The Spire Holly Boggart.

This article was published in the Glossop-dale Chronicle and North Derbyshire Reporter of 23 May 1874.

Last week we reproduced Bennett's “Flying Serpent” (see The Flying Serpent Hunt, a Story of Shepley Mill) and we now lay before our readers another of the same author's productions.
It is by no means of equal merit, some of the lines are nothing more than prose, and the rhyme is at best rough and halting.
Still, it has made our fathers laugh, and will surely raise a smile now.

          ’Twas on a dreary winter's morning, very soon,
          And clouds had veiled the stars and overcast the moon,
          I left my easy bed and quiet peaceful cot,
          And hurried down a lane : that often was my lot.

          I took both drink and victuals for the coming day
          And in a cheery mood I bent my lonely way :
          A way which timorous mortals often passed with fear.
          Believing some foul murder had been committed there ;
          For dismal, doleful groans, some fancied they had heard,
          And ghostly visions to some eyes had oft appeared.

          The morn being chilly cold, I quickened my pace,
          Unthinking of the lonely, dreaded, haunted place :
          And as I hurried on, I heard a startling hiss ;
          Which caused me to exclaim, in sudden fear “What’s this ?”

          I stopped, looked round, yet nothing could see still
          I heard a noise at hand which sounded loud and shrill ;
          Long I stood wondering, till the sound was lost :-
          Was the sound but fancy ; or, was there then a ghost ?
          Unwilling to believe the last, I checked my fears ;
          Thinking imagination, perhaps deceived my ears.

          Or, as the morn was dark, there many things might be,
          As birds, or reptiles near, which then I could not see,
          And whose loud chirping tokened the approach of day :
          Concluding this the case, I hastened on my way.

          But, dreadful to relate ! I'd not gone many feet
          Before the sounds again my listening ears did meet !
          While I stood trembling near the dismal lonely spot
          A loud report sounds “pop !” I thought I had been shot.

          I started - turned me round, almost as quick as thought ;
          And by so doing, reader found the boggart out !
          A bottle of well-brew’d beer I carried, which, at length,
          By jogging in my pocket, needs must show its strength
          By pressing out the cork, and chirping at the top ;
          At last the cork flew out, and boldly cried out “pop !”

          Ah, fickle self, thought I; whither did reason roam.
          Whilst thou stood trembling here at what thou brought from home
          Hadst thou not been abroad, where ghosts and goblins dwell.
          Thou wouldst not have been scared by what thou lovest so well

          Or hadst thou quaffed the juice of generous barleycorn,
          It would have kept thy spirits up on that dreary morn,
          And all the boggarts that Spire-Holly ever bred
          Before thy bold, undaunted courage would have fled.

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Last updated: 11 November 2022