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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Poetry

I Wud Not Die

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Copy of the original newspaper article, a transcript and a translation to modern English: -
I WUD NOT DIE

I WUD NOT DIE.
By A Western Poet.

I WUD knot die in winter,
When whisky punches flo –
When pooty gals are skating
Our fields of ice and sno –
When sassage meet is phrying,
& hickery nuts is thik;
Owe! Who kud think of dighing,
Or even getting sick?

I wud not die in spring time,
& miss the May moon’s beam,
& the pooty songs of the little frogs,
The skylark’s early scream –
When birds begin their Wobbling,
& taters gin to sprout –
When turkeys go a gobblering,
I would not then peg out.

I wud not die in summer,
& leave the garden sass*,
The roasted lam and buttermilk,
The kool place in the grass –
I wud not die in summer,
When everything is hot,
& leave the whisky jew lips –
Ow! No, I’d rather knot.

I wud knot die in ortum,
With peaches fit for eating,
When the wavy korn is getting wripe,
& candidates are treating.
Phor these and other wreasons
I’d not die in the phall;
& since I’ve thort it over,
I wud not die a tall.

Below is a translation into Modern English:-

I WOULD not die in winter,
When whisky punches flow –
When silly girls are skating
Over fields of ice and snow –
When sausage meat is frying,
And hickory nuts are thick (plentiful);
Oh! Who could think of dying,
Or even getting sick?

I would not die in spring time,
And miss the May moon’s beam,
And the silly songs of the little frogs,
The skylark’s early scream –
When birds begin their Warbling,
And taters gin to sprout –
When turkeys go a gobbling,
I would not then peg out.

I would not die in summer,
And leave the garden sass*,
The roasted lamb and buttermilk,
The cool place in the grass –
I would not die in summer,
When everything is hot,
And leave the whisky dew lips –
Oh! No, I’d rather not.

I would not die in Autumn,
With peaches fit for eating,
When the wavy corn is getting ripe,
And candidates are treating.
For these and other reasons
I’d not die in the fall;
And since I’ve thought it over,
I would not die at all.


*Sass means garden vegetables in this poem: Sass is now a slang term meaning to talk back in an impertinent way. However, when this poem was written "sass" also referred to garden vegetables. The term "sass" is a corruption of the word "saucy", which first appeared in mid 19th century in America and England.