Date:November 23rd 1861
This poem is written in the ballad meter and consists of four octets. It takes the common poetic subject of autumn and gives it a twist, suggesting this is the time when debts must be repaid to local shops, businesses, and money lenders. Some of those demanding repayment are caricatured as ‘Snooks’ and ‘Mr Spriggins’ in the manner of Dickens, and there is an admonition both to those who are profligate with spending they cannot afford, and those so well off they do not need to go into debt. The problem of domestic debt, already an issue in working-class communities, was hugely exacerbated by the Cotton Famine, and this poem published at the beginning of the ‘Distress’ would only have become more relevant as time went on.