Homely Rhymes and Poems (3)
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 AN APPEAL.


WRITTEN DURING THE POTATO FAMINE IN IRELAND,
FIRST PUBLISHED IN "THE MANCHESTER EXAMINER."


SONS of England, noble England, listen to my verse
            awhile;
We that once were deemed happy, now have little
            cause to smile;
We that once were deemed happy, whether rich or
            honest poor,
Hear the ghastly famine howling, and the wolf is at
            the door.

Sons of England, noble England, Scotia tells a woeful
            tale;
And from all the land of Erin, comes a moan upon
            the gale;
Out of billow-seated Erin, wakes a wild and fearful
            cry,
"Noble sons of noble England, we of hunger faint
            and die.

"We have thousands here in England, honest men of
            humble state;
"Who, in more than human labour, yield to nothing
            less than fate;
"Scotia too, is fellow worker, on the loom and at the
            plough;
"And had Erin striven wisely, she had not been
            foodless now.

"But the past be all forgotten, what is present let
            us mend;
"Heaven sends a timely warning, and 'twere well if
            we attend;"
Down to Scotland, o'er to Erin, throw your gold as
            free as dew
But whilst you are true to others, to your Saxon poor
            be true.

True to those who labour daily, in the mine and
            in the mill;
To the hardy peasant braving, Summer's heat, and
            Winter's chill;
To the worker at the anvil, and the hewer of the
            stone;
And the pale one, weaving, when the stars have left
            him all alone.

True to head, for ever thoughtful, hearts all honest to
            the core;
Ne'er in difficulties doubtful, resting not till labour's
            o'er;
Down to Scotland, o'er to Erin, freely cast your
            sunny gowd;
But whilst you are thus endowing, know by whom
            you are endow'd.

Sons of England, noble England, be you bountiful
            but just;
Wiser rule for wildered Erin, want we do, and have
            we must;
Meet her plaining with your plenty, until better days
            are seen;
Place her burden then, and leave it, where it ever
            should have been.

Sons of England, Saxon England, now let vile
            traducers quail;
Ye have never shrunk in danger, and in duty will
            not fail.
And altho' in shadows frowning, lightsome day hath
        sadly set,
There's a Sun behind the glooming, that will shine
        upon us yet.

 


_______________________


EPITAPH,

ON A BOY, WHO, HAVING SUFFERED UNDER A LONG AND WASTING
SICKNESS, WAS FOUND UNEXPECTEDLY DEAD.


"LIE low, and thou shalt have good rest, my child,"
     Spake his fond mother, as she smooth'd his bed;
 The long-enduring sufferer meekly smil'd.
     At morn, his corse was there, his spirit fled!
 And so, indeed, the patient child found rest,
 His dust with dust, his soul with angels blest!

 


_______________________


LINES,

ON READING, IN A MANCHESTER NEWSPAPER, AN ACCOUNT
OF THE DEATH OF A LATE WORTHY AND HIGHLY RESPECTED M.P.


AND so the good and faithful one hath entered on his
            rest;
The toil of life hath passed away, and he is with the
            blest;
A throb, a tremor, and he yields to slumber none
            may break,
Until the angel's trumpet-call the morn of doom
            awake,
Until the angel's trumpet-shout, that rings from
            heaven to hell,
And o'er the earth, and through the earth, to ocean's
            deepest well
"Ye living, come to judgment, and, ye dead, return
            to light;
The Lord descends to judge the world in justice and
            in might."
The living wait for judgment, and the dead are in
            array;
And God comes in a glory-flood, that pales the light
            of day.
Till then repose, while yet the world, with all of
            human race,
Goes onward rolling as before, through depths of time
            and space;
The human being human still, such as it long hath
            been,
With good and evil, noble, vilethe peasant, lord,
            and queen.
The good, whose greatest pleasure is to benefit man-
            kind,
The evil, wading deep in crime, some fancied good to
            find;
Like tyrant, treading out the life of slaves who groaning
            lie,
The cravens being trod to death because they fear to die.
The good, whose constant wish is for advantage to the
            state;
The evil, ever seeking how for self to operate.
The good, whose rule of life is by the golden
            apophthegm,
Of "doing as they would that others should do unto
            them."
True nobles, not by rank alone,mere title they
            ignore;
Than written sign and patent seal, they must have
            something more.
Of noble deed comes noble meed, and noble actions
            show
The honest man a king of men, and crowned of God
            also;
And let a passing thought disclose a truth too seldom
            seen,
If honest man be king of men, a honest woman's
            queen.
And sure' as honest queen hath sat upon the English
            throne,
So truly are we certified, a honest queen's our own. 

Alas, the vile! that we should scorn the poor as low
            and vile,
Whilst vileness cushioned in a coach, we meet with
            bow and smile.
Ho! bring the band of golden sheen; ho! bring the
            jewels rare;
The vile in humble garb we loath,the jewelled vile,
            "how fair."
A poor one begs and goes to jail,one rich hath
            cheated long,
But this, though not exactly right, is scarcely deemed
            wrong.
And so, disguise it as we may, in either prose or rhyme,
Virtue is gold, our acts declare, and poverty is crime.

As gems are found in caverns deep, emotions pure
            may glow
In depths where angels come to weep mid human
            crime and woe;
For mouldy cell, or attic bare, where broken roof or
            pane
Admit the summer's sultry heat, or winter's cold and
            rain;
Unfurling wide their radiant wings, they leave the
            crystal floor,
And all unknown to sons of earth, they ope the poor
            man's door.
To some they fortitude impart, affliction to sustain,
Of some they bind the broken heart, of some assuage
            the pain,
Awaking thoughts of Christ who was betrayed and
            denied,
And how, forsaken of the world, in agony he died.
Another feeling then prevails of humanizing woe;
The charm of sin hath ceased to charm, and tears
            repentant flow.

But thou wert of the glory-crowned, and took thy
            honoured place,
And held it with becoming mien, and mild, but manly
            grace;
Despising gaude and pride effete, to work that will
            not deign,
When duty called, in action prompt, thy works were
            quickly seen.
The useful and the requisite thou ever didst support,
With vision-led enthusiasts thou never wouldst consort.
Of manner placid, thou wert yet, persistent in the right,
And in opposing wrong thy force was neither brief
            nor slight.
Avoiding words not born of thought, thy speech was
            to the sense;
To art of "mouthing by the hour" thou never madest
            pretence.

Far party's loss, or faction's gain, thou never wouldst
            contest,
Thy vote was always freely given, and always for the
            best.
Upholding power, thou wouldst maintain that right
            was higher still,
And, pleading justice, Mercy's tears would move thy
            sterner will.
Farewell, thou good and faithful one, now dwelling
            with the blest
"Where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary
            are at rest."

 


_______________________


LINES,

ON THE DEATH OF THE LATE JOHN HORSEFIELD,
BOTANIST, OF PRESTWICH,


ANOTHER of the humble great departs,
And sadness clouds the light of many hearts; 
Those of his house, who held him truly dear,
Indulge in deep regret, and bitter tear;
Whilst the companions of his leisure day
Sigh, when they find that Horsefield is away:
The office vacant he so often bore*
His words of thoughtful teaching heard no more.

    No more he seeks the fern within the dell,
Nor humid moss that drips beside the well;
Nor pimpernel,** that weather warns the poor; 
Nor golden asphodel, that gems the moor;
Nor purple heath, that scents the breezy wild;
Nor hyacinth, of shady nooks the child;
Nor sun-dew, glittering on the moorland dun,
Nor primrose coyly nestling to the sun.
He cares not for the choicest herb that grows,
Since life hath failed and he takes repose.
Thou'st journey'd longthe storm is on the plain;
Come weary one, and rest, and live again.

    And thus it is,—we pass like dew away,
Or, like the summer flowers, that will not stay.
The germ of life, becomes a plant, and dies;
And in its place another plant doth rise.
"All flesh is grass,"the myriads rise and grow,
And, quickly as they come, so quick they go.
Whilst one awakes, another disappears;
And death, the friendly, wipes the dying tears.
Oh! wondrous life, through which we laugh and weep!
Oh! beauteous death, that lulls to placid sleep!
And still a change-for knowledge certifies,
Death is but life beneath another guise.
Our day recedes, and scarce the curfew rings,
Ere death enfolds us in her cloudy wings,
And opes a world where life anew begins,
A race of change where every starter wins.
The goal is wonthe goal is instant pass'd
The race goes on, and shall for ever last
The dead are living, and the living die!
Oh!  God, what is this great eternity?
Humbly I ask, and God doth answer send
"Tis endless change, and time without an end."
Thus live and perish breathing creatures must,
They come from dust, and all return to dust.

    So farewell, husband, ever dear and true,
Parent, receive our last, our long adieu.
Neighbour, farewell, our kindly greetings o'er;
Companion dear, we part to meet no more.
So, husband, parent, neighbour, steadfast friend,
All ties dissolve when human life doth end;
Until in spirit-life, again we rise,
And meet thee in the fields of Paradise.

*That of chairman of rural botanical meetings.
**Often called the poor man's weather glass.


LONDON, November 11, 1855.

 


_______________________


THE WITCH OF BRANDWOOD. 

A SKETCH FOR A STATUE.


A BELDAME came to lofty Scout,*
What time the old year dwindled out; 
She was the last of all that race
Whose deeds our Northern stories grace;
And in her youth had join'd the crew
Which Walsden Clough and Wuerdale knew,
Much to the good folks' dread and woe,
Some threescore years and ten ago.

The night was dark, the wind was high;
There was a tumult in the sky;
As if amid the ærial space
Some mighty change was taking place.
O'er wintry Holcomb, t'wards the west,
The elements were ill at rest,
And, mingled with the troubled air,
Were sounds of lamentation there;
And mournful, over hill and dell,
Were heard the words, "Farewell! farewell!"

Then flash'd athwart th' abyss of night,
Through startled heaven, a stream of light;
And winds were heard with fearful howl,
T'wards Rooly Moor, and cheerless Knowl;
And darkness for a while gave -way
Before that ghast and lurid ray!

The beldame's cloak of seam and shred
Flew back, and to the wind was spread;
The hood her face was muffled round,
Her brow with striped kerchief bound;
Nor did the wind her bosom spare-
One wither'd pap hung cold and bare:
Her outstretch'd arms were long and thin,
The great veins crept beneath her skin.

Like worms that had begun to glide
Around her carcase, ere it died:
And thus, with unaverted eye,
She gaz'd towards that howling sky,
And with storm-piercing shriek she cried,
"New year, I hail thine early tide,
And hither come I to demand,
What weal or woe for Spodden-land?"

*Scout Edge, near Duerden Moor, in the township of Shuttlsworth.

 


_______________________


A DIALOGUE

BETWEEN PETER SPINTHREED, A COTTON MANUFACTURER,
AND ZEKIL LITHEWETUR, A HAND-LOOM WEAVER.

Written on the coming in of the Canning Administration.


[Glossary of Lancashire dialect]



PETER.


WELL, Zekil, hasto' yerd o' th' reawt,
'At's takken place at Lundun?
King George has turn't hissel' obeawt,
An' Ministers are undun;
Sin' Liverpool laid by his shoon,
O' nailt wi' gowden clinkers,
The growl has to a battle groon,
An' Cannin's bitten th' blinkers.


ZEKIL.


An' what by that? he'r nere a friend
To my poor hungry belly; 
An' though he shift, unless he mend,
He's still a nowty felley.
"No honest mon," sed Billy Pit,
"Con ston i' sitch a station;
An' he who creeps or flies to it,
Man sacrifice the nation."


PETER.


Pshaw! none o' thy reformin' slang,
Suspicious an' despondin',
I tell thee, things win goo none wrang
When Cannin' gets his hond in.
He'll make the Yankees an' the Dons
Buy cals an' calimancos;
Put th' Kurn-bill i' the divel's hons
'At it no moor may dank* us.


ZEKIL.


O' that may be I dunna deawt,
He's thick enoof wi' Sooty;
He'll bring moor marrokles obeawt 
I'th' way o' wage an' booty. 
But con he satisfy the debt,
Au' staunch thoose drainin' penshuns? 
Till then, a trade we ne'er shall get
For eawr "sublime invenshuns."


PETER.


He'll geythur reawn'd him o' the peaw'r
An' patronage o' th' nation;
Ther's Lord MacCringe and Lord MacKeawr
Mun each fill op a station;
Whilst Sir John Cop'** mun sit at top,
Upon a seck o' clippins; ***
Eh! Zekil, that's a glorious shop
Wot carvings an' wot drippins!


ZEKIL.


He geythur ought? he'll geythur newt:
Hooa tarries to be groated!
These Tories are like summer brids,
Wi' him they'n not be sawted.
An' Wellinton has laft the drill,
An' Lowther's off i' anger;
An' Peel has bowt a spinnin' mill,
An' Eldon deawts no langer.


PETER.


An' wot cares he, if o' that swarm
Desart his cause, an hate him?
One jink o' gowd will theawsuns arm
Prepar't to vindicate him.
O'er brucks an' briggs dun gallop Whigs,
Wi' whip an' spur unscanted,
An' Brougham up to Lunnun trigs
To see if he be wanted. #

So, Zekil, go to th' kitchen door,
To-day theawst hav' a treatin'.
An' presently wur Zekil poor,
Beside the window waitin';
When forth coom Miss, all don'd i' silk,
Enoof to captivate us
Hoo gan poor Zeke some buttermilk,
An' a plate o' cowd potatoes! 

*Dank or Donk: damp, depressing.
**Sir John Copley, afterwards Lord Lyndhurst.
***Clippins; woolthe woolsack.

# It was stated in the newspapers, that Mr. Brougham
had left the North in posthaste for London, on hearing
of the change in the Administration.

 


_______________________


EPITAPH,

ON A YOUNG MAN WHO WAS DROWNED.*


NOT human speech nor human wail can tell
The grief of heart for one beloved so well:
In strength of life he left his home at morn,
And back, at noon, a pallid corpse was borne.
Humid and cold, they brought him from the deep,
To breaking hearts, to eyes that could not weep.
Oh, cease to mourn! in life we are in death,
And life is but a shadow and a breath.
Oh, cease to mourn! learn meekly to obey;
The Lord who gave, might surely take away!


*The lines, after being written at the instance of a relative of the deceased,
were submitted to the revision of a cobbler of rhymes, at Royton, and, as might 
be expected, a sad botch of them appears on a stone in the chapel-yard of that 
place.

 


_______________________


LINES,

ON THE DEATH OF MY FRIEND, JOSEPH TAYLOR,
OF OLDHAM. 


OH Death, how placid is thy sleep!
    The seal of a long dreamless rest;
No breath to sigh, no tear to weep,
    No trouble to disturb that breast:
The music of thy voice is o'er,
Thine eye shall wake to light no more!

Death comes, and none may linger then;
    The great one from his throne descends,
And mingles with his fellow men,
    And all his pomp and splendour ends;
And with the lowest lieth he,
Forgetful of his dignity.

And he, who in a low estate
    Hath mourn'd beside that guilty throne,
Is on a level with the great,
    Whose grave shall be as dark and lone;
For when a tyrant bows the head,
What tears of grief are ever shed?

O! may we live a worthy life,
    And may we die a worthy death; 
Whether we fall in freedom's strife,
    Or calmly we resign our breath,
There is a voice of truth to tell,
Of him who hath deserved well.

 


_______________________


THE SNOW WHITE DOVE.

A FRAGMENT.


OH, why should love, unearthly love,
    Like mine remain untold,
And why should unavailing love
    Be kept like hidden gold.
And why should fond and sinless love
    E'er feel the blush of shame,
Or the story of my snow white dove
    Descend without a name.

Come, peerless maid amongst the maids!
    To thee I now will tell
The tale which hath been kept too long,
    And erst was kept too well;
The story of my early love,
    Which haunts me now I'm old,
And broods within my very heart,
    Although 'tis well-nigh cold.

Come, peerless maid, for thou art like
    The one so early lost,
I'll tell it thee, and mayest thou
    In love be never cross'd.
I know thy pure and gentle heart
    My lay will not deride,
But rather would bestow a tear
    Whilst listening at my side.

 


_______________________


THE BARD'S PETITION,

TO THE REV. J. T. HORTON, J.P., ROCHDALE.


MOST reverend sir, I pray permit,
To approach where you in judgment sit,
A humble, lowly, country bard,
Whose birth, I fear, was evil star'd;
For since bright reason first began
To stamp upon my mind the man,
Heart-aching care, with wrinkled front,
Hath given me many a weary grunt,
And caused me self reproaching sigh
For momentary stolen joy,
That like the summer's beam is fled,
Now bitterly remembered.

    Your reverence will please to know
I made a fault some years ago,
A bonny blooming servant maid
Complaint before your worship laid
That I her virtue had beguil'd
And she, by me, was then with child;
And truly in process of time
Came forth a bumping lad so prime,
And I'm in justice bound to own,
The child was of my flesh and bone;
Till late I've duly paid the brass
To th' overseer for the lass,
And never have I been unwilling
To stump my nine and twenty shilling;
But when one has not brass to pay
And overseer comes every day,
With threats of prison or of law,
Or such like terrifying jaw,
It wounds me to the very quick,
My hair upon its end doth stick,
I stare as if I'd seen Old Nick;
And then again I rue the day
When I so foolish went astray.

    Imagination needs will come
And tear me from my happy home;
Led like a thief to prison dark,
The scoff, the pointing stock, the mark
Of every puppy that can bark.
I see my wife with tearful eye,
I hear my little darling cry;
Farewell my lowly cell, my book,
My cosy chair, my quiet nook,
Where oft the muse doth sit with me
Rehearsing rustic poetry;
Till fancy growing wild and warm,
Partakes the soul inspiring charm,
And sudden bursts the raptured lay
In all the glow of minstrelsy.

    The iron door, with rusty creak,
Maketh my inmost soul to quake,
And tells unto my anxious heart,
That I with liberty must part;
The stony chamber, and the bed
With clothes but thinly covered,
The harden'd turnkey's steely eye,
Expressive but of misery;
There cheerful look is never seen,
Nor waving woods in summer green;
Nor limped rills meand'ring flow,
But all is wretchedness and woe.
High walls, that mock, the powers of flight,
Dungeons, where reign eternal night,
Where felons unrepentant howl
In body pain, and rack of soul;
O 'tis impossible to tell
The horrors that I know too well.
Dire though the place, unless some friend
A little timely aid extend,
Ere many days have by me pass'd,
I in its walls am prisoner fast;
Then would your worship condescend
To be for once the poet's friend,
And shield him from the coming blast,
His gratitude would ever last.
In vain I see the day draw near,
I cannot pay the overseer,
For I, last week, was ta'en so ill,
I could not down "my cut o' twill,"
I really should have died I thought,
Till doctor Balm of Gilead brought;
And now I dread the anger dire
Of disappointed Lancashire,
For well I know he will demand
A warrant from your worship's hand,
As on the twenty-seventh day,
Two quarters I shall have to pay,
If you would deign excuse to find,
To soothe his anger-breathing mind,
And put him off a little longer,
Till I'm in circumstances stronger,
I promise you I'll not delay
To muster on an early day,
And ever after firm and steady,
I'll mind and have the money ready.

 


_______________________


THE STAKEHILL BALL.

[Glossary of Lancashire dialect]


'TWAS in the prime of summer time,
    When pleasant was the weather,
At Stakehill Fold, as I've been told,
    The women met together;
Old Betty Jacques the chair bespeaks,
    And then came Sally Turner,
And Collinge wife, wi' fun was rife,
    And Mall sat up i'th' corner.

The wife o' Dill would have her will,
    And plumpt her deawn i'th middle;
Whilst Bet-at-Joes, nipt up her toes,
    And fot owd John with fiddle.
When John began, up stepped Nan,
    And doanc'd a heavy raddler,
And, without care, upset a chair,
    And down hoo knock'ed owd Paddler.

Then came Mall Wilde an' brought her child
    And put it into th' keythur;
Whilst John-at-Dick's good wife has six,
    But left 'em with their feyther.
Of Mary Jos, there was no loss,
    Nor yet o' youthful Nelly;
An' Sall wur fain to come deawn th' lane,
    An' doance wi' neighbour Dolly.

An' they had ale 'at towd a tale;
    'Twur cool, an' wick, an' foamin';
It did 'em good, it warm'd their blood,
    An' set their thoughts a roamin'.
An' there were eyes 'at look'd as bright
    As ony star i'th' welkin,
An' bosoms like the marble white,
    An' bosoms soft wi' milk in.

Till echo rang, so sweet they sang,
    Within that joyous dwellin',
The chamber floor and butt'ry door
    The music soft repellin'.
Whilst up the stairs flew angel airs,
    Against the rafters ringin';
The looms below danced tip a toe,
    The lathes began a swingin'.

 


_______________________


LINES,

WRITTEN AT THE BLUE BALL, ROCHDALE.


THERE'S a little crude knot
Who visit this spot

What wonderful statesmen they'd make;

What pity that they
From "the helm" are away

They'd rectify ev'ry mistake.


Without stop or pause
They'd give us new laws,

And the spirit of trade would revive.

Huzza, what a buzz
About woollen and fuz,

The markets would all be alive.


Their converse how wise,
Man, open your eyes

And list to their sayings profound;

About Hollingworth dam,
And the fishes that swam,

And the bull-heads and stock-baits they found.


And if a strange wight,
From the road and the night,

Step in and a refuge should claim,

How the wise-acres pose,
How they snuff with their nose

To catch his profession and name.


With wit he is stunn'd,
He's baited and dunn'd,

But the wit is a wit of their own;

Both vulgar and dull,
Their skulls being full

Of matters that long have been known.


I leave them this time,
With this merciful rhyme,

I wish not to flog very hard;

If their manners don't mend,
Ere next I attend,

They shall feel all the ire of a bard.

 


_______________________


O'CONNOR'S MICHAELMAS GOOSE.*

[Glossary of Lancashire dialect]


SED goose unto gondor,
Whot felley comes yonder?
'Tis Feargus O'Connor,
I' search of a gonnor,
He wants to bestride one,
And o'er Inglun ride one,
Collecting foo's pennies
Fro gawsterin ninnies,
(They knew not the boaster
Coon theer for a roaster)
He tips 'em the blarney
Wi' tin-dagger Harney;
Or Brimstone O'Brien,
That lung-eared lion;
Or he cropt by jailor,
That worm-doctor, Taylor,
Whose fate doth remind us 
Of Lady Belynda's;
But her bonny tangles,
Were hung wi star-spangles,
While his of the "charter,"
Were trod into mortar
A fate so provokin,
He neerly dee'd chokin.

    Or Fixby's stark vagrant,
With cash accounts flagrant,
Grown grey in his folly,
Half cant and half bully;
Or lung-winded FIetcher,
Wi' Deegan, flat-catcher,
An' Jozif o' Stephens,
Whose odds dropt to evens,
When Dougal o' Holkham
Geet up to be-talk 'em,
How meek stood the preacher,
Before his new teacher;
It show'd not a reet heart,
To want his friend's sweetheart.

    An' ex-cobbler Jackson.
Whose fist hath not wax on,
Since Kit, stuffed wi' bother;
Tramps leeter than leather.

    An' Benbow, unbended,
Oft tied but ne'er mended
Who'd rather be a hobble in,
Than bend to his cobblin;
Wi' prig-lookin Jack Hart,
Whose reet name is Black-heart,
Who drapt felon's fetter,
And coom back no better.

    Pitkethly, the draper,
Sly booer an' scraper
As bee sucketh honey,
He clutched their money;
While Kilmarnock's bailie,
Held bully-talk daily.

    Wi' Shonas-ap-Froster,
That Welsh-lond imposter,
Who dropt fro' his station,
While fooin' to th' nation.
An' he sent fro' Ratchdo,
Who yerd o', an' watch'd o';
Whose smoot words an' wary,
Flamm'd Tummus an' Meary.
Wi' scores 'at are nameless,
But greedy an' shameless;
A gang o' bombasters,
Wind-puffers, word-wasters,
They'd pi' their breeches,
Ere shorten their speeches.
A crew o' decoyers,
An' poor folks' destroyers,
Like fox-cubs they're whinin,
Lost plunder repinin,
"No Michaelmas plunder"
Sed goose unto gondor;
Then from the moor springin,
The twain went a wingin,
An' left the big sinner,
Beawt Michaelmas dinner.

*On the 7th November, 1838, at a torch-light meeting, held at Rochdale,
Feargus O'Connor said they—the Chartists—would have Universal Suffrage by
the 29th of September next.  On that day they would have the "Michaelmas
Goose;" if they did not get it on that day, they would have the gander on the
30th.  But he pledged his life and his honour they would have Universal
Suffrage by that day.

 


_______________________


THE DEVIL'S COURT.

A FRAGMENT.


    NOW the Devil, saith report,
    Once would hold a justice court,
He'd a notion for trying his hand,
    He sent constables from hell
    And they did their duty well,
For they cribb'd all the cadgers of the land.

    Beside some highway reives
    And a score or two of thieves,
With flashman, the prig, and the swell,
    And some half-a-dozen stood
    With their knuckles dabb'd in blood,
Such a crew was never raked out of hell.

    Not a roof tree could be found,
    Length or breadth of English ground,
That could span o'er those victims of sin,
    So he wav'd his sable hand,
    And straight at his command,
They down sank, and were fast walled in.

    I can tell the very spot,
    For its often been my lot
To go night-hunting foumarts that way,
    Just behind the Tandle Hill,
    Where our Sunday morning's drill
We perform'd 'gainst the great meeting day.

    And when in nightly chase
    We approach'd the market place,
How strange was the yell of the hound,
    It was like a cry of pain
    Till we gain'd the hill again,
So we hasten'd to pass o'er that ground.

    Devil's court was held at night,
    But his worship must have light,
So he put forth his hand and uptore
    Twenty oaks from Gerrard's wood,
    And he piled them where he stood,
Sap gan fizz, and the fire loud did roar.

 


_______________________


THE LOST ONES.

WRITTEN DURING THE WINTER STORM OF 1853-4.


WHERE the sun looks cold and shorn,
Where the day is long and lorn,
Ah! too long, so cold and dreary,
Long and lorn, and dim and weary,
Sailors brave must needs go sailing,
Wives forsaken, children wailing;
Sails were spread, and ships in motion,
Down the darksome northern ocean;
From that darksome northern main,
When will they return again?
When will they return again?

Over billow, into gloom,
Ploughed the stem, and swung the boom,
Till they entered on a nether
Sea, outriding wreck and weather.
Night was there all strangely gleaming,
Stars wild coursing, meteors streaming;
Omens for a timely warning,
"Mortals, back, or no returning,"
Omens vain, for, with the day,
On they sail, nor seek to stay,
Until lost, and faraway;
Ah! too brave, too far away.

Gone and lost, but how or when,
Never may be known to men;
By what frozen lands they steered,
Gulf or berg, they disappeared;
Whether life so closed behind them
That the living ne'er can find them,
Whether kindly, death received them,
And from utter woe relieved them,
Or, a remnant are surviving,
Hoping still, and homeward striving;
So that lost and broken-hearted
Yet may meet, and ne'er be parted.
Ah! dear hope, with thought "so fair,"
Whose fond whisper was a snare
Wrought from uttermost despair.

All is frozen still and fast
In that death-land, wild and vast;
Save when mountain bergs are drifting,
Or with noise, like thunder, rifting;
Or the storm goes darkly scowling,
'Mid eternal winter howling;
Over desolation endless,
And a region void and friendless,—
Drear, immeasurable gloom!
One vast shroud, without a tomb,
What a band! and what a doom!

 


_______________________


THE BARD AND HIS PUPIL.

PUPIL.


    BARD, I pray, come show to me
Secret I would fain be knowing;
    What are the two things that be
    Greatest blessings unto man?
Son of light I wait your showing,
    And declare it if you can.


BARD.


Wisdom is a precious thing
Unto peasant or to king;
She hath far-pervading eye,
Human knowledge to apply,
So that good may be obtained,
And that evil be refrained;
In her clear discerning mind
Best of counsel thou wilt find;
She will teach thee how to choose,
What retain, and what to lose—
What thou sternly should'st suppress,
What permit, and what caress.
If a sudden storm assail,
Wisdom hath foreseen the gale;
And, whilst she is at the helm,
Fear not thou an overwhelm.
Or, if wake the clan- of war,
She hath seen the dancer far;
And can either meet the fight,
Or in peace maintain her right—
Ever seeing, every ready,
Ever calm, and ever steady.
High ones of the world she tendeth,
With the lowliest she wendeth;
And if fortune do despite thee,
She will never turn and slight thee,—
So, if friend thou doth require,
Could'st thou better one desire?

    She is highly, too, descended,
Heaven's court she erst attended;
When, as saith the sacred story,
Once came down the King of Glory,
And this lower world descried—
Ocean-weltered, dark, and void.
With His hand He did but motion,
And rolled back that fearful ocean.
Sun He robed in living light,
And the moon hung meekly bright;
And the stars in heaven He strewed—
Glory-streaming multitude!
Herb, and tree, and beast were rife,
Crowding on the morn of life;
And a pair went hand in hand,
Through that green and sunny land;
Happy, till they, tempted, fell,
When, as ancient poets tell—
Sign that heaven did not discard them—
Wisdom was vouchsafed to guard them
Through all time, and every stage
Of their world-wide pilgrimage.

    Child of man, what'er thou gain,
Strive thou wisdom to obtain;
She will be a friend indeed,
Ever present in thy need.
If bright wealth thy heart rejoice,
Add this pearl of matchless price;
And if Fortune still denies thee,
Gain this friend, who will advise thee.


PUPIL.


Son of light, my thanks are thine,
Would I had that friend, divine.


BARD.


In a meek and constant spirit,
Seek her, and thou shalt inherit.
Take thou also to thy aid
Valour, which is true and staid;
He will best support thy heart,
Whilst thou acts a noble part.
If thou needest strife's award,
Valour smiteth quick and hard;
And will neither flinch nor fail
Till his cause or death prevail.
Lo! a stalwart warrior stands,
Battle hewing with both hands;
Not a thought of peace comes o'er him
Whilst a foe-man stands before him.
Though with dead his knees are cumbered,
Though my enemies outnumbered,
Rest!—he never can enjoy it
Whilst his sword hath work to try it.

    But true valour may be found
On far other battle ground;
Oft he worketh humble good,
Not by means of force and blood.
Wrong he baffles, though of might,
And protects the feeble right;
Nothing caring who stands by,
Who applaud, or who decry.
What, save valour, stout and true,
Doth enable to subdue
All the groans that else were sounded,
When men's very souls are wounded,
All the yearnings of their ire,
When their hearts are trod like mire?
What hath helped man to bear,
Through his years of loaded care,
Ills that on each day beset him,
Wantonly that chafe and fret him?
Envy, with her viper brood,
Wounding in his solitude;
Whilst, to contumely of pride,
Throb of pain alone replied,
Open hate and covert scorn,
Lowly hero oft hath borne,
And the arrows, poison-stewed,
By abhorred ingratitude;
And the shafts that deepest stung,
By the hand of friendship flung;
Till his constancy was tried,
And he turned his tears to hide.
O, but valour, stout and true,
Still upbore him through and through,
And enabled him to say,
As the Holy One did pray—
"God, forgiveness to them show,
For they know not what they do."
Wouldst thou act a steadfast part,
Take thou valour to thy heart.


PUPIL.


Son of light, I have that boon;
I besought, and found it soon,
And I hold it, heart-within.


BARD.


Keep it pure from taint of sin.
So, if wisdom thou obtain,
Thou hast won a noble twain;
But if perfect thou wouldst be,
Thy two blessings should be three.
Great by wisdom is the gaining;
Great by valour, right maintaining,
Noble is the strife of duty,
Next is love that leads to beauty.
Love to God, the blessing giver,
Love to man, thy fellow-liver,
Love to all benign creation,
And to woman, adoration.
But the day hath set in gloaming,
And the starry van are coming,
Haste thee on thy homeward way,
Love's a theme for other day.

 


_______________________


GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.


GOD save Queen Caroline,
Britain's own heroine,
    God save the Queen.
Be Thou her strength and stay,
In her adversity,
And from dark treachery,
    God save the Queen.

Foes have beset her round,
Oh God, her foes confound,
    And save the Queen.
Oh may she pure arise
From the foul calumnies
Breathed by hired spies,
    God save the Queen.

Mark the vile minion's path,
Tool of unmanly wrath,
    Lurking unseen.
Learning was there misplac'd,
Rank, was it not debas'd?
Manhood was sore disgrac'd—
    God save the Queen.

 


_______________________


THE PARTING.


LOVE, I can no longer stay,
    One kiss and then
I to Bowton must away,
    With Owdham men.
Dry thy tears an' dunno mourn,
    Dearest love!
Till I back again return,
    I'll constant prove.

Bowton maids our damsels say,
    Witches be;
If they 'guile thy heart away,
    Woe to me!
If again thou doth return
    With alter'd mind,
Ever, ever shall I mourn
    Thy love unkind.

 


_______________________


THE WATCH AND WARD.(13)

[Glossary of Lancashire dialect]

SCENE—King Street, Middleton.


COME, all ye votaries of fame,
And listen to the warlike theme,
Which to my rustic lyre I sing,
Of Watch and Warders battling.

CHORUS.

        O, the gallant Watch and Ward,
        Sleepy England's wakeful guard,
        With dreadful rattle, pike, and hook,
        They'll drive Owd Ludd fro' every nook.


The waning moon hung o'er the hill,
And faintly gleam'd on Irk's sweet rill,
When Watch and Warders in array,
Up King-street took their dangerous way.

Tom led the van, with cleaver bright,
And gilded stick, "God and my right,"
Like summer posy painted gay,
To show his high authority.

Then came the Captain of the band;
A gleaming pike was in his hand;
With head erect and warrior stride,
He all the powers of Ludd defied.

Next stept the Doctor's "manly limb,"
A pestle huge was borne by him;
His heart as valiant forsooth,
As ever dar'd to draw a tooth.

Close at his heels "the gentry" came,
And I could mention many a name;
But prudence bind's Pegasus' wing,
Lest his rider he should fling.

With dandy gait all stiff as starch,
These guardians of the town did march;
Each mewing malkin quick did fly,
As warriors tramp'd the alleys by.

The rear, in awful silence still,
Trooped bravely up the hill,
Led on by manufacture Dick,
And George with umbrella stick.

Thus marched they on with hearts all stout
In quest of night's dark rabble-rout,
Which shrank dismayed, and further fled
Before the echo of their tread.

But scarce they'd gained the top o'th' hill,
When hark! a whistle loud and shrill,
Blown by some lurking Luddite's breath—
The Warders startled nigh to death.

The Captain spoke, "pray whot is you?
It whistl't summut loike a mon;
It surely coom fro' th' pickit post
O' Gen'ral Ludd's approachin' host.

"Then back the frighted Warders hied,
The Captain ran himself, but cried—
"Stop lads a little bit, an pray, 
"An' dunno' let us run away."

With doubtful step again they turn'd, 
Each heart with shame and anger burn'd; 
Some damned the breath, and some the lip, 
That started them into the trip.

And now a leader of the van
Back to his waiting comrades ran,
Reporting that, "At top o'th' street,
A fearfu' object he did meet.

"Aw'm sure it has two blazin e'en,
"Its grinnin' fangs au've plainly seen;
"It looks as savage as a bear,
"An' it so horribly dus stare."

"It's sure some boggart,*" cries the Cap,
"For that's abeawt o'th' boggart shap; 
"Just as I yerd meh gronny tell,
"An' hoo had boggarts seen hursel.

"Iv't be a boggart, God forbid
"'At I to it a mischief did;
"But iv it be some lurkin' Ludd,
"Lorjus, heaw wot will be meh blood!"

The Captain form'd them rank and file,
Whilst some their nether clothing soil;
Some cough, whilst others loudly sneeze,
Some shake like leaves on aspen trees.

"Curridge, meh lads, ween goo an' see't,
"It isno' dark, for th' moon gi's leet;
"Iv't be a Ludd, ween at him smash,
"Iv boggart, aw'll some questions ash.

Towards the object now they drew,
With rattle-rick an' loud halloo;
The Captain shook his curly head,
And slyly wished himself in bed.

Thrice he roll'd that noble eye,
Which looketh o'er his nose so sly;
As looks a magpie on a tree,
When coming shooter it doth see.

And now they drew the object near,
Behold! not blazing eyes were there,
But firmly standing 'gainst the wall,
An armed warrior stout and tall.

"Pray whot art theaw, 'at theer dus ston,"
Said Cap, "art divle, or a mon?
"Or art some sperrit comn agen, 
"To fyer a set o' honist men?"

The doughty fellow held his tongue,
Nor budg'd he from the halbert long,
But proudly in defiance stood,
The picket-post of General Ludd.

Await we now the battle fray,
And mark the halberd's lightning play;
Behold on slipp'ry honour's strand,
Like "hope forlorn," the warrior band.

And now the brave commander spoke,
Each Warder did his weapon poke; 
And now, with one united push,
They on the steadfast foe did rush.

Dire was the meeting, thunder crack,
Like tennis-balls they bounded back;
When strange amaze and wild dismay
Did looks of Warder-men display.

The Luddite foe did bravely stand,
Nor shrunk from blow, nor wielded brand,
Nor couched lance, nor fixed targe,
But fearless braved the sweeping charge.

As grafted rocks do meet the flood,
So fast, so firm the Luddite stood;
As floods oppos'd do backwards dash,
So back the Watch and Ward did crash.

O! that my lyre had ne'er been strung,
Or only to the wild winds sung,
Ere it had tun'd with wail and woe,
The gallant Warder's overthrow.

But now a dreadful cry and roar,
The slumbering echoes wak'd once more,
As many a Warder prostrate lay,
Or crept on hands and knees away.

A halberdier so fierce in fight,
Made charge with all his gathered might,
When from the foe rebounding back
He tumbled over tailor Jack.

Then Jack arose with angry frown
And knock'd the gallant Doctor down;
The Doctor by old Galen swore,
He'd ne'er be Watch and Warder more.

Limping upon his bruised thigh,
Poor Collop-Joseph loud did cry;
And Whiffling-Johnny wish'd for light
That he could better see to fight.

Hard was the fate of Mister S—ls,
Beneath both B—tr—wth and W—ls;
Tom T—yl—r got a woeful squeeze
Beneath the paunch of bulky L—s.

Meanwhile at distance stood the chief,
With looks that spoke his inward grief,
To see his brave combatants fall
Before the warrior stout and tall.

For still the foe did bravely stand,
Nor warded blow, nor wielded brand,
Nor couched lance, nor fixed targe,
But steadfast brav'd the sweeping charge.

But ah! the brightest day must end,
To fate the bravest heroes bend;
And falling midst thy fallen foes,
Thy glory, gallant Ludd, must close.

The blacksmith pois'd his hammer high;
And swift as bolt from louring sky,
With Vulcan's force and fury swung,
Upon the Luddite's helm it rung.

Loud was the crash and wild the roar,
The mighty Ludd is now no more;
The broad hill trembled when he fell,
His fate the sighing breeze did tell.

But cloudless rode the moon on high,
Revealing to each Warder's eye
The dreaded foe, the mighty Ludd,
Was figure made from lump of wood.

Some waggish youths a stump had drest
With buckler, halbert, helm, and crest,
And nailed firmly 'gainst the wall,
It seem'd a warrior stout and tall.

His helm an iron pot, his hand
Held Luddite pike for burnish'd brand,
A boiler-lid, both large and strong,
Before him as his buckler hung.

"To Gath let not the tidings go, 
"In Askalon let no one know;"
Lest they should wake the merry string 
Of Watch and Warder's shame to sing. 

O, the gallant Watch and Ward,
Sleepy England's wakeful guard,
With larum, rattle, pike, and hook,
Owd Ludd at Cabbage Ho' they took.

* In Lancashire dialect, a 'ghost'.

 


_______________________


THE PETITION OF JAMMY'S HEN.(14)


YE Middletonian ladies fair,
To me extend your tender care,
And save me from the wicked snare,
            Ye gentlemen;
Oh! listen to the mournful prayer
            Of Jammy's hen.

For in the morning I must die,
And I must either roast or fry,
And on the spit be carried high;
            Poor Jammy's hen!
The scorn, the scoff, the mockery
            Of cruel men,

Unless some generous friend so kind,
A nobler sacrifice do find,
To satisfy the public mind,
            I bleed!
And over England with the wind
            Shall waft the deed.

A good fat scot would more befit
A public roast, a public spit,
'Twould give each hungry maw a bit;
            I pray you then,
To buy a scot and offer it,
            Good gentlemen!

And Mister Bownas, I dare say,
Has scots enow that he would slay,
If you would be so kind to pay;
            Then Jammy's hen
As long as life did last would lay
            For ladies and for gentlemen.

 


_______________________


GOWDEN-HAIRED HESTER.

[Glossary of Lancashire dialect]

TUNE—"Royal Charlie."


O'ER lofty Grange I once did range,
    When sullen storms were sweepin',
A maiden fair wi' gowden hair
    Came o'er the moorlands weepin':
            I sooth'd her, I caress'd her;
            And tenderly bless'd her;
And wrapp'd within my winter's cloak
            The gowden-haired Hester.

 


_______________________


THE LAST PARTING.


AND hast thou spoke the word Farewell?
                My beauty, my adored;
And hast thou spoke the word Farewell?
                My beauty, my adored;
Mine agony no tongue can tell
                For thee, my own adored,
Ah! did I love indeed too well?
                The angel I adored.

We met beneath the greenwood shade,
                My beauty, my adored;
We met beneath the greenwood shade,
                My beauty, my adored;
A garland of sweet flowers I made
                For thee, my own adored,
And till the break of day we stay'd
                Within those bowers, adored.

But darkness was upon thine eye,
                My beauty, my adored;
But darkness was upon thine eye,
                My beauty, my adored!
Sad anguish burst with every sigh
                From thee, my own adored,
And fondly, yet how tearfully,
                Thou spake to thine adored.

We meet no more, we meet no more,
                Within this world, adored;
We meet no more, we meet no more,
                Within this world, adored;
There's heaven above, and earth before,
                For thee and me, adored,
But though our dreams of bliss are o'er,
                Thou still shall be adored.

And is it thus at last we part,
                My beauty, my adored;
And is it thus at last we part,
                My beauty, my adored;
Thy tears upon my broken heart,
                My beauty, my adored,
To die were better than to part
                From thee, mine own adored.

To regions 'neath the solar ray,
                I wander, my adored;
To regions 'neath the solar ray,
                I wander, my adored;
O'er desert wild, and howling sea,
            Afar from thee, adored,
He fears not further misery,
            Who's lost his own adored.

Then, fare thee well; Oh! fare thee well,
            My beauty, my adored;
Then, fare thee well; Oh! fare thee well;
            My beauty, my adored;
Mine agony no tongue can tell
            For thee, mine own adored,
Ah! did love indeed too well? 
            The angel I adored.

 


_______________________


MORNING.


SEE yon mildly beaming light
Bursting on the rear of night;
See it wider, wider spread,
Over Alpin's rocky head:
Alpin, who, as bards have told,
Strove with Ealderman the bold.
Bootless strife—for Rimmon, fair,
For the warrior could not care;
Nought availed beseeching eye,
Given to the winds his sigh;
Nor did force befriend the brave,
Rimmon perish'd in the wave.
Now, adown his rugged side,
Pours the flood of morning tide;
Night hath rolled back her cloud,
Mead and mountain to unshroud;
Reynard seeks his safe retreat,
The owl her solitary seat,
And the bat hath found her nest,
And the pole-cat is at rest;
And the poacher is a-bed,
Dreaming how he lucky sped,
Net, and grin, and store of game,
None their hiding place to name.
Venus now her fainting gleam
Yields to Sol's superior beam:
See him rise, a globe of light,
Robed in effulgence bright:
Mountain, tree, and village spire,
Wrapping in ethereal fire:
High, and higher, rising still,
Till he tops the highest hill:
Clouds he smileth far away,
Limpid dew and mist so grey:
Part he gives to feed the flowers,
Part to spangle on the bowers,
Part he calleth up again
To feed the cataracts of rain.
See the lowly primrose pale,
From its grassy covert steal;
Daisies, tinged with purple glow,
Lady smock, as white as snow;
Crocus yellow, white, or blue,
Daffodil of golden hue;
Polyanthus varied cup
Doth the dewy off'ring sup;
These, besides a hundred more,
Field and garden spangle o'er.
Hark! yon ever varying song
Bursting from the feathered throng;
Hark! the ousel's melody,
Pouring from his wonted tree;
Whilst the lark is tuning high
His grateful carol in the sky.
Now, the throstle's lordly throat,
Now, the linnet's twitt'ring note;
And the robin and the wren,
Favoured by the sons of men.
Echo joins the vocal throng,
And the chorus doth prolong
Over flowery dale and hill,
Over brook and pearly rill;
Over pasture, over dell,
Woodland dark, and mossy cell.
Now the smoking cot is seen,
With its ivy'd chimney green;
Children playing in the fold,
Whilst the busy wife doth scold;
And the damsel takes her pail
Off a milking to the vale;
And the lads are sped away,
For another ploughing day.
There, with songs of mirth and glee,
Tales of love and constancy,
And peals of laughter bursting free,
Wide o'er the deeply furrow'd lee;
Hail! the morning, blithe and gay,
Grateful for another day.

 


_______________________


SONG, "OLDHAM LOCAL."

TUNE -"There's ne'er nea luck about the house."


O, HARK! the rolling, rolling drum,
    O, hark! the music play;
Down Ebor's march, the local lads
    In soldier-like array.
And see their spangled banners wave
    And see their armour shine;
Approach a thousand hearts so brave,
    And one of them is mine.

I'll sweep the hearth, I'll beet the fire,
    A posset will I make;
I'll reach him down the dainty cheese,
    There's bread upon the flake:
And if beneath his baggage load
    His weary feet should fail,
I'll roast his cheese, and toast his bread,
    And sop it in good ale.

For ever since the dreary morn
    When from me he did part,
I've been bewilder'd and forlorn,
    No joy hath known my heart;
But now I'll cheer me up and sing,
    My love approaches near,
And hark! the cymbals louder ring,
    I'll go and meet my dear.

I'll take my bonny prattler sweet
    And hie me down the lane,
And when my baby's dad we meet,
    I'm sure he will be fain;
And he will bring thee things so fine,
    Thou art his little store,
And O! my arms shall round him twine,
    I'll love him more and more.

Prepare the dance in Oldham town,
    Ye blushing maidens gay;
Prepare the feast in Oldham town,
    Ye matrons, growing gray;
Prepare the couch in Oldham town,
    Ye wives, as sweet as May,
For Oldham local back are boun'
    To Oldham town to-day.


_______________________


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