Twelve Lines on Prosperity and Adversity.

In life this maxim ever holds too true,
It is interest in which mankind pursue;
Tho’ small thy pittance – learn the art to save,
The task is hard when friendship goes to crave;
By strict economy learn the art to live,
For she bestows what thousands will not give;
When fortune smiles the world will give applause,
And all thy friends are steady in thy cause,
But if she frowns these steady friends are vague,
And friendship proves a mirror to intrigue;
Then you may see without disguise mankind,
And by past folly wisdom bear in mind.

Title:Twelve Lines on Prosperity and Adversity.

Author:W. Brown

Publication:North Cheshire Herald

Published in:

Date:August 22nd 1863

Keywords:economy, poverty


Advising frugality in times of financial pressure, this poem must have been read by some with a degree of bitterness, especially if they had been made unemployed or put on short time contracts by the effect of the Cotton Famine. However, as one would expect, the widespread regional economic distress prevalent at this time brought out many ideological and religious vested interests, and their opinions expressed in newspaper poetry provide a particular window onto the kinds of social discourse in evidence during the period. As well as advice on financial conservatism the Cotton Famine gave a significant boost to the Temperance movement in the region, and as so often when the poor are suffering through no fault of their own, moral advice from some quarters is accompanied by implicit blame. – SR