Owd Johnny an’ t’ ghoast


When t’winter’s sun sunk down at neet,

  An stars hed started peepin’;

When t’ timid haar wi’ nimmle feet,

  Ower hill an’ daal was creepin’;

When t’ mother put to bed her flock,

  An’ sat down to her knittin’;

A lot o’ chaps at ten o’clock

  In t’ public-house were sittin’,

Hauf drunk that neet.


A chap they caud owd Johnny Sykes

  (A farmer was his callin’),

Wi’ two or three owd drucken tykes,

  Was in the tap-room brawlin’,

He preeacht an’ talk’d how t’ Government

  Wi’ taxes was encroachin’;

He talk’d of rates an’ risin’ rent,

  Till midneet was approachin’

Fast on that neet.


Then up he gat, an’ at a swipe

  He empited off his noggin,

Poo’d out his box, an’ fill’d his pipe, 

  An’ said he mud be joggin’;

For t’ time was come for him to steer,

  Though ‘gainst his inclination;

For he’d across a common drear,

  An’ past a thick plantation, 

To gang that neet.


Saa on he put his girt top-cooat,

  An’ leggins med o’ leather,

An’ teed his muffler round his throat,

  An’ stept out into t’ weather;

An’ t’ cowd north wind, sa fierce an’ keen,

  Assail’d him wi’ sich rigour,

It browt girt tear-drops fra his een,

  An’ down his faace wi’ vigour

They ran that neet.


He knew he couldn’t mend his job

  Wi’ bein’ chicken-hearted!

Saa seeaz’d his cudgel by the knob,

  An haam he briskly started;

An’ thus he thowt, as on he went, –

  “If t’ wife be up an’ wakken,

She’ll rage an’ storm to some extent;

  I’se git a famous blackin’

Fra her this neet!”


He trudg’d along wi’ au his might,

  Sa confident an’ fearless;

Though weel he knew t’owd wife wad flyte,

  An’ t’ neet was cowd an’ cheerless.

Dark heavy clouds across o’ t’ sky,

  Urged on by t’ wind, were rollin’;

A hullat, fra a tree hard by,

  Wi’ wild an’ dismal howlin’,

Screeam’d loud that neet.


But when he com to t’ fir-tree wood,

  An’ t’ farther side o’ t’ common –

Whar t’carrier in a pool o’ blood,

  Yance fand a murder’d woman –

His courage au began to dee;

  He slacken’d in his walkin’;

He scaarce durst look around, lest he

  Sud see her sperrit stalkin’

Abroad that neet.


For oft, ‘twas said, i’ t’ deead o’ t’ neet,

  Near t’ spot whar t’ carrier fand her,

Au drest i’ white, a ghastly seet,

  Her ghoast was seen to wander.

Two chaps, returnin’ fra a spree,

  Wi mony a drucken caper,

Yance sah her walk beneeath a tree,

  An’ vanish like a vapour

Fra view that neet


The wind did waft amang the trees,

  Wi’ moanin’ deep an’ hollow,

Then deed into a gentle breeze,

  Then heavier gusts wad follow;

An’ in a nook, i’ t’ edge o’ t’ wood,

  As he look’d round wi’ terror,

He sah a seet ‘at fraaz his blood,

  An fill’d his soul wi’ horror

An’ awe that neet.


Aghast he stood, wi’ fear hauf deead,

  His haar began to bristle,

An’ stand streight up upon his heead,

  Like burrs upon a thistle;

For fra that corner, two girt een,

  Wide oppen, breet, an’ glarin’

Whose colour shaan a bluish green,

  Were through the darkness starin’

On him that neet!


Cowd drops upon his foreheead stood,

  His knees did knock together;

Hed ye been theear, I’m sure ye mud

  Ha’ fell’d him wi’ a feather.

To stir fra t’ spot he nivver tried;

  His brain on fire was reelin’;

His senses au were stupefied,

  An’ paralysed each feelin’

Wi’ fear that neet.


It mud be t’ ghoast – he couldn’t tell –

  That stood i’ t’ nook to watch him;

Or else it was t’ “owd lad” hissel

  Hed com up here to catch him;

Saa on his knees he down did fau –

  He pray’d loud as a Ranter,

‘Till t’ ghoast sprung out fra under t’ wau,

  An’ started off o’ t’ canter

Down t’ rooad that neet.


Then au at yance wi’ leetsome spring

  On to his feet he started;

He laughed for joy whal t’ woods did ring,

  His fears hed au departed;

An’ when his noise the ghoast did hear,

  It faster went an’ faster,

For it was nowt but t’ potter’s meear,

  That hed been turn’d to paster

Down t’ looan that neet.


Wi’ cheerful heart an’ reight good will,

  He managed t’ rest o’ t’ distance,

For t’ moon peep’d out ower t’ top o’ t’ hill,

  An’ lent him her assistance.

Although he gat an awful freet,

  It proved owd Johnny’s blessin’;

He now gangs haam wi’ good dayleet;

  He’s learnt a famous lesson

Fra t’ ghoast that neet.




Ye owd wed chaps that hev a knack

  O’ gangin’ oft to Settle, 

Don’t stop sa laat ere ye gang back –

  It tries t’ owd woman’s mettle.

But allus try to git away

  Whal t’ sun shines breet an’ bonny;

Ye’ll ken a horse by t’ leet o’ day

  An’ not be like owd Johnny

Wi’ t’ ghoast that neet.