Spottee’s Cave

Come all ye good people and listen to me,
And a comical tale I will tell unto ye,
Belanging yon Spottee that lived on the Law Quay,
That had nowther house nor harbour he.
The poor auld wives o’ the north side disn’t knaw what for te de,
For they dare not come to see their husbands when they come to the Quay;
They’re feared o’ their sel’s, and their infants, tee,
For this roguish fellow they call Spottee.
But now he’s gane away unto the sea-side,
Where mony a ane wishes he may be weshed away wi’ the tide,
For if Floutter’s flood come, as it us’d for te de,
It will drive his heart out then where will his midred be?
The poor auld wives o’ Whitburn disn’t knaw what for te de,
For they dar not come alang the sands, wi’ their lang tail
skates in their hands, to Jacob Spenceley’s landing, as they us’d for te de.
They dare not come alang the sands, wi’ their swills in their hands.
But they’re forced to take a coble, and come in by the sea.
As Laird Forster was riding alang the sands,
As he or any other gentleman might de,
Spottee cam’ out, his tanter-wallups did flee,
His horse teuk the boggle, and off flew he.
He gathers coals in the day-time, as he’s well knawn for te de,
And mak’s a fire on i’ the neet, which kests a leet into the sea,
Which gar’d the poor Sloopy cry, “Helem a-lee,”
And a back o’ the carcasses com poor she.
“Alack and a well-a-day,” said the maister, “what shall we de?”
“Trust to Providence,” said the mate, ” and we re sure to get free;”
There was a poor lad that had come a trial vaige to sea,
His heart went like a pair o’ bellows, and he didn’t knaw, what for te de.
Johnny Usher, the maister, wad ha’ carried him away,
But the ship’s company swore deel be their feet if they wad with him stay;
“We’ll first forfeit our wages, for ganging to sea,
Before we’ll gan wi’ that roguish fellow they call Spottee.

Recorded in Sir Cuthbert Sharp’s The Bishoprick Garland, or a Collection of Legends, Songs, Ballads &c. belonging to the County of Durham (1834)

You can see Dr Michael Pearce’s discussion of this poem here.