The Yorkshire Horse Dealer

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Melody -
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Tradtional ballad from Yorkshire

Bane ta Claapam town-gate lived an ond Yorkshire tike,
Who i' dealing i' horseflesh hed ne'er met his like;
'Twor his pride that i' aw the hard bargains he'd hit,
He'd bit a girt monny, but nivver bin bit.

2. This ond Tommy Towers (bi that naam he wor knaan),
Hed an oud carrion tit that wor sheer skin an' baan;
Ta hev killed him for t' curs wad hev bin quite as well,
But 'twor Tommy opinion he'd dee on himsel!

3. Well! yan Abey Muggins, a neighborin cheat,
Thowt ta diddle ond Tommy wad be a girt treat;
Hee'd a horse, too, 'twor war than ond Tommy's, ye see,
Fort' neet afore that hee'd thowt proper ta dee!

4. Thinks Abey, t' oud codger 'll nivver smoak t' trick,
I'll swop wi' him my poor deead horse for his wick,
An' if Tommy I nobbut can happen ta trap,
'Twill be a fine feather i' Aberram cap!

5. Soa to Tommy he goas, an' the question he pops:
'Betwin thy horse and mine, prithee, Tommy, what swops?
What wilt gi' me ta boot? for mine's t'better horse still!'
'Nout,' says Tommy, 'I'll swop ivven hands, an' ye will.'

6. Abey preaached a lang time about summat ta boot,
Insistin' that his war the liveliest brute;
But Tommy stuck fast where he first had begun,
Till Abey shook hands, and sed, 'Well, Tommy, done!

7. 'O! Tommy,' sed Abey, 'I'ze sorry for thee,
I thowt thou'd a hadden mair white i' thy ee;
Good luck's wi' thy bargin, for my horse is deead.'
'Hey!' says Tommy, 'my lad, soa is min, an it's fleead?'

8. Soa Tommy got t' better of t' bargin, a vast,
An' cam off wi' a Yorkshireman's triumph at last;
For thof 'twixt deead horses there's not mitch to choose,
Yet Tommy war richer by t' hide an' fower shooes.


The incidents actually occurred at the close of the l8th century, and some of the descendants of 'Tommy Towers' were resident at Clapham and used to take great delight in relating the laughable adventure of their progenitor. Abey Muggins is understood to be a sobriquet for a then Clapham innkeeper. The village of Clapham is in the west of Yorkshire, on the high road between Skipton and Kendal.

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