The New Christmas Pantomime

The Federal and Confederate States, at present,
Are both in states to the[smudged end of word] reverse of pleasant!
Old Time looks on, while, as their fortunes veer.
They cut each other’s throats from year to year!
In England, short time to our working [illeg.]
Has brought, this long time, hunger and dis[illeg. – distress/ disease?]
But they, unlike their [illeg.], have e’er [illeg. 2 words],
And, short of bread, have never once look’d [illeg.]!
Life is not safe; [illeg.] with [illeg. 2 words]
The [illeg.] necks twists, spite[?] of legislation!
While forg’d Bank notes are utter’d[?]on the quiet,
Free speech at public meetings [i]s stpp’d by riot!
Prussia and Greece, to be cork’d down resenting
Hale[?] and stout both, have now begun fermenting.
Poor Garibaldi shot! France still in Rome!
Her occupations [sic] might keep her at home.
Discord[?], through me, [illeg.] thus rife in all climes
No wonder these are awfully bad times!

Title:The New Christmas Pantomime


Publication:Manchester Courier

Published in:Manchester

Date:December 20th 1862

Keywords:unemployment, war


This poem was recited during a pantomime performed at the Theatre Royal in Manchester, which was built in 1845 and is situated next to the city’s Free Trade Hall. The version we found is badly damaged and illegible in places but we thought it was worth including because of the reference to the effect of the American Civil War on local industry and ordinary people’s daily lives. The poem is clearly a slightly satirical round-up of the year’s news and gives an indication of the interest in world events evident even in entertainment situations, and the variations in tone of the reporting of the economic distress which was by this point widespread throughout the region. – SR