Lancashire Songs (4)
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'Tis not the gifted, good, or skilled
    That make most worldly stir,
A hundred men a fortune build
    For one a character;
Seek not in wealth the spirit's health;
    Their gain is virtue's loss
Whose actions claim no higher aim
    Than hunting after dross.

A man of substance, blazoned forth—
    Oh ! how that title sounds,
He must be deemed a man of worth
    If worth ten thousand pounds!
Though none survives, through prostrate
    He golden paths must carve:
To stock his stores, how many scores
    Of better men must starve!

There's one thing to my simple ken
    Makes Labour's lot less sunny,
That in this Christian country men
    Are measured by their money;
You may have thought well trained,
        if brought
    To bear could rule a State,
It matters not a tittle—a jot,
    If poor you can't be great.

Among the vicious, vice is known
    To meet with virtue's mead,
But with the good 'tis good alone
    Can flourish or succeed,
Hence, where mankind appraise all mind
    By monetary test,
Truth must declare the morals there
    Are surely not the best.

It matters nothing, brains or not,
    If you have only "brass"!
To highest pitch of human lot
    Your pocket forms your pass;
But glories which surround the rich
    Like fairy dreams will fade,
When reason reigns and wisdom deigns
    To call a spade a spade.

Why should we be content to feed
    On ashes—husks of swine?
For Gold is but a god indeed
    While, bowed before his shrine,
We worship him; that idol grim
    Will crumble into dust
When truth and love are prized above
    Curst lucre and its lust.


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        Tis Christmas time!
        That solemn chime
Bids all men call to mind
        What goals they've won,
        What deeds they've done,
What duties left behind.

        'Tis true, alas!
        Weak mortals pass,
Chiefly in chase of dross,
        Their priceless hours—
        Work, waste their powers,
Then, dying count their loss.

What!   Pile up pelf
        To raise thyself
And leave the mass behind?
        Not so, say I;
        Work hard and try
To elevate mankind.

        I know its creed,
        But do not heed
The world in every case;
        'Tis selfishness
        Ourselves to bless—
Bless all the human race.

        Stand by the right,
        Although the plight
It plunge thee in be pain:
        Strive for the good
        Because you should,
And not that good brings gain!

        The fear of hell
        With force may tell
On cowardice; but then,
        Let bravery
        Not slavery
Our motto be; build men—

        With soul erect
        And intellect
Well trained—true to the core,
        Who nought assume,
        Compared with whom
Even Emperors are poor.

        By such men led,
        Mankind would tread
New paths of pure improvement—
        With burdens lighter
        And prospects brighter—
The world mount with the movement.

        May there be trod
        One step towards God
By every human soul,
        Ere Christmas chime
        Proclaims old Time
Hath gained another goal.



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Again the glowing year hath rolled its round,
    And brought once more the fulness of the field;
A garb of golden grain doth gild the ground,
    The earth once more doth her abundance yield:
The future doth unfold a prospect fair;
    The sun hath so impregned the fertile sod
That fruit and flower and bird and beast will share
    The blessing and the bounty.   Would to God
That Commerce ne'er might quit our English shore,
But flourish here unrivalled as of yore;
    That Work and Capital might wedded be,
Till Plenty knocked at every cottage door!
    And that our sister isle across the sea,
    To save from famine had her land set free!


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Again the light-and-life-dispensing Sun
His circuit through the Zodiac hath run
And shed his beams this barren world to bless,
Like manna rained down in the wilderness;
In garb of summer bright and autumn brown
Hath Heaven, as wont, unto the earth come down,
Like Jove to Danæ, in a shower of gold,
As grandly fabled by the Greeks of old.
The pauseless pulse of nature ever beats
The same, through winter chills and summer heats ;
The Seasons, hand in hand with tireless Time,
Dance round the circle, ever in their prime,
Like children at the close of summer day,
Their play gives life, their life is in their play.
But when we pause to scan the human race,
The harmony, elsewhere beheld, we trace
Not in their actions, nor by searching find
True friendship in the ethics of mankind;
But humble worth oppressed by pampered pride,
And pomp and penury walking side by side;
Whilst armèd nations meet in hate and ire
As though they were not children of one sire.
Our cup of evil's bubbling o'er the brim,
While Crime insults the sun.   With aspect grim
And ghastly frightful Accident uprears
Its many heads, increasing with the years;
As if our very hearts within us slept,
Whilst thousands to eternity are swept
We callous seem, as loath to lift a hand
To stem those evils that o'erflow the land.
Our lucre-love so blunts the moral sense
We fail to profit by experience.
Though reared 'neath Education's fostering care
The mass still mate with suffering and despair
Nor happier, wiser, better than they were,
Would God! my muse could see so far as some
Who pierce the curtains of the great To-Come—
See Happiness far gleaming through the gloom,
Selecting England for her future home—
But I must change and check her wild career,
And bid adieu to the departing year.
Farewell old year, with all the faults thou bast,
In sorrow we commit thee to the Past!
Whilst thou art sinking down her deep, dim slope,
We leave thee not in anger, but in hope;
So get thee gone! nor plague nor menace more;
Thy daughter, decked in smiles, is knocking at our



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The might of right, the love of love, the fire
    Of hope and aspiration urged him on,
While Prince for peace and freedom tuned his lyre.
    Though bright its light, his lamp of life still shone
    In this direction and in this alone.
The true, the brave, the fair, the beautiful,
    Are gathered up and garnered in his lays.
With skill 'twas his the choicest flowers to cull,
    Enhancing still their perfume and their blaze.
    And may our workman-poet's well won bays,
His glowing garland grow nor dim nor dull—
    The pure, the gladsome current of his song,
    Fresh, smooth, and clear, if seldom deep or strong,
Through countless years its wealth of waters roll along!

[Editorial note: John Critchley Prince was born Wigan in 1808 and died in
 Hyde in 1866. During his life he travelled around Lancashire - mainly in
 Blackburn, Ashton and Hyde - following any opportunities for casual
 work and suffering great privations in the process. Prince wrote and
 published poetry, becoming one of the mid-19th century's better artisan


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Adventurous youth, who go with glee
"To see the world"—who wander free,
By mountain, city, land or sea,
O, may your footsteps guided be

By duty!

For peace, for plenty, plead and ply,
For truth and justice, join the cry,
For freedom lift the strain on high,
But raise the shout and rend the sky

For duty

In cot or castle, fane or fort,
In field or factory, camp or court,
Through good repute, or ill report,
True wisdom ever will consort

With duty.

When England's naval hero spoke,
Ere he received the fatal stroke,
'Mid shot and shell, 'mid fire and smoke,
What word thrilled through his "hearts of oak"


What motive urged good Brutus on
To sacrifice his darling son;
Or Abraham, whose example shone
More bright, to dare yet spare, save one

Of duty?

When Passion urges desp'rate deeds,
When Sentiment or Selfhood leads,
When Pride propels or Profit pleads,
Give me the man that ne'er recedes

From duty.

When fanned by Fortune's fickle wind,
When veering currents vex the mind,
When foes grow fierce and friends unkind
The pole-star of our peace we find

In duty.

Whose barque o'er Danger's wave hath sped,
Who dark Despair have faced nor fled,
Erect on Death's dim verge may tread,
But bend, and meekly bow the head

To duty.

The meed of wealth is won by thrift,
The sinful soul relieved by shrift,
Humility that soul may lift,—
But Heaven confers its crowning gift

On duty.

While toiling up the steep of fame,
Nursing the poet's noble flame,
The way to win a deathless name
Is never shun, nor ever shame

At duty.

The storehouse of our English tongue
Whence bards have built a heaven of song,
Where words of beauty bravely throng,
Contains not one more sweet or strong

Than duty.

The fairest flower of human speech,
The grandest sermon priest can preach,
The loftiest lesson tongue can teach,
The highest aim the heart can reach

Is duty.


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The rose of beauty burned upon her cheek;
She smote with music all who heard her speak;
And, light and lofty as the summer skies,
Was the pure soul reflected in her eyes;
And bright and blue as they, without a tinge
Of cloud, shone those clear orbs, whose sunny fringe
So privileged the bard that might behold—
Those azure hill-tops crowned with clouds of gold!
    On her benignant Nature showered the boon
Of mental gifts, and graces manifold,
    And daintier charms, which, all too sure and soon
Point to a near and narrow bed of clay!
For, fairest flowers are frailest—ere the June
Of life came winter—night forestalled midday.

Death, what is death?—To sever human ties
    So deep, so strong, so tender, yet so true;
The heart feels bankrupt when a dear one dies
    In youth and bids all cherished hopes adieu:
Fond hopes had she, but 'twas not so ordained,
    The accents of her first born babe to hear—
    That music to a mother's heart most dear!—
But die with joy's full cup in hand undrained,
    No more to see the red of sunset glow,
No more the blue and boundless arc of noon,
    The grey of morning, nor the lucent flow
Of pallid fire that floats the rising moon;
But leave, in home a void, in hearts a gloom,
In Heaven an angel more, on earth another tomb.


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A rude and roystering blusterer thou—
A blatant, boisterous brawler; how
Canst thou so greet and treat us now,
                            The nether arch
Of winter's past?   Thou should'st allow
                            More sunshine, March.

Man finds the limit of his tether,
Foretells, but can't control the weather;
His science baffled altogether—
                            Left in the lurch—
He's blown about like leaf or feather
                            By thee, bleak March.

He, whom the world was made to bless,
Self-deemed a god or little less,
Bewails his utter nothingness—
                            Puts out his torch—
Sinks, shipwrecked by thy tempest stress,
                            Triumphant March!

There's not a month throughout the year
That causes mortals so much fear—
July the hot—December drear—
                            Though one may scorch—
The other freeze—they're less severe
                            Than thou, dread March.

When, whistling through the briary bush,
Thy keen winds pierce the nestling thrush
Or naked robin, not a rush
                            For nest or perch,
Though rains may drench or hailstones crush,
                            Carest thou, stern March.

Why rage and blow and play the brute,
Destroying embryonic fruit?
Use some discretion—branch and root,
                            Raze oak or larch!
But birdling, bonny bud and shoot,
                            Spare, cruel March!

Calm down at once—compose thy rage,
Or haste and hie thee from the stage!
Could poet's prayer thy wrath assuage,
                            Knelt in the church
Of spring, I'd fill a foolscap page
                            With hymns to March.


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Once Capital and Labour pulled
    Together, both one way;
Till one demanded profit and
    The other wanted pay;
The point to be arrived at was—
    That each should have his share,
But Capital was master and
    Would not divide things fair.

Then Labour yoked with Union
    And gathered greater strength,
And wrestled long with Capital
    And won his rights at length:
The world became much wiser, then,
    And Wealth obtained respect,
For Work had gained his guerdon and
    Come forth with soul erect!


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"O lady love, wilt thou be mine?—
    No gold or gear have I to bring,
Though lands and lordly halls are thine,
    Yet one true heart I freely fling
            At thy fair feet,
            And so would mete,
    My sweet, our true-love reckoning."

"A constant mind, a loyal heart,
    Let Love appraise all price above;
For wealth may kindred keep apart
    But never buy, nor bar true love;
            So gentle swain,
            Thy path is plain
    To Hymen's Fane, through Cupid's Grove."

A suitor brave of humble birth
    Thus woos and wins a lady bright;
So through celestial realms the Earth
    Forever wings her starry flight;
            Thus high and low
            Together flow;
    Sage Time, also, links day and night.

When, standing on this lowly sphere,
    Love to the heavens doth lift his head,
Red Mammon and proud Lucifer
    Lie bound and bruised beneath his tread:
            When Cupid's pranks
            Unfetter ranks,
    Freedom give thanks—thy cause is sped!


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While maiden Morn may blush and burn
    Above the mountain steep,
The village queen trips o'er the green
    Through kingcups ankle deep.

Thus lowly life with dangers rife
    Is neither dark nor dull,
Its wooden cup is brimming up
    Filled with the beautiful.

When bosky dells with bright bluebells
    Are clad and clouded o'er,
And wood and wold with green and gold
    Array themselves once more.

We bless the powers that formed the flowers,
    And thank them that we live,
For beauty's sake, to thus partake
    The pleasures that they give.

The Snowdrop wan, like pensive nun,
    With white and purple hood,
Screened from the Sun, his light doth shun—
    Her home the shady wood.

The Daffodil, above the rill
    Whose liquid music purls,
Glassed in the wave, his banner brave—
    Her golden flag unfurls.

The pale Primrose that buds and blows
    On slopes and mossy banks,
Like starry skies with myriad eyes,
    Gives God ten thousand thanks.

The Violet secluded yet
    With meek and modest grace,
When Phœbus pries where hid she lies
    Will show her heavenly face.

In many a field his sunny shield
    The Daisy up will toss,
While plumes of snow and crimson glow
    Around its yellow boss.

Ere spring shall close, the blood-red Rose
    Will, burning on the briar,
Show whence she came, an orbèd flame,
    Like lover's heart on fire.

Yea, every flower by bank and bower—
    Child of the Sun and sod—
Our hearts will thrill and ravish till
    We thank their Gardener, God!


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Welcome May, the month of flowers,
Garnisher of groves and bowers;
Gladness, golden-winged hours
            Hail and mark thy stay!
Arc of hope, love, light, perfume,
Paradise of bud and bloom,
Rainbow based on Winter's tomb,
            Month of Promise—May!

Eden-garden of the year!
Angels are—when thou art here,
Guileless hearts feel God is near—
            Life by death uncrost:
Brave and bright, young, gay, and green,
Bounding 'neath the blue serene—
Summer's flaming sword is seen—
            Paradise is lost!

Emblem, thou, of maidenhood!
Yearnings of the youthful blood,
Felt, but yet not understood,
            Mark the May of lives;
Brave the bloom and rich the root,
Thousand buds and branches shoot,
Small the load of solid fruit—
            Maidens merged in wives.

Dainty, dear, and rich and rare,
Pure and proud, and faultless-fair,
Beauty walketh everywhere—
            Only while 'tis May!
Scorching heats of Summer come,
Autumn beats thy requiem,
Beauty, on her muffled drum—
            Winter then holds sway.

Who, the Has-to-Be, shall scan,
Sort the Blessing from the Ban,
Pre-describe the future man,
            Gazing on the baby?
Every acorn grows not oak,
Promises are sometimes broke,
Fire's not measured by the smoke,
            Much may not—or may be.

Change and interchange we see,
Life and death—but what are we?
Bound to-day, to-morrow free—
            What is mind or soul?
Brothers twin, are Brief and Bright,
Day is still devoured by night—
When the human soul takes flight.
            Who can guess its goal?


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When woods are decked and donned
        with leaves,
And Nature's breast with fullness heaves,
        While Heaven and Earth commune;
With reverence, with gratitude,
Devotion deep, joy unsubdued,
        I hail thy advent Tune!

The red rose bursting from the thorn,
That miracle of beauty, born
        Warm-gushing from the sod;
I ask no thunder overhead,
No resurrection from the dead,
        To prove it wrought by God.

However dark, however dull,
The soul must feel the beautiful,
        The good, the true, the fair!
Which, to our very heart of hearts,
Its news from Paradise imparts
        And writes its history there.

Let me amid the sweet, the bright,
Deep fountains of the Infinite
        My thirst for beauty slake;
And what I think, and what I feel,
And all my inner life reveal
        In song, for other's sake.

While, welling from the Sea of Good,
This world is deluged with a flood
        Of flowers and golden grain;
If my weak lyre but lead a few
Who feel the good to see the true,
        'T has not been touched in vain.


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Life is sweet—a privilege
    Bountiful—a boon from Heaven,
    On such days, to mortals given
As they pass o'er Time's brief bridge.


Out in the flush of the morn,
    Into the fields and the woods,
    Marging the fountains and floods;
Music and Beauty were born:

Born of the breezes that blow;
    Born of the dews that descend;
    Born of the sunbeams that lend
Lustre to spirits that glow:

Glow in the sensitive soul—
    Soul of the light-loving bard,
    Fresh as the green grassy sward,
Bright as the rivers that roll!

Out in the prime and the pride—
    Pride of the summer in bloom;
    Far from their dulness and gloom—
Towns and their evils allied,

Let me have leave to repair
    Forth over valley and hill,
    Led by the loved—where they will—
Poets whose joys I can share!

Why should such wander apart—
    Brothers true, lords of the lyre,
    Jets from that fountain of fire
Glowing in Nature's warm heart?

Friendship and Freedom combine,
    Worshipping Wonder and Beauty:
    Homage their holiest duty,
Nature their sacredest shrine,

Cattle in quest of rich fodder,
    Pacing its margin we plod:
    Think you this metaphor odd?
The river is really Hodder.

Plodding along by the brink,
    Where is no pathway or track,
    Who is to order us back?
None that can feel or can think!

"Witch" was the name that they called
    When the blithe cuckoo would sing,
    Who to make every month Spring,
Round with a fence wisely walled her.

Skirting the south of the "Tongue"
    Fast by its blossomy brink,
    Scented, and sable as ink,
Calder keeps bubbling along.

Hodder, pellucid and pure,
    Glitters embosom'd in banks,
    Robbing the poet of thanks,
Blooming to bless and allure.

Loveliest spot on the globe!
    Keswick, or sweet Windermere
    Cannot in beauty compeer
Ribble, in Summer's bright robe!

Oft may we have—and we may—
    Holy-day rambles aboad;
    Ribble and Mytton our road,
Just as hath happened to-day.

Cheering the people along,
    Toiling up Time's rugged steep,
    Passing dull Care's castle-keep—
Bless the brave Children of Song!


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I've no babes of my own, all my children are grown,
    With myself on the shelf—or the stang-ridge;
With the taste—not the tongue—for the beauties of song,
    I've a love for the birds and their language.

I had brought me, one day, a most beautiful jay,
    And I did feel so proud at the time:
Asked , without 'if' or 'but' where the bird should be put?
    I rejoined, "Oh! I'll put it in rhyme!"

What I thought at the time, I'll record in my rhyme,
    "This brilliant Mischief—how smart!
Thus the false, which is fair, with unhallowed glare,
    Takes the eye and entangles the heart."

He is naughty, but nice—small birds and live mice—
    If he clutch he devoureth; but then,
Not the Tyrian dyes, nor the evening skies
    Can compare with his plumage! and when

We reflect for a space, we can readily trace
    The baneful and beautiful blent,
Like snakes among flowers, or thorns in the bowers
    So, beware! is the moral that's meant.

The Raven will croak, the Parrot will talk,
    The Jackdaw—the Crow will—but oh!
It is really absurd to compare this brave bird
    With a Raven, a Jackdaw or Crow.

He answers my speech with a "quae!" not a "screech;"
    To what problems I have to propound,
Like a bird of good sense, without pride or pretence,
    His "yea" or his "nay" will resound.

All lessons are good, when well understood,
    That are taught by my beautiful jay;
Like the great Nazerene's, and you know what he means
    By his simplest "yea" or his "nay"

If the truth one must speak, with the young or the weak,
    'Tis the beauty—the bauble, seduces;
To the strong, wise, and good, all is right, understood,
    Placed aright—put to suitable uses.

You may deem me a fool for attempting to school
    A Bird that's as bright as a Cupid,
Feeling wondrously wise, and expressing surprise
    At a bard being so dull and so stupid.

Just so, if you please, but then, old Socrates
    And Plato must still have been stupider,
For one taught a jay—one a parrot to pray,
    And to worship Olympian Jupiter.

From the lessons I give, this hint I receive
    For measuring mind and its powers;
We know not the words of the beasts or the birds,
    But they often understand ours.


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'Tis dark! how fast the days are shortening! mine
    Are rapidly careering towards their close;
With what swift motion, down the steep decline
    Of Life, the wheels of Time appear to spin,
    Winnowing the grain that Death will garner in,
Thus giving Age a glimpse of the divine
    And lulling earthly passions to repose.
    The chastened heart embraces friends and foes
In one rich blessing, warm as its own blood,
And wide as is the world.   O! if youth would,
    When time seems tardy, seize and make the most
Of every hour, by taking at its flood
    The tide of Opportunity, no ghost
    Of murdered Hope could limn her Eden lost.

August, 1882.


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With what unutterable shame and scorn,
    Humiliation and indignant rage,
The bosom of the honest man is torn
    Who contemplates the evils of this age—
Light weights, short measures, packing, paint and gloss—
One half the world kept by the other's loss—
    Cheating, chicane, bankruptcy, liquidation,
Clayed-cloth, clamped yarn, short counts, and watered
With antiseptic's scientific theft—
    All trades worm-eaten by adulteration
What folly—what short sighted ness—what sin—
Enough to make the very Devil grin!
By cheating, one may win some paltry pelf;

But, as a whole, the world can only cheat itself.

O! Commerce, thou hast much to answer for,
    Cold, callous king of Trade's unconscion'd mart;
No bolt of Jove, no hammer-stroke of Thor
    Could singe or dint thine adamantine heart;
    From morals, from religion far apart,
Thy God is gold, thy Gospel selfish gain;
Thy bastard twins, pale Poverty and Pain,
    Foul imps by thee begotten upon Fraud,
Infest our cities, fill our cots, and fain
    Would shrink from out existence, or have thawed
The heart of Avarice, blocking Pity's way!
When Pings and Corners—swindling guilds—hold sway—
When vices rise which pulpits fail to reach,

The poet, not the parson, then must claim to preach.


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I met an acquaintance, a day or two since,
A friend of the reedmaker-poet, John Prince,
A man whose acquaintance with men and with books
Hath seldom been rivalled, 'twas Mr. Charles Rooks,
The "Junius of Blackburn" named, once on a time,
A master of prose and a critic of rhyme;
Whilst a tear and a tribute were paid to old John,
He asked,—Where the poets of Blackburn had gone?

My answer was ready, if time for a walk
Were at his disposal, the toil by the talk
Would be doubly repaid; he endorsed the remark,
Took my arm, and we sauntered along through the Park.
This scene was once rural and rugged enough,
A quaint rustic valley called Pemberton Clough,
Where "Ribblesdale's" gooseberry garden once shone,
But alas! both the "bard" and the garden are gone.

The time had been short but the changes were vast.
Our thoughts and our sympathies turned to the past,
And, with fond recollection flew back to those days
When we loitered up Longshaw, or strolled through
With a posse of poets, though local in name,
Whose merit might match some of national fame—
Some are dead, some have fled, some have ceased to sing
But the most of the poets of Blackburn are gone!

Since Hodgson, and Baron*, and Dugdale are dead;
Since Chadburn, and Walkden, and Daley are fled;
Since Clemisha, Bradley, and Stewart, and Hughes
Have vanished; since Salisbury deserted the muse;
Since Abram, and Walker, and Rawcliffe**, and Yates
Seem to rest on their laurels, defying the fates,
There's Jardine, there's Whittaker, Walsh, Little John—
Why, why are these silent, and where have those gone?

I replied, being queried, which did I like best,
The singing of Graham, the silence of West,
The Language of Littleton, least understood,
Or Chip's single song, and his "goose"?—which was good—
"Don't hide in a napkin your talent like West;
Nor scruple to sing, lest you should not sing best:
The steps to the heavens that glitter up yon,
Each rests on one lower, and all upon one.

"He meets retribution, and merits it quite,
Who under a bushel obscureth his light;
The God-given talent should not be confined
To a circle of friends, when 'twas meant for mankind;
Go, lay out your money, in trade or in trust;
Machines when left idle will ruin and rust;
Or reckon all reasons, the pro and the con,
For singing we've many, for silence we've none.

"The spink and the sparrow will twitter in spring,
The swift or the swallow in summer will sing;
The thickets with music in May will abound,
But the lark and the linnet sing all the year round.
Then why should the bards of my own humble sphere,
The gifted and good, whom I'm proud to revere,
Relinquished the lyre, while the least worthy one,
In sadness of heart singeth—'Where are they gone?"

We've climbed up the mountains and sailed on the sea;
On beauty we've banqueted, hounding and free,
Britannia's green valleys we've traversed by times,
Making many-voic'd echo give answer in rhymes;
And we read the sweet poets of many a land,
Ere Death and old Time had divided our band;
But soon the last scene will be closing upon
One more, to be gathered to where they are gone!

In fine may the bards of this smoky old town
By their confluent gleams add a glow to its crown;
"Like stars in one sky let them mingle their blaze
Of light, nor be jealous of each other's rays;"
Like flowers in one garden put forth their bright bloom,
Nor envy the fairest its tints or perfume
The pipes of an organ all vary in tone—
Their sound must be several, their music is one.

MAY, 1882.

Ed.  * William or Joseph Baron?
        ** Richard and John Rawcliffe.


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What are we hoping for?   For room to rise;
    For space and power to prosper and expand;
For ground whereon to grow more good and wise;
    For means to mark and bless this lovely land
With moral beauty alwhere and alway,
    Benignly bright, abounding as the bloom
Of Flora's children in the month of May!
    For Hope with golden light to cleave the gloom
Of darkness, doubt, and dread, that cloud the future day.

What hoping for?—for legislative power—
    For labour's sons to represent the mass
In Parliament—their destiny, their dower—
    In numbers coextensive with their class;
For love which maketh all mankind akin;
    For men whose souls are not the slaves of wealth—
Life's game played square that honesty may win;
    For labour flankt with safety, flusht with health,
Upon a field where fraud no more may enter in.

What are we hoping for?   For recognition
    Of each man's right to think and speak his thoughts,
Without or let or hindrance, supervision,
    Or social drawback.   Conscience then, unbought,
Might unmolested choose or change his creed;
    Hypocrisy would perish—truth be free—
Sincerity and candour cease to bleed:
    The fruit of Happiness would crown the Tree
Of Life, were but our hope translated into deed.


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We boast of English liberty,
    A people's Parliament,
Who plead our cause, who makes our
    Whose thought is dominant;
We tolerate some titles, too,
    But when the titled dare,
Though Lords, to thwart a people's will,
    We bid those Lords beware!

We look upon their Lordships as
    A pageant of the past,
A quaint, old-fashioned ornament,
    Whose lustre cannot last;
But what is their utility?
    Do they our progress share?
They eat the fruit and sap the root,
    But let the Lords beware!

On heraldry, on pedigree,
    They take their lofty stand,
From century to century
    Monopolise the land;
Their larders team with luxuries,
    While workmen's shelves are bare;
They've leaned on our forbearance long,
    But let the Lords beware!

By accident of birth, the Lords
    Are wise, and good, and great;
We wink at their "prescriptive right"
    To dabble in the State;
But when they hew triang'lar, what
    The Commons hath made square,
And raise a storm to stay Reform,
    We warn them to beware!

Shall Ireland, still, and ever, be
    A thorn in England's side?—
As years roll round, the gaping wound
    Forever grow more wide?
Shall legislative justice sheath
    Her sword and deign to spare
The landlords for their selfish sakes?
    No ! let the Lords beware!

Their bulwark of antiquity
    Will crumble into nought,
When they attempt to stem the tide
    Of onward-rushing thought;
Though fiery-headed folly may
    The obstinate ensnare,
The people have the power, to-day!
    So, let the Lords beware!

A Lord, forsooth ! your fellow-man!
    Why should that name be given
To anyone, however high,
    Except the Lord of Heaven?
In spite of human arrogance,
    The knife of Time will pare
Their ranks and titles down to one,
    So, let the Lords beware.

Without a House of Lords, behold
    America and France,
Not merely move abreast of us,
    But march in the advance!
No landed Aristocracy,
    No primogenial heir
Is found in States Republican,
    So, let the Lords beware!

The ship hereditary, still,
    Might weather many gales,
With Peers inclined to watch the wind
    And to it trim the sails;
Who blindly steam 'gainst wind and
    Of rocks should have a care—
The people's breath is life or death—
    Then, let the Lords beware!

SEP., 1881.


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The People and the Peers now stand
    Like knights with lance in rest,
And Time, that caused their quarrel, soon
    Their potency will test;
The Nobles and the Nation can
    No longer pull one way;
Then, why delay the conflict?—do
    What must be done—to-day!

Where is the blood heroic—where
    That ancient courage gone,
Which wrenched the Magna Charta from
    The grasp of royal John?
Are Commoners less competent,
    In thought, or word or deed,
Than feudal barons who prevailed
    By force at Runnymede?

'Tis said when good King Canute once
    The ocean-wave defied,
He left the scene, or soon had been
    O'erwhelmed beneath its tide;
Such lessons may be learned to-day,
    Though folly may deride,
From Time, that flouts both kings and lords
    And mocks their pigmy pride.

'Tis monstrous—nay, 'tis blasphemous,
    Nor do we deem it true,
That the hardworking many were
    Made for the idle few;
The framers of our coach of state,
    With Peers to hold the reins,
Preposterously blundered by
    Mistaking "brass" for brains.

Has Nature made them better men,
    And fitted them to rule
By some pre-natal warranty,
    That neither knave nor fool
Shall pop up with a pedigree,
    But, dropp'd down from the skies,
That all blue-blooded gentlemen
    Must needs be good and wise?

Away with worn-out postulates
    And fusty musty creeds!
As trees by fruit, the people judge
    Of rulers by their deeds;
Hereditary statesmanship
    Is selfish and unsound;
When weighed in wisdom's balance 'tis
    Unsafe and wanting found.

The workman legislator is
    The next upon the cards;
He that all wealth creates must govern
    Where he now but guards;
For Peers we have no mischief planned,
    We're proud to tell them so,
But they're on their good behaviour, and
    It's right to let them know.

The People with the power they have,
    With union intact,
Might make their leading maxim soon
    Become a living fact—
Give mind and merit preference,
    Nor rank nor wealth, nor blood,
And to the greatest number, thus,
    Secure the greatest good.

Our loyalty is ever due
    To Justice, Truth, and Right—
The welfare of the working class,
    The cause in which we fight.
We shout for light and liberty,
    Not coronet and crown!
The die is cast, the day is past.
    Their sun is going down!


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A light has faded from the western skies,
    A planet in the Occident hath set;
        Let love and admiration point the place,
While ages watch and wait ere one shall rise
    So large and bright, where none was brighter yet.
        True type and teacher of our English race,
The transatlantic poet proudly shone,
Pure-thoughted, pious, grandly gifted; one
Whose hope and aspiration burn and blaze—
Beam in his life and beautify his lays,
    Which shed their blessings bounteous as the rain,
And tour the world, like God's free-wingèd wind,
    To sow in human hearts the golden grain
Of duty, faith and love, a harvest for mankind.



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Dear George, it's a task and a heart-touching duty
    To write to a friend on a far-distant shore,
Whilst memory calls up recollections of beauty
    From scenes of past pleasures we ne'er shall see more.

I oft think of those twain little cots, so romantic,
    Of wood and of mud—thatched—with clay for the floor,
Where we dwelt ere you crossed the rude-roaring Atlantic
    And banished all hope of our meeting once more.

Yet still my mad fancy, as by the old gable
    I pass, paints your portrait unlocking the door,
Whilst Sense, to dispel the Delusion unable,
    Confounds past and present, and greets you once

Where our classes and lectures our parties and meetings,
    Our dining and dancing days constantly wore
A wardrobe of poetry, fraught with heart-greetings,
    Whose music through memory sounds evermore!

And I muse on the scenes where w'eve sauntered
    On Spirit, Mind, Matter, God, Fate, and Free-will,
Our field-loving feet oft the dewdrops dispersing
    Down Ribble's deep dale or up Hambledon Hill.

Still by Pendle and Hambledon, Billinge and Hoghton,
    And all their wide whereabouts oft wandered o'er,
In day dreams thou'rt with us, but gone when I've
            thought on
    The fate that between us Atlantus doth roar.

But by Billinge and Hoghton, where we used to wend all
    The way with delight, in those sweet days of yore,
By Clitheroe's old Castle, and lofty-brow'd Pendle,
    Alas! we shall wander together no more!

No more the dim cloud-crested temples of Pendle,
    Nor grey crags of Hambledon shall we explore;
Never more shall we list to the language of Rendell
    Who thrilled the soul through with his creed-crushing

But O, may you find, in your home occidental,
    New friends with such hearts as your English ones bore,
Forming round you a circle, true, moral and mental
    Whose richness and raciness reach the heart's core!

May the angel of health give thee daily a kissing,
    The Giver of good ever add to thy store,
And thou, in the sunshine of His richest blessing,
    Forever be grateful—the more for the more!

And thy sweet little sister, her sire and her mother,
    May their hearts ever sing and their souls ever soar—
And though creed curseth creed and the faiths fight each
    The God of the universe ever adore!


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(Secretary of the Blackburn Power-loom Weavers' Association,
who died suddenly, September 22nd, 1882.)

Bold, bluff and blunt, impatient of pretence,
He cared for candour, conscience, common sense;
    And, staunch and sturdy as the mountain oak,
    With rugged bole bare to the thunder stroke,
Depended on a frown for his defence.
    Wit's lightnings launched against such armour
    In harmless flashes—often to provoke
His heartiest laughter.   Even when least dense
    His goodness seldom saw more than the smoke
    Which oft concealed a shaft, or cruel joke,
That furnished friends with mirth at his expense.
Whalley was wholly true—his going hence
    A gap in labour's ranks—in hearts—in town—
    A gallant vessel in mid sea gone down!


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The sun is nearing now the winter solstice,
    Again the year hath run its chequered round,
And wrinkled Time rolls on, nor ever halts his
    Untiring steeds, that, viewless, void of sound,
    Through days and months, with staid but stealthy
Are urging all his offspring to the tomb;
    The grave, the gay, the crustless, and the crowned,
The sons of glory and the slaves of gloom,

Thus find one level lot, in Death's impartial doom.

The Past appeareth like a pathless ocean
    With vessels crowded but bestrewn with wrecks,
Where Good and Evil mixed in mad commotion
    When tyrants spared not either age or sex:
    With banners burnt upon their splinter'd decks,
Behold those martyrs, good, and true, and brave,
    Who flung the yoke of Error from their necks,
Who braved the curse, the faggot, and the grave!

And fullest freedom first to happy England gave!

The Present is our own—'tis Christmas time—
    We hold the vantage won from centuries!
Let us improve the season, while the chime
    Of holy bells, like ancient psalteries,
    With love and music loads the joyous breeze!
Let hearts be linkt in kindness, and among
    All ranks and stations vanish all degrees!
Bid Christmas welcome! Feast both old and young

With boil'd and roast, with tale, and toast, and mirth, and

Let all who in the path of Pleasure tread,
    By Fortune blest with plenty and to spare,
With open heart unasked their bounty spread,
    And bid the poor and needy come and share:
    That sin of sins, a poor man's table bare
At Christmas, blackens in the sight of God
    As England grows in wealth.   Shall we not dare
To hope that every honest man's abode

May count, this Christmas-tide, life's brightest episode?

And may the trials and the tribulation
    That made us wince within the passing year,
Be met no more, but peace with every nation
    And people under Heaven be kept, and dear
    As gold be held; and may that green, that near
And neighbouring Isle, whose lot is linkt with ours,
    So sad and drear, become both bright and clear
In prospect; and may yet the fadeless flowers

Of loyalty and peace bedeck her beauteous bowers!


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E ternally the tide of time rolls on;
D eath on its bosom holds his silent Court.
W here are our friends of yesterday?   They're gone
A nd havened in a near but unknown port.
R eflect we then—act wisely evermore—
D eath, who hath nailed poor Ned, may knock at our
            own door.

W here is there one like him whose loss we morn?
A las! he hath not left his like behind.
L et priests go pray!   His deeds will leave a thorn
K nit round their brows—he lived to serve mankind.
E nshrined within our hearts his memory
R emains a bright example of philanthropy.

JAN, 1866.


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How great among the great of former days
    Was he, the pithy, playful, fiery, strong—
    Who modernised the metre of our tongue
And gave new regions to the muses' realm;
    The founder of heroic English verse,
    Who spoke in numbers, bounding, bright, and
Who built the boat, and guideth yet the helm;
    Who taught the art of reasoning in rhyme
    And cast the couplet for all coming time;
Made Virgil ever live in English lays,
    Stood foremost figure of a learned age
    And loftiest on its literary stage;
Transcendant Dryden!   Bard whose highest praise
Is this—the hand of Time adds brightness to his


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            It was on a starry night
            When the moon was shining bright,
And this 'bloke' returning homeward from the Ball
            That's been holden now for years
            By the Blackburn Volunteers,
The most splendid ever held in the Town Hall;
            Closely by the Market-house
            Tripping quiet as a mouse,
When I heard the chime of three above my head;
            Then I halted in my walk,
            And the Clock began to talk,
And I'll tell you what the droll old cuckoo said:
                        Mark me well!
                        I can tell
                        What a Bell,
Or a Clock up in a steeple's got to say—
            For the Clock up in the steeple
            That looks down upon the people
Must be posted up and clever in its way.

            There are people in this town
            Who are up and should be down;
There are many people down that should be up;
            There are good men ta'en in charge;
            There are villains left at large;
There are Bobbies that can take a tip and sup!
            Whilst the men who labour least
            Have the most on which to feast,
And the men who labour hardest, least of all,
            There are worthy men in want—
            Honest people faring scant—
Arrant knaves that roll in riches till they pall !
                        Mark me well!
                        I can tell
                        What a Bell,
Or a Clock up in a steeple has to say—
            For the Clock up in the steeple
            That looks down upon the people
Stated this, and in a striking sort of way.

            In this world we often find
            Modest merit left behind,
With audacity and impudence in front;
            Whilst the man that talent needs
            By his trickery succeeds,
And the world in homage bows and wags as wont;
            Men are bought, and men are sold;
            Brain and blood are turned to gold,
And the wicked bear their bargains off in style;
            Right is trampled on by might;
            Truth is hustled out of sight,
In a way to make the very Devil smile!
                        Mark me well!
                        I can tell
                        What a Bell,
Or a Clock up in a steeple want's to say;
            And that Clock up in the steeple
            That looks down upon the people
Had got this and other bitter things to say.

            But I toddled home to bed,
            After what the Clock had said,
And I fell into a very pleasant dream—
            Very pleasant, very strange!
            All the world appeared to change
And its doings what they ought to be did seem:
            Peace and Plenty, hand-in-hand,
            Scattered blessings o'er the land,
Whilst to justice were the rule and sceptre given;
            Faith and friendship, love and truth,
            Gave the soul a second youth;
Hope and Charity made earth appear like heaven!
                        Mark me well!
                        I can tell
                        What a Bell,
Or a Clock up in a steeple seems to say—
            For that Clock sits in the steeple
            And looks down upon the people,
Watching Time, and waiting for a better day.


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Another year, another link
Is adding to the past.   The brink
        Is steep and deep,
                And one
Which none may shun, though all must
To view that gulph.   Vain trifler, think—
        Why pause?   God's laws
                Move on!

A Crown or State may be the stake,
When diplomatic dicers shake—
        One throw, and so
                'Tis gone!
The red-rose heart of love may break,
And souls be lost for lucre's sake,
        Down hurled—the world
                Moves on!

Thy task or simple or sublime
Unwearied work from chime to chime;
        So may He say
                "Well done!"
Whilst in the meshes of his crime
Must hang the wretch who murders time;
        Behind, mankind
                Moves on!

Let man find worthy work to do,
The elements will aid him too;
        The sole true goal
                Thus won,
'Tis not the many, but the few,
The great, the gifted, good and true,
        That can make man
                Move on!


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My name is Blackburnus, I'm one of that class
    You would pass without thought in a crowd;
Though not overburdened with brains or with brass,
    Of my own native town I feel proud.
I'm a bit of a critic as well, by the way,
    As the Borough I'm travelling through;
And I see on my way such strange things every day,
    That I can't make them out—can you?

CHORUS—I can't make it out—can you?
                    I can't make it out—can you!
                    Some things that I see are a puzzle to me,
                    For I can't make them out—can you?

I know a cheap butcher that visits our town,
    And he stands in Victoria street;
From Burnley to Blackburn he often comes down,
    And he brings with him cart loads of meat;
At eightpence he'll cut you a slice of the round,
    Which really seems prime to the view;
But how he can pay twenty shillings the pound,
    I can't make it out—can you?

I know a tea-dealer not far from this place
    Where the people stand gazing in lots;
And his shop though but small is much like the Town
    For there you may always see *pots;
He gives them as presents to those who buy tea,
    Cheap trips in the summer-time too;
But how he sells good tea is a "liquor" to me,
    For I can't make it out—can you?

There's a building in Blackburn we call the Exchange,
    It's a company concern we are told,
Of a class rather rich, though it seems rather strange—
    We'd should fancy them lacking the gold!
To build up the spire and to make it complete,
    Is what we've long wished them to do,
But why they have never accomplished that feat,
    I can't make it out—can you?

We want a Post Office in Blackburn, and we
    Have been promised one time and again;
In the one we have now you too often may see
    People huddled like sheep in a pen;
New sites have been chosen, and that by the dozen,
    Yet somehow they always fell through;
But why we should wait with the town in this state,
    I can't make it out—can you?

There's a lamp at the bottom of Preston New Road,
    And it stands in the midst of the street;
And it was placed there by a comical mayor,
    And it's there where the young couples meet;
Any night in the week, if you've only the cheek,
    You may go and behold a good few;
Why they meet after dark and stroll off towards the
    I can't make it out—can you?

In the park when I've seen lovely Flora the queen
    Of the flowers, while her gracious smile shone,
To my mind always came a great traveller's name
    For she really looks live living-stone,
So lovely yet lonely, our park having only
    To boast thus one single statue;
Why the men with the pelf let her stand by herself,
    I can't make it out—can you?

There's a subject on which I don't know very much,
    But I must tell the folks what I think,
It's a novelty great which has turned up of late
    And they call it the new skating rink;
Dressed in their best clothes, the belles and the beaux
    Sailed by me, or rather they flew;
But why a girl feels that her feet should have wheels,
    I can't make it out—can you?

Now I hope I've not trod upon anyone's corns,
    Or committed myself in the least,
For you cannot have roses without having thorns,
    And we must have a rise in the yeast;
I don't mean the east and that horrible work
    Of the Bashi-Bazouks, it is true:
But why England should league with the barbarous
    I can't make it out—can you?

*Potts, the name of the then Chief Constable of Blackburn.


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Tis night!   'Tis solitude that truly tries
Our mould of mind; then sights or sounds make wise!
    The wiry aspect of the wintry woods;
    The distant roar of sheer-down tumbling floods
That poured their plaints in Day's unconscious ear;
The mellow moon so placid, cold, and clear,
    By Poesy ycleped the Queen of Night,
Rains down white radiance, swathing manse and mere
    And ruined keep in rich and holy light.
Though round its base in quivering circlets flies
    The twilight bird, yon tall moss-mantled tower
    Stoops not to Time, but seems to scorn his power
And count the centuries looking at the skies!
So, when death's night shall come, who would not thus


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When the Commonwealth was struggling with
    The Right Divine of Kings,
And pure conscience, crush'd and bleeding, saw
    That Liberty had wings,
While the moral sky grew dark for lack
    Of true religious lore,
Then the Rev. Robert Bolton brought up
    Blackburn to the fore.

As our Cotton Trade in infancy
    Its feet began to feel,
When the single-spindle spinning meant—
    A woman to a wheel!
When the loom the spinster left behind
    In Lancashire all o'er,
Then, Hargreaves with his Jenny, marshalled
    Blackburn to the fore.

Our Osbaldestons, Bulloughs, Blackburns,
    Whittakers, and Crooks,
With their Slashers, Looms, and Warping Mills
    Have reached remotest nooks;
They have sent machines to many lands,
    And goods to every shore,
And, for Weaving, over all the world,
    Brought Blackburn to the fore.

In Education, Blackburn claims
    To stand on higher ground—
In Authorship, to more than rival
    Many towns around;
And now she greets her trained athletes,
    Proud the Olympic corps,
By winning England's Challenge Cup,
    Brings Blackburn to the fore.

But,—"football's an unholy game—
    'Tis rude—and most unmeet
That England's future manhood thus
    Should educate their feet—
Feet foremost to the grave men go!"
    Thus wiseacres deplore!
But football has, at least, done this—
    Brought Blackburn to the fore.

In the good, the golden future may
    Our town enjoy the taste,
And the talent, still increasing, which
    Hath glorified and graced
Her cotton-kirtled daughters, and
    Her sons of sable ore,
And industry and skill will still
    Keep Blackburn to the fore.



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Why do I rhyme?   Ask the wind why it blows.
    Why do I rhyme?   Ask the stars why they shine.
Ask the rain why it falls and the stream why it flows.
    Ask the rich why they're proud and the poor why they

Why do I rhyme?   Ask the trees why they blossom.
    Why do I rhyme?   Ask the birds why they sing.
Ask the Sea why the tide ebbs and flows on its bosom—
    The Earth why she wears a green garment in Spring.

The sheen of the planet, the bloom of the rose,
    The cloud and the rainbow, the flower-spangled sod,
The frostwork that glitters, the lightning that glows,
    All beauties of nature are bounties of God!

Old Ocean shall cease his pursuit of the moon
    Ere the poets to rhyme and to win the world's ear,
And the Earth shall leap out of her orbit as soon
    And dull winter eternally clasp her cold sphere.


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Old as the world, the tale, yet ever new,
    When on the earth a God in human guise
    Deigns to decend, the wealthy and the wise,
The good, the bad, the many and the few,
Strangely misdoubting all that's good and true,
    Behold a Demon in the Deity;
Nor, till they see the nail prints in his hands,
Will they confess the Saviour who stands,
    One foot on Time, one in Eternity,
    To lift man to a loftier destiny;
But when they see his white wings cleave the clouds
    Then they sob out, "An Angel with us stayed!"
Such, Time, the worship of thy countless crowds,

Whose homage at the shrine of Chatterton is paid.


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Deep in the hidden chambers of the heart,
    In sad and silent solitude of thought,
    From worldly pleasures, which are set at nought,
Thy mournful muse doth sit and sing apart;
    How dearly is the poet's pleasance bought
When life is bartered for a laurel wreath!
O ! witless worldlings told in bated breath
    How he who never gear or gold had sought
Shook hands with Fame across the Gulf of Death:
    Severe, not singular, thy fate poor White;
The grave still gapes 'twixt genius and renown;
Ten win for one who lives to wean a crown!
    No sooner seen than fled from mortal sight

Thy course was like the lightning's, vivid, brief
        and bright.


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Once on a time as it happened by chance,
King Louis, reviewing the army of France,
Had close at his shoulder, a gallant field marshal,
To whose wife, it is said, the good King had been 
And out of regard for his dear wedded honey,
Made her husband a marquis and stocked him with
A sturdy old officer passing them by,
Saluted the marshal with crest rather high:—
When the marquis exclaimed, "You audacious old elf!
Do you know who I am ; or who you are yourself?"
"Yes," said the soldier, in tones of humility,
"I'll tell you, according to my best ability,—
We're both what His Majesty chose to make of us, sir,
Your lordship, a cuckold, and I, a staff-officer."



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Dear friend, and when I say dear friend
I mean so, and do not intend
To flatter with vain words, but send
                        A heart-warm letter.
Excuse that phrase, the style will mend,
                        As it grows better.

But just one word before effecting
This, let me now speak respecting
The true cause of my neglecting
                        To write earlier,—
My temper, these bad times reflecting,
                        Hath grown much surlier

Than Poet's temper ought to grow,
Or than mine was not long ago,
Though neither whelmed in waves of woe
                        Nor tide of "teen,"
But voluntarily made so
                        By inborn spleen.

One flash of honest indignation,
One burst of self-scorn, th'execration
Of my unthrifty situation
                        Had put Mirth's pipe out,
And on his brow writ "Desperation,"
                        Which Wit can't wipe out.

The letter lately sent by you,
To Discontentment gave the cue;
Which theme, mad Fancy would pursue;
                        Half envious, grumbling
At all my peers who past me flew,
                        Whilst I kept stumbling.

I've seen some thousands pass me by
And wing the wind, nay scale the sky!—
Without an effort seem to fly,
                        Or ride the rack
Of Fortune's golden clouds, while I
                        Tread life's dull track,

Down in the dust of indigence:
And whether it be want of sense,
Will, courage, or self-confidence,
                        Still, still I find
Some latent cause or consequence
                        Keeps me behind!

I'm glad to learn from your epistle,
That you are doing well ; but is't well
To neglect the Muses? list well
                        To what I say!
Though Mammon's mill may grind your
        grist well,
                        Some future day

When you perchance shall see poor Will
Safe-seated on Parnassus' Hill,
Yourself i'th' "Golden Valley" still,
                        Will not Compunction
Pinch you, for not with all your skill
                        Forming a junction

'Twixt Plutus and the tuneful nine?
For that's a settled plan of mine;
When Opportunity's sunshine
                        Dries Fortune's ditches,
The World will see me "cut it fine"
                        With fame and riches!

You charge me with ingratitude;
The imputation's rather rude,
Yet I've no great wish to elude
                        The law on that head;
Because the sentence will include
                        Yourself, sir, what! had

You no work that pleased you better
Than blaming him who wrote t' last letter,
Which you have never answered yet, Sir;
                        Pray do your duty!
About the task, this moment set sir!
                        Does that line suit ye?

But I must close, here goes, amen!
At least until you write again,
Let that be very soon, and then
                        You'll be fulfilling one
Friendly duty with your pen,
                        Yours, W. BILLINGTON.



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