,
An' smoakin' an' thinkin' o' things -- Doant maake thysen
sick wi' the caake.

Fur the men ater supper 'ed sung their songs an' 'ed 'ed their beer,
An' 'ed goan their waays; ther was nobbut three, an' noan
on 'em theere.

They was all on 'em fear'd o' the Ghoast an' duss n't not
sleeap i' the 'ouse,
But, Dicky, the Ghoast moastlins was nobbut a rat or a mouse.

An' I loookt out wonst at the night, an' the daale was all of a thaw,
Fur I seed the beck coomin' down like a long black snaake i' the snaw,

An' I heard great heaps o' the snaw slush-in' down fro' the
bank to the beck,
An' then as I stood i' the doorwaay, I feeald it drip o' my neck.

Saw I turn'd in agean, an' I thowt o' the good owd times 'at was goan,
An' the munney they maade by the war, an' the times 'at was
coomin' on;

Fur I thowt if the Staate was a-gawin' to let in furriners' wheat,
Howiver was British farmers to stan' agean o' their feeat?

Howiver was I fur to find my rent an' to paay my men?
An' all along o' the feller as turn'd 'is back of hissen.

Thou slep i' the chaumber above us, we could n't ha' 'eard tha call,
Sa moother 'ed tell'd ma to bring tha down, an' thy craadle an' all;

Fur the gell o' the farm 'at slep wi' tha then 'ed gotten wer leave,
Fur to goa that night to 'er foalk by cause o' the Christmas Eave;

But I clean forgot tha, my lad, when moother 'ed gotten to bed,
An' I slep i' my chair hup-on-end, an' the Freea Traade
runn'd i' my 'ead,

Till I dream'd 'at Squire walkt in, an' I says to him,
'Squire, ya 're laate,'
Then I seed 'at 'is faace wur as red as the Yule-block
theere i' the graate.

An' 'e says, 'Can ya paay me the rent to-night?' an' I says
to 'im, 'Noa,'
An' 'e cotch'd howd hard o' my hairm, 'Then hout to-night
tha shall goa.'

'Tha 'll niver,' says I, 'be a-turnin' ma hout upo' Christmas Eave?'
Then I waaked an' I fun it was Roaver a-tuggin' an' tearin' my sleave.

An' I thowt as 'e 'd goan clean-wud, fur I noawaays knaw'd 'is intent;
An' I says, 'Git awaay, ya beast,' an' I fetcht 'im a kick,
an' 'e went.

Then 'e tummled up stairs, fur I 'eard 'im, as if 'e 'd 'a
brokken 'is neck,
An' I'd clear forgot, little Dicky, thy chaumber door would n't sneck;

An' I slep i' my chair agean wi' my hairm hingin' down to the floor,
An' I thowt it was Roaver a-tuggin' an' tearin' me wuss nor afoor,

An' I thowt 'at I kick'd 'im agean, but I kick'd thy moother istead.
'What arta snorin' theere fur? the house is afire,' she said.

Thy moother 'ed bean a-naggin' about the gell o' the farm,
She offens 'ud spy summut wrong when there warn't not a
mossel o' harm;

An' she did n't not solidly mean I wur gawin' that waay to the bad,
Fur the gell was as howry a trollope as iver traapes'd i' the squad.

But moother was free of 'er tongue, as I offens 'ev tell'd 'er mysen,
Sa I kep i' my chair, fur I thowt she was nobbut a-rilin' ma then.

An' I says, 'I'd be good to tha, Bess, if tha'd onywaays
let ma be good,'
But she skelpt ma haafe ower i' the chair, an' screead like
a howl gone wud --

'Ya mun run fur the lether. Git oop, if ya 're onywaays
good for owt.'
And I says, 'If I beant noawaays -- not nowadaays -- good fur nowt --

'Yit I beant sich a nowt of all nowts as 'ull hallus do as 'e 's bid.'
'But the stairs is afire,' she said; then I seed 'er a-cryin', I did.

An' she beald, 'Ya mun saave little Dick, an' be sharp
about it an' all,'
Sa I runs to the yard fur a lether, an' sets 'im agean the wall,

An' I claums an' I mashes the winder hin, when I gits to the top,
But the heat druv hout i' my heyes till I feald mysen ready to drop.

Thy moother was howdin' the lether, an' tellin' me not to be skeard,
An' I wasn't afeard, or I thinks leastwaays as I wasn't afeard;

But I couldn't see fur the smoake wheere thou was a-liggin, my lad,
An' Roaver was theere i' the chaumber a-yowlin' an' yaupin' like mad;

An' thou was a - bealin' likewise, an' a-squealin', as if tha was bit,
An' it wasn't a bite but a burn, fur the merk's o' thy shou'der yit;

Then I call'd out, 'Roa, Roa, Roa,' thaw I didn't haafe
think as 'e 'd 'ear,
But 'e coom'd thruf the fire wi' my bairn i' 'is mouth to
the winder theere!

He coom'd like a hangel o' marcy as soon as 'e 'eard 'is naame,
Or like tother hangel i' Scriptur 'at summun seed i' the flaame,

When summun 'ed hax'd fur a son, an' 'e promised a son to she,
An' Roa was as good as the hangel i' saavin' a son fur me.

Sa I browt tha down, an' I says, 'I mun gaw up agean fur Roa.'
'Gaw up agean fur the varmint?' I tell'd 'er, 'Yeas, I mun goa.'

An' I claumb'd up agean to the winder, an' clemm'd owd Roa
by the 'ead,
An' 'is 'air coom'd off i' my 'ands an' I taaked 'im at fust fur dead;

Fur 'e smell'd like a herse a-singein', an' seeam'd as
blind as a poop,
An' haafe on 'im bare as a bublin'. I could n't wakken 'im oop,

But I browt 'im down, an' we got to the barn, fur the barn
would n't burn
Wi' the wind blawin' hard tother waay, an' the wind was n't
like to turn.

An' I kep a-callin' o' Roa till 'e waggled 'is taail fur a bit,
But the cocks kep a-crawin' an' crawin' all night, an' I
'ears 'em yit;

An' the dogs was a-yowlin' all round, and thou was a-squealin' thysen,
An' moother was naggin' an' groanin' an' moanin' an' naggin' agean;

An' I 'eard the bricks an' the baulks rummle down when the
roof gev waay,
Fur the fire was a-raagin' an' raavin' an' roarin' like judgment daay.

Warm enew theere sewer-ly, but the barn was as cowd as owt,
An' we cuddled and huddled togither, an' happt wersens oop as we mowt.

An' I browt Roa round, but moother 'ed bean sa soak'd wi' the thaw
'At she cotch'd 'er death o' cowd that night, poor soul, i' the straw.

Haafe o' the parish runn'd oop when the rig-tree was tummlin' in --
Too laate -- but it's all ower now -- hall hower -- an' ten year sin';

Too laate, tha mun git tha to bed, but I'll coom an' I'll
squench the light,
Fur we moant 'ev naw moor fires -- and soa, little Dick, good-night.

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