SOMETHING GOOD TO DO.
Title:SOMETHING GOOD TO DO.
Keywords:charity, industry, morality
This anonymous poem is fairly typical of generalised moral verse from the period, though it is presented in a distinctly secular fashion, with no reference to religion or divinity of any kind. It is possible that this is significant due to its place of publication, Preston, which was a town with a large Roman Catholic contingent; if the poem does not appear to emerge from a particular religious denomination then its message will not appear bipartisan. The condemnation of idleness in the poem given the context of enforced mass unemployment in the region might seem inappropriate, but there were real fears that lack of work was creating a malignant social apathy which was exacerbating the effects of poverty and general morality. The celebration of charity in the final stanza ties into efforts to encourage the working classes to help each other. Eventually, institutions across the region mobilised in response to the continuation of the effects of the Cotton Famine in order to provide alternative work for cotton operatives. – SR