THEN deys er dark, wi trubble hung,
An darkur, seems i’ th’ reer;
My limbs an nerves er ol unstrung,
Mi hert is filt wi feer.
It’s herd wen age is kreepin on,
To stair “King Scant” i’ th’ face
Wi’ nother wark, nor food, a mon
Feels in a ticklish place.
Thes deys er dark, an thouts us dark,
Keep flyin throo mi yed;
Will ther e’er be for weyvers wark
To yern ther “deyly bread.”
En Nan sumtoimes seys “Tum doant fret,”
We’re waving th’ warp o’ life;
Sure eviry mon’s is wark laid out
Forth’ warld’s med up wi strife.
Thes deys er dark, but chance ther sent
To Lankyshir for gud;
Breet glimps o’ calm, bring sweet content,
I’d mend things if I coud/
One thing I’m sure, nur shame to tel
Midst al mi greef an pane;
I tri to sing an cheer myself,
Woz’s past – neer comes againe.
Cheer up, dark deys, may soon blo o’er,
An breeter deys merch on;
Sumtoimes the best is kept e store,
An waitin meks a mon.
God bles ar Quen, bles Inglands’ lads
An tech em wot to do;
Wen wwe the meet e Lunnan tawn,
Bles em! – an bles me too.

Title:Relief for Lancashire

Author:A Lankyshir Lad

Publication:Accrington Guardian

Published in:Accrington

Date:February 28th 1863

Keywords:charity, poverty, religion, work


This poem is written in dialect but also appears to simplify some of the spelling to suggest an uneducated or illiterate writer. Its overwhelming message is one of gratitude for metropolitan relief for the Lancashire region during the Cotton Famine, and this is aligned with a sense of both regional pride and patriotism. The personification of the effects of the famine as ‘King Scant’ is very interesting, and there is a register of both resignation and defiance in the face of hunger and financial penury. – SR