willy to jinny

Willy to Jinny

This poem appears in the collections of 1871, 1886 and 1888, and 1892. In this last collection (Songs and Lyrics) it was chosen as the opening poem. It is one of many poems wherein the poet expresses an essential truth simply and succinctly within two four-line verses.

Duskier than the clouds that lie

‘Tween the coal-pit and the sky,

Lo, how Willy whistles by

Right cheery from the colliree.

Duskier might the laddie be,

Save his coaxing coal-black e’e,

Nothing dark could Jinny see

A-coming from the colliree

This was also a relatively early poem to be set. I started trying to create a simple folksong-type melody but it's ended up with more than a hint of parlour song in it, too. I tend to lose the dialect when singing it - 'eye' rather than 'e'e' and 'colliery' rather than 'colliree' - mainly because it feels a bit contrived for me to do otherwise.

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