John Castillo

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John Castillo, Stone Mason & Preacher


The poem is part of the one Joseph Smith wrote when a boy at Bridge House, Normanby to the dictation of John Castillo the stone mason, who at that time could neither read nor write; but in after years, by great diligence and study, he became an efficient scholar and wrote many poems.  He was a talented local preacher and evangelist, his labours being chiefly in the Cleveland and Lealholme district:






YAH neet, as ah went heam fra wark,

A lahtle bit afoore 'twur dark,

Quite blythe an' cheerful as a lark,

Ah thowt me-sel,

Ab sat mah doon te rist a bit

At top o't hill.


Fooaks just wer tumin oat ther ky,

A labtle plane awd man com by.

"Cum sit ye' doon, good frind," sez I,

An' rist yer legs;"

He'd been a bit o'floor te buy,

An' tweea'r three eggs.


Ah fand him varry gud te stop;

His staff he set up as a prop,

His hooary heead he lifted up,

An' thus cumpleean'd

(Sum fragments ov a gud like feeace

There still remain'd):-


"Yo see," sez he, "mah deer young


Mah travils' cummin ti~ an end;

Wiv age me back begins te bend,

An' white's me hair;

Ov this warld's griefs, yoo may depend

Ah've had me share.


His teeal tho' simple, yet t'wur grand,

An' varry gud te understand;

His stick steead up aboon his hand,

T'awd fasshun'd way;

His cooat an' hat were wedder tann'd

A duffil gray.



"Ah think," sez ah, "at skripter sezz,

Gray hairs izz honourable dress,

If they be fun i'reeteousness,

Be fayth obtayn'd;

An' ah think be what yer leeaks express,

That prahze yoo've gayn'd.


"Wiv age it izzent gud te joak,

An' its ommost ower warm te woak,

Sit doon, an' hey a bit o'toak

Ov things 'ats past;

Awd men like yoo hez seeafbeeath heard

An' seen a vast."


"A vast ah hev beeath heeard an' seen,

An' felt misfotten's arrows keen,

As yoo remark, whahl ah hey been

On this life's stage;

It's sike a varry changin' scene

Fra' yooth tiv age.


"Hoo greeat an' yet hoo feeble's


His life at langist's bud a span."

His history he thus began

Wiv teears te tell;

An' if yer eears be owt like mahn,

T'will pleease ye well.


"Lang sin ah lost me wife, "sez he"

"Which was a heavy cross te me;

An' then me son teeak off tit' sea,-

A fahn young man;

An' ah neeah mare his feearce mun_see"

It's ten te yan.


John Castillo headstone at Pickering c.2009

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