A Turrabul ride bee Rayl

Time to leave behind Shaldon and the estuary, for a while at least. My next main series of poems will be about Keats but first a break for a two or three slightly more quirky pieces of verse.

Henry Baird (from "Letters & Poems tu es brither Jan in the Devonshire Dialect by Nathan Hogg")

Henry Baird (from “Letters & Poems tu es brither Jan in the Devonshire Dialect by Nathan Hogg”)

I’m going to start with the first poem in this collection written in a foreign language – at least it may seem foreign to some but is part of a collection of poems in the Devonshire Dialect. This collection was first published in 1866 and was written by Henry Baird under the pseudonym Nathan Hogg. The collection is also interesting in having a dedication to Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte who, in pursuit of his interest in dialects, met with Henry Baird and even commissioned some work from him.

Born in Starcross in 1829 Henry Baird worked for much of his life in Exeter as a lawyer’s clerk. He often travelled the line between Starcross and Exeter and this particular poem is the story of a train journey from Teignmouth to Exeter – called ‘A Turrabul ride bee Rayl’.

If you can decipher the dialect see if you can spot the reference to Captain Peacock’s ‘Swan of the Exe’ sailing up the Estuary beside the railway.  More information about this and Henry Baird in the links at the end of the poem.

A Turrabul ride bee Rayl
(Henry Baird, aka Nathan Hogg)

Yu’ve yer’d a Janny Gulpin’s ride
Vrim Linnin pin a hauss,
An yu’ve a yer’d, I spoze, beside,
Ez hat an wig ha lauss:
Uv cus ha raud moast mort’l quick,
Bit arter aul yu’ll vine,
Howiver vast ha went, thit thic
Thare ride wiz nort ta mine.

Wan day tu Tinmith I’d a bin,
An in tha arternun
Went tu tha Stashin way a rin,
Nat veeling auverzun;
An zo et pruv’d, vur pin me wurd,
Wen jist inside I got,
Tha wissel aw tha trayn I yer’d,
An auff tha bagger zot.

Nat tu be dud, I urn’d acrass
That other zide tha line,
Ha wadd’n gwayn nat auver vast,
Zo up I jump’d behine.
Tha dang’d ole boyler puff’d an blaw’d,
Tha porters aul aw’m skritch’d,
Tha moar they cal’d, I virmer raud,
An legs an vingers clitch’d.

Tha trayn urn’d up beside tha zay,
(A purty zite et waz;)
Agane I yerd tha whissel play,
“Yer com’th tha haul(1) – Im daz!
Iss! Laur a macy! Macy mee!
Yer tis, now uny hark,
Howiver kin a vuller zee
Ta hole aun in tha dark?

Ess shet in dru thic haul, – aw, law! –
Zich noys wiz niver yer’d,
Et zim’d like trav’lin down belaw, –
Iss, did, a pin me wurd!
Tha vapper rish’d up dru ma naws,
An down ma draut, za thick
Thit ef I hadd’n clinch’d ma jaws
I zun shud ha bin zick.

Wul, then tha groun zim’d aul a vi-er –
I tuk’d a virmer hold,
Ez zim’d ez ef thit ess wiz ni-er
Thick pleace thit I’ve a told:
An then ess thort ess zmul’d a zmul,
An zeed a zartin veace –
Tha neame awmin I need’n tul,
Nur vurder steate tha pleace.

Bang arter Bang wiz yer’d around,
I thort thit, iv’y lurch,
Tha imps wiz vi-erin (be tha zoun)
Ta hat ma auf ma purch;
Bit ef thay did zhet wul urn at,
Ef did’n zun com lite,
I veel’d thit, (ef I wadd’n hat,)
I muss val auf way vrite.

Wul owt ess com’d, an in ess went,
An owt agane, an in, –
A winder thit ess did’n vent
Vur want a hare an zin:
“Thank gudniss yer ess be ta lass”
Zeth I “yer’s Dalish close; –
Eet still ha go’th most mort’l vass; –
Thay’m putting aun more foce.!!”

An zo thay waz, vur be tha pleace
Ess jist like litnin rish’d,
Wile pin tha platvorm iv’ry veace
Zim’d like a veace a wish’d.
In vack tha miny things ess pass’d
(Ta think awt now I zheake,)
Zim’d, iv’ry stap ess went za vast,
Ta graw into a strake.

Aun, aun ess went, laur jayly cry!
Till Starcrass pleace ess vetch’d,
Ess did’n stap, ess zim’d ta vly –
Eet zartin wurds ess ketch’d;
I thort a Porter veller cride,
“Look thare that’s Nathan Hogg!”
“Iss tiz, yu blackguard,” I rayplied,
“Twiz yu thit lauss tha dog” (2)

Wul, then ess luk’d owt pin tha zay,
(Zich thing wiz niver yer’d,)
Vur bigger thin a rick a hay
Thare zwim’d a wackin burd; (3)
An, ez ess raud, ha turn’d ez bayk,
Thort I “now hang aun varm,
Vu ref ha com’th an vind’th thur wayk,
Ha’ll ayt thur like a warm,”

Bit zun ess zeed min owt a zite,
An mort’l glad ess veel’d,
Nat carin ta be gobbl’d quite,
Like giants ait’th a cheeld;
A purty mayl thort I, – iss, vay! –
(Vur thicky burd jist pass)
Mee bastid an a zar’d up way
Zom Starcrass mucks vur sass.

Wul aun ess rish’d pass Powderim,
Zeth I “tant vury vur,
I kin hole vast me hole, I zim,
Za var ez Exmistur!”
Bit wen ess com’d ta thicky pleace,
My ivers! Ess zhet vore
Ez ef way zich a dredvul peace
Ess shud’n stap no moar.

Now vaster, iss! An vaster still,
Tha varmint zim’d ta vly
Be hud an wotter; “now I shil
Val auf I veel an die!”
I cud’n spayk, thort I “yer go’th – “
I veel’d thit aul wiz gwayn,
Mee hans an legs wiz lus’nd bothe
An then ——– thay stap’d tha trayn.

I had’n scarcely tich’d tha groun
In vancy ez I val’d,
Wen zidd’nly I yer’d a zoun,
An pin mee veet I scral’d;
“Zin Tommis’s!” I yer’d min zay,
t strik’d mur uv a hayp
Ta vine thit nearly aul tha way
I’d uny bin ta zlayp.

Thic draym, tho’, meade mer in a zwet,
An veelin mortal quare,
I went an got a drap a wet
An zot down in a chare;
I wadd’n wul long arter that,
An veel, in a thicky ride,
That tho’ in boddy I wiz nat,
Ma spurrit raud owtzide.

Mow brither Cowper waz a man,
Like mee, uv girt raynown,
An wen ha’d ort tal in ez haid
Ha tuk’d an vraut et down;
Tha diffirns between hee an mee
I scarcely need ta tul, –
Hee draym’d abowt old Janny G. –
I draym’d about mezul.

(1) The tunnel
(2) Nathan a short time before had lost a favourite dog through the neglect of the stupid Porter who bungles the wires at this great station.
(3) Nathan must have see Capt. Peacock’s beautiful boat in the shape of a bird, – “The swan of the Exe.”

Want to know more?  Check out:

Henry Baird …..
Swan of the Exe …..



One thought on “A Turrabul ride bee Rayl

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.