STANZAS TO MY STARVING KIN IN THE NORTH.
BY ELIZA COOK.
Sad are the sounds that are breaking forth
From the women and men of the brave old North!
Sad are the sights for human eyes,
In fireless homes, ’neath wintry skies;
Where wrinkles gather on childhood’s skin,
And youth’s “clemm’d” cheek
is pallid and thin;
Where the good, the honest unclothed, unfed,
Child, mother, and father, are craving for bread!
But faint not, fear not still have trust;
Your voices are heard, and your claims are just.
England to England’s self is true,
And “God and the People” will help you
Brothers and sisters! full well ye have stood,
While the gripe of gaunt Famine has curdled your blood!
No murmur, no threat on your lips have place,
Though ye look on the Hunger-fiend face to face;
But haggard and worn ye silently bear,
Dragging your death-chains with patience and prayer;
With your hearts as loyal, your deeds as right,
As when Plenty and Sleep blest your day and your night,
Brothers and sisters! oh! do not believe
It is Charity’s gold alone ye receive.
Ah, no! It is Sympathy, Feeling, and Hope,
That pull out in the Life-boat to fling ye a rope.
Fondly I’ve lauded your wealth-winning hands,
Planting Commerce and Fame throughout measureless
And my patriot-love, and my patriot-song,
To the children of Labour will ever belong.
Women and men of this brave old soil!
I weep that starvation should guerdon your toil;
But I glory to see ye proudly mute
Showing souls like the hero, not fangs
like the brute.
Oh! keep courage within; be the Britons ye are;
he, who driveth the storm hath His hand on the
England to England’s sons shall be true,
And “God and the People” will carry ye
THE SMOKELESS CHIMNEY
BY A LANCASHIRE LADY(E.J.B.)
Stranger! who to buy art willing,
Seek not here for talent rare;
Mine’s no song of love or beauty,
But a tale of want and care.
Traveller on the Northern Railway!
Look and learn, as on you speed;
See the hundred smokeless chimneys,
Learn their tale of cheerless need.
Ah! perchance the landscape fairer
Charms your taste, your artist-eye;
Little do you guess how dearly
Costs that now unclouded sky.
“How much prettier is this county!”
Says the careless passer-by;
“Clouds of smoke we see no longer,
What’s the reason? Tell me why.
“Better far it were, most surely,
Never more such clouds to see,
Bringing taint o’er nature’s beauty,
With their foul obscurity.”
Thoughtless fair one! from yon chimney
Floats the golden breath of life;
Stop that current at your pleasure!
Stop! and starve the child the wife.
Ah! to them each smokeless chimney
Is a signal of despair;
They see hunger, sickness, ruin,
Written in that pure, bright air.
“Mother! mother! see! ’twas truly
Said last week the mill would stop;
Mark yon chimney, nought is going,
There’s no smoke from ‘out o’th
“Father! father! what’s the reason
That the chimneys smokeless stand?
Is it true that all through strangers,
We must starve in our own land?”
Low upon her chair that mother
Droops, and sighs with tearful eye;
At the hearthstone lags the father,
Musing o’er the days gone by.
Days which saw him glad and hearty,
Punctual at his work of love;
When the week’s end brought him plenty,
And he thanked the Lord above.
When his wages, earned so justly,
Gave him clothing, home, and food;
When his wife, with fond caresses,
Blessed his heart, so kind and good.
Neat and clean each Sunday saw them,
In their place of prayer and praise,
Little dreaming that the morrow
Piteous cries for help would raise.
Weeks roll on, and still yon chimney
Gives of better times no sign;
Men by thousands cry for labour,
Daily cry, and daily pine.
Now the things, so long and dearly
Prized before, are pledged away;
Clock and Bible, marriage-presents,
Both must go how sad to say!
Charley trots to school no longer,
Nelly grows more pale each day;
Nay, the baby’s shoes, so tiny,
Must be sold, for bread to pay.
They who loathe to be dependent
Now for alms are forced to ask
Hard is mill-work, but, believe me,
Begging is the bitterest task.
Soon will come the doom most dreaded,
With a horror that appals;
Lo! before their downcast faces
Grimly stare the workhouse walls.
Stranger, if these sorrows touch you,
Widely bid your bounty flow;
And assist my poor endeavours
To relieve this load of woe.
Let no more the smokeless chimneys
Draw from you one word of praise;
Think, oh, think upon the thousands
Who are moaning out their days.
Rather pray that peace, soon bringing
Work and plenty in her train,
We may see these smokeless chimneys
Blackening all the land again.
THE MILL-HAND’S PETITION.
The following verses are copied from
“Lancashire Lyrics,” edited by John Harland,
Esq., F.S.A. They are extracted from a song “by
some ‘W.C.,’ printed as a street broadside,
at Ashton-under-Lyne, and sung in most towns of South
We have come to ask for assistance;
At home we’ve been starving too long;
An’ our children are wanting subsistence;
Kindly aid us to help them along.
For humanity is calling;
Don’t let the call be in vain;
But help us; we’re needy and falling;
And God will return it again.
War’s clamour and civil commotion
Has stagnation brought in its train;
And stoppage bring with it starvation,
So help us some bread to obtain.
For humanity is calling.
The American war is still lasting;
Like a terrible nightmare it leans
On the breast of a country, now fasting
For cotton, for work, and for means.
And humanity is calling.
CHEER UP A BIT LONGER.
BY SAMUEL LAYCOCK.
Cheer up a bit longer, mi brothers
There’s breeter days for us i’ store;
There’ll be plenty o’ tommy an’
wark for us o’
When this ’Merica bother gets o’er.
Yo’n struggled reet nobly, an’ battled
While things han bin lookin’ so feaw;
Yo’n borne wi’ yo’re troubles and
trials so long,
It’s no use o’ givin’ up neaw.
Feight on, as yo’ han done, an’
For th’ battle seems very nee won,
Be firm i’ yo’re sufferin’, an’
dunno give way;
They’re nowt nobbut ceawards’at run.
Yo’ know heaw they’n praised us for stondin’
An’ shall we neaw stagger an’ fo?
Nowt o’th soart; iv we nobbut brace
up an’ be hard,
We can stond a bit longer, aw know.
It’s hard to keep clemmin’ an’ starvin’
An’ one’s hurt to see th’ little
Becose there’s no buttercakes for ’em
But we’n allus kept pooin’ thro’
As bad as toimes are, an’ as feaw as things
We’re certain they met ha’ bin worse;
We’n had tommy to eat, an’ clooas to put
They’n only bin roughish, aw know.
Aw’ve begged on yo’ to keep up yo’re
An’ neaw let me ax yo’ once
Let’s noan get disheartened, there’s hope
for us yet,
We needn’t dispair tho’ we’re poor.
We cannot expect it’ll allus be foine;
It’s dark for a while, an’ then clear;
We’n mirth mixed wi’ sadness, an’
pleasure wi’ pain,
An’ shall have as long as we’re here.
This world’s full o’ changes for better
An’ this is one change among th’ ruck;
We’n a toime o’ prosperity, toime
An’ then we’n a reawnd o’ bad luck.
We’re baskin’ i’ sunshine, at one
toime o’th day,
At other toimes ceawerin’ i’th dark;
We’re sometoimes as hearty an’ busy as
At other toimes ill, an’ beawt wark.
Good bless yo’! mi brothers, we’re
nobbut on th’ tramp,
We never stay long at one spot;
An’ while we keep knockin’ abeawt i’
Disappointments will fall to eawer lot:
So th’ best thing we can do, iv we meón
to get thro’,
Is to wrastle wi’ cares as they come;
We shall feel rayther tired, but lets never heed that,
We can rest us weel when we get whoam.
Cheer up, then, aw say, an’ keep hopin’
for th’ best,
An’ things ’ll soon awter, yo’ll
There’ll be oceans o’ butties for Tommy
An’ th’ little un perched on yo’re
Bide on a bit longer, tak’ heart once ogen,
An’ do give o’er lookin’ so feaw;
As we’n battled, an’ struggled, an’
suffered so long,
It’s no use o’ givin’ up neaw.
(From “Phases of Distress Lancashire Rhymes.”)
BY JOSEPH RAMSBOTTOM.
Fro’ heawrs to days a dhreary length
Fro’ days to weeks one idle stons,
An’ slowly sinks fro’ pride an’
To weeny heart an’ wakely honds;
An’ still one hopes, an’ ever tries
To think ’at better days mun come;
Bo th sun may set, an th sun may rise,
No sthreak o’ leet one finds a-whoam.
Aw want to see thoose days again,
When folk can win whate’er they need;
O God! to think ‘at wortchin’ men
Should be poor things to pet an’ feed!
There’s some to th’ Bastile han to
To live o’th rates they’n help’d
An’ some get “dow” to help ’em
An’ some are taen or sent away.
What is there here, ’at one should live,
Or wish to live, weigh’d deawn wi’ grief,
Through weary weeks an’ months, ’at give
Not one short heawr o’ sweet relief?
A sudden plunge, a little blow,
Would end at once mi’ care an’
An’ why noa do’t? for weel
Aw’s lose bo’ ills, if nowt aw gain.
An’ why noa do’t? It ill ’ud
O’ thoose wur laft beheend, aw fear;
It’s wring, at fust, to kill mysel’,
It’s wring to lyev mi childer here.
Ones like to tak some thowt for them
Some sort o’ comfort one should give;
So one mun bide, an’ starve, an’ clem,
An’ pine, an’ mope, an’ fret, an’
TH SHURAT WEAVERS SONG.
BY SAMUEL LAYCOCK.
Tune “Rory O’More.”
Confound it! aw ne’er wur so woven afore;
My back’s welly brocken, mi fingers are
Aw’ve been starin’ an’ rootin’
amung this Shurat,
Till aw’m very near getten as bloint as a bat.
Aw wish aw wur fur enough off, eawt o’th road,
For o’ weavin’ this rubbitch aw’m
getten reet sto’d;
Aw’ve nowt i’ this world to lie deawn
on but straw,
For aw’ve nobbut eight shillin’ this fortnit
Neaw, aw haven’t mi family under mi
Aw’ve a woife and six childer to keep eawt o’
So aw’m rayther amung it just neaw, yo
Iv ever a fellow wur puzzle’t, it’s me!
Iv aw turn eawt to steal, folk’ll co’
me a thief;
An’ aw conno’ put th’ cheek on to
ax for relief;
As aw said i’ eawr heawse t’other neet
to mi wife,
Aw never did nowt o’ this mak’ i’
O dear! iv yon Yankees could nobbut just see,
Heaw they’re clemmin’ an’ starvin’
poor weavers loike me,
Aw think they’d soon sattle their bother, an’
To send us some cotton to keep us alive.
There’s theawsan’s o’ folk, just
i’th best o’ their days,
Wi’ traces o’ want plainly sin i’
An’ a futur afore ’em as dreary an’
For, when th’ cotton gets done, we’s be
o’ eawt o’ wark.
We’n bin patient an’ quiet as lung as
Th’ bits o’ things we had by us are welly
Mi clogs an’ mi shoon are both gettin’
An’ my halliday clooas are o’ gone “up
Mony a time i’ my days aw’ve sin things
But never as awkard as what they are neaw;
Iv there isn’t some help for us factory folk
Aw’m sure ‘at we’s o’ be knock’d
reet eawt o’ tune.
GOD HELP THE POOR.
BY SAMUEL BAMFORD.
God help the poor, who in this wintry morn,
Come forth of alleys dim and courts obscure;
God help yon poor, pale girl, who droops forlorn,
And meekly her affliction doth endure!
God help the outcast lamb! she trembling stands,
All wan her lips, and frozen red her hands;
Her mournful eyes are modestly down cast,
Her night-black hair streams on the fitful blast;
Her bosom, passing fair, is half reveal’d,
And oh! so cold the snow lies there congeal’d;
Her feet benumbd, her shoes all rent and worn;
God help thee, outcast lamb, who stand’st forlorn!
God help the poor!
God help the poor! an infant’s feeble wail
Comes from yon narrow gate-way! and behold
A female crouching there, so deathly pale,
Huddling her child, to screen it from the cold!
Her vesture scant, her bonnet crush’d and torn;
A thin shawl doth her baby dear enfold.
And there she bides the ruthless gale of morn,
Which almost to her heart hath sent its cold!
And now she sudden darts a ravening look,
As one with new hot bread comes past the nook;
And, as the tempting load is onward borne,
She weeps. God help thee, hapless one forlorn!
God help the poor!
God help the poor! Behold yon famish’d
No shoes, no hose, his wounded feet protect;
With limping gait, and looks so dreamy-sad,
He wanders onward, stopping to inspect
Each window, stored with articles of food;
He yearns but to enjoy one cheering meal.
Oh! to his hungry palate, viands rude
Would yield a zest the famish’d only feel!
He now devours a crust of mouldy bread
With teeth and hands the precious boon is torn,
Unmindful of the storm which round his head
Impetuous sweeps. God help thee, child forlorn
God help the poor!
God help the poor! Another have I found
A bow’d and venerable man is he;
His slouched hat with faded crape is bound,
His coat is gray, and threadbare, too, I see;
“The rude winds” seem to “mock his
His shirtless bosom to the blast is bare.
Anon he turns, and casts a wistful eye,
And with scant napkin wipes the blinding spray;
And looks again, as if he fain would spy
Friends he hath feasted in his better day
Ah! some are dead, and some have long forborne
To know the poor; and he is left forlorn!
God help the poor!
God help the poor who in lone valleys dwell,
Or by far hills, where whin and heather grow
Theirs is a story sad indeed to tell!
Yet little cares the world, nor seeks to know
The toil and want poor weavers undergo.
The irksome loom must have them up at morn;
They work till worn-out nature will have sleep;
They taste, but are not fed. Cold snow drifts
Around the fireless cot, and blocks the door;
The night-storm howls a dirge o’er moss and
And shall they perish thus, oppress’d and lorn?
Shall toil and famine hopeless still be borne!
No! God will yet arise, and help the
BY EDWIN WAUGH.
Neaw times are so tickle, no wonder
One’s heart should be deawn i’ his shoon,
But, dang it, we munnot knock under
To th’ freawn o’ misfortin to soon;
Though Robin looks fearfully gloomy,
An’ Jamie keeps starin’ at th’ greawnd,
An’ thinkin’ o’th table ’at’s
An’ th’ little things yammerin’
Iv a mon be both honest an’ willin’,
An’ never a stroke to be had,
An clemmin for want ov a shillin,
It’s likely to make him feel sad;
It troubles his heart to keep seein’
His little brids feedin’ o’th air;
An’ it feels very hard to be deein’,
An’ never a mortal to care.
But life’s sich a quare bit o travel,
A warlock wi sun an wi shade,
An’ then, on a bowster o’ gravel,
They lay’n us i’ bed wi’ a spade;
It’s no use o’ peawtin’ an’
As th’ whirligig’s twirlin’ areawn’d,
Have at it again; an’ keep scratehin’,
As lung as your yed’s upo’ greawnd.
Iv one could but feel i’th inside on’t,
There’s trouble i’ every heart;
An’ thoose that’n th’ biggest o’th
Oft leeten o’th keenest o’th smart.
Whatever may chance to come to us,
Lets patiently hondle er share,
For there’s mony a fine suit o’ clooas
That covers a murderin’ care.
There’s danger i’ every station,
I’th palace, as weel as i’th cot;
There’s hanker i’ every condition,
An’ canker i’ every lot;
There’s folk that are weary o’ livin’,
That never fear’t hunger nor cowd;
An’ there’s mony a miserly crayter
‘At’s deed ov a surfeit o’ gowd.
One feels, neaw ‘at times are so nippin’,
A mon’s at a troublesome schoo’,
That slaves like a horse for a livin’,
An, flings it away like a foo;
But, as pleasur’s sometimes a misfortin,
An trouble sometimes a good thing,
Though we liv’n o’th floor, same as layrocks,
We’n go up, like layrocks, to sing.