Good beef, by t' mass! (Yorkshire and Midlands dialect)
Posted by TheFallen on January 09, 2005
In Reply to: Good beef, by t' mass! (Yorkshire and Midlands dialect) posted by Junius on January 09, 2005
: is anybody familiar with this phrase (archaic)
: *Good beef, by t' mass!* (Yorkshire and Midlands dialect)a kind of a 17th century oath.
: This is an archaic expression from Yorkshire and also from the Midlands dialect, it was taken from a 'broadside' printed at York by Stephen Bulkley in 1673. The original broadside is lost, but a manuscript transcript of it was purchased by the late Professor Skeat at the sale of Sir F. Madden's books and papers, and published by him in volume xii. of the Dialect Society's Transactions, 1896.
: A Yorkshire Dialogue between an Aud Wife a Lass and a butcher.
: LASS. What mun I do wi' t' blude?
: BUTCHER. Thou fool,
: Teem 't down i' t' garth, i' t' midden-pool.
: Good beef, by t' mass! an' when 'tis hung
: I's roll it down wi' tooth an' tongue,
: An' gobble 't down e'en till I worry.
: An' whan neist mell we mak a lurry
: A piece o' this frae t' kimlin browt
: By t' Rood! 't will be as good as owt.
: any clues or ideas?
I'm not sure I entirely understand the question. The expression "by t'mass" is a fairly common archaic oath or - here used as an intensifier, and echoed later in the piece by "by t'Rood". Thee is a whole series of such expressions running through older English literature, starting from Chaucer, and clearly they formed part of everyday speech across the nation - we're not talking regional here. "Strewth" and "Zounds" (By God's truth and by Christ's wounds respectively are fairly well known) but the single one that has lasted the test of time and remains with us in modern English is "bloody", which derives from "by Christ's blood".
The butcher is simply avowing that the piece of beef the woman has bought is of high quality. His words may be easily paraphrased thus:- "I swear to on God's holy mass that this is good beef."
I have more of a problem trying to make sense of the third to last line (An' whan neist mell we mak a lurry) and also have no clue what a "kimlin" is in the following line.
- Good beef, by t' mass! (correcting multiple typos) TheFallen 09/January/05