Eawr Factory Skoo E. Moss.
Title:Eawr Factory Skoo
Publication:Manchester University Press
As indicated by the clear chorus to be sung after each verse this is presented as a song, and for this reason the metre is quite strict in order to scan accurately. The metre is iambic heptameter (sometimes known as septenary), and though the lines are very long they are structurally similar to the ballad meter. The difference is that sometimes the ‘sense’ of the poem runs right across the lines.
The poem refers to the charitable efforts to educate unemployed workers in order to occupy their time and improve their lot during the Cotton Famine. These practices were extensive across the region and there was a concomitant rise in literacy rates during the period. However, relief was often dependant on attendance and the slight sense of coercion contained in the second stanza when the speaker suggests they may soon be soldiers hints at an underlying resentment, thought the broader tone is celebratory. This is one of eleven Cotton Famine poems which feature in Brian Hollingworth’s Songs of the People: Lancashire dialect poetry of the industrial revolution (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1977), the most significant anthology of such works during the twentieth century.