Joseph H. Eccles


The dialect poet Joseph H. Eccles was born in Ripponden.

He was one of twins.

He was largely self-taught, and wrote:

My early days were spent amongst the woods, and fields, and on the moorlands, and ever since my earliest recollections, I have been a great admirer and lover of nature

In 1845, he moved to work in Leeds where he spent the rest of his life.

His spare time was devoted to literature. He wrote many dialect poems. Some of these were sentimental and full of pathos, whilst others were humorous, like his Deein be Inches

He contributed to magazines and other publications.

He produced some small works on dialects, and one on Yorkshire Songs [1862] which contained about 70 of his poems.

He also wrote some successful English songs including:

He died at Leeds on 7th August 1883 (aged 59 years).

On 21st June 1924, a memorial tablet was unveiled at Rishworth to Eccles and Sam Mellor

Deein be Inches

The title means dying by inches, or dying, bit by bit

A'm deein be inches tha knaws weel enuf,
   But net e'en a fig duz ta care;
A'm a get aght road az sooin az I like-
   Ma cumpany I knaw tha can spare.

Goa fetch me that bottle ov fizzick daan stairs,
   An bring me that noggin ov gin;
I really feel ready ta faint inta t'earth-
   Tha knaws what a state I am in.

I cuddn't quite finish them two mutton chops,
   A'm az weak az wumman can be;
A hav all soarts ov pains flyin right thro' ma boans,
   But then tha's noa pity fer me.

A'l try and get t'doctor to give me a chainge-
   Sich pain I noa longer can bide;
A mun hev sum owd port ta strengthen me up,
   An a drop ov gud brandy beside.

Av hed a stiff neck and saand e ma heaad,
   An felt dizzy times aght ov mind;
But then its noa use, a kind wurd or thought
   Tha nivver wonce hez e thee mind;

Wen I sit daan an groan tha stands like a stoop
   An nivver wonce tries fer ma sake
To walk a bit faster, though du what I will
   Tha knaws 'at A'm all of an ake.

Pray keep aght that draft – I feel all on a sweat;
   A'm suar at A'm wastin ta nowt;
I sal hav them cowd shivvers az suar az A'm wick-
   Tha can't have a morsel ov thowt.

Shut that door, an goa get spooin an t'glass,
   And mix up a drop nice an strong;
It's time tha did summat fer't skae ov thee wife
   A'm fear'd tha wean't hev me soa long.

A've waited fer gruel this haar an a hawf,
   Summat strenthnin iz what I require;
Am faintin awaay, yet az trew az I liv,
   Tha's nivver put t'pan onta t'fire.

I sal fade like a cannel et bottom ov t'stick,
   Fer want ov attention an care;
Be quick wi that glass, an bring me sum toast,
   I feel fit ta sink through ma chair.

It's a queer piece ov bizzinezz (sed John tull hizsen;)
   It's cappin what wimmin can du;
Shoo's been crying aght fer this last twenty years,
   An sayin at shoo woddn't get through;

Yet shoo eats an shoo drinks all 'at cums e her waay,
   An lewks weel and strong az can be;
Wal hear 'Am hauf pined, 'an get nowt but crusts,
   It's noan her at's deein, it's ME.

© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 10:15 / 13th December 2022 / 5282

Page Ref: MME94

search tips advanced search
site search by freefind