A CURIOUS LANCASHIRE DITTY. – In a very rare and valuable volume of old ballads, printed in black letter, and collected in the seventeenth century, is one entitled, “THE PRAISE OF LANCASHIRE MEN; or, A few lines which here is penn’d Wherein they Lancashire Lads commend.”

You Muses all assist my pen,
I earnestly require,
To write the praise of the Young Men
born in Lancashire.
They are both comely,stout, and tall,
and of most mild behaviour
Fair Maids I do intreat you all
to yield to them your favour.
When Lancashire Lads doth feel the dart
of Cupid’s Bow and Quiver,
And aims to take a fair Maid’s part,
I’m sure he’ll not deceive her:
Unto their promise they will stand
which they to you propounded,
They will not break for house nor land
if Love their hearts have wounded.
* * * * *
There is Knight’s Sons and Gentlemen
that’s born in Lancashire,
That will be merry now and then
if need it do require.
The Plowman likewise is our friend,
which doth use Plow and Harrow,
He freely will his money spend
when he meets with his morrow.
In Lancashire there’s brisk young Lads
as are within our Nation,
Most of them of several trades
or some Occupation;
That their Wives they can well maintain
and bring them store of Treasure
All by their Labour and their Pain,
they live with joy and pleasure.
* * * * *
Brave Lancashire Men are Soldiers
what valour have been tried
At Sea and Land in many Bout,
when thousands brave men dyed,
And always scorned for to yield,
although their foes were plenty;
If they hit ten men on the field,
they surely will fight twenty.
Great James our King they will defend
as well as any Shire,
To England they will prove a Friend,
if need it do require.
They Loyal Subjects still hath been
and most of them stout-hearted.
Who still will fight for King and Queen
and never from them started.
Now to coincide and make an end
of this my harmless Sonnet,
I hope no man I do offend,
lad man put off his Bonnet,
And drink a health to James our King
and to our English Nation,
God us defend in everything
and keep us from Invasion.

Title:In Praise of Lancashire Men


Publication:Bury Guardian

Published in:Bury

Date:Jan 25 1862

Keywords:Nationalism, War, Work


As the effects of the Cotton Famine start to really be felt, this republication of a Jacobean poem in praise of the men of Lancashire can be seen as an attempt to shore up the image and spirit of the region’s male population. Particularly in the Victorian period, loss of work was seen as an emasculating phenomenon, and many poems comment on the subsequent crisis of masculinity associated with a lack of economic agency. – SR