A Lancashire Witch’s Appeal to her Irish Sisters.
In happier days, e’er sorrow threw
Her mantle round us, e’er we knew
The biting want, the bitter woe,
That meets us now each step we go
Ah! those were happy, sunny hours –
Around our homes bloom’d radiant flowers
No care threw o’er the laughing scene.
One cloud to mar our peaceful dream.
‘Twas in those hours I heard of thee,
Sweet isle, girt round by smiling seas;
I wonder’d if thy cabin homes
Were one shade brighter than my own,
They told me that kind hearts were there
Who with the poor their morsel share –
Warm, loving hearts, and kindly hands,
Stretched forth to help their fellow-man.
And now across yon rolling sea
We send a fervent pray’r to thee, -
Give ear and help us, sons of toil,
Who dwell within that lovely isle.
Oh! send across the surging main
Some help to sooth our dreadful pain:
Refuse us not – give from your store –
And help the wretched, starving poor!
Oh! daughters of that happy land,
Stretch forth a warm and generous hand:
Oh! help us in our dire distress –
Let pity fill your gentle breasts.
A sister pleads – refuse her not, -
From her now dark and lonely cot
She sends this pray’r – help or we die, -
Answer her bitter, wailing cry!
Our children starve – their rosy cheeks
Have paled before the monster – Grief:
An aged mother slowly fades,
And daily nears the cruel grave.
Then, sister of that Em’rald Isle,
Help us, the children of toil;
If little – ah! If you but knew
The good that little’s sure to do –
How cheerfully you then would give
Your mite to bid our dying live –
And where despair is seen, to shed
Warm comfort round the sufferer’s head.
Then listen, sisters, to our cry –
In mercy help us, or we die!
Oh! for our woe and anguish feel,
And answer a Lancashire Witch’s Appeal!
Title:A Lancashire Witch’s Appeal to her Irish Sisters.
Date:December 3rd 1862
This poem was collected by Pat Bracken, who is Executive Librarian for Clonmel Library in Tipperary, Ireland, for this database in 2019. It is a fascinating piece which illustrates the close ties between Ireland and the north west of England in the nineteenth century, and in this case particularly between the women of these regions. If anything the 1860s saw an economic upturn for parts of Ireland because their principle textile, linen, is made from flax, and this raw material became a valuable commodity as the Cotton Famine progressed. – SR