REST TO-MORROW. BY SAMUEL LAYCOCK.
Publication:Ashton and Stalybridge Reporter
Date:August 6th 1864
Keywords:morality, religion, work
This ostensibly religious poem by Samuel Laycock is addressed to a representative ‘Christian soldier’, at first urging perseverance in the good fight. But after a few stanzas it shifts its focus to workers, suggesting that if they work today, they will earn rest tomorrow. In the context of the surface meaning of the poem this promise refers to the afterlife but it could also be taken as an encouragement to enjoy future fruits of labour. Written towards the end of the Cotton Famine, when the re-opening of mills was imminent, poems such as this reflected the worry that cultures of indolence had formed in the labouring-class population during long periods of unemployment. The fear was that enforced inactivity would take root in communities and that they would be less able to benefit from and contribute to the economic upturn. – SR