HOW FLYING CAME TO RINGWAY
Warburton's is bloody late. Where the hell they get to? /* Wa. is a baker's at Bolton, or their van.
Some say a dragon flew from far, on Middleton hill it made den,
and all that here from Bolton comes must shun that far-seen highland.
But when the fiery dread's asleep, some dare and come the straight way.
If we send message up to there, it must a long way round go,
dodge round three sides and get there late, by Warrington and Preston,
for if it dares the hostile waste, unfriendly eyes patrol there,
the dragon sees, and turns, and swoops, devouring horse and rider.
And further ‘cross the lands it flew, if found it no prey nearer;
“Keep flying on and do not land: we’ve not got here what you want.”,
men prayed, but sometimes down it flew; and times at dread-remembered,
it landed, taking what it would, and dreaded was its flaming.
Till all with arms made northward march and crossed the marsh-girt Mersey,
from Northenden ford past fields and villages; long th’ march
to the highland.
From Didsbury and Withington then all with war-gear joined us,
past Fallowfield and Rusholme next, till th' city stood wide before us.
And towers and domes and spires rose, well peopled, with great buildings,
and strong its wall on every side, well needed in those old times.
High on the north horizon rose the monster's dreaded highland.
The city's treasure's guards came out with us against the danger.
And so the march of dread began, forth from the city's north gate.
Men'd feared to watch the smoking height, its name was rarely spoken.
On nearer hill still people dwelt, wall watchful, and we entered.
And we and they the same dread had of what might come against us.
"When th' dragon's new brood is strong to fly, a new den they'll seek elsewhere.
You've treasure enough to tempt them here, or else with us come march out.
F'r a while you dwellers on Cheetham Hill must leave your learned Talmud,
before it's burnt by the dragon's brood's fire when they assail your fort-hill.".
The waste the dragon had made around too soon began before us.
Past homes burnt out and fields gone waste we climbed the dread-named highland,
till Middleton Top before us was; from naked rocks the smoke rose
from slot where They had brood and nest; so far we'd come; now flee not!
But some'd dared in there while it slept, and so we knew where what was.
We entered: rightway fight began; we shields raised 'gainst its flaming,
too many f'r it to fight at once, although it clawed and tail-lashed
till we from southward fair lands come saw it had drained its flame-glands,
while fiery blasts seen were from far, and men thought th'worst was breeding.
We could not leave it where it was, or it would make more wasteland,
and each new brood would spread about, and men would have no homelands,
in all th' lands we saw from the top, and further past th' horizon.
'Twas Ezra ben Ari from Cheetham come, first bound the monster's forelegs,
while three of th’ city's treasure's guards well bound and sealed its jaws shut.
And John and Richard Shenton come from Northenden sealed its flame-vent,
so far from home amid the Waste, in fight upon the highland.
"Another one helped us" someone said to one our deeds recording.
He came: "We live on westward hill. That fort on it our place is.
Each rain makes torrents flood past our homes, and so we called it Strong-wash.
We also feared its brood on us when parent ordered leaving.".
And bound to carts we hauled it thence, and its young brood along with.
We hauled it southwards far from there, and men rejoiced deliv'rance,
as past the city we came from fight back going with it homewards;
and on the hill of Middleton now men dwell in peace as elsewhere.
And past the Moss we hauled it south, 'tween Didsbury and Chorlton,
at last across the Mersey wide, through Wythenshawe's fair homelands,
that alien monster from the north; men wondered at our passing.
past Baguley Hall and Woodhouse then, we came to destination,
where long a guarded place had been, secure, in case war needed;
a guard's patrol road runs around, and so men called it Ringway.
We kept them there, to fly on call, as men command, and only,
and watch for foes, and guard the lands, and carrying men and writings.
Now all that happened long ago; the land's now free of monsters;
but if men need to fly afar, they still f'r that go to Ringway.