lad of bebside

The Lad of Bebside

This poem first appeared in Lyrics (1859) and is thus quite an early poem.  In a letter to Thomas Dixon on Jan 22, 1879, he writes that: 
Two of my best songs – “Hey Robin” & “The Lad of Bebside” were written while I was working as a common miner at Pemberton’s Colliery. 
This dates the actual writing of the poem to somewhere between 1854 and 1859, according to Spence Watson's biography.

Bebside was formerly a mining village, to the west of Blyth, the pit being operational from 1858 to 1926. Skipsey later spent some time working at nearby Cowpen and Newsham.  He mentions Bebside in another poem - The Seaton Terrace Lass.

My heart is away with the lad of Bebside
And never can I to another be tied
Not to be titled a lord’s wedded bride,
Could Jinny abandon the lad of Bebside

He dances so clever, he whistles so fine,
He's flattered and wooed from the Blythe to the Tyne
Yet spite of the offers he meets far and wide
I’m the beloved of the lad of Bebside

He came to our house on the eve of the Fair
And cracked with our folk in a manner so rare,
Next morning right early it’s then I was spied
To link to the Fair with the lad of Bebside

Last night at the dancing, ‘mid all the fine queans, 
The eldest among them just out of her teens, 
He chose me, and truly with pleasure and pride 
I footed the jig with the lad of Bebside. 

To wed me he’s promised, and who can believe 
A laddie like him can a lassie deceive? 
The moon’s on the wane – ere another be spied, 
I’ll lie in the arms of the lad of Bebside