Harben’s Love Song.
Zostera Marina, grim Manchester's shaking,
One half of her steam-engines silent and still,
No cotton's at hand, and we're all in a taking
To know where to turn, for new grist for the mill.
It seems to myself that the notion was clever
(It came as I wandered by ocean apart),
Thy fibre to take, and to make the endeavour
To give drooping labour another fresh start.
Zostera Marina, though Manchester slumbers,
And sneers apathetic my labours requite,
I'm happy to know that inventors in numbers
Believe that my notion's substantially right.
So, Zostera Marina, though wise folks are calling,
My project a thing that can never succeed,
He'll never climb high who's too frightened of falling:
The proof of the pudding’s in eating, my weed.
Title:Harben’s Love Song.
Date:October 18th 1862
Keywords:industry, poverty, work
This poem appears to satirise an idea to replace cotton with dried eelgrass (zostera marina) in order to mitigate against the effects of the cotton blockade. Eelgrass was commonly used to stuff mattresses and insulate houses in the nineteenth century, but there is no evidence it ever became a successful textile material. – SR